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Have questions about Gemzar

nicol06810's picture
Posts: 18
Joined: May 2006

Hi everyone...
Just met with my onc and it looks like I will once again be on chemo...This will be my 4th kind since 10/05...First time was Carboplatin & Taxotere..After 6 treatments my CA125 was down to 7.9...After 4 months it was up around 400..Second treatment was Topotecan..numbers were coming down really well until about 1/2 way through and then they started to go back up....Doc decided to put me on Doxil...Again numbers came down but toward the last treatment the numbers started to go up again...about a month and a half ago my CA125 was 46..Now it is at 127....Doc wants to put me on Gemzar....Has anybody been on that? Can you tell me what to expect?...Doc said that I could also try the Carboplatin/Taxotere mix again since I did really well on that...Only problem is I don't want to lose my hair again...Plus it made me really sick...I have 2 weeks to think about what I want to do. I am going to Florida for a much needed rest from all of this and then my daughter graduates from college on 5/6...I told the doc that I did not want any chemo until after that...I just want to feel good for a change!!!....I would appreciate any feedback you might have on Gemzar so I can decide what would be the best route....Thanks!!!...Hugs and prayers to all of you....Vicki

Posts: 98
Joined: Jan 2007

Hi Vicki, I'm so sorry to hear that you have to be back on chemo. Me too! This is my 2nd recurrence since being diagnosed and treated in July of 2004. They tried Gemzar on me a year ago, and my number went down a total of about 60 points after nine treatments, then suddenly jumped up and I was taken off of it. I then was put on Taxotere/Carboplatin which put me in remission for about six months. The Gemzar was very easy for me, and I only had thinning of the hair, not baldness. I am now on Doxil, and will have to wait and see how it works. Others on this board have been on Gemzar also, and will let you know their experience with it too. We will all be thinking of you and hoping whatever you decide to do will work for you! And, congratulations on your daughter graduating!!! My doctor has also let me put family vacations, etc. ahead of treatment schedules too! It helps to feel normal, to get to do fun things. With hugs and prayers to you, MichaelaMarie P.S. Please keep us updated, we all care.

Posts: 1995
Joined: May 2003

I'm also sorry to hear you have to do this again. But Keelie is right, you will probably get a lot of responses from others who have been on Doxil.

My congrats also on your daughter's graduation - high school? I'm so glad we can make decisions regarding our treatments, etc., so that we can enjoy important events in our lives. Enjoy your much needed 'vacation' and break and let us know how things are going with treatment. Until then, sending lots of hugs and prayers your way.

BonnieR's picture
Posts: 1549
Joined: Jan 2004

Hi Vicki, I have been on Gemzar and the worst side affect for me was the flu like systoms I got. I was only on it for 3 months, it didn't work for me. But a lot of women get remissions from it. I would ask your Dr about Avastin/Cytoxan combination. Drs have started to use it earlier in the treatment of recurrent ovarian and have had good results. This is one of the combinations that gave me a remission, and actually shrunk my tumors in half when nothing else was working. Good luck with what ever you decide and know you can live a long long time by managing this disease. Hugs N Prayers Bonnie

Posts: 485
Joined: Sep 2006

hi Nicole,
I am currently on gemzar. I go 1 time a week for 3 weeks then off 1 week. i have found it an easy chemo so far. i do get a cough and running nose for a couple of days after. My hair is still on my head,and so far not even thinning!! I'm having a tx. tomorrow, that will be the end of my 3rd cycle. My numbers have went from 82.9 to 22.1 after completing 2 cycles. I was also on Doxil and I did have 13 months of remission, so now I'm praying that the Gemzar does me even better than Doxil. Good luck, sending prayers to you and enjoy that well deserved vacation!!! (((hugz)))..Joanne

Posts: 1
Joined: Apr 2007

I had approximately seven courses of Gemzar with Carboplatin. After the first few infusions, it got easier to handle. I would have Gemzar, then Carboplatin on a Thursday. I would go to work for the afternoon and work on Friday then I would be flat on the couch on Saturday and Sunday. I would go back to work on Monday then Thursday I would have Gemzar only and the rest of the week went well. The third week I would be off treatment and would see the doctor the following Tuesday and start my next course on Thursday. After the second or third course, I found that it didn't hit me as hard, though I did have to have a platelet transfusion. I had to have four shots of Neupogen after week one then a shot of Neulasta after week two.

The Carboplatin/Gemzar combination worked very well for me until my fourth infusion when I had a reaction to the Carboplatin. At the fifth infusion, they went a little lighter on the Carboplatin but it didn't help. At the sixth infusion, they tried premedicating me with Decadron and Benadryl and slowed down the the lightened Carboplatin but I still reacted. After that, they tried the 24 hour infusion in the hospital but that didn't work either...I was getting 13 drops of Carboplatin per hour and after an hour and a half I reacted.

The Carboplatin and Gemzar brought my numbers down very quickly. My final treatment was February 1st when my CA-125 was down to 9.4 but it didn't stay there long. On March 27th my count was up to 135.4 then two weeks later it went up to 460.4 so now they've determined I'm platinum resistant so I'm on Topotecan.

As far as hair is concerned, don't worry about it. I didn't notice any hair thinning or loss but the nice part...I didn't have any body hair. It was so nice to not have to worry about shaving my legs.

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