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CindyGSD's picture
Posts: 191
Joined: Aug 2011

I'm currently receiving my third round of chemo (three day treatments) and have tolerated it very well, but after this round I will be getting at least 25 rounds of radiation which will push my next chemo until late December at the earliest and more likely January. Apparently I will have to wait three weeks after this round of chemo to start radiation and another three weeks after radiation to start chemo and then we got the holidays so who knows how that will disrupt things. It seems like my chemo treatment is being sabatoged by taking this break. The chemo nurses were quick to point out that I might avoid some of the side effects of chemo because of this break, but I look at those side effects as a sign the chemo is working.

Can someone help me see why this is a good thing.


Ro10's picture
Posts: 1579
Joined: Jan 2009

The three week rest period between chemo, radiation and then chemo again gives your body time to recover from the treatments. Just as chemo can affect your lab works, so can the radiation. The radiation can affect the bone marrow which produces your blood cells.
Although it seems like the continous chemo would be a good thing, the radiation is an important part of the treatment plan, too. There are some of us who did have this sandwich treatment from many different areas of the country.

I was lucky and had minimal side effects from the chemo. The radiation made me tired. I had more nausea with the radiation than with the chemo. So I was glad to have three weeks to recover after the radiation before starting chemo again.

Others have had accumulating side effects from the 6 continuous chemo treatments. So the nurses may be correct about the decreased side effects by taking a radiation break. I know my hair grew back while I had the break, and I had to lose it all over again, but it was much shorter than the first time I lost it.

Good luck with your continued treatments. In peace and caring.

norma2's picture
Posts: 486
Joined: Aug 2009

At MD Anderson I had the sandwich treatment. Extensive debulking surgery, 3 weeks rest and then cisplatin with pelvic radiation for 6 weeks, followed by 3 more rounds of chemo with taxol/carbol. I can remember asking for more chemo. I tolerated chemo well didn't even need a port. Tough veins I guess. Anyway, I am relating to your feelings of wanting more chemo. I felt comfort when getting chemo that the cancer cells were getting whacked. My doctor said that it was enough chemo. I defered to his expertise and the medical team there. So far it has paid off. Feeling good and having great check-ups. Knock on wood...hope it continues.
I found it helpful to just go ahead and trust the medical help I am given. I think they know a lot more that I do when it comes to treating cancer. But, that is just me. Follow your gut. Ask questions, like you are doing. It may make you feel better.

Hoping the best for you!!! Norma

daisy366's picture
Posts: 1493
Joined: Mar 2009

One side effect they may be trying to reduce is NEUROPATHY! I - and many others - continue to deal with this long-term numbing of fingers and toes. And, as mentioned, bone marrow and blood need time to recover.

Wishing you easy treatment, Mary Ann

jazzy1's picture
Posts: 1385
Joined: Mar 2010

I had the same protocol and just followed what the docs were suggesting. One thing I've learned after treatments, our bodies might seem ready to move faster, but our blood numbers get a bit challenged and so the wait between is necessary. I was fortunate that I never had to not have a treatment due to low blood levels, so possibly attribute to my docs recommendations of more time off between.

Remember this stuff they put in our systems to kill cancer is oh so strong....we can't push it like the days when we were really healthy.

My suggestion, go with the flow and realize these holidays might be a bit challenging for family doings, but treatments will be over soon. Can't force it!!

Best to you,

TiggersDoBounce's picture
Posts: 413
Joined: Oct 2009

Everyone's protocol can be different...

I did my Chemo and Radiation concurrently in 2010....anyone else do it like that?


CindyGSD's picture
Posts: 191
Joined: Aug 2011

Really...what kind of chemo were you on...for how long and how much radiation did you get?


Posts: 88
Joined: Dec 2010

I also had chemo and brachytherapy radiation concurrently, early 2011. Minniejan

lkchapman's picture
Posts: 106
Joined: Jan 2011

Hi Laurie,
Usually low dose once-a-week cisplatinum is given along with radiation as a synthesizer. It helps make the radiation more effective. In cases where the patient is also having standard chemotherapy (usually carbo/taxol) it may be done first, last or sandwiched in between the 6 rounds of chemotherapy. I had cisplatinum and radiation first followed by 6 rounds of chemo.


Posts: 275
Joined: Jun 2011

Cindy, it sounds like this is a worry to you....have you asked your doctor why this is being done? Where do you go for treatment?

I had conventional chemo then radiation. I have no idea why some doctors choose this way or any other.

It really sucks to have all this taking place over the holidays. I started radiation on Dec 26 (Merry Christmas) and spent the next six weeks worrying if I would be able to get to each treatment if it snowed. I had an emotional meltdown the first day of brachytherapy (are you going to have that?) and literally was unable to walk. I think it was from all the stress of the previous weeks.

Wishing you well

CindyGSD's picture
Posts: 191
Joined: Aug 2011

Didn't even occur to me to ask my doctor until just this week when I realized I was on my last round of chemo...of course that was after my doctor's appointment on Monday.

Yes, I believe I am having brachytherapy..3 to 5 sessions in addition to 25 rounds of external radiation and since I live in Minnesota, I will have the lovely snowbound drives that you speak of.


CindyGSD's picture
Posts: 191
Joined: Aug 2011

I think the biggest problem I'm having with this is I'm doing so well with chemo and I don't want to stop until I'm done, but I know I'm not being reasonable. Your feedback has convinced me of that.

Coincidentally I sat next to a chemo patient today that was getting radiation and chemo simultaneously and on the same day no less. HE obviously didn't have my kind of cancer.

When I got my calendar of appointments for the day, written on the bottom of my card it said "call the office after radiation is complete to be seen four to five weeks after radiation". What the hell.

I'm determined to get one treatment of chemo in before the end of the year and I can think of two good reasons. Short term disability ends and I have to start paying my medical bills again, so I can start all over at maxing out my insurance cap.

Just got to keep those counts up.


Cynthia Rose's picture
Cynthia Rose
Posts: 35
Joined: Apr 2011

I wonder why My mom Did not recieve Radiation Along with Chemo.

daisy366's picture
Posts: 1493
Joined: Mar 2009

My doctor did not recommend for me saying, the "science did not support it". Protocols give flexibility. It's up to doctor and patient to decide if necessary.

There are always side effects to consider. If you are curious, I would ask the doc why.

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