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2nd round of chemo tomorrow and I don't want to go

cadharose's picture
Posts: 52
Joined: May 2013

Tomorrow is my 2nd round (of 3 rounds total) of chemotherapy. I don't want to go. I didn't care the first time I had to have it, but now I do. I don't want to have to get up early in the morning. I don't want the line inserted into my arm. I don't want to sit there bored for hours. I don't want to feel sick for the next week. I don't want hair loss. I don't want any long-term side effects or side effects that may show up months or years from now.

Can someone tell me why I am going to go do this?

I understand better the reason for the radiation. I see more clear cause and effect. It's like laser treatment to a mole or something. Every day they zap me with rads and every day the lump gets smaller and flatter.  There's more of an immediate reward and, except for the loss of taste, the side effects to me aren't too bad.

But the reason for the chemo is less clear to me. I know it has something to do with killing off cells that may have metastasized, but that's about all. I went through it once, isn't that enough?

Somehow the suffering that chemo causes just doesn't seem worth it. Is it?

CivilMatt's picture
Posts: 4302
Joined: May 2012


I did it because the alternative was spreading cancer and guaranteed death.

I did it because it seemed like the experts were pretty confident in their plan.

I did it because a friend waited too long to get checked out and he died from curable cancer.

I did it because I’ve got more to do.

I did it because I am afraid.

I did it because the odds are in my favor (fingers crossed).

You say you understand radiation better, well you want those cancer cells all receptive to the big zap, I would.

Take a different nausea drug, don’t worry about the hair (you look great).

Dig down deep inside and psych yourself up, you can do this.  Don’t wallow with the negative, it will eat you up faster then chemo.

Wishing you strength from your Oregon warrior,


cadharose's picture
Posts: 52
Joined: May 2013

Thanks, Matt. I will go.

CherieLW's picture
Posts: 472
Joined: May 2013


Just wanted to say I found your message inspiring.  I don't battle cancer, but my father does.  We are really close and I have been very down about finding out about his recent diagnosis of sinus cancer so I recently turned to this site for support :( 

Glad to hear that you stayed so positive.  I hope my father is able to do the same!

Laralyn's picture
Posts: 528
Joined: Apr 2012

I had a nausea and vomiting phobia before chemo. It sounds silly, but feeling ill and throwing up were the things that scared me the most going into treatments. I really dreaded it... and then I got gastroparesis from the narcotics (rare side effect) and my fear came true: I was sick all the time. Then I got to both dread the chemo and then worry about throwing up the whole time it was in progress. So I'm saying this from the point of view of having dreaded the chemo more than anything else.

Take something to occupy you while you're in the chair. I took a laptop and headphones, and played a video game. Watch a movie, surf the web... do something that can mentally transport you somewhere else. 

I also kept in mind the goal of chemo. Cancer cells, like all cells, can travel throughout the body. The hope is that it's still encapsulated when you're undergoing radiation, so all the cancer cells are destroyed in the process. ..... but what if they aren't? That's the nagging worry, right? What if a stray cancer cell has managed to travel away from the site, it has established a new "colony," but it was too small to show up on PET scans?

That's what chemo is for. Radiation is the targeted brush that scrubs away the known cancer. Chemo is the mouthwash that gets into all the cracks and crevices and destroys any cells that managed to escape the primary zone. One dose isn't enough--it takes a certain threshold of the chemo drug to ensure the cancer cells can't replicate.

Don't give up! Soon you'll be done and you'll move ahead with no regrets. :-)

cadharose's picture
Posts: 52
Joined: May 2013

Thank you. Your post is a big help.

ratface's picture
Posts: 1319
Joined: Aug 2009

It is a perfectly rationale feeling to not to want to put poison in your body. Humans have for thousands of years avoided substances that were bitter, or smelled bad, or were strange colors. You are just responding normally. It's a synergistic relationship chemo/radiation,  they work better together. Don't put yourself through radiation without the benefit of chemo and in my personal opinion, the easier of the two.  Thank-God you don't want to do this,  understand that feeling to be just normal, understand that the very reason that it scares you is the very reason why it works. You can do this and remember to sit close to the bathroom! 

