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How many chemo series?


mainecoon

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On Wednesday my wife finished the third series of chemo sessions. She had a CAT scan and evaluation at the end of her second series, at which the onc gave her the option of either continuing with the chemo, or not. She chose to continue.

Initially my wife was puzzled at being given the choice to go on or not. She interpreted this as meaning that there really isn't any point in continuing. It wasn't until she was told that the Carboplatin / VP-16 combo had actually shrunk the tumor that she decided to continue.

When she was first diagnosed the onc told her the standard procedure is to administer 4 - 6 chemo series and then to evaluate the situation. She expected to go to 6 series, each three weeks apart. Has anyone else here separated their chemo series by more than the standard period of time? Would anyone feel confident about taking a break from chemo of more than three weeks?

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Hi~

First of congratulations to your wife in the shrinkage!!:) That's great news!! My mom had 6 treatments of carbo and VP-16 and the first scans were like your wives. Her last scans show 85% shrinkage of her tumors. She is on a break right now and is off vacationing in Canada visiting her family. :D:D:D:D My mom's onc. said that after 6 treatments the chemo is pretty much ineffective (the same kind of treatment, ie. continuing on with the carbo and Vp-16). She could continue on with another type of treatment, but the onc felt she would get too weak and it would limit what types of treatment she would have left to use for recurrences. So she's on a break till it starts significantly growing again. The onc said if she doesn't need chemo for another 6 months she can use carbo and vp-16 again. If the cancer starts growing before 6 months she has to use a different treatment. My mom has to be checked every 6 weeks, I am pretty sure she'll have a cat scan at 12 weeks.

I hope I didn't sound too confusing!!! I am praying that your wife gets a nice break after 6 treatments too. My mom is so happy to be visiting with her family right now and enjoying her summer. It means so much to her. :D:D:D

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Hi Mainecoon,

My dad had the same series the first time around. And we fully expected to go the six rounds. After the third, like your wife, the doctor asked my dad if he wanted to continue or stop...my dad (weak and frail at this time, weight only 120 pounds with a bald head and a whisper for a voice) Sits straight up in his wheelchair and looks at the doctor, leans directly into the doctors face and says..."What the hell kind of question is that?"

Scared that doctor to death!

Dad's tests at three months showed significant shrinkage, but he had gotten so weak that the doctor feared he wouldn't be able to physically handle any more chemo. Dad got to do one more round(=4) before he wound up in the hospital with danerously severe low counts, potassium, calcium, magnesium, dehydration and was told he was going into septic shock. He almost didn't pull out of it - thank god he did. and the chemo stopped right then and there.

He took about a four week break before he was tested again. Yes, we were terrified that he hadn't had chemo to "fight" the cancer and that it might grow - but his scans came back clean and CLEAR! Dad got to take 3 whole months off of treatment!!! THen in March he had a recurrence of a 2cm tumor in his left lung - he started chemo again and now that tumor is also gone, however, the doctor has made no plans at all to stop this chemo - it's been on-going with no definite end date as I think in the doctors mind, that my dad tolerates it well and it is working - and perhaps maybe this doctor is looking at it from a pallative-care prespective - don't know. As long as it is working I don't ask- miracles happen, and even when we open our eyes and breath in breath each morning and love our family - that is also a miracle.

Praying for you and Mrs. Mainecoon

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Thank you both for your kind thoughts and invaluable information. I'm constantly looking for positive information to pass on to my wife to assure her that there's a good reason for all the nausea and fatigue. She has closed the door to the Final Exit and is attempting to sustain some kind of fighting spirit. I'm doing what I can to support her in this decision.

Again, thanks for your support

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You help her keep her spirits up. Tell her there are some of us that just keep on going. Like the Eveready bunny. God just keeps recharging my batteries :D:D I was diagnosed in Feb of 2001 and 2 1/2 yrs later still around. I am in my 2nd round of chemo but getting near the end of it. I think 1 or 2 more months. I had a CT done on Fri so tomorrow I find out how this combo of chemo is doing. Good luck!

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Today Hugh is continuing to build a fence with an arbor in our front yard. He has dug all the post holes by himself (by hand) and it has taken him about a week thus far. He is slower than he would have been a year ago, but the weather here has been in the 90s and humid as heck. Last year he probably would have finished the fence in a week, now it will probably take him a week and a half or maybe two weeks. But he isn't working on it during the weekend either because we save the weekends to do stuff together. We went fishing Saturday night. There is life after chemo! Hugh's schedule was 3 days on and 2 1/2 weeks off. His normal chemo week was last MTW. He has already got a lot more energy - he is building the fence, mowing the lawn, gardening and last week he repaired our son's lawnmower! He is still a bit frustrated with the lack of muscle in his arms but it improves every day. He takes no pain meds anymore and feels good. Tell your wife we are cheering for her!

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Hi Mainecoon,

Congratulations on the shrinkage!... :D Chemo is so hard on the body.. and my mother had a difficult time with it as did Katies Dad.

Unfortunately her mother passed away after the third session.... :cry: We were extremley close to her and it was a tremendous loss for my mother... and our family :cry: The fourth chemo was the worst.. she was sick for a solid month and at the hospital for most of that time, so she decided to stop after a clear scan!!! :lol::lol: We were going to reduce the dose and go for six sessions if the scans were not clear. We are not sure if the emotional toll or just the toxic effect caused this or a combo of both but that was what we experienced.

I'm praying for you and your wife. Keep the faith and keep us posted.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Mainecoon,

After being diagnosed my oncologist put me on 6 series of Carboplatin and VP 16. After the first session my blood counts dropped. They gave me a Procit shot and I felt better. They reduced my amount of chemo by 10% to regulate my counts. Everything went as planned during the next 5 sessions. I continued to teach except on the 3 days I had chemo (Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday) and the next 3 days when I felt weak. I would try to make it to church on Sunday so I could sing in the choir. I would then go back to school for the next 20 days until my next session.

One thing I learned through my experiences is to not interpret or internalize anything the docs or nurses might say. Everyone that worked with me was excellent. My answer to everything was either yes or no. There is to be no second guessing. I guess because I am a drafting teacher there are no multiple choice answers. Either the measurement is right or its wrong. If its wrong then change it and make it right.

Glad to hear the good news.

Bengel

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