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need urgent advise

Posts: 165
Joined: Dec 2010

hello Ladies!
i need your advise on 3 issues.
#1 -2 weeks ago i had my first carbo/taxol and next week i am due again.
last tonight i have developed toothache and feels like my cheeck is swallen.it is my problem tooth.
i know for sure there is no nerve - r.canal was done long time ago. most likely it is some infection.
i am concerned if i will go to have some dental work - my blood white cells and red cells can get very low and delay chemo next week.
Any advise? thoughts?

#2 - for the last week or so i have an insomnia - practically do not sleep - maybe all together 4 hours a night, but not in once. sleep for one hour , can not fall back to sleep for 3, sleep another few hours ... and so on
can it be side effect from carbo/taxol?
othervise i feel no side effects now.

#3 - my hair still there, but they look much thinner and dull,
can i somehow make them more alive?

sorry for so many questions, but i am still new and new situations keep coming up.

i appreciate all your help


pattysoo's picture
Posts: 172
Joined: Oct 2010

1. Call your onc about the tooth. You can probably go ahead with dental treatment since white counts shouldn't be too low after just one chemo treatment. But your onc needs to know about it first. I'm sorry you have this painful problem during treatment.

2. I used ativan sometimes to sleep better. It also eliminated the queasiness I felt sometimes. I never could sleep much the night after chemo. It was due to the steroids that are administered, but that effect wore off after a couple of days. Then I just dealt with my usual anxiety. I guess everybody has their own sleep issues. I've always had insomnia. I napped so much while undergoing treatment that I didn't pay much attention to it. Oh, I also found that having a carbohydrate snack (toast or cereal) before bed really helped me sleep better. I had trouble keeping weight on during treatments too, so sometimes I'd wake up really hungry, eat something, and then go back to bed. If I went a couple of nights with insufficient sleep I took Ambien. It works for about 4 hours.

3. I can't tell you much about the hair. Mine turned to straw so I had my daughter cut it really short and that looked kind of nice for awhile. Then it mostly fell out. I used conditioner and washed it infrequently, but that didn't help the texture. After most of my hair was gone I was surprised to discover that I still needed to use shampoo on my scalp or it felt and smelled yucky. My new hair is totally different, but I'm liking it.

srwruns's picture
Posts: 343
Joined: Oct 2010

Ditto alot of what Patty said.

1. check with your onc and dentist about how to proceed. They may order most current blood labs to check the WBC and see what dental work can be done at this time. My WBC went WAY down after the first treatment and yet I felt fine...I guess if I had gotten an infrection or something I might not have felt so fine.

2. I rarely have sleep problems but lately I have been too. I was beginning to wonder if it's because of our unseasonably beautiful weather! Anyway, on the night of chemo due to steroid "up" I will take an ativan. Ativan is VERY addicting so I am very very cautious about it. If you are having sustained sleeplessness I would check with your onc as they may prescribe something that has less chances of becoming dependent.

3. Hair? Hair? Hair? Don't take this as being flip...but why bother? When my falling out hair started creating a mess around the house I did the shave. The other thing I did was get it cut real short and I started wearing my hats and scarves to get used to it. Did you get a wig? Maybe you could start there...wearing your wig part time. I never had great hair to begin with so I wasn't overly upset about losing it. However on the night we did the shave I cried like a baby because it was such a stark reminder of what's going on. For a few days after if I didn't have on a head covering and walked by a mirror I would forget I was bald and scare the sh**t out of myself. I actually love the feel of the shower hitting my head now. I would say what bothers me the most is the lack of eyebrows and eyelashes. That came mid way in chemo. That I really don't like.

You sound like you are doing great! Don't you just love getting that first one over? I was shaking in my boots walking into that first one. I have two more to go. Susan

jloe's picture
Posts: 175
Joined: Sep 2010

I would call the doctor about the tooth just so he/she is aware that you may have an infection. My guess is that they will tell you to go to the dentist. There are times that some of the harsher chemos can cause mouth sores so there could be a relationship so the doctor would be the first one I would talk to.
I took Ativan to help me sleep and my sleeping has never been the same since I was dx back in 8/2006. I also don’t seem to need as much sleep which is very strange. One of the very common side effects from chemo is fatigue. An over the counter med that many people use is Benadryl. I’ve used that too and it’s helped.
When I was on carbo/taxol my hair really started falling out in 3 weeks and was getting so thin that I just had it all taken off.

