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What is normal to expect?


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To update for this question, my husband had his 1st Chemo last Monday. Had allergic reaction to the taxol and so finished it with just the carbo. Tomorrow will be his 2nd Chemo and will substitute Taxotere for Taxol. He had his first radiation five days last week.

The first couple days this week might have been credited some symptoms to the allergic reaction.

I am confused by what I should be expecting at this point. In other words, what would be considered normal due to his treatment or what is not expected.

The only pain he has had prior to this would come and go and tolerable. Last night he took a pain pill due to the pain he was having. That is rare for him. He doesn't like pain meds.

He is already sleeping more than usual. He often is cold when it is not 'that' cold as he seems to feel it is. I didn't see him eat dinner last night. I know he is not eating too much.

What should I watch for that might need attention. I don't know what to expect? I feel lost and helpless.

I want to speak up if I need to and yet I don't want to over react or bug someone needlessly.

I am guessing that it is normal that he seemed better before the treatments. Now he seems sick. :(

Thanks, Mary

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Being he had the Allergic reaction it may be harder to tell you what or what not to expect. However, as the old saying goes, everyone is different.

I can say, the Hot and Colds are normal. Pretty much everyone deals with that. However, it does seem early in his treatments to be having these issues so soon. But, we never say NEVER!

What is he taking pain pills for? Where is his pain? He didn't have pain before he started his treatments did he? One week of radiation and one chemo treatment should not be causing him any pain??? I'm confused on that one.

It really does seem too soon for him to be so tired from his treatments, and he's had the weekend off from them. BUT, being he had that reaction maybe there's something to that. Hard to say. Although it should be getting better by now being it was last Monday he had his chemo. The radiation will make him tired too. But again, it just seems early for him to go through this so soon, but maybe he's a lot more sensitive then I was. I also did radiation and chemo at the same time. I didn't get sick just slight nausea after my first three chemo's but that was it. I did get a sore throat the last 2 weeks of my radiation. But, I think we already talked to you about that in another post of yours. Food tasted like metal to me the last 2 weeks.

Thinking POSITIVE is VERY HELPFUL when going through treatments. HONEST! Mind Over Matter Does Matter!

My hubby and I walked into treatments saying out loud over and over and over again, "I WILL NOT GET SICK, I WILL COME THROUGH THIS IN FLYING COLORS" I had some minor side effects, but for the most part I did go through my treatments in Flying Colors.

Try not to worry yourself to bad thinking of what bad things may happen. They may not happen! You would be surprised how many people once they get into there treatments go through them with flying colors. He may only have a couple bumps in the road.

I have no idea why he wouldn't eat either. Do you think he may have the flu or something? Never rule out the simple things. It's not always related to the Cancer or the Treatments. :wink:

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Hi, Mary:

I'm happy to see your husband is continuing with the weekly chemo sessions, this time substituting Taxotere for Taxol. He should find the infusion much easier on his body. Previously I had written, "He should find that easier to tolerate," which erroneously implied that the general side effects are less, which is not what I meant. What IS less is the chance of an allergic reaction during the infusion, because Taxotere does not require use of the harsh solvent cremophor, which is about the only thing that will dissolve Taxol for IV use.

About what to expect, of course everyone is different, but here are some "common" side effects:

1. Fatigue from the combination chemo and radiation. It may stay at about the same level, or it might increase some through the remainder of the treatment.

2. Feeling cold is reported by many people on chemo (even in Hawaii :o ). Hawaii's wintertime days are hardly ever below 60-65F, but I wear a jacket more often than before, and I use more covers at night than anyone else in the family. It's not a big deal.

3. The chemo and radiation will cause changes in the taste of all foods, and the texture of some foods may cause them to be irritating or even painful when swallowing. Also, the stomach may not be able to handle as much food at one meal as before. If your husband is eating less, those could be the reasons instead of stubbornness or a lack of will power. Let him eat the foods that he enjoys (this list may change from time to time), let him snack between mealtimes, don't pressure him to eat things he's having trouble tolerating (for me that included meats, breads, and raw vegetables with hard edges), and supplement his nutrition with Ensure (or its Wal-Mart clone) and Carnation Instant Breakfast mixed in milk (dairy or soy).

4. Encourage him to drink lots of water. This will help flush the toxins out of his system, and it will help prevent the constipation which frequently results from chemo and especially from pain medications.

Sounds to me like things are about as expected right now -- I should add that I'm not as tough as Connie B :!: Let us know how tomorrow's chemo session goes. Aloha,


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Hi Snappy, I had allergic reaction to taxol and the other stuff too. Those nurses are so darn busy too.

Concurrent chemo and radiation is not easy. I felt just a gradual slow down in energy. I started feeling shorter of breath on walks. I was only 46, but I took afternoon nap everyday. I had increasing trouble swallowing acidic or scratchy foods. By the end of 6-7 weeks, I was thoroughly pooped out, but hadn't lost a pound.

