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OVCA Chemo ?'s OVCA Chemo ?'s

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  #1  
Unread 07-14-2004, 09:11 AM
OVCA Chemo ?'s

Hi again sisters!!

As I have posted earlier, my port will be installed next Thursday the 22nd and my first treatment that afternoon.

I have met with the chemo Dr. and will have Taxol and Carbo (sp?).......i was kind of in a fog when we met in the hospital. Treatment to last 3 - 4 hours the first time.

I was hoping that those of you who went thru the same regimen could share with me your experiences. I am 43 and in good health otherwise..........I am nervous of course about chemo, more nervous about illness, etc. than things like hair loss....i've always hated my frizzy wild curly hair anyways.....

My sister went thru treatment in 1998 for breast cancer and responded real well, and her frizzy wild hair grew back much straighter......any advice would be appreciated !!!!!
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  #2  
Unread 07-14-2004, 09:48 AM
OVCA Chemo ?'s

Hi Lori

So sorry to hear the results of your surgery, but your positive attitude will definately help. I, too, did the taxol/carbo treatments last winter following a diagnosis of endo cancer. I was 45 when I started and also in reasonably good health. I found the treatments very doable. No fun, of course, but definately easier than I first imagined after hearing the news. For me the first and last treatments were the worst. The first, because I was still recovering from the surgery and the the last I think because of the cummulative effect AND just being so eager to be done with it and on my way to feeling GOOD again.

Typically I would only feel "bad" on days 3-5, with day 4 being the worst. I returned to work full time after my third treatment and would just take the day of treatment off [Friday] and the following Monday and Tuesday. It would take a full week to feel back to normal, but then for 2 weeks until the next treatment I would feel pretty good and could do just about anything that didn't require a big exertion of energy.

Just to give you a head's up, my first treatment took more like 6 hours. They will start the taxol at a very slow rate and keep a close watch on you looking for signs of an allergic reaction. If there are no problems, future treatments will go quicker. The infusions themselves were a piece of cake.

I found that the side effects from the steroids you have to take as problematic as the chemo drugs. They make it harder to sleep, especially initially, and as they wore off, I would get bone pain. The benefit was that my arthritis would go away for a week after taking them! Be sure to take the anti-nausea meds as prescribed. I never threw up and had very little in the way of queasiness, even. The pills did make me constipated though, so follow Dr.'s orders re dealing with that as well. It also helped me alot to eat small amounts frequently of the foods that I could still enjoy. My taste buds would get wacky around day 4 and even water tasted bad, but it's important to keep pushing the liquids to stay well hydrated and to clean out your system. I would switch to gatorade, which tasted a little better.

Hair loss can be one of the biggest things to deal with. Mine started coming out on Day 15 and I went ahead and shaved the rest the day after my second treatment. It continued to grow though, and it took me almost until the end of my treatments to lose my eyebrows. I got a wig, but didn't like the way it felt, so I just wore knit caps. My hair is now about an inch long, almost 4 months after treatments ended. People say it changes consistency, but mine has come back essentially the same... just ALOT more grey.

I have to run to work, but I'm sure others will be along with more advice. We are here for you, to help you get through this. I'm sure you'll do well.

Take care-

Limbo
  #3  
Unread 07-14-2004, 09:49 AM
OVCA Chemo ?'s

Dear Lori....I was treated with Taxotere and carboplatin. My side effects were minimal. I became nauseated only a few times, no vomiting, mostly alot of muscle and joint pain requiring me to take ibuprofen and occasionally darvocet, tiredness and constipation. The day of your chemo you will want to take something such as Senakot to eliminate the constipation that goes with the chemo. Hope this helps.

Bertha
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  #4  
Unread 07-14-2004, 10:04 AM
OVCA Chemo ?'s

Lori:

Limbo and Bertha really did sum it all up. My experiences were very similar to Limbo's. I did experience bad leg pains during the first round, so my oncologist prescribed a medrol dose pack and darvocet for the subsequent treatments. Also, with each chemo it took one or two days longer than the last one to feel "normal". My constipation was very bad, too. I did manage with stool softener, milk of magnesia, and lots of fiber. It became a routine, though. It was doable.

Good luck....ask ?'s any time...this board is what got me through it!

S
  #5  
Unread 07-14-2004, 10:30 AM
OVCA Chemo ?'s

Lori -

We are the same age. I had only 3 rounds due to the early stage of my disease; my mom had all 6.

My "visits" took close to 6 hours - I did not have a port. I took oral steroids before and then IV. My practice also put an anti-anxiety agent into the mix and anti-nausea medications (zofran)

I was able to read, sort of work on my laptop, and eat during my chemo. My tush got sore from sitting but, especially after the first one, was able to get up and walk around a bit during the infusion.

My chemo place (a doc's office with about 5 oncologists) was actually a real happy place. They always had a cake for those starting and finishing their chemo (the docs would sing and bring it out), and they had baskets of positive tapes and new age music all over the place. Two walls were full of windows and the chairs were recliners set up in conversational groupings. There were TVs with headphones.

I had no nausea or constipation, but I did drink gallons of water after my chemo, and always put myself to bed for a day after. I had mine on Thursdays, went home and watched movies in bed til dinner on Friday. Got up, ate, and then felt OK over the weekend.

I had no joint pain, but three is different than 6 - some of the toxicities creep up over time

Hair went, came back the same.

