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Work & Chemo

joemetz's picture
Posts: 493
Joined: Nov 2011


I'm new here and have a question.

first, my situation. 8 weeks into a chemo treatment getting 5FU and Erbitux along with a few other meds that they formulate into the treatment for Colon Cancer that has spread to the Liver.
I've had a colostomy surgery which they plan to reverse later this summer. (fingers crossed)

so... the side effects i'm having include the runny nose, watery eyes, dizziness as well as a super crazy rash from Erbitux. they stopped the Erbitux last week for a couple weeks so i could beat back the rash a bit.

I'm sure everyone is the same... we take chemo meds to beat the cancer, and then there are 3, 4 o 5 other drugs to beat back the side effects.

okay, now finally... my question... how many people work through this process?

I'm only 8 weeks in, and my energy level isn't there to work... or maybe its my mind telling me to lay low and relax as much as possible... so i sit, read and sleep often.

how's everyones energy level while on chemo?

thank you


PhillieG's picture
Posts: 4912
Joined: May 2005

(My background: Stage IV CC, DX Feb 2004)
I worked through 90% of my chemo. The whole FOLFOX, 5FU, Erbitux, etc. I would take off the day of chemo, they 99% of the time be back the next day. After a few years of doing this I went on intermittent disability and I was able to take 2-3 days off every other week to deal with the chemo.. It wasn't very easy but I felt it was better to work and be busy.
The Erbitux rash sucked, I went on minocyclin which helped reduce the rash a bit. I've been on Erbitux for 5+ years now and I really do not get a rash, just a little on my torso.

joemetz's picture
Posts: 493
Joined: Nov 2011

Thank You Phil.

Man, you're strong as heck. Keep it up.

Man, i just signed in today and already feel better.

thanks for your reply.

all my best


sdp's picture
Posts: 181
Joined: Jan 2012

Hi, phil,

was dx 31 dec2012 with colon cancer - in descending colon with mets to all segments to the liver and one as big as 11 cm x 8 cm x 7 cm.

Docs in India started me on FOLFOX and erbitux and now am on the 4 th cycle.

As of now it doesn't seem to have spread anywhere else. The primary tumour has not been resected.

Pl tell me few more details about the mets to the liver u had as currently the doc tells me the liver is not resectable.

Also, which were the Docs in Sloan Kettering which were a part of your team. I am also planning to get a second opinion
At Sloan kettering - thinking of consulting ms kemeny . Pl give ur sugestions and inputs for my condition so that i know what would be my options.
Also, my doc will get a Ct pet scan done iiarch , to see progress and further course of action.
Will appreciate any inputs u can provide..

xbarjoe's picture
Posts: 7
Joined: Dec 2010

Hi Joe,

My routine was 1/2 day on chemo day (Tuesday), next day take off and the 2nd day (pump removal). Sometimes I could work on Friday. I was on FOLFOX w/ Avastin. The neuropathy from the oxilaplatin was the worse side effect for me. Lucky for me my boss and company was very supportive during my chemo days.

Good luck, keep fighting, and God bless,

joemetz's picture
Posts: 493
Joined: Nov 2011

Greetings Ron

thanks for your note.
part of me needs to push myself more and work more, and part of me says.... relax and recover.

anyway, i just checked out your timeline on your profile page. I am about one year behind you.
My Colon cancer stage 4, spread to the liver. Had colosomy bag surger and port December 18, 2011.
started chemo the first week of December and had a CT scan this past Friday.

No new cancer and no new cancer growth.
and, the larger spots on the liver have reduced about 40% in size.

12 more weeks of treatments and hopefully a colostomy bag reversal surgery.

its hard to read the long path you've been on, but it's also refreshing to see that you're so positive and strong.

thanks again for sharing. I really appreciate this.

my best


idlehunters's picture
Posts: 1792
Joined: Apr 2009

I'm also stage IV but currently NED. I am on Vectibix only. Which is pretty much like Erbitux. I quit work when I was DX in 2009. I just chose to focus all my energy on living and finding a "cure"...... Ya Right! LOL....okay...a person can dream :)

Anyway, as a stage IV person you will automatically be eligible for disability and should have no problem getting it. It's nice to have that money to fall back on just in case you decide to quit work.

Pleased to meet you and know you can come here and share anything with us....and I do mean anything. You take care Joe


Posts: 881
Joined: Feb 2007

Hi. I did all right going to work after the 1st and 2nd treatment, but after that I went in when I felt up to it. Mostly my fault for not staying hydrated and properly nourished. Have to say, though, that there are some really strong people on this board! My energy level kept going down, down, down until I had to stop treatments after #9 of 12. Happily, it didn't seem to make a difference. 5 years NED now, so I'm blessed. Keep the faith and don't overdo things when you feel crappy.

joemetz's picture
Posts: 493
Joined: Nov 2011


thanks for your post. (sorry to call you a wimp, but you said it... lol and I'M definately a wimp too.

i've only had 4 treatments, and just had a CT scan.... but i've not worked very much at all for nearly 6 weeks. Maybe it's because its the time of the year at work and i can get away, but today i kept beating myself up thinking that i should be pushing harder.

I am going to start by trying to walk more and build up energy.

congrats on 5 years NED!!!!!
I hope to join those ranks one day.

my best


Posts: 207
Joined: Jan 2011

I started out with Folfox w/Avastin. I schedule my treatments for Fridays. I would be in from roughly 8 a.m. until around 3:00, go home with the pump, take Dexamethasone on Saturday and Sunday, have the pump disconnected on Sunday and for awhile, had Neulasta shots that my daughter would give me. I was taken off Oxalyplatin because I started losing feeling in my lips and the side of my face. I was extremely nauseous (never threw up) had minimal diahhrea and other sorted issues but I have only missed a couple of days due to any kind of side effects-mainly just the bad headaches. I just made myself go. I figured I would only sit around and get weaker if I stayed home. It worked for me. I also have a very considerate and understanding boss. She has never counted one of my chemo days against my sick time. I also have colon cancer with multiple mets to my liver. I am on Avastin right now only. It will get easier for you. You just have to work out a system. I will be praying for you.

Take care,


christinecarl's picture
Posts: 545
Joined: Sep 2009

I had to work, I can't afford to lose my health insurance or my job. I was stage III. I did not have disability insurance and I live alone, so no saftey net there. But to be honest it was nice in a way, it helped keep my mind off of things by staying busy. But by the end of the work week I was a zombie. I was lucky to have an employer that was very kind to me.

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