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Overkill???

rmap59
Posts: 266
Joined: Jun 2007

Hey,
Well, I had treatment #3 with oxal and taking xeloda this week. The night before the infusion I got really scared and wanted to quit. I have had some really bad side effects. I know it has to be my decision but if anyone has an opinion I would appreciate the objectivity. My cancer is gone, the chemo is for preventative purposes. I have had 6 weeks of chemo/radiation, one month off and 3 rounds of oxal with xeloda daily. My regular Doctor (been my dr for 20+years) told me he thought the regiment was overkill but put in my place he would try to complete it. I am sinking into a funk because I almost always feel bad. Should I throw in the towel with chemo or what are some feelings from you all out there. Does anyone think it is overkill.

Robin

kirsten1's picture
kirsten1
Posts: 23
Joined: May 2007

I say go for it!!! I was VERY sick after my first round of chemo. and swore I was not doing any more...I too had stage three, radiation/chemo. two surgeries including an ilestomy(all without a break!!!) as soon as I healed from one thing the next began!!! I am proud to say I have just finished my 8th round of chemo. I really never thought I could do, but strength comes from a number of different places. My surgeon looked me in the eyes when I wanted to quit and said "you know deep down you will finish 8". For some reason it stuck with me and on the last day of chemo. he was there giving my a high five. I chose to be admitted to the hospital for five days each time I got a round because I was so sick, dehydrated, loosing weight and no nausea meds. seemed to help. I hated being away from home but was able to have round the clock hydration and Ativan(which helped me a lot with nausea and anxiety as well as not making me constipated like most of the anti-nausea meds. do. Do you have a port?? I'd love to help in any way.....You can do it!!!! I used to hate when people said that to me, but it's true. It sucks but it will come to an end. Also, if you ever were to get a recurrence...you might regret not doing everything you could...just my thought, hope it helps!

rmap59
Posts: 266
Joined: Jun 2007

Thanks Kirsten,
No I dont have a port and funny that you should mention your surgeon because when I feel this way about quiting my surgeons voice says we are talking cure Robin and that means chemo. I am in ah of you finishing #8 cause I just have 6 to do and just did #3, what a weiny I am. Please send me some of your strength.
Robin

kirsten1's picture
kirsten1
Posts: 23
Joined: May 2007

I am sending every bit of positive energy I can muster....feel free to e-mail me on my webpage I also may have some tips that might help with side effects that I learned only by round 7 or 8. Believe me, I cried my way through almost all of the treatments. But it is possible!!! You are half way there...start a count down clock!! You will feel like wonder woman when you have finished !!!

kristasplace's picture
kristasplace
Posts: 956
Joined: Oct 2007

Hi Robin! I wish i could give you advise from personal experience, but i haven't yet gone through my adjuvant. I can tell you that my boss who was diagnosed terminal colon cancer did the clinical trial with Xeloda a few years back, and she swears it's what saved her life. I think all adjuvant is overkill, but necessary to give us peace of mind and therefore lack of stress worrying whether or not we may get a recurrence because we didn't choose overkill.

I expect in a couple of months, you will be on here telling me the treatment was a booger *****, but you got through it, and i can too!

Good luck with it, and keep us posted!
Krista

Betsydoglover's picture
Betsydoglover
Posts: 1256
Joined: Jul 2005

Hi Robin -

Assuming you are Stage III, I think you should keep on, at least for a while longer. It's adjuvant therapy - yes - but not meaning to scare you, but Stage 3 patients do sometimes turn into Stage IV. I happen to have been stage IV at diagnosis, but still only had 6 cycles of Xeloda/oxaliplatin/Avastin. Even if you can't manage to make 8, I think you should push on for a couple more, anyway. I wish it was, but I do not think it is "overkill". You might also ask about Xeloda - it has its own set of side effects, but often they are less than the 5FU pump even though the liver combined with cancer cells metabolize Xeloda into 5FU.

I hope your side effects improve.

