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On the way to chemo town...

Editgrl's picture
Editgrl
Posts: 903
Joined: Jun 2015

So I met with my medical oncologist yesterday who will be handling the chemotherapy.  6 rounds of carbo/taxol 3 weeks apart.  Interesting about your 18 week plan, TeddyandBears.  I have to say that a smaller dose sounds appealing to me, and I may bring this up to my doctor.  I am a later stage, though, and I wonder if that would make a difference.  In any case, I do get my port in on Monday.  I am scheduled for a pre-chemo orientation class on Thursday, and I suspect my first session will be the following Monday.  If they want to schedule me earlier, then I will have a private chemo orientation.

I have to admit that I had a few dark days after getting the pathology report, but now I am back and ready to evict this monster.  Today I got my pre-chemo bloodwork, my mammogram and my periodontist appointment done.  That was the first time I had to indicate cancer on any medical history form.  I had a moment there, but it passed and discussing it with my hygienist was actually very empowering, in a weird sort of way.

My post-surgery bloating/gassiness has diminished substantially, which is great, because now I actually feel like eating whole meals again.  Though I have gained some of what weight I lost after diagnosis and surgery, I need to gain a few more pounds to get up to fighting weight.  Any of you have any suggestions?  I have a couple of smoothie recipes that I am trying and I found a protein bar that doesn't have a lot of "crap" in it that I am now snacking on to get additional calories.  It would be great if I could just eat ice cream at every meal, but I am trying to keep and improve my healthy diet so I look longingly at the ice cream in my freezer.

I've been looking at all the possible side effects from the chemo and am stocking up on apple and prune juice, ginger ale, freezing blueberries for smoothies, and again, making soup that hopefully I will feel like eating.

A girlfriend and I went wig shopping two weeks ago, since I knew even before surgery that I would be having chemo.  The women there were great as they do a lot with cancer patients and offer discounts.  I had to order my size (I have a tiny head, too).  I'll get it next week and have it before chemo.   I might check out ACS for hats, though.  There may be times I don't want to fuss with a wig. I did cancel my haircut that was scheduled for this week lol.

And I attended a beginning meditation class.  This is something I've attemped several times over the years and I was always just too impatient.  I do believe that sometimes things come to you at the wrong time in your life to be appreciated.  I think that maybe the time is finally right for this to be in my life.

 

AWK
Posts: 364
Joined: Mar 2013

I am so sorry you are going through this and we are all here for you.  I had Carbo/taxol every three weeks for six treatments.  Staying hydrated is really important and keep walking and moving that stuff around.  i too went wig shopping prior to starting treatment.  Two of my stepdaughters, my MIL and I went.  Seeing my ultra conservative MIL in long blue hair was the best.  We laughed so hard.  I got a great wig, my stepdaughter who is a stylist - trimmed it and I was happy to have that ready and waiting.  In the end, I went au natural pretty much all of the time or maybe with a hat on and was very comfortable.  my stepdaugter also shaved my head when it was time, after my second chemo.  my scalp hurt quite a bit prior and then it came out in clumps one day.  She dropped everything and came over.  First she shaved it into a mullet.  Then a Cindy Lauper,  a Mohawk and then totally bald.  We laughed so hard that day and shed some tears too.  It remains one of the many amazing experiences I have had because of my cancer. Same as the wig shopping girlie day and countless others.  

Heading into it I stocked up on things such as Immodium and Colace (my body tends to go both ways).  Food wise my doctors recommended potassium sources such as bananas and potatoes which were easy.  Soups, and I ate a lot of chicken.  Recently we are back on the old diet and my husband was joking about how much chicken vcan a person eat in one week.  

Everything that happens is temporary.  I had my infusion nurses write out a schedule of medicine taking for me which made it really easy to avoid nausea and manage and related pain.  I always seemed to bounce back after a few days, the first day after the chemo I felt pretty good thanks to the steroid "bounce".  My husband and I made plans especially for the weekend prior to the next chemo to celebrate each one and to give us things to look forward to.  I had such amazing experiences because of my cancer; I think because I remained open to the whole experience and came across innumerable Angels along the way.  

Be gentle with yourself and know that you will get through this.  Take it one day at a time.  Hugs and prayers.  Anne

TeddyandBears_Mom's picture
TeddyandBears_Mom
Posts: 1802
Joined: Jun 2015

Anne, Loved reading your post.  Thanks for sharing. I had already asked my husband if he would shave my head when the time came. I want him to participate in this to help him in the acceptance as well. He is doing well so far with all of this. And, we are a team so I'm incredibly fortunate. I continue to try to picture myself bald. Going to be very strange. But, not the end of the world for sure. Plus. my hair is stick straight so I'm curious to see if it comes back curly like others have indicated.

Since everyone that I have read posts on so far had the one week on / three weeks off, I'm not sure what my energy level or impacts will be.  I'll share that along the way so that anyone coming behind me has a point of reference for weekly treatments.  Cindi

AWK
Posts: 364
Joined: Mar 2013

Now it is out of control thick like a rug and I can't even describe the crazy curl in it.  My husband said every morning is a big surprise in terms of my bed head.  It started growing back three weeks after my last carbo/taxol and within eight weeks I had a cute soft pixie.    