Dorrie

Dorrie
  #6  
Unread 07-14-2004, 11:57 AM
Carboplatin and Taxol

I worked full time during my treatments--would go to work Thursday, leave when it was time, be off Friday and back Monday--sometimes tired out yet. I did not have the bone/joint pain except during the first treatment. The prednisone steroid I was given was too hard mentally on me and after that I refused it--with no more bone pain whatever! I didn't get any nausea meds (no one bothered & I was too afraid to ask after a very bad experience with my first oncologist) until after I got sick after treatment number three; the vomiting was gentle and I had it only once more. Fatigue was the biggest factor after hair loss and then blood. My red cells tanked even with prescription iron so I had blood transfusions (vs. Procrit) twice. I loved my wig and so did others--it was in a deeper brown vs. black and white and it made me look younger and softer. Pray for straight hair--I didn't and... Some people are constipated but others get diarrhea, so be aware that can happen. Best wishes--this is do-able and we're here to help you through.
  #7  
Unread 07-14-2004, 02:05 PM
OVCA Chemo ?'s

Hi Lori,

As you can see we all have had different but mostly positive experiences with chemo. Depending on your overall attitude and tolerance you should do well...I was on a drug trial so i got 8 rounds for my stage 3c OVCA. First four were three days of topotecan with carbo on my thid day....very easy to tolerate. My last four rounds were taxol and carbo, had alot of muscle and bone pain on the 3rd and4th day, all tolerable. I never felt TOO awful to deal with life, but I was tired alot, I had to use Procrit and I had a transfusion too. All in all I didn't find it as awful as i had expected it to be. Depending on how you tolerate the chemo you may need to use Procrit or have a transfusion....most people generally don't. I had alot of surgery beyond just the hysterectomy....so...that may have had alot to do with it. Good luck to you and i bet you'll do just fine.

Love, Sally
  #8  
Unread 07-14-2004, 04:44 PM
OVCA Chemo ?'s

s Lori

It sounds like you have gotten some great advice.
I was 49 when my treatment started.
I remember my medical onc saying: Your anticipation of chemotherapy will be far worse than the reality.
And for me this was so true.
Be aware of constipation and ward it off before it begins.
Force fluids by mouth on the day of chemo and for the next three or four days. At least 64 oz per day, even if you have no appetite.
Zofran is the name of the magical pill that kept nausea and vomiting at bay for me. Request it.
I felt great the day of a treatment and pretty good the day after.
Then the next three days were just sorta yucky. Leg pains were a problem with the first two treatments.
My hair started to free fall on day 16 post first chemo of taxol and carboplatin. My eyebrows and lashes took longer, but were the first to return.
I had straight hair and it returned quite curly. But now almost three years after completing chemo, it is straightening back out.
Best wishes. You can do this. And we are all here for you.

karenann
  #9  
Unread 07-14-2004, 06:56 PM
OVCA Chemo ?'s

Hi Lori,

Today was my 3rd Taxol/Carboplatin treatment of 6. This was the first one with a port - and the port is a huge improvement. I didn't even feel it when she put the IV in this morning. And I have some IV war stories.

I now study the veins in other women's forearms with great interest. Some people need ports, some people have large veins that are easily visible and don't need ports. I needed a port.

In my experience the side effects kick in about 48 hrs. after the treatment and the meds are great if taken as directed. The first time I was slow to take the pain med and was very sorry about that in the middle of the night. It has to be taken with meals.

Last time my leg pains went on until Tuesday. I try to keep my limps stretched out straight, in bed and while sitting around. I find that minimizes the neuropathy (pins and needles.)

I get my treatments at a big teaching hospital and they have menus to order lunch but I go fully prepared with lots of bottles of water, and berries and something scrumptious for lunch.

I also have a friend go with me and we chat, chat, chat thru the whole thing and the time evaporates. Today one friend came for the morning and another for the afternoon.

Totally understand about being in a fog. I've been there! Eventually it lifts and life starts to return to normal.

Best of luck with your port and your chemo treatments. I'll be thinking about you and praying for you.

Big HUG from NYC!
  #10  
Unread 07-14-2004, 08:45 PM
OVCA Chemo ?'s

Hi, Lori. I, too, had chemo. In fact, I had radiation treatment at the same time. Something that really helped me a lot was to keep a journal. I called it my "recovery" journal!

It really helped me to see the patterns after each chemo treatment.

Because of the impact of the combined chemo and radiation treatment, my blood counts were way off and I went on Procrit (a wonder drug) and Neulasta (another wonder drug). My white cell counts always stayed good enough to not have to delay any of my chemotherapy.

I had a lot of the same side effects that many of the women here had. I had bone pain (it always started in my neck, shoulders, and jaw. Over time, it moved down to my legs and knees. I also had the neuropathy in my hands and feet.

My onc explained that the neuropathy was one of those side effects that tended to be cumulative over time and, in my case, it was. After the first treatment, I had very mild neuopathy in my hands and fingers that went away after a day or so. By the time my chemo was done, the neuropathy was significantly worse. In fact, I still have some mild residual effects now in my feet. When I get out of bed in the morning, it takes about 10-15 minutes to be able to walk "right". A small price to pay for otherwise great health today.

Good luck to you, Lori. Keep an eye out for angels that will be placed in your path to help you through this! They (and we) will be there for you!
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