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I'm so frightened and I feel so alone I'm so frightened and I feel so alone

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Unread 07-28-2004, 07:17 PM
I'm so frightened and I feel so alone

Hello from another Stage 3Cer!

I cried and cried before my first chemo. I was so scared. Everybody reacts differently. It's good to be prepared. I can't say that it's easy. It isn't. I had a harder time than many with my first treatment, but a lot of things went wrong. Many others have had an easier time, though there will be bone pain, nausea and exhaustion. Not to mention hair loss, which also made me cry and cry.

Only people who've been through chemo know how it feels. I couldn't possibly describe it accurately to anyone. I can try, but it's not the same.

What I can tell you is that the body has a remarkable ability to forget pain. When I was in the midst of some huge suffereing, Karenann told me that I would be better the following week, and that I would be surprised at how ready I was for that second chemo treatment. She was right. You will have a bad week. And then you will start to climb out of it. And then you will feel normal (although . . . you will be mostly bald).

Here are some helpful tips:

-- B vitamins (a simple B-100 complex from Trader Joe's will do) will help alleviate neuropathy during chemo. Ask your doctor, but pretty much all doctors say it's fine. Green beans also provide a lot of B vitamins.

-- Brush and floss your teeth after every meal and if you drink anything that's not water or tea. Your teeth will accumulate a lot of plaque, so the flossing is important if you want to prevent tooth damage during chemo. If you can see your dentist before chemo, do so. Then, see him/her right after. If you call to explain that you're starting chemo, they will make a space for you. Mine did.

-- Don't be afraid to ask for sleeping pills. The steroids that you will likely take, coupled with the chemo, will keep you up at night. Sleeping pills help.

-- The anti-nausea medication that you'll be given may constipate you. Actually, it probably will. Chemo is also highly constipating. And if you are taking any pain killers from your surgery, those are highly constipating as well. Stool softeners, such as Colase, help out a great deal. You can take one capsule in the morning and one in the evening. Laxatives can throw your intestines into spasms, but some people find that Senakot helps. I used Colase.

-- Your nurse probably told you this, but avoid raw fruits and vegetables during chemo. They carry organisms that can cause infection during chemo, since your body won't be able to process them correctly.

-- Be careful around people who are ill, and avoid crowds. Your nurses will probably explain the low-white-count stuff to you. If you get any fever over 101, go to the emergency room.

-- Drink a TON of water. You will find that it really helps. Try to drink 2 liters a day -- minimum. If you can't stomach water (as it may take on a metallic taste due to the chemo), try miso soup or tea.

-- I suffered from extended nausea and was not able to eat for six days. I ended up smoking marijuana, which is the only thing that got food into me. I called my doctor, and he said, "If it's working, keep doing it." I only needed it for about five days per chemo cycle, and I certainly didn't need it after. I am not a smoker nor a drug user. But I would recommend it to anyone who is completely unable to eat or who is suffering from extreme nausea that neither Zofran nor Anzemet can help with. My doctor told me that most of his patients end up smoking at one point or another during chemo. I realize this can be a controversial subject. I am just sharing one person's experience.

I hope this helps a little. Please PM me if I can offer any other suggestions. You will make it through! And you will find a lot of support on this board. :-)
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Unread 07-28-2004, 08:09 PM
I'm so frightened and I feel so alone

Hi, Holly. You got some really terrific suggestions from people. I would add one: Keep a journal of your physical and emotional side effects of the chemo. It will help you as you see patterns emerging throughout all your treatments. For example, I always knew that day 1 would be o.k. As the days progressed, so, too, did my side effects. The residual pain literally started in my head, jaw and neck and eventually worked it's way down to my feet. I always knew, though, that by day 6, I'd be feeling better and better.

The other thing that I wanted to mention, too, is that I always enjoyed my days at the oncologist's office. Sounds odd, doesn't it? I love seeing him; his staff was wonderful -- real pro's! Also, I really enjoyed visiting with the other patients. It became a very lovely, social experience. You get to know a bit about their own stories. There are lots of really brave people out there (and in here)!

God bless, Holly. Let us know how you're doing.
Unread 07-29-2004, 01:39 AM
I'm so frightened and I feel so alone

Like Maureenie, I too enjoyed my time in the infustion room. It was very social. We talked alot and laughed alot. I got to know the nurses and their famiilies. Plus, with each chemo I was one step closer to being finished and getting on with my life. I celebrated every little milestone, the half way mark, the last chemo, etc. Now that I've done it, I don't have an overwhemling fear of chemo but I sure had that fear before I began chemo. I was also one of the fortunate ones who didn't have to sacrifice my hair because I only had cisplatin. So I cannot address that big issue.

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Unread 08-02-2004, 04:14 PM
I'm so frightened and I feel so alone


What day this week do you have your first treatment? I've been thinking about you and wanted to let you know that we're there with you

Hang in there. Once you get over the first one and know what to expect you'll see that chemo isnt' nearly as bad as you might imagine. And believe me, I was one who tried to escape out the side exit before my first treatment...I was SCARED! Now, like others have posted, I look forward to my treatments because I know that it'll be one more treatment closer to being finished and because I see that it is working!

Good luck. Please let us know how you made out.
Unread 08-03-2004, 09:33 AM

Dear Holly,
I also have been diagnosed with stage 3c ovarian cancer. I had 6 cycles of taxol and platinum, and 12 cycles of taxol alone for maintainance. I have a port in my chest, and for me, it was a great thing, because the chemo damaged my veins(I got the port after the first 6 chemos) and the port made chemo a lot easier for me. I too was scared of chemo, and although the first time, I had an anaphalactic reaction, it went much smoother than it is portrayed in the movies. There are many better options now for nausea relief, as people have posted. I had many strange food cravings, and for the first week after chemo, I let myself have what I was craving, since I felt a bit sick and my mouth had a metallic taste. Although I was tired, I did walk a bit, which helped with the constipation and with the depression that a lot of people get. Pamper yourself and let others help you. We will all be thinking of you and wishing you the best in your treatment!

Twisted Sister, Ovarian Cancer Stage 3C
Unread 08-03-2004, 09:10 PM
I'm so frightened and I feel so alone

Originally posted by k9equinewhine

What day this week do you have your first treatment? I've been thinking about you and wanted to let you know that we're there with you

Good luck. Please let us know how you made out.
Thanks-- I had my pre-op today for my port. I have my port installed on Thursday the 5th, and my 1st chemo on the 6th!


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