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had my first chemo (gemzar and carbo) for first recurrence today

maggie_wilson's picture
maggie_wilson
Posts: 616
Joined: Nov 2009

sisters,

just returned from my first chemo for first recurrence today--at the doctor's for 6 hours. regimen is first friday both gemzar and carbo, second friday just gemzar, third friday off, then starts all over following friday. so far i'm feeling pretty good--they sent me home with a fanny-type pack with a bag in it of saline, ativan, benedryl, dexadron, and who knows what else, that feeds directly into my port for 4 days. this usually keeps me feeling pretty good until they remove it, then nausea, fatigue, etc. but that was last time, and this is a new day.
both carbo and gemzar are hard on platelets, so that's what they have to keep an eye on. sure hope i'm able to work during much of this. so, one down, eleven to go.

hope everyone is doing as well as possible. watched the news all day in my little room, so sad and scary about japan's earthquake, and nuclear reactor. hope by now they've cooled it down, and were able to stop the radiation from escaping. it's a very scary world we live in, as if we don't all have enough to contend with.

sisterhood,
maggie

Kaleena's picture
Kaleena
Posts: 2064
Joined: Nov 2009

Maggie,

I am glad your first treatment went well and I hope you continue to not have any side effects.

(((Hugs)))

Kathy

maggie_wilson's picture
maggie_wilson
Posts: 616
Joined: Nov 2009

so far so good. most side effects happen the first 10-12 hours, so i'm hoping. it's a little early to tell, but i'm hopeful.

sisterhood,
maggie

daisy366's picture
daisy366
Posts: 1493
Joined: Mar 2009

Hi Maggie, you have a wonderful attitude. My best wishes are with you for smooth sailing through this :)

Mary Ann

maggie_wilson's picture
maggie_wilson
Posts: 616
Joined: Nov 2009

it was so good to hear from you. thank you for your good wishes. how are you doing after your rigorous treatment, to say the least? hope you're feeling well and are enjoying a nice long remission. if not, then it will happen yet. in the meantime please keep us posted on how you're doing, you know how much we all care about you.

sisterhood and hugs,
maggie

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

Glad you are feeling good, too. That sounds like you have quite a combination in that fanny pack. That should make you feel pretty good.

Hope the next treatment goes well, too. Will you get the fanny pack after the next treatment, too. Did you get this combination on your first round of chemo treatments?

Wishing you the best. In peace and caring.

maggie_wilson's picture
maggie_wilson
Posts: 616
Joined: Nov 2009

good to hear from you. yes, this fanny pack keeps me happy; when they remove it on monday, i tend to sink, but that was last time, and this is a new day i'm thinking.

i get the fanny pack with each treatment, thank goodness, for about 4 days. less if i want, but why would i want less? no, i had the standard carbo/taxol first time around. this combo is less likely to give me neuropathy, which i still have some residual of in some toes and fingers, plus, added bonus, i might not even lose my hair. but believe me, i'm prepared this time if i do. got a wig that actually looks alot like my own hair and had the hairdresser cut the bangs and then spray it to take some of the artificial shine out and now will collect dust. kind of funny, but plan b in place. for some reason it's impossible to get human hair in curly gray, i think gray haired people who have enough hair to give, aren't doing so, and probably many don't have enough.

i'm guessing the hydration bag isn't standard. i bet if you wanted one and asked for it they'd give you one. you should have one automatically--it makes all the difference, and it's nothing to them--just a little saline, benydryl, ativan, etc. the pump in it does have an annoying little whining sound. but, geeze, i can live with that.

just don't know how this chemo is going to go. last time i was just following protocol, pretty much in shock. i'm not in shock anymore and know lots more, so i'm actually a little more worried re this one, but , i do trust my very up-to-date doctor, and this is the combo she chose. if for some reason it doesnt't work so well, there's plenty more. plus, after chemo, i'm extremely interested in high dose vitamin C iv. i've been checking out the ovarian cancer site and found some useful and important anecdotal information. commonweal,
the cancer retreat i want on in december just recommend the book " i have cancer, what should i do? " it's all about vitamin c in layperson's terms, and says what studies have actually been done. i know in the bay area and elsewhere, there is renewed interest in this. so, that's my next step after chemo. i'm not going to sit around and wait for my next recurrence without doing something myself.

how are you holding up on your chemo regimen? gee, ro, sure wish you could have had the hydration bag, would have made you feel so much better. since we both started chemo this month, for our first recurrence, right?, i feel allied with you in this, and am really eager to know how you are faring with each chemo. what is the regimen? i think i've already said mine is carbo/gemzar first friday, gemzar alone second friday, off the third, then start over again for 6 cycles, 12 infusions, 6 more than last time. all i can say, is thank goodness they've always given me a private room with a tv. makes it so much better.

i really do hope you're feeling better, ro. i loaded up last night on 2 stool softeners, 3 magnesium tablets that i take every night to help me sleep, but also have laxative effect, and two ducolax. success this morning, thank goodness. last time i was in the hospital for a week after my first treatment with a damn blockage. not this time!!

sorry this is so long, didn't mean it to be, but once i got talking to you, ro, i found i had a lot to say.

take care of yourself, and please, please keep us posted on how you're doing.

sisterhood, and hugs

maggie

lkchapman's picture
lkchapman
Posts: 106
Joined: Jan 2011

Hi Maggie,
It's good to get the treatment started. I know from your prior posts that it is been weighing heavily on your mind. I was curious. Did you have this iv hydration treatment when you had the standard carbo/taxol combo? It sounds marvelous!