I haven't lost any during Doxil nor Avastin treatments and we will see what happens with this newest thing.  I am good either way.

hugs and prayers - Anne

pinky104
Posts: 574
Joined: Feb 2013

I expected to lose the hair on my scalp, but what nobody told me was that I'd lose eyebrows, eyelashes, hair on my arms and legs (good riddance), private parts, and even the hair in my ears.  I had a slight hearing loss after chemo which I think was because of those missing ear hairs.  The oncologist said that could be possible.

My hair did come back in curly, and very incredibly soft.  I found myself running my hands through it, enjoying the feel of having hair again and having it be so soft.  I'd hated the wig, even though it looked good on me.  It was hot and uncomfortable.  I had one person tell me she loved what I'd done with my hair.  When I explained what had happened, she had that "open mouth, insert foot" look.

I had a friend whose hair not only came in curly, but a whole different color. She'd been a natural blonde and had her hair return in a shade of light brown.  Plus, hers was curly, too.

My cancer center had volunteers who would crochet hats and leave them in a basket for patients to take.  And the local Rotary Club paid for the wigs, which was really nice.  There was a wig shop right in the hospital.  I had to order the color I wanted, and it came in a day or two before my hair started coming out in chunks in the shower.  I was so glad I ordered it before that happened.  I tried scarves, but the back of them would blow up in the wind, and I found that embarassing.  I bought a big-brimmed hat (it was summertime), but I had to hold onto that when it got windy, so that wasn't really any better.  I was SO glad when my hair came back in long enough that I could ditch the wig. 

molimoli
Posts: 514
Joined: Aug 2014

I don't know why but I feel totally left out of this chemosabe glee club and lonely. All I can say ,you are very strong fighters and I wish all of you improved health,NED, decreased anxiety and no borrowed worries, Just focus on the journey ahead and commit to doing the things you aught to do to assist your treatment to give you optimal result.

Good thoughts, best wishes and answered prayers , I wish for us all.

 Nuff love, Moli.

TeddyandBears_Mom's picture
TeddyandBears_Mom
Posts: 1802
Joined: Jun 2015

Go for the ice cream! Eating some bad stuff along with a healthy diet is... well... healthy in my book!

I'm with you on the ups and downs. And, mostly up. I think we just have to process the news to get ourselves positioned to fight.

Right now I feel strong and ready to go on this next step of the journey. In fact, I was reflecting on all of the great people I have already met. None of which would have happened without doing this. It sounds like you are at about that same emotional place. I tend to find the good (aka silver lining) in the hard things. Makes life way more interesting.

So now, we get to start marking off the weeks to get us to that magic 18th week! Good luck on your next steps Chris. I'm right there with you all the way!

ps - I decided not to get a wig because my hot flashes are too often to tolerate one on my head. But, I do have some cute head wraps. :-)

Lou Ann M's picture
Lou Ann M
Posts: 996
Joined: Feb 2015

My husband often stopped at Dairy Queen and got me a Blizzard On the drive home from chemo.  It tasted good and felt good in my tummy.  Oddly Pizza was one thing I could eat when nothing else tasted good.  I could not taste salt so I often over salted things I cooked during the chemo with carbo.  I use Omeprazole, Immodium, and Myralax almost every treatment, plus Ondanstron.  It seems like they have a pill for almost every side effect.  My biggest (problem) when I was on Taxol/Carbo was the fatigue and bone pain.. I took one Hydrocodone for two nights and that took care of the pain pretty good.  Don't be afraid to ask for pain meds.

My husband cut my hair when it statred to fall out at about day 14.  I did get a wig, but wore it twice, tried scaves, didn't like them, but i did like hats.  They make so many cute ones, and you can match them to your clothes.

I was scared to dearth the 1st time, but soon learned it was not as bad as i had thought.  Some bad days, but many more good days. If I can do it , I figure any body can.  Hugs and prayers, Lou Ann

TeddyandBears_Mom's picture
TeddyandBears_Mom
Posts: 1802
Joined: Jun 2015

Lou Ann, I still have most of my Oxycodone left from my surgery. Only took a few pills for a couple of days. I'll ask if it is OK to use them if I need them. Appreciate the tips on eating ice cream after the chemo treatments. I don't need much of an excuse .... It has to be my favorite food!  (Are you listening, Chris?) lol

I normally eat Edy's Slow Churn because it is lower in fat. And it has a nice smooth texture and really good flavor.  I do have that splurge time for Wendy's Chocolate Frosties too. YUM!