Wishing you the best,
Betsy

KierstenRx's picture
KierstenRx
Posts: 249
Joined: Nov 2006

Robin,
I also agree with Kirsten and say go for it!!! Don't give up. I finished my chemo at the end of June. During my treatment for Stage III rectal cancer. I did chemo and radiation, had the bowel resection, hysterectomy, and permanent colostomy, and 8 cycles of Folfox and Avastin. During that time I fractured my foot, had 2 abdominal wounds that wouldn't heal, and two weeks after chemo ended up with another surgery from a small bowel obstruction. I didn't think I was ever going to feel good again. My oncologist was very aggressive with my treatment and I am grateful because it was a really bad tumor. I would hate to have a recurrence and know that I didn't do everything possible. You have more strength than you could ever imagine. Dig down deep. I prayed a lot and on those days that I didn't feel like going on I would say "screw you cancer, you will not have power over me". I refused to let it "win". This may sound totally crazy, but I played the Rocky Balboa soundtrack a lot. I know this sounds cheesy, but there is a line in that movie that stuck with me. It goes something like...."it's not how hard you can hit, it's how hard you can get hit. It's how much you can take and keep moving forward, that's how winning is done". Look how far you have come. You are winning. You are almost half way done. There is no greater feeling (even though you are exhausted and feel like crap) when you complete your last treatment. The even better feeling is when you are told that you are NED after a PET/CT scan.
I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

Kiersten

rmap59
Posts: 266
Joined: Jun 2007

Kiersten,
Thanks for your reply. I needed a pep talk and that line out of Rocky sparked my fire. I have 2 weeks before the next oxal so I am going to try not to overthink it and just do it. I appreciate everyones input, it helps soooooo much.

Robin

kristasplace's picture
kristasplace
Posts: 956
Joined: Oct 2007

Very good motivational talk, Kiersten! It made me feel much better as well.

We should all be doing whatever it is that brings us even the slightest bit of joy and peace.

Soon to be cancer free!
Krista

KathiM's picture
KathiM
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

You know, I will share with you what my 5th 2nd opinion oncologist told me (this was my breast cancer...6 months after chemo for my rectal cancer)...

"You have fought and WON such a tough battle, why would you throw that away by not completing the fight?"

That said, on the other hand, your BODY (sorry, not your mind) will tell you when to back off....I did not take #4 Adrimycin (again, breast cancer) because my heart started giving out...my onc was wise enough to say "ok, we'll skip this last one. Propholactic chemo is not designed to kill the patient. BUT, you owe it to you to try the Taxol. At least one." Some inner strength took hold, and I finished all 4. "Weary", I think is the word...

Stage III rectal, Stage IIB breast...NED, 2+ on the rectal, 1+ on the breast....

If it gets too bad, I had a patient partner who could not tolerate the Xeloda. She switched to 5FU infusion (I know, this is supposably harsher), and is doing better....4 day pump, like me...

Hugs, Kathi

jana11
Posts: 708
Joined: May 2004

I need to share my story... you need to hear it. I was stage 3 with 3 positive lymph nodes. I did pre-op chemo/radiation, surgery, and then aggressive chemo after. My onc told me I was being VERY aggressive, and I said, "bring it on" because I am young and could handle it. I later became stage 4 with lung mets first. I had 3 surgeries to remove lung mets and then bone mets appeared, and then a liver met.

I would have felt terrible if I hadn't completed my chemo every time. I believe you need to proceed to minimize possible regret. My only regret at this point is having cancer.

Do what you need to and take breaks, or reduce the dose if necessary; but please stay strong!! I wish you all the best. jana

taraHK
Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003

I don't think it is overkill. The point of post-surgery chemo is to kill any micrometastises which might be floating around your body but can't be seen. Of course, whether or not to continue with the chemo is your decision, and a highly personal one. And you have to listen to your own body. I have always elected to go for the most agressive/conservative treatment possible. Personally, I've been glad with that decision. Wishing you all the best with your decision-making.

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