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First chemo over, have some questions

Love2Cats's picture
Posts: 127
Joined: Dec 2010

Hi everyone, and thank you for your answers, and support following my last question. It really made me feel good.

I just finished my first chemo session consisting of 5FU Oxy, Leu and Avastin. I did get the cold sesitivity that I was told about. It seemed to come and go at times. Will this stay the same, or will it get worse, or there's no telling?

I did get constipated. Does this mean I will get constipated everytime, so I should start taking some Senna before treatment, or can symptoms change from treatment to treatment?

Nausea made me really miserable. I did throw up a couple of times, and had dry heaves a couple of times too. My doctor told me to wait for the signs of nausea to take the nausea meds, the nurse said to just take them automatically for the 3 days that I was hooked to the chemo. Which is correct?

I don't have much of an appetite, which is opposite of how I usually am. It's like I have to force myself to eat, just to keep my stomach from hurting and making me more nauseated. I don't want to smoke pot, because I don't want to smoke or eat it. Are there any more tips you can offer to increase appetite? I can't even get my multivitamin down without nausea, and I need to take it because I am iron difficient.

Thank you for your time.

lizzydavis's picture
Posts: 893
Joined: May 2009

Hi. Everyone is different and reactions vary. My symptoms were not the same each time.

I did take Ativan which helped me with nausea. I took it before I was nauseated so that I wouldn't get sick. Some doctors prescribe EMEND and Dexamethasone which also work for nausea. I bought some lemon sours (hard candy) and sucked on it. It helped the nausea. Also, saltines and Ginger tablets help the same that is used by pregnant women).

I am a fan of Prune Juice. I drink it nightly and it keeps me regular.

I think that it would be most helpful for you to eat each meal (even it is only a little). Some soup, pudding, crackers or applesauce are all easy to get down. I believe it will help build your strength and help your body to repair.

Hope this has helped some.

Best wishes and hugs,

Lilmiss82's picture
Posts: 257
Joined: Dec 2009

Congrats on getting your 1st chemo session over and done with. Before you know it it will be over and far behind you. In regards to you side effects, some people have Calcium and Magnesium along with their infussions to help with neuropathy, I didn't use it but it's something you could ask your oncologist about. I can't say the cold sensitivity will get worse or better because everyone experiences different side effects but I will let you know in my case it got worse as chemo went on. I will advise getting some gloves to wear when you need to get something out of the fridge or freezer. That helped me :)
For the nausea I would NOT wait to feel it and then take the pills. My oncologist told me that nausea is like pain control, if you wait until you feel pain you'll be playing catch up and will feel worse before you feel better. I took Emend like Lizzy and it helped. I had the worse case of nausea with chemo so I also took Zofran, Ativan and compazine while taking Emend and the steroids. (be warned that these pills can also cause constipation which if not eased will increase nausea. I would take stool softners the day before chemo and for several days after.) Still, I had severe nausea and was in tears because I couldn't stop throwing up at times. Unfortuately for me, my oncologist stated that I was taking every pill that she could prescribe and there was nothing more she could do. Now a brief history of my story is I was in the hiring process to become a police officer and 3 weeks before I was to go to the hiring board I got my stage IV diagnosis, and using marijuana was something that I REALLY REALLY didnt want to do. But, I had lost close to 30lbs and couldn't keep food in or put a pound on and needed to do something about it. So I gave in and it was the best decision I made. You dont have to amoke it, I never did, I used a vaporizer and as a tincture. It worked within seconds and lasted for hours and never made me feel like dumb "pot head" no munchies or thinking everything was so funny, just made the nausea go away. But I understand your concern and will tell you doctors can prescribe a pill that increases appetite, but I believed it is derived from THC which is found in marijuana. Whatever you decide, do what's best for you and we are always here when you have more concerns or questions.

Oh yeah, one more thing, ginger is suppose to help with nausea too, I would drink ginger tea and it helped alittle. Some will eat ginger pieces or ginger gummies but they were to strong for me and the tea was much more tolerable:) -Melissa

herdizziness's picture
Posts: 3642
Joined: Apr 2010

For me, I would be constipated for 3 days, then it would be "normal" for a day and then the next couple of days diarrhea (which is why I didn't take anything for the constipation, I knew the diarrhea was coming) then I'd take Immodian for two days, and be back to "normal" the rest of the time. Everyone is different but that was how it was for me every single time.
As for the cold problems, it lasted longer after each time for me.
I had no Nausea, so I can't offer any suggestions.
Just drink plenty of fluids!!! Especially the first few days afterward, hot apple cider, cocoa, etc., I know it's hard because you can't drink cold things, but drinking keeps you hydrated, which is most important. I never suffered from dehydration. Whether I wanted to drink or not, I did any way, even though it meant microwaving room temperature water for 20 seconds so I could stand it (due to the oxy).
As for trying to increase your appetite, I can't help you either, my weight has remained the same, every single week, neither lost nor gained. From February 6 of last year to this moment in time, my weight is still the same. I wouldn't hardly eat for the first few days after chemo, but I made up for after that. The only weight loss I had was after my surgery, but within 2 weeks, I was back to my normal weight.
Winter Marie

abrub's picture
Posts: 1880
Joined: Mar 2010

I, too, became constipated with every chemo, and was in the habit of taking senna and colace from the day before chemo through each round,until I became regular. I'd been warned about the diarrhea, and carried my Immodium religiously with me, but never once needed it.

