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mom start chemo and radation tomorrow

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Hi everybody.

My mom starts her chemo and radation tomorrow. They are giving her VP16 (etoposide) and Cisplatin.

My concern is that she is a very small woman and is very thin. Can anyone please tell me what to expect for her in the next few days. We will travel about an hour and a half to get to the Dr. Office.

How long will it take before she starts to have trouble with being tired and sick. They did give her Emend and a few other drugs to take. She is not real strong and seems to be weak already.

Any advice would be great.....Thanks Kim

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Kim -

There are many, many drugs to treat chemo side effects. It effects every person differently -- you can definitely expect her to be exhausted as the treatment continues....you will get great advice on this board as you start the journey with chemo. Keeping food and liquids in your mom is important -- not forcing her to eat but looking for ways to stick extra calories in everything -- smoothies, ensure, ice cream all work well. Remember they well taper the chemo to match her weight...

Thinking of you,


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I had cisplatin and VP16, everyone is different re the side effects. I found that the cisplatin was harder on my system than carboplatin had been.

I really needed more water with it and could not have an empty stomach or the nausea would kick in through the meds.

If your mom has any nausea at all make sure that she takes the anti-nausea meds regardless, keeping it under control is easier than getting it under control. I always had ginger cookies to nibble on and lots and lots of water, ginger ale, tea, whatever liquids I was offered or could be bothered to get myself.

I found that the tiredness came gradually, after every tx I was more and more fatigued - not everyone gets these side effects, some people continue to work but I couldn't have,

The staff at the infusion center will answer any questions you have....they've heard it all and been asked it all so tap into their wealth of experience, mine never minded sharing info with me and were very helpful.

You may find that your mom has a little more energy for a few days after the tx, the steriods that they include certainly lifted me up for a while.

Don't forget to take a book, it could be a long day for you as your mom may well nap through parts of it -- I always slept for a while through boredom as much as anything else.

After this tx the fear of the unkown will be gone and the next one will be much easier.

Take care


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I haven't been on the board in a while, so if I haven't welcomed you here...welcome! I am sorry that you have to come in the first place though :evil:

My dad had that chemo and it was about one week after that he started to slowly lose his hair. He is a large man though, so I don't know what difference that would make. He had many drugs for the nausea, and I guess I would suggest that you do whatever you can to head of the nausea. Once dad got it, it was often hard to get rid of. He took drugs consistently just in case.

Dad's "low" time came almost exactly 2 weeks after his treatment. He was really tired, and we all stayed away to keep germs away. He did get pneumonia on the last end of it, and that was terrible...so keep the germs away. I really believe in the water thing too...drink, drink, drink. I think it wards off nausea, keeps the body able to fight, and cleans the system. Dad didn't get the pneumonia until the readiation made it hard to drink and he got dehydrated.

God bless you and best of luck!


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I have no advice on that particular combo. My mom is also a very small woman. We laughed when her onc. discussed dosage as by the "square meter"...I guess that is how they account for height and weight dosage.

I pray this will go well for your mom. Keep us updated.

:) Kelly

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If they do radiation at the same time as chemo, then she could feel worse than if she was getting chemo alone. Radiation increases the chemo toxicity.

My dad got Cisp+VP16 every 3 weeks (3 days at a time), and tolerated it well, except some tiredness after 4 cycles and a metallic taste in his mouth. He received radiation after the 4 months of chemo were finished.

Drinking is the key, I agree with lots of water and Ensure to maintain nutritional status. Ask for nausea meds and steroids before infusion, and nausea meds again to take home in case she gets nauseous after treatment.

She will lose her hair, I don't know if that's a big problem for her. Insist that the MD watches her kidney function through blood tests because Cisplatin can damage the kidneys. Also, it can cause hearing loss.

I wish you lots of luck and may God give your mom strength and a cure.

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My mom had a different chemo cocktail, but the biggest advice she always says to give it so stay hydrated. Chemo dehydrates you and she sometimes had to get some IV hydration drips.

Also, in the beginning she felt ok, then it got worse, but just when it was at the worst, she was all done.

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I had Etoposide and Cisplatin also. The first round was ok. No significant side effects. I had four rounds, they do build up over time. I found myself being tired and weak. Please make sure she drinks plenty of fluids and eats/has Ensure at least three times per day. It sounds like she has Small Cell? You didn't indicate that, but regardless, eating and drinking are very important for her now. If she can't eat, then Ensure or Boost is the way to go. Please tell her that I and many others on the board are 4 plus years survivors and she can do it too. We are here to give you hope. Please let us know how she's doing.

Joanie ((()))

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Hi Kim,

Hope your mom's treatment went well and please let us know how she is doing.

My mom also had chemo/radiation, although her chemo drugs were different than what your mom is taking.

The fatigue kind of crept up on her and the doc said it was important that she give in to feeling tired and rest frequently...

As far as calories...as many as she can get and also small frequent meals help :) We also helped with meal preparation. When we couldn't be there to fix her meals, we would prepare them and freeze em' so it was easy for her to just reach in the freezer and pull something out. We are Italian and *love* our comfort food, LOL, so I made lots and lots of homemade soup, pasta gravy, (sauce) beans, etc and froze it all into small containers. She also craved icecream bars!

It sounds as if your mom is tiny so watch her weight and try to stay on top of any weight loss. If she loses her appetite (some do, some don't) there are meds for that as well.

Prayers for you, Kim and your mom. Keep us posted, ok.


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Hello everyone,

Just wanted everyone to know that my mom has been doing great with her chemo and radation. Today was her third day and she has done great so far. She is very tired today and has a slight sunburn from radation i think, but other than that she is doing great...she has three days left and then three weeks off then six more days of chemo.

We will get her results of her pet scan on monday but they have staged her right now at stage 111B and possible at stage 4 after the pet scan results. Her doctor is off for a month because he has to have surgery on his hip so we will me his associate on Monday. So I guess we will just wait and see.

Now that the fear of the unknown is over we all seem a little more relaxed. We are just dealing day by day. Thank You Everyone who has listened and responded to my fears and questions. This is an awesome place. Kim

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