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HOW LONG DOES CHEMO CONTINUE TO WORK?

COBRA666's picture
COBRA666
Posts: 2413
Joined: May 2010

I have read the chemo stays in your body for about 8 days to 2 weeks, but was wondering if anyone knows for how long it actually continues to work in the body. It must be working on the hair continuosly because it never stops falling out. Just wondering how long it works to destroy the bad cells too.

merrywinner's picture
merrywinner
Posts: 627
Joined: Aug 2009

John, I think it is a continuous process of assault and recovery. I know they are very strict about the timing of the treatments. I was told during mine that they did not want to delay any scheduled treatment by more then 3 days. I don't think there is any time during treatment that you are free of the medication or it effects. After I was finished with R CHOP I was told that the medication would keep working for awhile and if memory serves 6 to 8 weeks. For example after I finished R CHOP in late January I did not have a post chemo scan until March with the reason being that it would be too soon. They wanted all medication cleared and time to see if anything bad had survived and started growing. I don't know if I answered your question or not but it was a shot. Mary

COBRA666's picture
COBRA666
Posts: 2413
Joined: May 2010

Mary, yes that sounds like it continues to work for a while after chemo starts and ends. None of that was explained to me at the time. I was not thinking of that while going thru what was being done and how it was going to be done. I think at the time all you think about is today. Thanks for the info. John

merrywinner's picture
merrywinner
Posts: 627
Joined: Aug 2009

I knew nothing in the beginning. It's strictly a learn as you go thing and then only if you are in a position to absorb it. I can't count the number of times I started out a question to my Md with "I may have already asked you this but....." Have a good day. Mary

allmost60's picture
allmost60
Posts: 3184
Joined: Jul 2010

I have already started a "question list" even though no treatment plan has been discussed with me. I have 8 questions written down so far and will probably have a dozen more added to the list by the time I visit my doctor again. I am worse than curious George the monkey...ha! My husband just shakes his head and smiles because he already knows whats in store for my doctor. I don't just WANT to know...I NEED to know...I think being a Libra has something to do with it...our scales have to be balanced, because when they arn't, we just arn't happy campers!...ha! When you guys talk about "chemo brain" I just cringe. Hubby said he can just imagine what our house will look like in a few months...post-it notes everywhere...he's thinking about buying stock in 3M...ha! Does he know me or what???!!

merrywinner's picture
merrywinner
Posts: 627
Joined: Aug 2009

Oh the question list...I put my oldest daughter and my Husband in charge of that so I could concentrate fully on what my MD was saying. They had a notebook and would write down all the things he was saying that I would probably need to remember. He was very respectful with that and would often stop and ask them if they got that or wait a few minutes until they caught up before continuing. I can't tell you the number of times we referred back to the notebook. It really helped and probably saved many phone calls. I am a Libra too so to strike a balance is challenging when those scales are swinging wildly. Lol. Hope you get your game plan soon and best of luck. Mary

dixiegirl's picture
dixiegirl
Posts: 1043
Joined: Apr 2006

Don't know about time, but can't help but ask...why you holding off shaving the head??

It will come back and maybe thicker and healthier than before! Maybe a different color, texture. It's an adventure. I can imagine the mess it has to be at this point, in your car, on your chairs, on your clothes, in the shower, on the floor, in your bed, following you everywhere.....kinda taunting you lol.

Oh well, I'll ask my onc thursday when I go for my next treatment about the time. I want to ask about zevalin and why so many people seem to get it right after treatment. I am very curious. He told me zevalin would affect choices I would have 10-15 years from now.

I'm getting really nervous again. I hate checkups.

COBRA666's picture
COBRA666
Posts: 2413
Joined: May 2010

Dixie, I keep telling myself I will shave it soon. I even let my facial hair grow for 2 weeks waiting for that to start. Still got the eyebrows and lashes too.They have not started as of yet either. I have noticed that the hair is not only thinning, but it is getting finer as well. I did not think it could do that since hair is dead anyway, well mine did just that. I am getting closer and closer to MR.CLEAN all the time.:)
Don't forget to ask your onc. about the time thing with the chemo. John

dixiegirl's picture
dixiegirl
Posts: 1043
Joined: Apr 2006

John,

My hair did get finer too, and was hard to do anything with. Just don't rub your eyes too much and maybe the lashes won't go. I was told don't scrub your eyebrows because that would help them fall out LOL. For whatever reason I tried really hard not to let them the go, but the one pesky little chin hair that women seem to get?? It stayed.......couldn't get rid of THAT one. LOL

Take Care, and Mr. Clean is a great look!

merrywinner's picture
merrywinner
Posts: 627
Joined: Aug 2009

Dixiegirl...Good luck at your appointment. I can relate to the nervous thing. I don't go back until August 27Th so I'm not sweating it yet but give me another few weeks. As to the Zevalin it seems that those places that offer it are for it while those that don't are not. Sure makes our lives more difficult and frightening. I wasn't told anything about limited choices down the road, but hey I guess I will see but plan to ask. Again best of luck. Mary

kayebadoe's picture
kayebadoe
Posts: 81
Joined: May 2010

My Onc said that it will still be working after my 6th treatment for 6 to 8 weeks. The effects are accumulative so they keep on working for weeks, isn't it amazing?

COBRA666's picture
COBRA666
Posts: 2413
Joined: May 2010

I asked the same thing today after my pet scan results. The Dr. told me the same thing. I have been wondering because even after 2 weeks I noticed the abdomenal tumors felt smaller all the time. I only had 3 treatments so far and am 1/2 way there. Really starting to feel a lot better now.

rob m
Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2014

I'll be honest, I know I was on a 'mild cocktail' of chemo drugs, but I don't know what they were. (I finished treatment (10 weeks, once a week, 3.5 hrs.) about a month ago) and I'm still losing my hair at about the same rate as always... I've been on several sites asking how long I can expect this to continue and the short answer seems to be, no one knows. Does that about sum it up?

 

Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
Posts: 3503
Joined: May 2012

Rob,

Most people begin to regrow their hair within two months or so of discontinuing treatment, sometimes sooner.  I do not recall the time frame in my own case, but my hair came back feeling like baby hair (it had been very coarse and wiry before). I have known people whose hair came back identical to how it was before chemo, but a change in color or in texture is not uncommon.  There is not really a "normal," except that for most, it does come back.  A friend at work has a sister who did chemo years ago, and he said most of her hair NEVER came back, but that is apparantly quite rare. 

An RN in the hospital told me one day that she had a patient once for which chemo changed the color of one of her eyes (permanently), but not the other.  Explain that at the DMV !   Expect the odd with chemo, and  you will not be disappointed.

Wishing you a massive head of hair soon,

max

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