Hang in there! Joni

kikz's picture
Posts: 1347
Joined: Jun 2010

some trouble sleeping and when I did I had crazy dreams. They were like action movies. I got smashed up against a brick wall by a lunatic driving a huge truck and in another dream there were men shooting so I literally picked up the woman next to me and began running for my life. I think it was the steroids or possible vicodin. Anyway it was all part of the "fun".

The hair issue was only difficult when I saw so much coming out on my pillow. Once I decided to buzz it off, it didn't bother me. I even considered keeping it buzzed once it started coming back but now have a short spiky do.


Posts: 165
Joined: Dec 2010

Thank you ladies for all your replies.
i did call onco and went to dentist.
had x-ray - nothing too bad, but simple infection for now. Both of them were glad i did not wait longer,
so dentist did not do any work - just gave me special oral rinse, plus told me to rinse with salt/iodine solution and gave antibiotics for 7 days.
Onco dr agreed to that.
my blood test next tuesday and chemo scheduled for next thursday - lets hope all will be ok and treatment will not be delayed.

sleeping - i will try benadril for now and if it will continue will ask dr to prescribe something.
i also have interesting dreams - when i can actually asleep:)))

Susan - it is good idea to start wearing hats at least a little bit
and yes - i have a Wig.

Thanks again, i appreciate your help

leesag's picture
Posts: 625
Joined: Jan 2010

Hi Victoria,

1) I'm glad you have the tooth taken care of. My only suggestion is Biotine mouthwash. I rinsed with that morning and night and never had any issues with mouth sores or toothaches during chemo (carbo/taxol).

2) My doctor prescribed .05 mg of Ativan for me. I had severe anxiety prior to surgery and treatment and my primary care doctor put me on xanax, which my onc switched over to Ativan. I took Celexa and Ativan daily until recently. All of my physicians share the same philosophy...if you're not abusing the medication and it's helping...let it help. Better living through chemistry!

3) Hair. I had a "Mohawk for a Minute" party two weeks after my first chemo. Just shaved it all off...wine, chocolate, lots of laughs and no tears. I had two wigs (that I never wore) and lots of gorgeous, soft, silky scarves (in many colors to coordinate with all outfits and occasions.) Missed my eyebrows the most. I used a darker and slightly thicker line of eyeliner to simulate eyelashes. Sephora sells eyebrow "templates" and I used the Anastasia brow powder (also from Sephora) to brush on eyebrows. I liked the look of the brow powder much more than a pencil. I found that my browbone was also pronounced enough that eventually I didn't need the template. My sketched on brows were sufficient to fool nearly everyone. (Many of my friends expressed surprise that I hadn't lost my eyebrows!)
I'm seven months out from chemo and currently have a nice thick growth of about 2 to 2 1/2 inches all over my head. It's thick, silky and is starting to wave a little bit. I'm still holding hope that it'll start curling!

4) This board is heaven sent. I found it shortly after my diagnosis and I thank God each and every day for all of the teal warriors and their families who I've met in these threads!

Leesa ;)

Posts: 165
Joined: Dec 2010

Thank you Leesa for your support and advise.
i think i am ready to shave my hair, as i just went to take shower and had handfull of hair coming out,not pleasant at all :(((

i appreciate your tips on eyebrows.
will go to sephora.

board and all the ladies are great- i appreciate support and tips/ advises.


Posts: 21
Joined: Apr 2010

hi victoria hope all goes well for you,
on the tooth thing myself i had to suck on a tea bag with the staple out and the string off.
don't know if it will work for you but it neutralizes the nerve ending in the tooth.

tastes nasty but works! don't use the tea with lemon , has to be just a black or green tea bag.

ask your onc first i know all diets are different .

thoughts are with you

Posts: 21
Joined: Apr 2010

hi victoria hope all goes well for you,
on the tooth thing myself i had to suck on a tea bag with the staple out and the string off.
don't know if it will work for you but it neutralizes the nerve ending in the tooth.

tastes nasty but works! don't use the tea with lemon , has to be just a black or green tea bag.

ask your onc first i know all diets are different .

thoughts are with you

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