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Gemzar

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

Has anyone had experience with gemzar? Everything I read on the net sounds so gruesome. Topetocan did not work for me. It was the easiest chemo I've ever taken so I was disappointed. I start this week and I'm so nervous. I know someone took this, I thought it was Up so Lifting but I can remember; I know it was a positive name. If you have experience with this drug please let me know. I am scheduled for a thoracentesis the day after and the radiation people say, "sure you can do it." I don't know how much experience with chemo they have.

Thank you! Diane

california_artist's picture
california_artist
Posts: 865
Joined: Jan 2009

I put Gemzar in the search engine on this site and looked for mentions of Gemzar. The following is from the UPSC thread in the posts that came up.

Mimi25
Posts: 14
Joined: Jul 2009
September 9, 2009 - 7:02am
After weeks of waiting for
After weeks of waiting for test results and doctor's appointment and approval of first two drugs, I had my first chemo yesterday.
I have started with Gemzar and carboplatin. As I am now platinum resistant (along with resistance to almost everything else), the Gemzar brought the combination up to the medium level between the resistant and non-resistant.
The doctor is working with my insurance to get Avastin added. Despite its side effects and toxicities, I feel this is the best way to go for me at this point.
My doctor also showed me an article, which you can pull up on "PubMed", titled: "Combination gemcitabine, platinum and bevacizumab for the treatment of recurrent ovarian cancer", by Richardson, etc.
80% of the patients were platinum SENSITIVE and I have no way of knowing if any of the platinum resistant patients were among the good results....48% of the patients had COMPLETE RESPONSE! and 30% more had a partial response. An additional 15% had stable disease. As only 6% of patients had progressive disease and 20% were platinum resistant, I have to assume at least some of the good results included the platinum resistant ones.
Those statistics are good enough for me!
It's only day 2, so I don't know what my side effects will be. Will post as I go. The telling moment will be when I have my CA125 tested at the beginning of my 3rd treatment.
My schedule is one week on and one week off for 28 days (considered one round). Length of treatment hoped for is 4 to 6 rounds.
Wish us all luck!
Mimi

Diane, I am so sorry that all this is still going on and you are not well yet. My heart and warm wishes are with you.

Your cyber friend,

Claudia

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

I'm pretty sure that Gemzar is what Maggie is taking. Topo or gemzar will be my next chemos also. Have you have avastin/cytoxin yet? That's an easy chemo to tolerate and may be worth a shot.

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

Thank you! He wants to do just gemzar, then a platinum drug,....I am so worn out that he feels this would be best. I am too tired to ask for more. My hair looks so bad I need to get a short cut a new wig. Thanks for being friends. I am really bummed out. It's been almost three years now with so much chemo. The funny thing is where I had the hipec the cancer never comes back. It comes back only upstairs. Love, Diane

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

Sorry to hear you feel so "bummed". But I can certainly understand your feelings. You have had a very hard time lately, and I feel so bad for you. I hope the Gemzar is going to work for you.

Are you having a thoracentesis because you have fluid in the pleural cavity, or are they going to take a sample of the fluid for testing? Good luck with both the Gemzar and the thoracentesis.

Sending you positive vibes and a BIG cyber HUG. In peace and caring.

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

Thank you Ro. I've got to get back in fighting mode again. I'm have a thoracentesis for biopsy and to remove fluid. There has never been much fluid there. The problem is I couldn't get it scheduled and have to have chemo Tues and then the thoracentesis Wed. I've switched to my old oncologist because my GynOnc is working solo and it takes almost a week to get a call back and now I am with a big group and they are always there for me. I think he also worries about the breast cancer I had 12 years ago but I don't think that is the cause. It was a cancer that was low in agressive features. Not like this one! I think I am at the stage where I will be on chemo continuously and I don't do well with it. He mentioned oxeloda which is oral 5 FU. I never heard of that being used for our cancer; I think he wants retyping which is why he is doing this.

here I go again! (plus I have the tumor in the liver; it is small but still there. He worries about micrometastasis first)
Love, Diane

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

I am so sorry to hear that the last attempt didn't work and hoping that you will find much success with Gemzar. I can imagine how exhausted and bummed you must be. You have tried so many cutting edge treatments and none have been the magic formula yet.....but I am sending positive energy and lots of hugs to you hoping this will be the magic answer!

We are here for you!!

Karen

california_artist's picture
california_artist
Posts: 865
Joined: Jan 2009

in spirit to give you strength through the thoracentesis. Feel us with you and have faith.

You are both loved and appreciated here.

Your friend,

Claudia

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

Diane:

I was to get the regular Taxol/Carboplatin treatment. However, I had a severe reaction to the Taxol. So I was then directed to the Gemzar/Carboplatin treatment. Instead of having six treatments with Taxol, I had 12 treatments. One treatment was just carbo (I think) and then the other treatment was both. It stretched out over six months. I did not lose my hair, although I did get some leg pain. I did feel queasy at times, but thats about it. I also didn't have to do the pre-stuff before had. Although the day of treatment, I did get a "cocktail" of something.

I hope this helps.

By the way, I never looked at the side effects or anything. I told my husband to look at it because I would probably have all of the symptoms if I read it, especially after having the Taxol reaction.

My best to you, Diane.

Kathy

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

Hi Diane, Sorry to hear you have to make chemo changes.