Either Ann or Moli posted about eating popsicles to help with the metal taste and nausea. I plan to do that as well.  And, I'm sure if I run into issues, someone here will have suggestions. I'll say it again, I'm so thankful for all of you ladies.  Cindi

pam0422's picture
pam0422
Posts: 25
Joined: Aug 2015

I have been taking care of my mother who has a recurrence of endometrial adenocarcinoma on&in her colon, 6 years after her original occurence. She has never been a fan of big meals and prefers to eat smaller amounts throughout the day, this has actually been helpful while undergoing chemo. I make smoothies out of anything that sounds good to her and add a scoop of organic frozen yogurt to them. I also add a couple of spoonfuls of nonfrozen yougurt to soups. I make a banana pb smoothie, top with whipped cream and sprinkle with dark choc shavings (the "Elvis is in the house") sounds decadent, but all the ingredients are actually good for you. Fruit soups are a delicious and easy way to get nutrition in and perfect for summer. You can add ginger to all of these for a little zip&zing and to help with nausea. I am a nurse for pediatric home health and have patients I have to coax to eat. I have found you can use any of the nutrient beverages (Ensure,etc) to replace the milk in puddings to make the Ensure more palatable (or use it in a milkshake).  A few rules I follow: all dairy and meat must be organic (hormone free). I'm a huge proponet of organic dairy and meat. I don't believe the female body was meant to have more estrogen pumped into it (don't think the chickens and cows appreciate it much either). All dairy and honey should be pasteurized in deference to a decreased immune system. I also have my mom doing Breathwork for anxiety relief and positive energy. I am putting links to some of the recipes I use and a description of the Breathwork program. I'm not endorsing any of these sites in particular, they are just the ones I found and choose to use. All my best wishes and prayers to you.

http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/health/series/recipes_for_health/fruit_soups/index.html

http://www.stonyfield.com//recipes/watermelon-smoothie

http://www.chiquitabananas.com/Banana-Recipes/Creamy-Peanut-Butter-Banana-Smoothie-recipe.aspx

http://thejoyfullifeproject.com/breathwork-heals/

TeddyandBears_Mom's picture
TeddyandBears_Mom
Posts: 1802
Joined: Jun 2015

I'm sorry to hear about your mom's recurrence! I pray that she recovers quickly.

Just wanted to say THANKS for taking the time to join and post this information for us.

Much appreciated!

Cindi

pam0422's picture
pam0422
Posts: 25
Joined: Aug 2015

Y'ALL ROCK! Thank you Cindi and everyone else on here.

DrienneB's picture
DrienneB
Posts: 186
Joined: Aug 2013

I asked about weekly doses of Carbo/Taxol instead of the tri-weekly plan, but wish that I had pushed harder.  I got a wollup of unnexpected nerve damage from the chemo. Two years post, and I am still having a lot of pain. You definitely should ask about it. I read a study that was done in 2013 re: Carbo/Taxol treatments done on breast cancer patients that suggested that efficacy was the same for both groups (weekly and tri-weekly) but there were fewer who suffered side effects like neuropathy in the lower dosage group. I also have 2 friends, one ovarian cancer patient who has just finished weekly courses of carbo/taxol and one currently doing weekly doses of Taxol for recurrent breast cancer, and they are faring better than I have - as far as how they feel!

Also, you might want to ask about having your B12 level checked before you begin. Mine was dangerously low after chemo, and might have been low going in.

It was suggested by the nurses that I take glutamine to help with the nerve problems while I was getting chemo, but one of my doctors pooh-poohed it as not being scientifically proven as a help. I did not take it, but now I wish I had!!

As everyone here can attest, we're all different, and respond differently to chemo, but I would take every precaution that is not deemed excessive or unhealthy, even if its efficacy is just antecdotally expressed. I did not have a naturopath, but probably could have used one.

As far as food goes: I had avoided anything with processed sugar for many years prior to diagnosis, but developed a gelato habit during my chemo that I have still not broken! (I iive within walking distance of 3 gelato stands.) I did walk a lot too. Watermelon really helped with the constipation problems I had from the anti-nausea meds. I learned to stock up on it. A friend kept me supplied with homemade bone marrow broth, and I also ate a lot of chicken, salmon and mashed potatoes. Malto-meal every morning as well!

Hope this helps,

j

TeddyandBears_Mom's picture
TeddyandBears_Mom
Posts: 1802
Joined: Jun 2015

DrienneB, Thanks for sharing that information! My doctor is the one that recommended this for me.  He gave me either option but felt this was a much better plan. Nice to hear that it is working well for someone. It made sense to me and I felt like I needed to trust my doctor's advise. Your input just confirmed for me to keep trusting in the process. (At least for now.) :-)  Cindi

DrienneB's picture
DrienneB
Posts: 186
Joined: Aug 2013

Wonderful that you have a doctor who is current and informing you of those choices. Fantastic! Wishing you the best as you approach treatment. Maybe you can even avoid the anti-nausea meds entirely. And do nourish yourself!

 

AWK
Posts: 364
Joined: Mar 2013

There were a couple of things around my counts that had to be dealt with.  After all of that he went through my chart again and said - I am giving you permission to eat whatever you want between now and next week.  I want you to work on gaining five pounds.  Use your judgment but I won't be upset if you eat ice cream as part of your diet.

Totally made me think of you girls!  stay strong and thrive or SS and T as my friends and I say!  Anne

 

 

DrienneB's picture
DrienneB
Posts: 186
Joined: Aug 2013

YAY!!! Please keep us posted on your next procedures, Anne, when you're feeling up to it!

-j

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