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Chemo Questions Chemo Questions

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Unread 11-08-2003, 05:30 PM
Chemo Questions

part two of my questions

For those of you who have had a port catheter implanted for chemo long before first treatment do they usually do that?
Is it a full blown surgical procedure?
Or done in the onc. office?
Do you have to take blood thinners while the port is in place?

My chemo treatments will be six cycles. One cycle every 21 days. Day one I will be going through bloodwork, tests, etc...Day two the chemo will be administered. On which days do you think I will most likely be the sickest?
Also which days the weakest?

Hair. I plan on getting mine cut very very short (pixie style) before it even has a chance to fall out. Am I thinking wisely?

Thank you!
nancy j.
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Unread 11-08-2003, 09:20 PM
Chemo Questions

I had my port put in my upper arm three weeks before beginning chemo. It took about 45 minutes and they numbed the area. I was in the hospital at the time because of an intestinal blockage, but I think it is usually done on an out patient basis, I nevr have to take blood thinners. Now that I am not having chemo my port hasd to be flushed every 5 weeks so it doesn;t. It onlt takes minute.
I also had chemo every three weeks, for 3 days in a row and i felt OK on chemo days and one day after. The worst side effects hit on the secone day after each treatment, lasted about 48 hrs. Some cycles were easier than others
Unread 11-08-2003, 10:32 PM
Chemo Questions

Hi Nancy,

What type of port are you having put in? Mine is implanted under the skin on the left side of my chest just below the collarbone. I had it put in on a Friday and had my 1st chemo the next Friday. It was done as a day surgery at the hospital. The procedure took about 45 minutes. They used a local anesthetic and "twilight sleep" rather than a general anesthetic. I think I was home by about 2 pm that afternoon.

I am not taking blood thinners, but they do flush the port with one after each time it is used to keep blood clots from forming.

What chemo will you be taking? Different drugs behave differently. I'm also taking 6 cycles -- one every 21 days with Taxol and Carboplatin. I'm just about half way through. I'll be having my 4th one this coming Tuesday. I go in weekly to have blood drawn.

The 1st one was the worst for me, but even then, wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. The pre-meds they give me before, and the drugs I take for 3 days after, prevent the worst of the side effects. I have a slight little bit of queasiness for two days after, and get muscle aches usually beginning on day 3, but by the end of a week am usually feeling pretty good. I had the first 2 treatments on Fridays and had the weekend to recuperate before going back to work on Monday. The last one I had on a Tuesday (6 hours) and then went to work that evening and worked full time the rest of the week. But everyone reacts differently!!!

Good luck with yours and yell if you have any more questions!!!
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Unread 11-09-2003, 09:53 AM
Chemo Questions

In my case, when I woke up from my TAH/BSO, my port catheter had been put in. I started chemo that afternoon. I really do not remember much of that one, as I was quite nicely medicated.

I am glad that I chose to get a port - it has been no problem. It is just below my collarbone, right side.

Like you, I was scheduled for 6 cycles, 3 weeks apart. Taxol and Carboplatin. Mine has been extended a bit, though.

It was only chemo # 2 when I had any discomfort - a feeling of my thigh muscles seizing up. I mentioned it to the oncology nurse.
It never happened again. Maybe I got more meds. the next time. Mention everything to your oncology nurses by the way! And it was this chemo that was a very sleepy one for me. I never fell asleep again during a chemo, as my body was now prepared for the drugs (I believe).

And it is very important to take all the medications that they give you for the few days - usually 3 - after chemo. Steroids and anti-nausea meds. For about 5 days after a chemo, I feel a bit out of sorts.

For me, the hardest thing about chemo is knowing that, due to the anti-nausea meds. given during it, I start to feel really mellow quite quickly when I start. For me, I do not like that, but Wow!, what a feeling it is!

Re: your hair - that sounds like a great idea. I cut mine short, but did not have it in me to shave my scalp. I still have quite a bit, coming in inky black, not because it has grown - but somehow the chemo turned, for me, whole strands, some up to 5 or 6 inches, that colour. But most of my hair is about 1 inch long.

And, lastly, I am able to eat during a chemo, if I want. Mine takes about 4-5 hours, so nice to be able to bring in something to eat.

Take care, and a big
Unread 11-09-2003, 10:26 AM

Hi Nancy. I had my port placed the same day I began chemo. Here they do your first chemo up on the hospital floor just in case and I think to let you recover from the surgery. It was done under a local and mine is in the chest--actually, low, in breast tissue. I went in just like for the big surgery but right up to the oncology floor. Then I went up to pre-op and the operating room just like before. I had never had a local and was concerned but the Dr. (the same surgeon who did part of my major surgery and who is very nice) said if I felt anything it would be pressure, no pain, and to moan or go "ugh" or whatever. Well, once I felt pressure and NO pain really and I went "ugh" and the next thing I recall I was back in the oncology unit room wide awake and feeling just fine. They brought in lunch (so this whole thing was about 2.5 hours, enter until eating) and it was mac and cheese which I scarfed down. Then chemo, and that was a bit, so dinner came too. I would've eaten that down but I had a major fight with my oncologist who did not explain a couple key things to me and I was upset. On taxol/carbo I only had mild vomiting twice--and it was more the "Southern Belle" style where I'd realize I felt odd, went to the bathroom, and gently lost a bit. That was never the problem I thought it'd be. Each chemo was different for me as to how I'd beel. I only had bone pain once; mostly I'd be tired; I'd get it on Thursday and would be to church on Sunday (sometimes the p.m. service) and back to work on Monday. I always had short hair, but losing it was hardfor me--but not so hard as that wait for it to grow back. That's what upset me--I mean, on 9/6/01 I was done with chemo--so on 9/7/01 I wanted hair NOW. Took five months for me to go topless and no one reacted. ANd yes, you can eat during chemo--they didn't serve anything but juice or soda where I went so I'd stop at the bakery first.
Unread 11-10-2003, 01:59 PM
Chemo Questions

One other thing that might be helpful to know:

Often a side effect of chemo is constipation. When I asked my gyn/onc about taking something for this, due to chemo, he had no problem with that. So, the night of a chemo, I take a laxative -Senokat, or its equivalent Senna Lax - both American brands.
Unread 11-10-2003, 03:15 PM
Blood Thinners

Nancy, you asked about that and I forgot in my last message. I have to take a 1 mg. tablet of Coumadin every day so I don't get a clot. I don't know I'm taking it--by that I mean nothing has changed. It's a small dosage and if I cut myself, there's no extra bleeding, etc. I don't have any side effects from it.

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