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immediate effects of chemo

Posts: 30
Joined: Dec 2009

Dad starts chemo tomorrow for his stage IV adenocarcinoma. Doc says he will first be getting an anti-nausea medication, (kytril?) then he will be getting Carboplatin & Alimta. Are these two drugs administered simultaneously or consecutively? How immediate or long does it take for him to feel the effects of the drugs? By this I mean whether it be feeling the ill-effects &/or feel a little less pain from the tumor(-s).Does it it happen before we leave the facility,that night, etc?
He(We) are anxious about the unknown, knowing that although these drugs attack the cancer they also are attacking his healthy cells. My fear is that he will hate the effects & not want to go back for more treatments. I also heard about a "port" left in his body to put the IV. He hates needles(who likes them?)& I hope he doesn't have a bad experience with the administering nurse or technician which can also turn him off to the whole procedure. We're trying to keep him positive while also trying to educate him as to what to expect, as he does not want to read or look anything up regarding his condition. We know he is scared but he of course doesn't want to let it show.
Any info will only help. Thank-you.

cobra1122's picture
Posts: 244
Joined: Jul 2009

everyoone is different and the side effects happen differently, mine started later ( a few hours) after I was given my chemo. I was on Carboplatin, Taxol, and Avastin, each given by themselfs one right after the other.
I can only say that even with the side effects, I would do them again, they bought me more time. I wish I could say he wont have any illness, but everyone is different and response differently, he may have very little side effects, but he has to remember that this is to help him fight this disease, and if it becomes to much for him they can always fine tune it or if all else fails he can stop it completely, But I would remind him that the goal is to reduce if not stop the cancer with this treatment and many have had that outcome.

Our Prayers and Best Wishes to Your Dad, You, and Your Family,
Dan (cobra1122) and Margi Harmmon

I would do it again even with the side effects I went through because it bought me more time.

soccerfreaks's picture
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

I concur with cobra: each of us handles our treatment differently. In my first bout with cancer, following surgery I was administered daily radiation for seven weeks along with several doses of cisplatin. About 48 hours after each chemo treatment I would get very sick, to the point that for the next day or so it seemed even the anti-nausea medications I had didn't seem to work.

On the other hand, when my second bout with cancer came along, following surgery I was administered a different concoction, this one consisting of carboplatin and taxol (from what I have read almita is being used in place of taxol because, apparently, it does not cause some of the side-effects of taxol, including nausea). I was forewarned by folks on this very site that I would get really sick, but in my case this time proved to be a relative breeze with respect to the nausea issue.

Other issues that may arise for dad include low white blood cell counts and/or platelet counts. While these would certainly be cause for alarm if untended, you can expect that in the former case dad will probably be given a shot of neulasta or neupogen to raise the WBCs, or told to sit out a chemo session or two while the platelets restore themselves.

Personally, I am not familiar with kytril; I was provided with a steroid called decadron as part of my dose. It is not uncommon, in my experience, for the mix to include an anti-anxiety agent as well.

Hope this helps.

I join cobra re the certainty that knowing then what I was about to embark on, including two surgeries, a bout with a staph infection that kept me in the hospital for nearly a month, all of that radiation AND the two rounds of chemo, I would still do it.

Best wishes to your dad and his family.

Take care,


brokenheartfix's picture
Posts: 10
Joined: Jan 2010

how did it go I am to start chemo on the 4th of feb and scared to death. I have had counostrophy then lymph nodes removed luckliy both came back negative. I then had upper lobe of left lung removed along with 3 ribs and the tumer of 8 centemeters was removed 26 days ago. Still in alot of pain from surgery. I am worried about chemo treatments i hear all kinds of stories about them. I seem to get no one to just give it all to me straight. I have tried to get into the chat room all day today and been unable to get in. So if you don't mind tell me how it went and what i am to expect. I lost 25lbs already and hear I will loose alot more during chemo there is not alot left to loose lol. Thanks for your time and if i may get a little more of your time to explain what to expect from the chemo treatments. Thanks Harold Jones My email is brokenheart@chesnet.net

Posts: 30
Joined: Dec 2009

Well dad is 3 days post his 1st chemo treatment.He felt good enough to make lasagna for the Jets game. He was starting to feel a little nauseous &/or light-headed. With all of the meds he's taking it's no wonder, in addition to the chemo attacking his body. The 1st day of chemo ws very interesting. Dad was very anxious to get it started, he was so exhausted from the anti-anxiety & pain meds. The chemo room was quite depressing. A large room with about a dozen recliners & IV poles. All different types of people were there as cancer really doesn't discriminate. The onc nurse was a welcome distraction with her crazy blonde hair & her black & white zebra sriped scrubs with fuschia accents.She was very busy due to the fact that they were short-handed & there wasn't an empty chair. She moved fast but with the utmost respect for her patients & a great knowledge of her "calling".
Dad was given Zofran & Compasine for nausea. He also has anti-anxiety pills, and oxycontin & oxycodone for his sometimes unbearable pain. I told him that I heard that ginger steeped in boiling water as a tea is good for nausea as well as giving him more fluids. I told him he should also have a few ginger snaps in the morning. He also has prune juice & senekot on hand to fight off constipation.
He has a long road ahead of him.

He has to go this Thursday to check his blood. I guess we are checking the counts & to see if the CEA # has changed either way or has remained the same. I'm not sure how soon after the start of chemo a positive change would take place if it were to happen, although I know everyone is different. He will be going for chemo one week , then blood week the next & then a week off. This will continue for about 5 cycles, with a Pet scan in the middle.
Good luck on the 4th! I'll keep you posted.

Posts: 31
Joined: Dec 2009

for me with my chemo the 3rd day was the worst. That is when I had the most nausea. Never had to much pain. The chemo rooms can be depressing, but it seems as though every one of them has that special nurse. When my father was going thru his chemo over 8 years ago he had a nurse like that. I had one like that during my chemo last year and luckily she is still thereas I am starting chemo again Friday. Everyone is different. Sounds like your taking good care of him. Best of luck to you and your father, God Bless.

Posts: 89
Joined: Dec 2009

My mum had exactly the same, Carbo & Alimta with Kytril (and dexamethasone), every three weeks. She finds that the Kytril keeps the nausea in hand for the first 2 days' post chemo, but then about day 4-5, the nausea kicks in, although it's more of a "blah" feeling than outright nausea.

Honestly, we are very thankful that she has such a good response to this cocktail and we recently started it again. She had 3 months off after the first 6 sessions and the tumor grew a lot, but now she's much better again since she restarted the regime. She has the drugs consecutive - first dexamethasone and kytril, then alimta over 10 mins, then carbo over 1 hr. This is every 3 weeks. She just gets an IV put in, no port.

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