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1st treatment - 1st trimester

emrose's picture
emrose
Posts: 137
Joined: Dec 2008

Hello everyone

It has been a while since I posted! Getting pregnant has been quite the distraction!! And the vacation to Mexico :)

Well, we are home and my husband started his chemo. He had his first infusion on Tuesday and is having a rough day today!! He immediately got the sensitivity to cold. His hands painfully tingle, but only when cold. As soon as they warm up, he's okay. And he has to warm up everything he drinks. I'm worried that the neropathy will get bad, since this was just one treatment... but at least it's not contstant. Also - he's been really really tired and this morning he actually threw up!! It had been about 24 hours since he took an anti nausea med, but we were hoping he wouldnt have to deal with much of that. Since he's just 34, fully recovered from surgery, and otherwise healthy we were hoping he'd have an easier time! Well - now we know... and only 11 treatments left!! (uhg)

As for me - I'm alsmost through the first trimester, so at least I'll stop being nauseas soon!!! I've actually been just fine! I'm fairly young (27) and very healthy, so my body seems to be handling the changes well. Things are going really well overall, and we've even seen the heartbeat. On the 25th I'll have an ultrasound and will be officially into my 2nd trimester. At least we have exciting doctors appts between the bad ones. This is our first (and potentially only) child, and we are nervous but very excited and it's a wonderful thing to look forward to when the chemo is done!! (he'll finish in August, and I'm due October 10)

I would love any tips for my husband on the following:

1. vomitting - did you avoid it? Did you take the anti nausea pills on a regular basis or only when you needed them?

2. fatigue - any tricks here?

3. cold beverages - we seem to have to microwave everything. But some juices just dont heat up well for breakfast! What do you drink when you can't handle the cold?

4. any other helpful hints would be great!!

Thanks for being here! Even though I haven't posted recently - I check in often!! I appreciate all of you information and support. I knew that getting pregnant before the chemo was risky, scary, and everything else you said it would be!! I never envisioned my pregnancy to be quite like this, but life isn't always what we dreamt it would be when we were younger! I am just happy to be moving forward with our life plans, despite this big nasty obstacle that life threw at us!

Laura

beachinmom
Posts: 75
Joined: May 2008

Congratulations on your pregnancy. I am sure it gives your hubby something happy to look forward to and take some of the focus away from cancer. I would think it could be a GREAT diversion.

The neuropothy started w/ treatment one for me as well. It didn't get a whole lot worse, so that was good. I did have some tricks/or tips I will share.

I too craved juice or flavored drinks, so I bought the little individual juice packs, or welches bottles and they don't have to be refrigerated before, so I drank them at room temp.

Bottled water or flavored water. Also we had a home water dispenser that had a hot spout, so I could easily mix hot and cold to get a warm water that was easier on the throat.

The fatique was the hardest, coupled w/ some nights of not being able to sleep. So, I made myself a priority and slept every time I felt like it. I was fortunate in that I am a stay at home mom, w/ kids that became pretty self-sufficient for a while. I tried to eat healty and made drinking alot of water a BIG priority. I know it helped w/ the constipation problems of treatment.

I am sure you will get plenty of tips....Good luck...

Oh, on the nausea, I communicated well w/ my dr.'s and started w/ good med's and moved up to Emend when it got bad. I only vomited once during treatment. The nurses always said, "nausea should be the least of your worries or side effects because we have such good meds to treat it." I would just have to communicate well so we knew how and if the particular med was working for me.

CherylHutch's picture
CherylHutch
Posts: 1399
Joined: Apr 2007

Congrats on getting through the first trimester of the pregnancy and congrats to hubby for getting that first treatment under his belt ;)

As for the nausea... tell hubby he should NOT have to suffer with that at all. The meds that the onc prescribed, what are the instructions for them? Some of them are the kind that you take as needed and some are ones you take regularly while on the few days of chemo, whether you need them or not. Make sure he's following the prescription ... and if that is not working and he feels nausea, then tell the doc and get new ones. Or, if he has access to, a puff or two of marijuana has been known to do way better than any of the expensive meds. I know it worked for me and I didn't have any nausea for the rest of my treatments... and I'm not a smoker, so I didn't use it often. Only as needed.

As for the fatigue... that's a nuisance. The only thing I can suggest is for him to try to get outside and get some fresh air when he's feeling tired. Sometimes the fresh air really helps... but if it doesn't, then he will just have to get used to taking naps when needed. And not to worry that he thinks he's sleeping too much. If the body needs it, the body needs it :)

Not much I can add about drinking and beverages. Yes, they will have to be at room temperature or hotter. The only good thing is this sensitivity to cold is not permanent. As soon as he finishes his treatment, it only takes another few days and then he can drink normally again. So about 5 days during every session he won't be able to drink anything cold.. band the other 9 days of the 2 week session he will be able to.

