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Sich and Dehydrated/Chemo

mary colleen

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My husband had his final scheduled chemo treatment on Thursday, and is getting Neupogen shots about every other day for now to try to kick-start his bone marrow again.

He has completed 4 cycles of chemo; each cycle is 3 weeks long: week 1 = Cisplatin/Gemzar, week 2 = Gemzar, week 3 = no chemo.

He has been moderately sick through the middle of chemo, but still working and doing some routine activities. Over the last couple of weeks, he has become more and more sick, unable to work, etc., and this weekend the trend continued.

This morning, he developed signficant swelling in the arms and legs. Took him into the Oncologist, who attributed the edema to dehydration. Not sure how he could have become dehydrated - he is taking fluids, has had only one episode of vomiting, and has had no recent diarrhea. I really don't understand, but....

They offered him an overnight IV to replace fluids, but he declined and decided to give it a try at home.

Wondering if anyone has experienced edema in the arms and legs as a result of dehydration? (I don't think I have ever heard of edema as a sign of dehydration.) Or experienced dehydration simply from chemo, when not losing fluids in any apparent way?


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Every time I have chemotherapy I end up dehydrated, without exception. Not to the extent where it causes me serious problems but the dehydration is always a factor for me. I'm pretty sure I could audition for the lead role in Creature from the Black Lagoon and when they look at my skin after chemotherapy I'd get the role, no problem (and I'm not even an actor).

Sorry I can't be of more help but I'm really quite useless when it comes to the facts (Teri is my expert with the do's and don'ts and the science).

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I personally have experienced swelling in arms and legs as a result of dehydration from hours of physical exertion in heat, not due to chemo. regimes (I am not a cancer patient) -- edema can happen from it. What caused my swelling was that the amount of liquids I took in after I was already dehydrated at any given time were more than my body could rehydrate appropriately with. I haven't seen a chemo. regime mentioned in here yet that doesn't mention dehydration as a constant concern to be watchful of.

Now, this is from my personal experience with it and I would hope that others with more directly applicable experience will chime in here shortly. What I did when this occurred was to encourage myself liquid intake in smaller quantities at any given time, but very often (even if I didn't feel thirsty) -- the swelling dissipated itself within a day or two from doing that.

Hope this helps somehow,


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I never had dehydration from my chemo. I drank a lot of water. One 8 oz glass for every hour that I was awake. that was in addition to any other liqueds. My doctor thought it may be a lot so he checked for calcium, it was fine. That is about a gallon a day. This may have helped me I am not sure. I still drink a lot of water since I am still on Tarceva. I notice that I sweat a lot. This could be a way of loosing moister without noticing it.

Stay positive, :)


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Thanks, all. We are going to do our best to solve this at home. He is feeling a bit better tonight, sitting with his feet up, drinking Gatorade, and being a curmudgeon, ...which is a sign of impending normalcy at our house. :wink:

I am going to work from home in the morning to make sure he is doing okay. If he isn't a lot better tomorrow, he is to go in for IV fluids. From there, we'll look forward to clean scans on Thursday!

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