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chemo is very difficult this time


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Here we go again....I need advice.

My Mom was put back on the Avastin/Taxotere combination on July 12th, so it has been two weeks since her appointment.

In the past, usually within a week she would begin to perk back up. This treatment, however, has really made her very tired and she has had diarrhea that she just can't seem to get rid of.

I know she has been taking Immodium and that seems to help a little and drinking lots of water, but I'm concerned. I'm trying to get my stepdad to call the doctor for something a little stronger.

She also has no appetite at all.

I'm scared....I just don't understand why she isn't bounching back this time.

Is this normal to respond completely different from the same combination?

Thanks for any input anyone can give.

Warm Hugs,


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I'm saying prayers and sending good thoughts for your Mom. You hang in there and let us know if there is anything we can do.

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Lucie had diarrhea at the beginning of her chemo combo. The onc said she could take two Imodium every two hours until it was controlled. That has worked for her. But you should contact the doctor and let him/her know. May have some suggestions. She must eat and drink fluids, even if you insist on snacks. Don

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Can't help you with the diarrhea issue. Unfortunately the more chemo they put in your Mom, the less bounce you will see. It IS hard to watch the decline due to chemo. I thought Tony would never be "Tony" again, but he eventually turned the corner after being off chemo for two months. He just sat or slept all day and hardly even talked for about six months. Just hang in there and try to accept another "new normal". As long as she is getting the fluids and trying to eat, that is the best you can do right now. Just be there for her.

Sorry you have to be going through this. God bless you and your family.


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Melinda -

I'm here because a good friend has recently been diagnosed Stage IIIB NSCLC. However I have been on a Avastin/Tarceva trial for Stage IV Clear Cell Kidney Cancer since November 2004 and have been disease stable since starting it.

If it wasn't made clear to you, Avastin/Tarceva are genetic drugs as opposed to traditional chemotherapy. They have side effects, but in many ways are supposed to be much milder than chemo.

My experience is similar to your mother's - diarrhea that comes and goes. My diarrhea was constant, but mild - just having to go two, maybe three times a day. Because of that dehydration wasn't really an issue. However I know of others who had much more severe diarrhea that required IV fluids. I still have it off and on. Immodium helped a little, but not a lot. I guess where I'm netting out diarrhea wise is that if it's just a few times a day, hang in there - if its all day, you need to check with your doc.

Also was feeling very tired. I'd get home from work at one or two PM and just collapse in an easy chair for the rest of the day - all day on weekends - some napping, some computer and PC watching. Seemed worse a few days after my infusion (I get one every two weeks) but I was pretty much worn out most of the time. I think that is one of the side effects of the drug combo.

I talked over my fatigue with my internist. He thought I might have clinical depression. He prescribed Zoloft for that. At the same time I started taking Ambien because I was waking up a number of times during the night. Not sure if it was the Ambien, the Zoloft, or the combo - but since starting I've been much more active - rarely napping in the afternoon. Just anecdotal, with me. My oncologist did not think I was depressed. But for me, at least, it's working.

Also had a lack of appetite which influenced my internist's diagnosis of mild clinical depression. My appetite is back now, too.

There's also a possibility of an acne like rash from the Tarceva. They'll prescribe steroid creams for that.

Give you mom my best. Avastin and Tarceva are cutting edge medicines.

Holly Moore

Philadelphia PA

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For the most part I tolerated my initial chemo very well and stayed on it for 11 cycles. But there was one cycle a little over 1/2 way that I was exhausted, vomited every thing I ate and drank and slept most of the day. It lasted for 3 or 4 days. The next chemo treatment I was fine again. I had no fever, so I don't think anything else was the culprit.

If immodium doesn't work, they can offer something by prescription. And make sure she stays hydrated.

I'm sorry your Mom's had this reaction and I hope it will be a one time hit.

Best wishes,


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I did react differently to the same drug. I took Tarceva last year for a month and got a terribly rash, like a million bug bites. The cream and ointment prescribed didn't help. Oncol did not renew the Tarceva.

He put me on Tarceva this year at a lower dose. I got terrible diahrea and sleep disturbance this year. But only a minor rash. I took myself off it for almost a month and started to sleep better and diahrea disappeared. I'm back on it again and again I'm unable to sleep all night but the diahrea is mild and there is almost no rash.

An interesting note is my oncol said studies show people who get a rash from Tarceva seem to do better than patients who don't get a rash.

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Hi Melinda,

I'm a Taxotere veteran (took it in combination with carboplatin for 3 months and alone for 3 months) and I must admit that each subsequent treatment was worse, in terms of diarrhea and fatigue, than the one before. For diarrhea, my onc. told me to take 2 Imodium after each loose BM. I was taking about 6-8 Imodium a day and losing way too much weight. Onc. also prescribed injections of Sandostan to try and stop the diarrhea. When that didn't work, he sent me to GI. Turns out that I developed ulcerative colitis. From the chemo? Who knows as the cause of UC is unknown. Unfortunately, it can only be diagnosed by colonoscopy (yuck).

Hope your mom's diarrhea is controlled soon. I know just how debilitating it can be. Sending lots of prayers her way. Good luck.


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I know it must be difficult for you to see your mom going thru so much. I hope your SD calls to get her something stronger, I know like Trish said with upping the Imodium, but did your mom get any donatel with her chemo? ... I know it helped my husband, I know that there must be something stronger to give your mom. Hoping for the best...


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