Hugggggs,

Cheryl

SandyL
Posts: 220
Joined: Feb 2009

My husband has the fatigue after his treaments, also. Thankfully he has not had the nausea. Cold sensitivity is very common and I haven't heard of anyone who has not had that if they've had the Oxiplatin with the 5/FU or Fulfox. My husband also has the terrific jaw pain with his first bite. It too will be less after the treatment is over. Congratulations on the pregnancy. We wish you the best. Give your husband your support and just be there for him and that will help him more than you know. Speaking from experience.
Prayers for you and hubby,
Sandy

snommintj's picture
snommintj
Posts: 602
Joined: Mar 2009

Nausea- Try fresh ginger (however you prefer, sliced, crushed, grated), in warm water with or without lemon.
Juices-Buy a good juicer, keep fresh fruits, most fruits will keep for a few days without refridgeration
Fatigue-Fresh juices will help, I took an iron supplement every other day. I wasn't told too and my hemoglobin never dropped I just took one. Recently I've been taking 8-10 capsules of 160mg of resveratrol. It really seems to boost me up. I avoided all medications including pain and nausea medication. I exercised at least 5 minutes every morning-as best I could. I got plenty of sleep. I usually snacked on turkey and celery a few hours before bed (they have chemicals to help you sleep). Avoid caffeine and simple carbs for at least 8 hours before sleep.

usakat's picture
usakat
Posts: 625
Joined: Jul 2006

Hello Laura,

The delicate bittersweet beauty of life never ceases to amaze me. What you and your husband are living with is a painful, but beautiful irony - a scary life altering disease like cancer and the upcoming birth of your child. These are the things that make my heart swell with empathy and compassion, but at the same time, celebration. I suppose it's the unfortunate trials and tribulations that make the joyous and happy events all the more sweet. Perhaps this is where gratitude can truly be learned and felt in a visceral way. Either way, I'm so sorry to hear of your hubby's struggle with cancer, but congratulations on your pregnancy.

As for your questions, this would be my advice from a been there - done that perspective...

1. vomiting - did you avoid it? Did you take the anti nausea pills on a regular basis or only when you needed them?

~ Chemo for me was a six month hurl-fest. I was the vomit comet. I swear I could hit the bull's eye (toilet) at a run from three feet with projectile vomit. I was astounded by the ferocity of which the contents of my stomach vacated my body. It was gross, but fascinating all at the same time. It was also a huge pain. Like me, your hubby may not be able to avoid it - some of us are just unlucky like that, but there are ways to deal with it.

First and foremost - TALK TO HIS ONC AND CHEMO NURSE! They can alter the anti-emetics meds with a change in dosage or type of medication. Start with the Compazine (prochlorperazine), then move to Zofran (Zofran also comes in a suppository if hubby is struggling keeping things down - you would be surprised at what you're willing to do to feel better when you feel like crap), but if he still suffers, ask for Emend. Unfortunately, many insurance companies will either not cover Emend or will require a high co-pay. If this is the case with your hubby, have him try to hold out as long as he can until the last several treatments and be sure to ask the onc for pharmaceutical samples of the Emend. Kytril is also now offered in a tablet form, so you might ask about that as well.

Other things that help are ginger products - ginger ale (room temperature), ginger hard candy, ginger oil applied to pulse points on the wrist (an old sailors remedy). Lemon drops are good too.

If it turns out that hubby is a hurler, like me, it's a side effect he will have to manage. DRINK LOTS OF FLUIDS!!! Dehydration is the enemy. Drink room temperature liquids - Water, diluted Gatoraid (cut with water, sparkling water or lemon-lime soda), I enjoyed weak herbal tea (black tea can be harsh) with lemon, anything else that hubby likes and can tolerate, but let him know it may come up, but it's okay - if comes up, it comes up. Just don't give up!

Food - Nourishment is important and sometimes the right food can actually settle the stomach - counter-intuitive, I know, but it can work. Share your Saltine crackers - what's good for the pregnant lady is good for the chemo patient. They actually do simmer down an angry stomach. My mom, a four time cancer survivor, told me about the BRAT diet. B = Bananas, R = Rice, A = Applesauce, T = Toast.

For me, hurling up a banana or some applesauce was tolerable, not fun, but tolerable. Applesauce should be the spice-free (no cinnamon) and lightly sweetened kind - all natural is all the better! Bread should not be too grainy, go for the smoother varieties. Soup was always good too - again the smoother, less spicy soups - good old Campbell's chicken soup...try the Low Sodium Healthy request soup.

Food and liquids should be consumed slowly - no downing food or drink in a rush. He'll just have to wait until after treatment to slam a slice a pizza and a cola.

Dealing with the urge to purge when you're out and about can be troubling. I puked EVERYWHERE! Gas station, public parks, side of the road, at my cancer center, other people's houses, movie theater, various spots up and down the 55 and 57 freeways in SoCal, etc... It was horrible until I started carrying my favorite fashion accessory during chemo - The Chuckie Bag! Use zip-lock freezer bags, stuffed with paper towels and facial or toilet tissue. The paper absorbs the liquid and gives you a container to dispose of easily. I never left home without them. Make a few for hubby - he'll love you for it.

2. fatigue - any tricks here?

