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First Chemo & New CA125 Number First Chemo & New CA125 Number

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Unread 04-01-2003, 10:03 PM
First Chemo & New CA125 Number

I had my first chemo treatment yesterday and was relieved that I did not experience any adverse effects. I had been praying that I would tolerate the medicine, and those prayers were definitely answered. Today, I feel chock full of chemicals and a little fatigued. But otherwise, I seem to be fine. I'll be interested to see what the next few days will bring.

I cried for four days before the first chemo because I was so, so scared about what might happen. I now feel a lot better emotionally, even though I will probably have to shave my head by week's end to beat the drug to the punch. The next few days are likely to bring some more "education" about what I'll be dealing with over the next treatments.

Question 1: My CA125 before surgery was 161. I had blood work done on Friday to prepare for chemo, and my CA125 is now 17. Does a CA125 number usually fall this much after surgery? I had been thinking it might pop down to 90 or 70, but I was thrilled it is now so low. Let me know your thoughts.

Question 2: No BM for two days now . . . so . . . anyone have any tricks for post-chemo regularity? Took some fiber pills and added bran and flax to my cereal this morning. But if there are any other tricks, let me know. :-)


Also, I wanted to mention one thing. I shared my chemo room with someone who had Stage 1 ovarian cancer. She decided to participate in a clinical trial that I would have definitely participated in had it been offered to me. At my stage, however, I was only offered participation in one trial that ultimately did not seem right for me.

Though I decided to go with the standard treatment instead of the clinical trial (largely due to the inclusion of Doxil in the study and its related side effects, which included heart damage and some other awful stuff), I wanted to say that I would have definitely participated in a clinical trial if one with less potential for long-term damage to my health had been offered. Participation in clinical trials is important. In my case, however, the potential risks were too overwhelming.
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Unread 04-02-2003, 12:29 AM
First Chemo & New CA125 Number

Hey Sirensong -

Congratulations on getting through your first chemo treatment
and double congrats on the low CA125! We do the dance of joy
You seem to be in pretty good spirits. I'm glad that it wasn't as bad as you anticipated and there were no adverse reactions.

I can't really answer your question about the CA125 since I'm not a medical person, but it is phenomenal that it dropped so significantly. Yeah!

As for the constipation, drink lots and lots of liquids, especially water. Chemo really dehydrates the body, and the anti-nausea medications can also cause some constipation. I was told to drink 2 to 3 quarts of liquid daily, and to begin the morning with fruit juice and hot liquid. It worked fine.

I shaved my head about two weeks after the first treatment. I could tell it was about to happen because my hair began to get dull looking, and little sprinkles of hair would drift down. It just seemed easier to get rid of it rather than have it come out in clumps. One thing I did like about this whole thing - I didn't have to shave my legs for weeks!
Unread 04-02-2003, 05:24 AM
So glad your fears were put to rest

I will keep praying for you as you go through your chemo. So very glad you are relieved of your fears and anxiety. That is what I seem to read from those who have gone before. Keep up your good spirits!

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Unread 04-02-2003, 05:24 AM
First Chemo & New CA125 Number

I'm thrilled to hear your CA125 number has declined so dramatically already. I remember you saying that your surgery was very successful in terms of optimum debulking of the tumour, which I know from my frenzied researches over the past three weeks is strongly associated with better prognoses.

You know, my guess is that you will cope very well with your chemotherapy. You are young and strong and have such a positive spirit, yet can cry and express your emotions when you need to. Also you are being very pro-active in your own care, seeking out natural therapies and dietary approaches to boost your own immune system. I am sure these things are key. I am an information seeker by temperament and I have become very interested in complementary approaches. I have plans to make a lot of changes in my diet and life-style, to be more pro-active in my own health care, whatever the diagnosis, good or bad.

I know you probably have more than enough to read by now, but I can't resist mentioning one more book which, because British, you may possibly not have come across. It is called "Living Proof" by Michael Gearin-Tosh. He is a fellow of St. Catherine's College, Oxford (English literature) and was diagnosed with myeloma nearly ten years ago. He decided against conventional treatment, which is very limited for myeloma, and treated himself with alternative therapies. The insight into alternative therapies is interesting, and relevant also to people who are accepting some orthodox treatment too, but the real value of this book to me is the depiction of someone living with cancer so graciously. He is profondly intelligent, very witty and thought-provoking. This is the book I reach for in the early hours of morning when I am sleepless with panic.

