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chemo treatments after surgery

Posts: 33
Joined: Mar 2013

I had chemo and radiation before surgery for my colorectal cancer - stage 2.    The tumor shrunk a lot. There were no lymphy nodes affected.  I am now having post surgery chemo treatments.  Am supposed to have 12 and they are taking a toll on me.  I can only have 2 treatments a month as that is what my insurance allows.  I am wondering if anyone quit these treatments half way through..supposed to have 12.  And if they did what was the outcome?  I have had 5 so far - they are giving me an extra week off this month to see if I feel better.  I still have a lot of rectal problems, lots of throbbing.  I have been swimming daily and then get in a hot tub which helps.

Posts: 503
Joined: Apr 2013

Are you getting the Folfox treatments?  My husband was diagnosed in December Stage 2, tumor removed immediately since it was large.  Successful resection and good recovery.  He started the first of 12 planned treatments (every other week) in late January.  He tolerated them pretty well, got used to the extreme cold sensitivity for 5-7 days from the oxaliplatin.  He had constipation from day 1.  After 5 treatments he ended up back in the hospital with another bowel obstruction, which cleared itself after a few days of belly rest.  They think it was caused by the cumulative constipation for 2 months and possibly scar tissue from the surgery pressing on the bowels.  He is done with the oxaliplatin part of the Folfox treatment.  They gave him about 1 month off after the obstruction in March.  He's had 2 treatments of 5FU (with leucovorin only) and the 46 hour pump.  It's much more tolerable for him, but we're trying to stay on top of the constipation.  He now takes a senna laxative, stool softeners and metamucil every day, more senna the first few days of treatments.  He has 5 treatments left and has extreme fatigue and joint aches.  They offered to give him some steroids on the last treatment, but it makes his sugar levels so high.  My husband would like the oncologist to say "You're done, you're fine, see ya" but the only way they would recommend stopping treatments is if he has another severe reaction.  He'll be done in early July and hopes his energy will be back and joint pain will go away.

I have not found too many people on this board who are stage 2.  I have found some very valuable information, though, and many new questions for our oncologist.

Good luck

Posts: 1607
Joined: Aug 2012

Linda..does he take the steroid decradron (dexametasone) before...during...after chemo? We found that was causing my husband constipation. Once the doc lowered the dose the constipation went away.

Posts: 503
Joined: Apr 2013

He is not getting any steroids anymore since he's not getting oxaliplatin.  He gets leucovorin in the office ( 2 hours) and then sent home with the 46 hour pump of 5FU.  Others here have said the leucovirin causes constipation too.  The decadron was causing his blood sugars to go sky high.  They had lowered it little by little through the 5 full treatments he had.  They offered it to him again last time since he's having so much joint pain, but felt he could manage it without having high blood sugars.  The lesser of two evils, I guess.  The senna laxative has helped.  Treatment 8 next Wednesday.  Thanks for the info!

Trubrit's picture
Posts: 5424
Joined: Jan 2013

I've had thoughts about quitting, but when your get down to four or five sessions you see light at the end of the high dose chemo. I'm trying not to think about the six weeks radiation and low dose chemo (5FU).

At some points you have to take one day at a time. One other thing that has helped me is to look around, church, community, and see some of those who are suffering, pain, real pain everyday. Then I feel much better in spite of all the side effects I'm feeling, I'm comfortable enough and that make me realize that I can make it through. 

You are at the right place for support and information and love. 

I hope you have talked to the Oncologist about the throbbing pain.

We're here for you.


annalexandria's picture
Posts: 2573
Joined: Oct 2011

I haven't done the research, but I've seen others mention that there is some evidence that fewer cycles have a very similar outcome, without so much in the way of side effects.  There is also some debate about doing chemo at all with stage 2.  I would talk to your doc about this, maybe do some research on what studies are out there.  I think what it comes down to in the end is just feeling content with whatever choice you make (in other words, ask yourself, if I quit chemo early, and the cancer comes back, will I be ok with that?...your answer to that question either way should help you with the decision).  Hugs~AA

joemetz's picture
Posts: 493
Joined: Nov 2011

Instantly I go to the "every case is different" statement that we've all heard way too many times.

If it were me, I wouldn't quit. Maybe take a week break or two week break... but I wouldn't quit.

keep pushing and pushing.

don't let this crap win.

tanstaafl's picture
Posts: 1299
Joined: Oct 2010

In some places the standard tx for stage 2 is much less, if any chemo at all, depending on other risk factors.  Others may use 6-8 round of Folfox, or 8-12 rounds of Xeloda or 5FU-LV alone.   Even with stage III, about 8 rounds of Folfox and the rest switched to 5FU-LV is not unusual.  

Also some of us here are boosting the 5FU treatments with off label, targetable generics, like cimetidine, metformin, celecoxib and aspirin as well as supplements like vitamin D3, PSK, quercetin, silymarin, EGCG tea extracts, and many others.   Even for stage IV.

Ultimately the patient needs to try to weight the possiblities with as much information as they can to make a better choice.

wawaju04976's picture
Posts: 316
Joined: Dec 2012

I will have FOLFOX tx # 12 next Friday. I went back to school full time Wednesday. My hard days are the weekend of my pump, and a day after. Then, knock on  wood, I'm ok.


Trubrit's picture
Posts: 5424
Joined: Jan 2013

Is 12 your last?

I'm about to have my last high dose on Monday if my blood work looks good enoug, then on to radiation and low doese 5FU.

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