Best wishes.
Laura

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

You seem to be doing well. I think that fanny pack sounds great. I had such a hard time with chemo and that sounds like something I could well with carbo. I hope it goes well. It's hard to off of it; people don't understand. I think it's the drop in steroids that we miss. I've gained alot of weight and she told me it was from the steroids which affect the adrenal glands. I tried on dresses for the wedding yesterday (rehearsal dinner) and I look like crap! I'm having my dress for the wedding made. It will hide my power port (which looks like sci fi monster under my skin) and maybe the rear end.

Keep us in touch with your treatments. hugs and love over the airways.

Diane

maggie_wilson's picture
maggie_wilson
Posts: 616
Joined: Nov 2009

sisterhood, and hugs

maggie

maggie_wilson's picture
maggie_wilson
Posts: 616
Joined: Nov 2009

good to hear from you.

bots's picture
bots
Posts: 53
Joined: Sep 2009

Hi Maggie,

I wish you the very best. It sounds like you have everything covered. Now a week or two of sunshine would be nice, too.

Bots

maggie_wilson's picture
maggie_wilson
Posts: 616
Joined: Nov 2009

now where is your picture? i'm going to put another one up soon, so hope to see another of you .thank you for your good wishes: from your lips to god ear." i promise after chemo, we'll have that cup of coffee yet. trust you're well.
sisterhood,
maggie

bots's picture
bots
Posts: 53
Joined: Sep 2009

I am somewhat limited in pictures because the pictures taken by our camera are too big for the space allowed on the website. I am anxious to see your new picture. So far I am one of the lucky ones in the crap shoot. I really, really am looking forward to that cup of coffee (or tea, whatever). If there is anything I can do to help during your chemo time, please, please don't hesitate to ask.
sisterhood,
Bots

maggie_wilson's picture
maggie_wilson
Posts: 616
Joined: Nov 2009

thanx so much for your sweet post. it's true i can't see you very well in the photo, but it's better than not having one. i'm waiting for family photos we took a couple of months ago to be developed and sent to us by the photographer. i'll probably use one of those. yes, we'll have that cuppa yet.

sisterhood,
maggie

daisy366's picture
daisy366
Posts: 1493
Joined: Mar 2009

Hi again, Maggie,

You are so sweet. I am doing well now, thank you. Forgive me if I repeat some of this - here's the short version. When I could finally eat, I made up for lost time and ate everything I could get into my mouth!! I'd like to shed at least 5 lbs but I'm not obsessed.

I retired from FT work and still do private work one day a week - perfect. I make my bed daily - I confess I rarely did when I worked FT. It looks nice and neat now and I'm working on purging "stuff". I am walking 3 miles daily (I took that picture on one recently since I now carry my camera everywhere I go). I go to yoga twice a week and bowl on a league with my husband (I'm the weak link!). Life is much slower for me but very pleasant. I strive to eat the anti-cancer diet but admit I fall short - however, like most things, I think I do "good enough".

I get my blood work this week and see doc next - so we shall see. I love our group of educated and supportive sisters. Thanks for being there for me!!

Love, Mary Ann

maggie_wilson's picture
maggie_wilson
Posts: 616
Joined: Nov 2009

glad to hear ypu're doing well now; i know it was a trial. i think it's quite an achievement to walk 3 miles a day, in itself. and work a day a week--perfect. my anti-cancer diet has been quite consistent for months now, but i was losing weight that i didn't want to be doing, esp. before chemo, so i added some dairy, etc. hardly any white flour or sugar though. there's a new product out that my acupuncurist recommended called orgain. if you have a chance check it out. you can get it at whole foods or on line. basically is's an organic meal initself with veggies and fruits in it and tons of vitamins, protein, etc. and is so delicious. vanilla bean and chocolate--comes in both. i prefer the vanilla.

i'm with you on the purging: just can't be enough things in my garage i can't get rid of. and lots of books, clothes, etc., excess papers, feels so good to get rid of them all.

i'll be thinking of you when you get your blood work done and when you next see the doctor. please let us know. i, too, love our sisters and can't imagine going through this without each other.

love, maggie

lindaprocopio's picture
lindaprocopio
Posts: 2022
Joined: Oct 2008

I know you were dreading getting back into chemo and I hope it stays as smooth as it's been thus far. When they get it 'right' chemo can be a non-event, just a slightly annoying interruption in your busy life and nothing more. I hope that's how this will be for you.

Gemzar may be my next treatment line if this wonderful avastin/cytoxin lets me down, and I will ask about that fanny pack idea for myself. Although, for me, nausea is never my problem; it's always my blood labs (low platelets, low WBC or RBC). Gemzar can be hard on blood counts, but the combo you're getting is one I've read lots of success stories about, and I think you have a good shot of getting back into remission on it.