It is easy to become discouraged because treatment makes us feel worse. I remember that. Is he taking an antidepressant? Depression can cause loss of appetite. He needs to keep up his weight, or they might stop chemo.


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Hi Snappy-

I, too had a reaction to Taxol, but once they gave me some more Benadryl I was OK. I had no further complaints. I never had the mouth sores that so many people get while taking chemo, but I did have that metallic taste in my mouth and my tongue always felt weird so I didn't always want to eat a lot, either.

Now I never had radiation so I can't answer any questions about that but I do remember being very tired after the first chemo - maybe just the relief of it being over with. Because I did not feel that way after subsequent carbo/taxol treatments. I think we get ourselves so worked up and fearful of the unknown that its exhausting. I do feel cold all the time in my hands and feet - I think you will find a lot of us here do.

I would, however, recommend that if he is not eating well that you keep a weight chart on him or at least mention it to the doctor. You do not want him to lose too much weight. Let him eat whatever tastes good to him - ensure and things like that are good supplements.

Hoping your husbands treatments will go easier.

Hugs - Patti B.

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Hello, Mary

Watch for dehydration, it can come on fast and causes many things to go wrong. I watched and checked Joe's urine and sort of kept up with it on a daily basis. I could tell he was not getting enough fluids.

After his last chemo we still had about 10 more radiation treatments and Joe told his radiologist, if he had to he would complete them all, even if it is on a stretcher. Well, guess what, he got so sick and weak and then started having heart problems so at the radiation office they admitted him to the hospital. Thank God for them and our heart Drs. He was on the verge of a stroke or a heart attack. So he got his wish, his last treatments were on a stretcher from the hospital to the radiation center everyday until he completed them all.

I understand what you mean about how much do you ask them about how they feel, without being controlling, it is a hard balancing act.

Joe finally listened to me when I would say something is just not normal, let me call and ask and that will ease both of our minds. It was a scary lesson but we both have learned how to deal with it and now any time I become uncomfortable, Joe will listen to what I recommend. He realized sometime his judgement was not very good and his pride would get in the way of his well being.

I am so sorry that you are having to go through all of this and just know God will guide you each step of the way.

Like, Connie said, Joe and I did the same thing, "Let's go beat this and beat this we will as long as we stay positive and connected to what is important." Our family was and is our greatest support team and we could not have made this journey without them.

Take care and Stay positive. Always-Kathy

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I will start my first chemo tomorrow,with Taxol, carbo and avastin. I am reading everywhere on this board about an allergic reaction. Can someome explain, what this exactly means?

I am ready to start tomorrow, my aditude is positive, my mind still strong.

Thanks to all of you


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The carbo/taxol combo usually doesn't lead to mouthsores.


Taxotere can cause mouthsores and fingernail changes. Work an antibiotic ointment into the cuticles a few times a day or tea tree oil. I put a big post on this a long time ago, so you may want to search. Purple nails and sometimes loss of the nails occur with Taxotere. For the mouth, biotine mouthwash 2-4 x per day and B-50 vitamins daily seem to help. Fatigue will continue to build as blood counts drop and just the fact that they are essentially pumping poison into the body. Chemo effects compound over time, but are reversible once treatment ends or a break is given. Rads/chemo is a tough nut, but it will get better later. Just hunker down for the duration.

Renate ----

An allergic reaction to Taxol is a very common side effect. Watch for any strange feelings, itching, feeling hot, shortness of breath, and notify the nurse immediately. Taxol reactions can happen the first cycle or the sixth cycle. Most people can get by with enough pre-treatment of steroids and benedryl and a very slow drip. It makes for a long day. Some people just can't take Taxol, despite loading up with pre-meds. I'm sure people will come along and post their experiences.

Good luck everyone. The beginning is always the scariest. You'll all become pro's sooner than you think.


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Thank you all for your replies. I appreciate it. It all helps to reassure me. I just need to sort of know what to expect. I am getting the idea.

Joe was doing better this afternoon. He did a little and ate and was up. Prior to that I was not sure whether what was happening was normal. I never want to sit back and do nothing if it needs attention.

Renate, Best of luck to you and hope all goes well. This is pretty new to me. It has been clearly stated here that everyone is different. What goes for one may not go for another.

The break has been nice and I am not even the patient. He seemed better tonight and now we start again. Altho, he is having pain still. Enough to use the pills and that is not normal for either of us.

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First of all I would like to tell you, that I am so sorry you lost your husband, after all these years of treatmnets and sufferings.

Thanks for the info regarding the allergic reaction to Taxo, will keep on eye on it. It did get a presr. of steroids,for the last night and this morning. I have to run, my chemo starts 9AM we have to drive 2 hours.I am scared but ready.


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