You do need to take the anti-nauseants before you feel sick. There have also been legitimate studies that show that ginger increases the efficacity of anti-nauseant medication. The recommended optimum amount is 1 gram (2 capsules)/day. For some reason, more than that appears to have a less beneficial effect. I took Emend, Zofran, Ativan, Aloxi, and Hydroxyzine HCl. Others I know were given Compazine. I would get an Ativan IV push at the end of the clinic portion of my chemo; that helped a lot (more than when it was given earlier in the session.)

Cold sensitivity usually subsides after a few days, but may get worse with each treatment. A great piece of advice I received was to use plastic flatware or wooden chopsticks. Metal was too painful to handle.

Make sure you tell your onc about any and all side effects. He may have to modify your dosage.

Best wishes,

abrub's picture
Posts: 1880
Joined: Mar 2010

There is a medicinal form in a pill "Marinol" that I've heard has helped some people. It is legal, by prescription, and might be a good option.

jararno's picture
Posts: 189
Joined: May 2010

Hi...Glad you made it through the first one! The cold thing did seem to get a little worse each time, but I had chemo during warm/hot weather and I hear the winter cold can make it worse. Gloves are good...I remember literally throwing frozen food into a grocery cart because of the pain of the cold! Touching anything metal can hurt! I used plastic silverware and actually brought it with me if I was eating out. You can buy plastic silverware that looks like real silverware if you need something a little more upscale!

Nausea...I had the worst. I ended up using EMEND and SANCUSO PATCH. These are very expensive, but were covered pretty well under my insurance mail order plan. The Emend is taken for the first 3 days of each treatment. My copay at the CVS Pharmacy would have been $100 for each Sancuso Patch. I used at least one patch each treatment as they were prone to falling off!

Nausea...Treating it before it starts is the best way. Many of the meds actually will not help if you are already sick. Hydration is hard...Please try to sip anything you can keep down. I drank a lot of Sierra Mist....warm with the bubbles shaken out. I lived on warm or hot tea. I ate mostly soft foods like Turkey and mashed potatos, jello cups, pudding. I hate to admit it, but I ate alot of those nasty "Tuna Kits"....premade tuna salad with crackers. I was too sick to fix anything so I would pop open the can and dump the stuff on bread. They also have a "chicken salad" version. WARNING....if you eat something you usually really like you may never want to eat it again!

I had the opposite of constipation normally, but found myself having constipation the days after I got off the pump! I'd rather have the trots!!

Never tried pot. I seemed to be able to eat on my off weeks. I never gained or lost after I stopped vomitting.

If you cannot keep liquids in you please call your Oncology Office as you may need to go in for hydration. I did not do this and got very ill.

Hope you are feeling better!

Take Care,


Patteee's picture
Posts: 950
Joined: Jul 2009

....I totally enjoyed smoking pot for the time I did while going through chemo.
I didn't need an increase in appetite- that was already over the top.
It didn't help my sore and crappy tasting mouth- which was the reason I wasn't eating!

It did relax me, help me sleep better and give me some sense of control. It was the one bright spot in a rather horrible time in my life.

Sandi1's picture
Posts: 278
Joined: Aug 2008

My husband was on that chemo and had the cold sensitivity, on top of that he was getting chemo in Jan, Feb and March so the cold really bothered him. I bought him multiple pairs of those mini gloves and that protected his hands from the cold and sensitivity that he experienced.

You will make it through, you have to fight the good fight and believe you are going to make it.

Buzzard's picture
Posts: 3073
Joined: Aug 2008

it was my main issue......I had the same treatment except without the Avastin........Nausea was a mess, the emend didn't even stop it ...but I did take the emend an hour before starting chemo for all three days then used Zofran after the 3 days until it subsided usually the next Sunday....I have spoken with several here and at work and Chili was my mainstay...it was for others or anything spicy...you see it kind of overwhelms the nausea..Now I couldn't eat 3-4 bowls but I always managed to eat 1 anyway...and country style ribs with cageon spices...Yeah, I know, not healthy but if your starving it sure is good....There is a medicine called "Megace" that will cause you to eat. It sends an electrical stimuli to the brain telling it that your hungry so you will eat like a little pig....
Everything will taste different, or the things you love to eat may smell or taste nasty right now, but normally after a week then the second week I could pile it on knowing that in another week I was going to be nauseated again...You will train yourself in when and what you can eat...Its simply trial and error, but Chili, the old fashion Ginger Snaps (dollar store brand), warm Orange Sunkist, or warm Crangrape drink....and I promise you'll gain weight during this treatment.....and don't be afraid to puke or heave, its just part of fighting this ...everytime I puked I felt as though it didn't matter how bad I felt I would not allow this to win over me......I have control issues and you lose all of that in this journey. Its a way to keep a little control over the disease.....Love, Peace, and Corn Flakes........Buzz

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