My best wishes and prayers go with you as you proceed with your chemotherapy.
Unread 04-02-2003, 07:48 AM
First Chemo & New CA125 Number

s SirenSong

That first treatment is always the scariest. Congrats for having number one behind you.
Don't be in too big a hurry to shave your head. You probably have a good two weeks of hair left. It was day fifteen when I started to shed big time.
My ca 125 before surgery was in the 900's. Before chemo it was 47. After one treatment it had dropped to 14. And continued to drop with each treatment. You will find we all vary with our ca 125's.
Constipation was also a problem for me. It took a few treatments to figure out what worked best.
I took one senokot every night for four nights beginning the night of the chemo treatment. It kinda worked like a stool softener for me and kept the constipation at bay. Regular stool softeners like Colace did nothing.
I'm sure you were instructed to drink large amounts of decaf liquids for four days. (64oz) Keeps those kidneys flushing everything through.
Sounds like you are doing great!!!!

Unread 04-02-2003, 08:05 AM
First Chemo & New CA125 Number

Congratulations on accomplishing you 1st chemo. I am glad you tolerated it well. It doesn't seem like it now, but it will be over soon! Chemo constipated me and i took a laxative on chemo days and for a day or two after, but never needed them at other times.
Unread 04-02-2003, 10:16 AM
See--You CAN do it!

That is a great post-surgery number--shows the Dr. got a lot out--optimal debulking. We're all different. Mine was 161 pre surgery, 84 after, and 29.5 after one treatment. Good going!
Unread 04-02-2003, 03:09 PM
First Chemo & New CA125 Number

Glad you finished your 1st chemo. Karenann is right. You have about 2 weeks of hair left. My started coming out in clumps 14 days after chemo. I then had it shaved off.
Ca 125 readings vary person to person but it is always good to see them go down. Mine was 125 before surgery, 36 after surgery, and 6 after the 1st chemo.
Constipation is a problem but you will find what works for you. I used Grape Nuts for breakfast and senekot.

Keep up the good work. We are pulling for you.

Ruth S
Unread 04-02-2003, 07:34 PM
First Chemo & New CA125 Number

Thanks, everyone! :-)

Good to know my hair will be around for a little while longer. As a photographer, I want to document the process of healing, so I sent my mom out to get some B&W film (having unfortunately left mine at home) and will soon start creating a visual record of this journey. I'd like Photo No. 1 to include my regular hair. :-)

I'm taking Metamucil fiber caps, but maybe I will try Senakot instead. I have Colase, but I haven't taken any. I just wanted to see what might happen. I was told to avoid raw foods, so I was thinking fruit juice wasn't allowed. Is it just skins on fruits and vegetables that I should be avoiding? Or all things raw?

I'm trying to get through two liters of water a day (at minimum), so hopefully that will help. I drink a ton of water anyway, and the radiologist said I had the highest functioning kidneys he'd ever seen. So I'd like to keep them that way.

Latina, I will send you a PM.

Thanks again, everyone! I am happy that I made it through Treatment No. 1 . . . and am already looking forward to treatment No. 6! :-)
Unread 04-02-2003, 08:46 PM
First Chemo & New CA125 Number

My CA125 before chemo was 36 right now it is at 17 so it has been going lower, which is good.

I too took pictures of the shaving of my head. Actually, I've been taking pictures all along of my whole cancer experience. I'm a scrapbooker and am making a Cancer Scrapbook. I have all my bills, my Dr likes to draw what is going to happen to me during my surgeries, so I have all of those drawings. I have pictures of my Dr's & nurses. I have some pictures of the hospital stays. I have pictures of all my flowers, and have the cards that were sent to me. I have pictures of the CT scanner, the Radiation machine. I also took pictures of my getting a chemo treatment.

I'm already putting the book together, and think it is coming out pretty good.

I'm not sure when I shaved my head. It had already started coming out in clumps. I waited until the part on my head was pretty wide. My BF shaved it and my DS took pictures. 2 1/2 ROLLS!! he went a little crazy. Of course they did the mohawk thing which I was unaware of. These pictures surely will be pretty funny.

Anyway, congratulations on your first experience, let's hope all the rest will be the same.

's and 'ers to you!

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