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Side Effects of Chemo - are they cummulative?

Franlrc9's picture
Franlrc9
Posts: 5
Joined: Jan 2018

Hi.  I had my first Chemo on Monday of this week (this is Thursday) and the side effects seemed minor.  Of course, I expected the worst.  I'm wondering, however, if session 2 through 6 will add on some more intense side effects.  As far as I know, I'm getting the same stuff for every treatment.  I was told my hair would fall out after the second session, so that leads me to wonder if the side effects get worse over time.  Does anyone know about this?  I asked the chemo nurse and she was vague about it.

Thanks

Lynnmarlee
Posts: 1
Joined: Nov 2017

Hi Fran, I think it maybe differentrent for everyone and it depends what your chemo consists of. Your oncologist should be able to tell you what you are on and give you a list of all the side effects. I am on my 6th round (6 more to go) of taxol and herceptin. I felt no different until my 5th treatment, that’s when I began losing my hair.  Every week and sometimes day, I feel different  it also makes a difference if you are on steroids.  Don’t be afraid to ask until you get an answer, that’s what the Drs and Nurses are there for.  Once you know your treatment the internet can be A good source  Insist on getting information, you need to know what to look for and what you can do for each side effect.  

I hope this helps, Good luck and God Bless.

Franlrc9's picture
Franlrc9
Posts: 5
Joined: Jan 2018

Thank you for your reply, Lynnmaralee.  I’m taking the same stuff (if Taxol is the same as taxoter) along with carboplatin. They did give me steroids and antihistamine as well as the TCH ”cocktail”.  I was told by the doctor that my hair would fall out after the second dose, so your’s waiting until session 5 is amazing.  I guess everyone IS different and the only way I can find out is to experience the next doses.  It’s frustrating not to be able to plan things and I guess I have to learn to take it one day at a time. It really takes away the last bit of control over your life to not have command of your time and energy.  I don’t know if I can plan social events, like meeting at a restaurant for dinner and my friends are not able to be spontaneous due to busy lives that require pre-planning. 

Apaugh's picture
Apaugh
Posts: 856
Joined: Aug 2016

It was cumlative for me.  Yes, we are all different on our reactions, yet simular.  You will learn a pattern and how to combat the SE of chemo.  Write it down and you will see.  I lost my hair on treatment 2, yet I know people who did not lose theirs unitl 4 or 5.  Hang in there, and remember chemo goes in, gots to come back out, water, water, water. 

Hugs,

Annie

Franlrc9's picture
Franlrc9
Posts: 5
Joined: Jan 2018

I appreciated your reply.  I learned the lessson of water on Saturday.  I got tired of sittting at home with a bottle of water and a bathroom at the ready and decided to meet a friend for coffee and a movie.  When I got home, I felt really sick and ended up in the ER as dehydrated and experiencing rapid heart beat.  It was scary so now I am religiously slurping down "mass quantities" (to steal from the old Cone Head routine from Saturday Night Live.)

Apaugh's picture
Apaugh
Posts: 856
Joined: Aug 2016

Watermelon has lots of water adn so do cucumbers.  popsickles , slushies.  mix it up now and again.  

Hugs,

Annie

emcintosh's picture
emcintosh
Posts: 3
Joined: Mar 2018

Thanks for the reminder Apaugh!  I've only had one chemo session and started drinking more water than I'm used to, but easily get lazy!

jessiesmom1's picture
jessiesmom1
Posts: 907
Joined: Jun 2010

I can only speak to my own experience as everyone on chemo has varying reactions even while taking the same drugs. I had 4 rounds of A/C (Adriamycin/Cytoxan) and 12 rounds of Taxotere. I did better than expected with Adriamycin (aka The Red Devil) and did not develop the dreaded mouth sores. My hair started falling out on precisely Day 14 of the 1st chemo cycle. It looked OK for about 10 days then was kind of ridiculous looking so I had my husband buzz off what remained. Not my best look. It is not just the hair on your head that disappears but eyelashes,  eyebrows, nasal hairs, as well as the hair on and under the arms, pubic hair and legs. 

The Taxotere rounds were to be perfectly honest, a nightmare.  The fatigue was unbelievable. Some days I could barely take a shower. My eyes watered like a faucet and continue to do so 7 years later. An oculofacial plastic and reconstructive surgeon has told me that my puncta have been permanently damaged. I slowly lost the desire to eat. Eventually I just didn't. My oncologist said it is more important to hydrate than to eat so I drank regularly. Nausea was a minor problem. On the plus side, I did  ot develop neuropathy or hand/foot syndrome and I lost 40 pounds.

Best of all, my last chemo was August 2010 and I have been in remission ever since. I saw both my children graduate from college and my husband and I have celebrated our 30th anniversary.  

Yes, the side effects of chemo can be miserable but can be managed by a good medical team. Don't be afraid to ask for help. That's what the medical staff is there for - to help. I wish you the best of luck.

