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supliments, vitamins, anything to make chemo easier?

Posts: 25
Joined: Jan 2008

My husband had a terrible time with chemo 3 1/2 years ago. Mouth sores, hair loss, white count bottomed out, everything they said might happed did. We have to possibly do it again for a re-occurance in one lympoh node. Would like to get him as ready as possible if we do it again.

davidsonxx's picture
Posts: 137
Joined: Mar 2007

I found an old thread call "Tips" that contained suggestions from a bunch of people. You may want to check it out. It has some really good advice about mouth care among other things.

Posts: 124
Joined: Jan 2008

I'm going through chemo now, 4th round is Monday. I agree, it is no fun. Here's a list of things I have tried or am planning on trying to get me through it.

Hydration intraveneously @ the cancer center 3X week. The chemo nurses really push this. Between my ostomy and the diahhrea from the chemo it's really hard to keep enough fluids in me and that is really important.

Staying away from sugar as much as possible. For some reason sugar and chocolate in particular seem to increase my nausea.

Good nausea meds. I use Emend which does help a lot. Some people experience no nausea at all if they use this. I also get a shot at the end of my chemo treatment (each round) to build up my white blood count, which really took a nose dive after my first treatment. I can't remember the name but it starts with an 'N'. For some people it causes a LOT of pain in their bones, but it doesn't seem to bother me to much.

Acupuncture. I still haven't decided if this helps or how much. I've had 2 sessions and am willing to try a 3rd. It is EXTREMELY relaxing - moreso than a massage I think.

My acupuncture therapist has recommended a Chinese herbal supplement which I will be discussing with my oncologist on Monday. I'm also going to ask if I can having a liquid multi-vitamin intraveneously during one of my hydration sessions on a weekly basis. There is another colon-cancer patient at the center who does this and she thinks it helps a lot. She also does massage in addition to acupuncture.

I haven't had hair loss (much) or mouth sores so I cannot address those issues. For me it is nausea and fatigue. I hope your husband doesn't need chemo again, but if he does I wish him the best of luck. Talk to anyone and everyone you can for suggestions and run them all by his oncologist to make sure they are safe and appropriate for him. Like you, I'm trying to do anything and everything I can to get through this with as minimum discomfort as possible. It seems to be a full time job taking care of our bodies during chemo treatments.

Posts: 124
Joined: Jan 2008

Just an update. My oncologist advised me against the Chinese herbal supplement. His reasoning is there are so many ingredients that have not been scientifically tested to see how they interact with the chemo that now is not a good time to be experimenting. Also, it was recommended for (among other things) to help with the white blood cell count. But I get the shot for that, and that shot doesn't give me problems and my white blood count is good.

He also saw no advantage to having vitamins in my IV vs. taking them orally, so long as I have no trouble swallowing a vitamin pill.

All this said, another oncologist in the same office treating a stage III colo-rectal patient (just like me) has approved both the herbal supplement and the liquid vitamins.

Different doctors have different views on these types of things. It's important that you and your doctor are on the same page and keep the lines of communication open so you are both comfortable with the treatments you receive (and don't receive!). For me, I'm okay with his recommendations. He did tweak my anti-nausea program a little and I'm hoping that will help me get through "chemo week" a little more comfortably.

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