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chemo questions/ dehydration questions?

gail p-m

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My 79 year old Dad just received his first chemo (Carbo/Taxol) on Wednesday. His total exhaustion seemed to set in yesterday which would have been Day 5. Today he forced down a bowl of Cream of Wheat, talked about taking a shower and decided to rest first. He has been sleeping several hours already and if it's like yesterday, he slept several hours, came to the kitchen for a few minutes, then back to his chair and sleep/rest mode. My questions:

1. Does this sound "normal" for after a first chemo?

2. How long does this total exhaustion usually last?

3. I guess each successive chemo seems to hit the person even harder judging by the posts I've read?

4. No appetite and losing weight -- drinking about 3 Ensure a day as his main sustenance and that's a BIG effort

5. How do you know if the person is dehydrated?

We do have a doctor's appt. on Wed. for blood work... I am currently thinking about a wheelchair to get him from the car to the office but I know he's going to resist this. He's always been such a proud and independent man and has lived well on his own until now.


Dad dx l.c. Stage 1 --- Aug. 2000

Recurrance BAC Stage !V with mets to bones - Chemo: Carbo/Taxol (just had first treatment)

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from experiance...

moms first chemo hit on day 3 and lasted about 5 days. but mom is 62 and your dad is a little older which may mean more side effects.

moms 5th chemo was 19 days ago and she still feels like crap. Very tired, very lethargic, no appetite, lost another 11 pounds. She will probably be put on Megace now to gain some weight.

do the pinch test for dehydration. If you pinch them lightly and skin takes a few seconds to go back to normal, may be dehydrated.

after moms first chemo. ..SERVERELY anemic and required 5 pints of blood to bring her back to normal.

call on.c and ask for CBC sooner to see if its anemia

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Gail, Im 43 years old and just had my third treatment. After my first treatment (on a friday) I felt doped up and went home and slept. Saturday I woke up and felt great!!! sunday I woke up and felt great!!!! Monday I woke up and felt like I was run over by a truck. Each day after that I felt a little better and then better the next day after that, untill I got my treatment on friday again, and the cycle started all over again. I think one of my problems was people were telling me to take the anti nasua med so when I got up on that first monday I did and it really made me tired. So I stoped takeing it. I felt I would wait until I felt sick before I would take It. Thank god that has not been a problem for me. AS everyone will tell you DRINK DRINK DRINK Have him eat a lot of smaller meals (6 meals a day) even if its crackers or a protein shake. I havent had any eating problems yet. The ensure is very good for him too.

When he goes for blood work they may find his count down. Mine went down after the first treatment they say between 14 & 16 is normal, mine went down to 12.9 after the first treatment and they gave me Procrit which takes two weeks to start working.They will give me a shot every week. This last time I went it was down to 12. But they tell me once the procrit kicks in it will improve. Everyone handles chemo diffrent but I can see a little diffrence as far as me being a little more tired from one week to the next.

Good luck! If you have any more question just ask. Im a chemo rookie but I will try to help if I can

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It does not take much to be dehydrated. In addition to the pinch test, you can tell by the urine. If it's dark, they're dehydrated. Urine should be nice and clear. If a person is not urinating frequently, they may be dehydrated. Push the water, it will make him feel much better. My husband found the more he was able to drink, the better he felt and it reduced the muscle pain he got from chemo.

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hi- if possible- if you can log onto the Mead Johnson website- there's a supplement called deliver 2.0- it has 480 calories in 1 can- if he gets 3 cans down it will be about 1500 calories. or maybe mix 2 packets Carnation instant breakfast in 8 ounche whole milk. alos try having him sip on Gatorade/ etc.. for electrolyte replacemnt instead of water- there's a small amount to calories in that too.

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Dad is going thru chemo exhaustion. If you can, get him to drink alot of Gatorade- like others have said, it replaces electrolytes better than water. Sleeping seems to be the thing during chemo. I was exhausted and I was only 49 at the time. He's 30 years older, God bless him! Tell him we're all rootin' for him 100%.


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The effects of the chemo really vary greatly from each person and each different protocol I think. My husband is 31, so there is a slight age difference between him and your dad, But....

My husband had minor exhaustion with the first rounds of chemo he received, and actually tolerated successive rounds better than the first ones. With that chemo his appetite was normal.

However, because of how well he tolerated the first chemo protocol, we were shocked and scared at how he was this past week with his new chemo combination. He received the chemo on Monday thru Wednesday, and basically since Monday afternoon, he was knocked out. Wednesday and Thursday were the worst. He couldn't stay awake for anything more than 20-30 at a time the whole day. By Friday he was awake, but too fatigued to get off the couch for more than a trip to the bathroom or the fridge for juice. He felt much better really by Sunday and Monday. We don't know how each additional treatment will affect him yet, but I am hoping that it won't be cumulative.

He also wasn't eating much this past round. Just felt too tired and sick, nothing tasted good etc... We found one thing he liked (pizza rolls), and he ate nothing but that all week. We figured getting something in was better than nothing, no matter whether it was junk food.

I am hoping things are getting better for dad, and that the chemo doesn't get rougher with more sessions. Maybe you can ask the oncologist about giving a IV hydration with the chemo, along with something to make sure his blood counts stay up. I know that helps a lot of people with the exhaustion. Keith also takes a steriod along with his anti-nausea meds, which helps boosts the effectiveness of those meds and I've heard can help with the fatigue.


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Great suggestions, pinch the skin and see if it stays "up", dark concentrated urine, also dry mucous membranes in the mouth , and nose. Gatoraide is good stuff. If nauseaus and unable to eat etc, be sure to try to drink something with sugar and salts. It is very popular right now to hear "you need 6-8 glasses of water every day" but if this is all you are taking you can get into big trouble with "electrolyte" imbalance. The water washes out your needed salt until finally you get too depleted and are sick from that . If this is all you can get down, drink chicken broth, gatoraide, jello things like that :roll: til you feel good enough to eat again.

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