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chemo virgin

stloosandi
Posts: 9
Joined: Jan 2011

Hello to all! My tumor was discovered during full-hyster. surgery in Sep. this year and had Davinci staging of lymph nodes in Nov.(those 6 negative). Because the tumor grade was not good (3) and 20% serous papillary...the doc had me do 2 weeks of cuff radiation and now that it is done..he feels I need precautinary chemo....but I am so scared of the whole idea and the horrible side effects! (carboplatin and docetaxel) I must somehow continue my job (teaching) but am not sure if I will get through this ! The doc said be prepared to lose all hair and possibly face bad nausea (along with all other symptoms I read about) I need to start thinking about a wig...but because I am in a classroom nearly 5 hours in a row, I am so worried about having runs etc! Also, can anyone tell me if they had to worry about weight gain like the docetaxel literature says? I really need to lose weight and I wonder why these are the side effects?
How many of you out there were able to do 6 rounds every 3 weeks (as my doc suggests) and keep working? I already took short term leave for first 2 surgeries (11 weeks to get thru). I am not certain if this would be allowed for FMLA leave...but really i need to earn money because those 11 weeks were hard to get by with small checks.
I know each case is different, but hope someone out there can help this new member of the Uterine C. Club!
thanks1

Ro10's picture
Ro10
Posts: 1579
Joined: Jan 2009

Sorry you have had to join our group. We all had the anxiety you are experiencing,as most of us were "chemo virgins", too. We all feared the side effects we had read about. I took 2 rounds of Taxol/Carboplating every three weeks. I had my first three chemo and then had radiation and then the last 3 chemo treatments. I had minimal side effects from the chemo, and more from the radiation. Although when I hear other peoples side effects from radiation, I had minimal side effects from that too.

They give you such good pre-chemo medicines to help minimize side effects. I also took steroids and compazine three days after chemo. I had no nausea from the chemo.

You will lose your hair. I started losing mine 12 days after the first chemo treatment. I did have a wig, but only wore it minimally. I usually wore a ball cap, or what the called "newsboy" caps. I never learned how to tie scarves like some people did.

I never had diarrhea from chemo. More people had it from radiation treatments. Everyone is so different, but there are medicines that can help you cope with side effects.

Good luck and feel free to ask any other questions.

RGW
Posts: 60
Joined: Mar 2010

I had 3 rounds of chemo, 5 weeks of radiation, then another 3 rounds of chemo, ending in mid-September. See if you can schedule your chemo for Wednesdays, because day 1 (infusion day) is long, but you will feel well. Days 2 & 3 I was able to work. Days 4 & 5 were difficult. Day 6 wasn't great, but was able to work from home. As a teacher, it might be more difficult for you to arrange your work schedule.

Regarding nausea & vomiting: ask your doctor about the following medications: Emend, Zofran, and Compazine. They are truly miracle drugs. I have a very sensitive stomach, but these meds kept the nausea & vomiting at bay.

You will probably get body aches and feel generally crappy from the Taxol & Carboplatin. Personally, I found the psychological and emotional side effects much more difficult to handle. I am not naturally a depressed person, but these chemos really sent me into a tailspin. I cried, a lot. I found it helpful to keep a journal and write down how I was feeling. I haven't gone back & read these journals & probably never will, but it helps to get these thoughts out of my brain onto paper.

susafina
Posts: 134
Joined: May 2010

Welcome to a great site. You will find wonderful and caring people here. As was stated before chemo is a new experience for all of us. I had full 28 treatments of radiation then chemo every 3 weeks. I did work throughout treatment. It was a little hard at times. I took an intermittant FIMLA which allowed me to take off as needed without me being penialized. I agree with Rgw's post Emend was a great anti nausea med with Zofran. I received Carbo/ Taxol and had no nausea at all. I did not have much of an appetite but was not sick. You will be tired but each person reacts to chemo in different ways.
Just know that you will get through this and we are always here to help in any way we can. Keep us up to date!
SUE

Songflower's picture
Songflower
Posts: 631
Joined: Apr 2009

I was not able to work during chemo; I had a reaction to taxol and had to take losts of steroids and pain medicine. I would check into short term disability with FMLA and long term disability. If you need them they will be there. My girl friend took Carbo/Taxol and went back to teaching the next day and finished the week out. She had very little reaction to the chemo. We are all different. She took neulasta which helped keep her white count up. I think you should give this a try. Remember chemo is cumulative and the last ones are usually hardest.

Bless you during this. We are here if you need help.