~ Fatigue happens - accept it. Chemo is a time of fighting and healing and the body's response is fatigue. Let your husband be restful. So what if the lawn doesn't get mowed or the cars are unwashed. Sometimes it's hard for a cancer patient to stop being caregivers and allow themselves the be care receivers. Let hubby know it's okay to let unnecessary things be left alone if he is better served by rest, sleep or relaxation. He'll have his chance to be everyone's go-to guy again, but for now if he would heed to his body's needs, he will recover all the more quickly when he is done with treatment.

3. cold beverages - we seem to have to microwave everything. But some juices just don't heat up well for breakfast! What do you drink when you can't handle the cold?

~ Room temperature for everything. I would avoid too many fruit juices - they are too acidic and can cause stomach upset. Diluted apple or white grape juices are good served at room temperature. Nothing out of the fridge or ice chest!

4. any other helpful hints would be great!!

~ LIVE!!! Go to the movies, have a picnic, go to a comedy club, rent your favorite funny and sentimental movies (go rent Young Frankenstein), play board games/cards, plan a special event for when treatment is over - like the birth of your baby...hey a coed baby shower might be fun (have you ever seen a grown man drink beer from a baby bottle? It will make you laugh until you cry, and laughter through tears are always so cleansing). Have people bring gifts for baby and inspirational messages/gifts for hubby. Make it a true celebration of life. Live life in spite of cancer.

Keep checking in here and let your husband know there is support for him out there/here. Let us know how we can help!

Wishing you and your husband many blessings for healing, comfort, good health and lots of happiness. Sending you good thoughts and prayers...

Katie

msccolon's picture
msccolon
Posts: 1956
Joined: Oct 2004

what an awesome post, Katie! Welcome back to the boards!
mary

johnnybegood's picture
johnnybegood
Posts: 1122
Joined: Oct 2008

katie as i sit here in tears after reading your post you are an inspiration to all.i just had my 1st treatment of chemo of oxy and 5fu.its been 5 days since i was unhooked and still feel a little dizzy and light headed.cant help but feel sorry for myself as i know i have to do this 11 more times knowing the more i get the worse its going to make me feel.i guess i will just keep reading your post over and over to get me out of this pitty party and get ready for my next fight of treatment #2.thank you so much and Godbless.....johnnybegood

usakat's picture
usakat
Posts: 625
Joined: Jul 2006

Hello Johnnybegood ~

You mean oxaliplatin makes one dizzy? I thought it was because I'm blond? Hmmmm....

Check out my post to Jenben..."Longer Duration". And remember the sage lesson learned by The Little Engine That Could, the story by Watty Piper. Little Engine's motto...."I think I can, I think I can, I think I can, I KNOW I CAN!"

CherylHutch's picture
CherylHutch
Posts: 1399
Joined: Apr 2007

Katie, I think that is the most inspiring post I have ever read!! I know this sounds weird, but after reading your post, it makes me think "Wow... I am proud to have cancer because I now know no matter how bad it can be/get, if I follow Katie's post, verbatim, it won't be so bad!" Not only is your post inspiring, it is so full of no-nonsense "We WILL get better", it's just a matter of working through the treatment phase :)

Thank you!! I wish there was some way we could pin this post to the top of the list of topics. Everyone who has any kind of cancer should be able to get a copy of this post!

Hugggggs and thank you!!

Cheryl

Shayenne's picture
Shayenne
Posts: 2370
Joined: Jan 2009

OMG! I am bawling here Katie! that was one heck of a post! wonderful, beautiful, comical, and so encouraging at the same time, I almost lost it at the "Chuckie Bag!" and I actually never saw a grown man drink out of a baby bottle, and that be a sight I'd love to see! thanks for one of the most inspiring posts! laughter and tears at the same time, I really needed this now!

Hugsss!
~Donna

usakat's picture
usakat
Posts: 625
Joined: Jul 2006

Group Hug!!! Glad I can contribute :)

Everyone here at CSN are always, and forever will be, in my most special thoughts and prayers. All of you are my cancer heroes...and we certainly need all the heroes we can find these days...

...and laughter...it is one of the best medicines...and it's free!

Check this out...cancer patients can relate...if the video does not load-hit your refresh button.

http://www.tangle.com/view_video.php?viewkey=b8c6e69828bd6dd2bb7a

or this one, but if you are aghast at gas/flatulence jokes, please skip it...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VT5xKrqgpj8

emrose's picture
emrose
Posts: 137
Joined: Dec 2008

Katie - the others said it all. Your post was incredibly inspiring!! The way you described the pain AND joy of cancer and pregnancy at the same time is so true. It truly is the scariest, and most amazing, time of my life. I cant tell you enough how much your advice will help my husband. It means a lot. He hasn't been up for coming here himself yet, but I pass on everything I learn to him!!

Today is now a week from the begining of his first treatment. The nausea has finally gone away, his energy is back, but he still has some sensitivity to cold which suprised me after 7 days. But - I'm with johnny - 1 down!! I hope this remains manageable and I'll do any and everything I can for him! I just pray he'll feel better to enjoy the birth of our first child in October!

Everyone's suggestions have been great. I appreciate you all!!

emrose's picture
emrose
Posts: 137
Joined: Dec 2008
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