corleone's picture
Posts: 264
Joined: Jul 2012

You have already got very useful and to the point advices. I want to stress something though, although it has been mentioned by different members. The reason you are taking the chemo with the radiation is twofold. Firstly, the chemo acts as a sensitizer for radiation (and the other way around). The effect of the 2 acting together is synergistic, i.e. more than simple addition. Secondly, the chemo acts on the tumor cells that escaped from the head and neck region. These escaped cells are very dangerous, as they are the initiator for the future colonies (metastasis). Please don’t skip the chemo, unless you have serious reasons (side effects) for doing that.

phrannie51's picture
Posts: 4672
Joined: Mar 2012

chemo right now.....but thought I'd share what my Oncologist said to me....

"When a man is riding herd on 100 million cancer cells, one's bound to get away"..... Don't know if it's because I live in Montana and that's how he felt he could make the case, or if my Onc is an old western buff.....but when I asked that's how he explained it to me...LOL.

Nobody "wants" to go to chemo.....it's a matter of taking all your tools to job.  I know your feeling of dread.....I didn't have it when I got the 3 Cisplatins during radiation.....but by the time I was getting the 6th adjuvent chemo with 5FU, I really did entertain the thought of not getting it.  The difference between Cisplatin and 5FU for me was.....one week sick compared to 2 1/2 weeks sick, along with bleeding mouth sores, and blood counts that were in the toilet. 

Keep thinking of those 2 weeks you feel better....and keep your eyes on the goal....ALL of this is temporary.....

Loved your answer Matt....going to put it in my faves...



sin9775's picture
Posts: 199
Joined: May 2013

Hi Phrannie.  I too, was moved by Matt's response.  Could you please tell me just how do I put a response into my favorites?

fisrpotpe's picture
Posts: 1349
Joined: Aug 2010

i didn't want to do mine either, 17 years latter i am certain i would not be here if i had not done it. 



Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8286
Joined: Sep 2009

Well number one reason is to be here this time next year posting that you are NED.... That you did everything that you could to kill the disease and any chances of recurrance.

In my opinion, rads is much worse than chemo, and with the longer side effects that keep on giving.

Suck it up, do the deed..., and take with you the knowledge you did all that you could and all that the MD's suggested for the best chances of cure...

I don't think that any of us are/were particularly excited about treatment.., you do what you have to do to survive.




hwt's picture
Posts: 2330
Joined: Jun 2012

I also had a hard time the week following my 1st Cisplatin tx. so my ONC cut it back to half doses every week. That solved my problems. I agree with John, who is probably out fishing right now because of his tx, that radiation was and still is much harder on me than chemo ever was. And to Matt...well said!

janetluvsron's picture
Posts: 116
Joined: May 2013

as I sat in the waiting room while my husband was getting fitted for his mask, all I could think about was your posting cadharose, I kept you in my prayers and hope

you got thru this difficult day.

God Bless


josh r.
Posts: 251
Joined: Oct 2010

Hi Cadharose,

You have received some wonderful points of view and Matt "hit IT out of the park". We all approach treatments in our own way and react to them as time and treatments go on. I tried to look at the chemo as solders coming onto my body to "track down and destroy the invaders". Seriously, I pictured warriors entering my bloodstream seeking out the "very bad guys" and I cheered them on to do whatever they needed to do to 'WIPE THEM OUT!" So far they have and that was in 1991 at which time chemo was accompanied by radiation simultaneously as a relatively new treatment. I pray for you and all our brothers and sisters who like you are fighting for their lives. We are right there with you, josh r.

cureitall66's picture
Posts: 911
Joined: Aug 2012

Matt, Laralyn, and Josh and all the others....you guys have a way with words! I couldn't have said it any better....and it's all so very true!!

Even after treatment, the radiation effects are starting to show up and it's worth it when reading these posts reminding us of why the treatment was necessary.

Amen to all of you that stick together to help one another out and to the doctors that God gifted with knowledge to help us survive!


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