I did Gemzar for most of last year as a single agent. Due to low neutrophil counts, my gyn-onc gave just a reduced dose. As well, I only made one complete cycle, weekly x3 then one week off, in the 8 months I was on it. However, while on it, all enlarged lymph nodes shrank, PET scan showed no activity, and ca125 dropped to normal - this happened twice, after 4 monthly cycles each. Some queasiness was my main problem. I did eventually get some increasing liver enzymes but not enough to cancel any treatments. I didn't have any notable hair loss but texture changes (really fine, 'flyaway') made it hard to manage. Only concern I have is tendency for problems (cancer activity) to recur after stopping. So although things normalized while on it, apparently it was not curative. In retrospect, I wonder if combining or following it up with Avastin would have made a difference. I think my gyn-onc may be a little 'old-school' and set in following therapies with which he is most familiar. I'm on a chemo break preparing to do some radiation and then will revisit chemo options myself. Another good thing with Gemzar, was only premed I needed was an oral anti-nausea pill about 30-min before infusion, and then a 30-min infusion time.

I do hope this gives you good results!

Annie

california_artist's picture
california_artist
Posts: 865
Joined: Jan 2009

This has nothing to do with anything, but is the dog a short haired tri-color collie???????

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

she is a long-haired tri-color collie. (rough) She was about 6 months old in the picture. Although she is a year old now, her hair is not real long yet.

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

i'm sorry you're having chemo troubles. hopefully your doctor will find the right drug or right combination for you. gemzar is definitely working for me. i hate chemo, however. linda is right, i'm on a 6 cycle regimen of carboplatin and gemzar one week, and the next week just gemzar, skip the third week, etc. my doctor reduced the dose of carbo by 16% and the gemzar by 20% because she felt it was too much for me. and she was right, i've really never felt so sick so unrelentlngly. i have to say, though, that i'm a little more than 1/2 through, and my ca 125 dropped 2/3 the first time i had it taken after one cycle, and dropped another 100 points when i had a ca 125 last week. i'm almost at "normal." so this combination, while it's knocking me out, is also really working.

i have not lost my hair, though there is some thinning, not very noticeable. i had a rash for a couple of days on one arm when i first took the gemzar, but that disappeared, and hasn't returned. i also had aches in my right leg, which hot baths with epsom salt seemed to relieve. other than the bloody ever-present nausea, and fatigue, i haven't had any other effects. oh, except that the chemo somehow managed to make the adhesions from my first surgery create a blockage in my intestine, so had surgery a couple months ago for that. that really set things back several weeks, and was a real drag. i had a blockage with my first chemo, which resolved itself without surgery, but apparently i'm prone to these blockages.

in any case, diane, have faith that there is a a good chemo out there for you that won't make you sick.

sisterhood,
maggie

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

Thank you. I was going to cut my hair but now I won't. Alot of it is coming out after topotecan. Gemzar doesn't sound too bad. I love the idea not to look at side effects; have the hubby do it! I am getting more relaxed about this and you have all helped me. I won't be taking carbo (I don't know why but I am run down and he wants single agent) Maggie I am sorry for your surgeries but you seem to pop back. And I love the collie. I had a sheltie that looked just like that. But we got one that had ADD, Birth Injury, and just plain brain dead. We had to use a beach towel in the car because he got so scared he drooled a bucketful. Neighbors told us to put him down but we loved him and he loved the kids when they were young. I wrote an entire article on him once for a writing class. He tried to save us all when we got the house pressure washed. He thought we were getting attacked. The pressure wash man wore a yellow plastic suit and a big shield over his face. Poor dog almost had a heart attack. We petted him and told him he saved us. And he did. We still love him and talk about him and laugh. Sorry for the digression. I am sure you have a normal dog to love. But you can love a crazy one too.

Love you all Diane

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

Diane:

Before we had this collie, I had a sheltie. She was a blue merle. Crazy as can be. First of all, she would herd my kids onto the bus (it stopped at our driveway). Then, if she heard a weather alert on the TV she would bark loudly, chase the cats under the bed, and then want to go outside and look at the sky. She would also chase thunder. Sweet thing, but crazy! Loooovved garbage. New collie just turned 1. Not sure how "normal" she is either!

Your sheltie sounded like a great dog.

Hugs to you!

Kathy

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

The crazy ones love you the most! Diane

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

sisters:

we have a nine year old airedale, silll with her puppy energy. we chose her from the litter because she has a soft coat, relatively rare for an airedale. i also liked that she lay apart from the litter--i liked her independence. but, i wouldn't choose an independent dog again., just not affectionate enough. she would protect us with her life, loves every one that comes into the house, but is often more neutral around us, unless we've been out of the house for awhile, then we're her new best friend.

though she like to sit close by us in the same room, sometimes she'll start off sleeping on our bed, then for no apparent reason jump off, then jump back on in the morning. we don't call her crazy maisie for nothing. if we end up with another dog one day, it will be a lap dog. what's the point of having a dog, if it doesn't want to sit on your lap? really, i've learned you want to have a dog that wants to please you. maisie takes her time responding, is too smart for her own good, and is stubborn and strong. we adore her, and know she loves us, but isn't the most demonstrative. fortunately, she is very gentle with our grandchildren. very interesting mix of qualities. her dog walkers love her because she can get any recalcitrant dog to play.

sisterhood,
maggie

sisterhood,
maggie

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