Live as large as you can while you're feeling good! I've been out in the garden on each sunny day trying to cut down last fall's seed heads that I let stand in the garden to feed the birds and add some interest to the garden-scape when they catch the snow. The snow is almost all melted here finally, except where the plows pushed it up into mountains. My gardens are so huge, and I also do my DIL's garden since I was the one that put in such extensive gardens at her place. I feel it in my back after 4 or 5 hours of crouching and cutting, but I fall asleep now thinking about the daffodil and crocus and tulip noses I've found pushed up, and smile knowing that I've made it to another spring. In the north, it feels like if you can survive the winter, you're good-to-go for another year.

maggie_wilson's picture
maggie_wilson
Posts: 616
Joined: Nov 2009

this time around i was ready for chemo; i'd tried the hormonal therapy and that made no difference, though i'm glad i did it. i don't think i'd feel good about myself if i didn't try something a little out of the box. i'm curious about the high dose iv vitamin c i read about on the ovarian cancer site, and ordered a book that commonweal recommended:" i have cancer, what should i do?"--all about studies on vitamin c. seems to be a resurgence of interest in linus pauling and iv vitamin c. can't hurt.

actually, the second, third day since chemo haven''t been so great--tired, achey, queasy--i tried to endure it, but felt too sick, so took half of a dilaudid and boy that did the trick. feel so much better.

yes, the fanny pack is a must; i don't understand why it's not automatically given to everyone after each infusion: it costs next to nothing, except maybe the pump itself--still, it makes a big difference.

i'm actually more nervous this time around than the first--i was still in shock then, and just following protocol; now i know some chemos don't work, and much more about the scary side effects--mainly platelets with this combo, but hoping for the best. and this time twice as many infusions.

i always love to hear your garden stories, replete with snow , plows--such a different scenario than here in berkeley, california. that sounds so peaceful to fall asleep to daffodils and crocus and tulip noses--so lovely an image. i agree with you absolutely, each winter of survival, means another spring and year--indefinitely.

thanx for your post, linda. trust you had a wonderful time with your son in the dominican republic. maybe you can debrief a little about that trip. hope you're feeling good, and the chemo combination you're on works it's magic.

sisterhood, and love
maggie

kkstef's picture
kkstef
Posts: 706
Joined: May 2008

Hi Mary Ann,

Thanks for explaining the picture. I have been going to ask you where the picture came from. It is very cool! Keep that cameral close by!

Am so glad to hear that you are finally feeling good again. Yes, I agree that life is MUCH slower when you aren't working full time. It seems like I am generally busy but many times at the end of the day, I really can't make much of a list of accomplishments...and the best part is, I really don't care! :-)

Know your blood work will be good....you have so much going for you!

Big hugs,

Karen

upsofloating's picture
upsofloating
Posts: 473
Joined: Dec 2009

That fanny pack sounds like quite a treat. I had a similar pain med pump followingsurgery to repair a fracture wrist last year. Never had to take a pain pill after having a steel plate and 5 pins inserted. Gotta love modern medicine :)

I am glad first session went well. Gemzar worked for me and I hope you have such success as well. I found the Gemzar alone easy to tolerate - just popped an anti-nausea pill while the pharm mxed the infusion bag, 30 minute infusion and I was off and running.

Biggest issue will be keeping blood counts in range - that was my main issue.
Annie

maggie_wilson's picture
maggie_wilson
Posts: 616
Joined: Nov 2009

interesting that your gemzar infusion was only 30 minutes--mine is two hours! they're saying that some studies have shown that the slower the drip, the more effective, certainly hope so, though it sounds like 30 minutes worked just fine for you. i'm assuming you're in remission, and may it ever be so.

sisterhood,
maggie

upsofloating's picture
upsofloating
Posts: 473
Joined: Dec 2009

I assume there are conflicting opinions of infusion rate -- or just balancing outcomes. I think I had read that faster led to fewer toxicity problems, side effects - i'll have to go back and refresh. I guess I was lucky in the crap shoot game as I had lowered dose, fast infusion, and usually missed one infusion/month due to low counts.
Wishing great outcomes for you.
Annie

upsofloating's picture
upsofloating
Posts: 473
Joined: Dec 2009

Hi Maggie
I rechecked the Gemzar prescribing, dosage and administration doc from Eli Lilly, maker of Gemzar, and 30 min infusion is recommended rate to minimize toxicity. Perhaps your longer infusion is the reason for your 'goody' bag to help ameliorate possible issues.

Here is link if you'd like to review:
http://pi.lilly.com/us/gemzar.pdf

Hope second infusion goes smoothly and counts are holding up!
Annie

Double Whammy's picture
Double Whammy
Posts: 2831
Joined: Jun 2010

Glad to hear Chemo #1 is under your belt. Hope you continue to do well.

Suzanne

TiggersDoBounce's picture
TiggersDoBounce
Posts: 413
Joined: Oct 2009

Glad your first round is done!!

Stay well and keeeping you in my thoughts and prayers!

Laurie

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