IRENE 

 

Franlrc9's picture
Franlrc9
Posts: 5
Joined: Jan 2018

Thank you, Irene for replying to my post.  I'm sorry that your experience was so brutal but glad you skipped the neuropathy part and even gladder that this was all back in 2010.  Congrats!!!!  Good idea about asking for help from the medical staff.  

I didn't know about the nasil hairs.  That sounds drastic.  I was, however,  taking solice in the idea of not having to shave my legs and pits for a while.  Oh well. 

By the way, is the Cancer Survivor Network for those who HAD cancer as opposed to people who are currently having cancer?  I don't get to be a survivor yet since I just started treatment.  I'm Tripple Positive, stage IIA by the way, if that means anything to you or anyone else on this board.

Best wishes, 

Fran

emcintosh's picture
emcintosh
Posts: 3
Joined: Mar 2018

Franlrc9,  I am new at this too. Diagnosed in Nov. 2017, lumpectomy in Jan. 2018, just had my first Chemo 2 weeks ago. My hair started falling out yesterday, day 14!  So yes, this site is for all cancer folk, new and old. 

Apaugh's picture
Apaugh
Posts: 856
Joined: Aug 2016

Irene, you said it best there. 

Hugs,

annie

jessiesmom1's picture
jessiesmom1
Posts: 907
Joined: Jun 2010

CSN is for anyone whose life is being affected by cancer. This can be for the newly diagnosed, decades long survivor, caregiver,  family member, etc. People on this board have likely seen any issue you are likely to experience. It helps to know there are people out here who can relate on most any level to what you are going through. Come back often. Welcome to the club no one wanted to join.

IRENE 

HeyJude3261
Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2018

Hi!  I am new too.  I have had 4 AC treatments and start my 12 weekly Tax treatments Monday.  The first 2 doses of the AC went okay, I did lose my hair about 4 days after the second dose.  Doses 3 and 4 were much more difficult for me.  I developed low white counts with all treatments, got an infected abscess on the land down under, followed by a yeast infection,  Developed a bad case of gastritis after the last dose.  I am worried about starting the Taxol.  It is scary stuff.  Good luck to you!  

 

 

Apaugh's picture
Apaugh
Posts: 856
Joined: Aug 2016

This is the time you take this tieme to care for you through your treatments following docs orders , pampering yourself with a fluffy blanket and a good movie.  getting your nails painted.  buying a new outfit.  dont feel guilty about it at all.  Healing comes in many ways and all these ways are important. 

Prayers going up for better days ahead, they are there and tough to get to but they are there. 

Hugs,

Annie

lynne_s
Posts: 2
Joined: Feb 2018

Hi, everyone. I was diagnosed in February 2017 with Stage II B triple positive on the right side. I did 6 rounds of Taxotere, Carboplatin, Herceptin, and Perjeta, followed by a mastectomy and 6 weeks of radiation. The oncology nurses told me that Taxotere effects can be cumulative, and that definitely was my experience.

One thing I experienced that I'm told is not all that common is really bad edema with fluid build-up around my lungs. This started about a week after my last chemo. I thought the shortness of breath and fatigue were just anemia, but it turned out I had bilateral pleural effusions that ended up costing me 3 hospital stays and, ultimately, surgery to remove the pleura on one lung. Nasty, nasty business. And the doctors were certain Taxotere was to blame.

If you're having shortness of breath on Taxotere, the doctor definitely needs to do a very close listen to your chest or even an x-ray to make sure you're not building up fluid around your lungs -- particularly if you're already seeing edema in your hands and feet.

AUM's picture
AUM
Posts: 2
Joined: Feb 2018

How long u stayed in hospital for removal surgery of pleiral effusions

 

LBM2020
Posts: 3
Joined: Mar 2018

I’m triple positive -stage 2- had 4 AC and 11 taxols- one more to go- taxol has had much more cumulative side effects for me including neuropathy and lots of problems with my nails. So much so-developed a nail infection in toe and had to go to podiatrist. I’ve had terrible congestion since I began chemo back in November. Lost my hair after 2nd round of AC but brows and lashes didn’t fall out until 4-5 taxols. Not fair. Thought they might have stayed. Surgery will be next with continued HP infusions until December. Everyone reacts different but Good luck to all of you and God bless us all. 

SLS100's picture
SLS100
Posts: 37
Joined: Jun 2016

i didnt have a probme with taxol. I but my hait really short because i did not want to see it falling out. i think all cumumcative. br sure to drink at least 64 ounces of water. i have local recurrence and kept drinking water and got it again anyway.  I am triple negative very aggressive they are loidng waht they said before. i will have unilateral msstectomy wft the tumor shrinksl it was 9cmx9cm then went dodn to 7c77mx7cm. next appoinement in two weeks.  drink lots of water and yes i think chemo is cumulative. chemo brain can last for months or years.

 

 

 

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