Diane

Songflower's picture
Songflower
Posts: 631
Joined: Apr 2009

I was not able to work during chemo; I had a reaction to taxol and had to take losts of steroids and pain medicine. I would check into short term disability with FMLA and long term disability. If you need them they will be there. My girl friend took Carbo/Taxol and went back to teaching the next day and finished the week out. She had very little reaction to the chemo. We are all different. She took neulasta which helped keep her white count up. I think you should give this a try. Remember chemo is cumulative and the last ones are usually hardest.

Bless you during this. We are here if you need help.

Diane

Songflower's picture
Songflower
Posts: 631
Joined: Apr 2009

I was not able to work during chemo; I had a reaction to taxol and had to take losts of steroids and pain medicine. I would check into short term disability with FMLA and long term disability. If you need them they will be there. My girl friend took Carbo/Taxol and went back to teaching the next day and finished the week out. She had very little reaction to the chemo. We are all different. She took neulasta which helped keep her white count up. I think you should give this a try. Remember chemo is cumulative and the last ones are usually hardest.

Bless you during this. We are here if you need help.

Diane

stloosandi
Posts: 9
Joined: Jan 2011

Hello to all! A big thanks especially to Ro10, RGW, Sue and Diane for the needed insight and support! Because my first round of chemo begins Jan. 13 (they will always be on Thursday) I have decided to see how i actually feel and use up my last 2 PTO days which gives me from Thursday until after holiday on Monday to get throught this before work Tuesday. If I find that the 4th-6th days really are hard, I may have to apply for FMLA leave again because as a language teacher, everything is oral and there is no down time or seat work basically. You each gave some good suggestions and i will certainly inquire about the meds for nausea. My other query was about the side effect of weight gain I read in the literature (I really need to lose weight due to hi blood pressure etc., and i was wondering if anyone out there did gain due to docetaxel? So far, just reading the miriad side-effects lists of these strong drugs has me more concerned than the actual cancer! As you all have said, and as I am learning....each case really is so different and I am trying to approach this hoping all goes well and stay positive. This was how i got through the internal radiation which I had scheduled for the 2 holiday weeks from school!
I am sad to now be part of the club...but so glad to know you are all out there understanding and helping!
Thank you to all again and i will keep you posted!
sandi

RGW
Posts: 60
Joined: Mar 2010

I lost a lot of weight after my hysterectomy, chemo & radiation. But, I am someone whose stress manifests itself in appetite loss. I still don't have my appetite back (last chemo was in September), so I just schedule feeding times. Some people do gain weight with chemo, so I think it is highly individualized. Food tastes and textures are weird with chemo. I have stopped loosing weight and have maintained between 106 & 108 pounds (5'6" tall) since the end of chemo.

Becky444's picture
Becky444
Posts: 29
Joined: Jul 2010

My goodness RGW, you are a slender lady!

I had 6 rounds of carbop/taxol & 5 brachy therapies. I started out at 145 & am down to 129-130 & seem to be staying there. I feel good at this weight. The hardest day for me was day #5. My worse complaint was constipation the first week and I had some neuropathy in my feet. I made the mistake of having a foot massage during my first treatment on carbo/taxol treatment. The Emend is wonderful medicine for nausea. I didn't have any because of it so I highly recommend Emend. The other medicines that were mentioned I also used just when chemo was given. The chemo had a stronger effect on me the more sessions I had of it. The last chemo was very difficult on day 5 & I just laid in bed & my son brought me a vanilla shake....it tasted so good. The next day was better. Towards the end of treatment, my taster was way off. I recommend watermellon...it continued to taste wonderful all the way thru treatment...and vanilla shakes.

The best to you as you start your journey. The 18th of this month it will have been a year from my 6th chemo. I was stage 3A, grade 1.

stloosandi
Posts: 9
Joined: Jan 2011

Thank you ladies for your input! I let my school know that i will try to return as usual (taking chemo day Thursday, and Friday off) then have Sat., Sun, and MLK day off. So Tuesday Jan. 18-21 will be a test for me to see how i fare. Otherwise, if too sick...I will apply for FMLA leave as many teachers suggested...to simply get through this time without the added concern of daily planning, grading, and very boisterous 7th graders!
I sure hope I can avoid weight gain since my internist had already suggested a drastic diet to lose weight due to hi blood pressure and cholesterol issues! I have only lost about 11 pounds since hysterectomy in Sep. and that is not good for over months of trying to eat healthier. I am so tired however after the internal radiation...so this may be why i do not feel like doing much exercise wise. I tell everyone that what actually was zapped was my energy!
I do seem to easily get cold sores ever since my diagnosis. Anyone else experience this?
May everyone have some warm and stressfree days in the remaining winter!
Sandi

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