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Karen B.

Stage 2B adnocarcinoma - lobectomy and facing chemo next week

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Hi there...my name is Karen.

 

I was diagnosed with stage 2B and had a lobectomy on April 7 of this year.  The lower third of my right lung was removed.  I had two nodules (1.3 cm and 1.6 cm) in that lobe.

 

I am no faced with making a decision on chemo which is to start this Monday.  

The combination drugs would be Cisplatin or Carboplatin along with Alimta.  

 

Has anyone on this board been through this combination of chemo drugs?  If so, I would be most interested in hearing how it went for you.

 

My oncologist is recommending 4 treatments spaced 3 weeks apart.

 

To put it mildly, I am terrified of the thought.

 

Thank you for any insight you may have.

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Hello Karen and welcome to Lungevity.  I'm sorry about your diagnosis but glad you are here.  I myself don't have any experience with the chemo combo you will be taking but I'm sure someone will follow me who can help.  Please keep us updated and let us know how you're doing!  ((hugs))

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Karen,

 

Welcome here.  I've had half your combination - Carboplatin and Taxol.  Alimta was not approved for NSCLC when I went through my chemo.

 

How did chemo go for me?  Well it wasn't fun.  There were three nasty days of side effects every three weeks.  Most troubling for me was joint pain but side effects are different for each individual.  I hardly had any nausea symptoms at all.  It sounds like your 4 infusions, post surgery, are what we informally call dust-up chemo.  Its purpose is to kill cancer cells that may be in your blood stream before they can settle on an organ and form a tumor.  It is a standard of care following surgery and I highly recommend you take it.

 

I was unable to have dust-up chemo because of year long surgical complications.  A scan, after discharge,  showed 3 tumors in my left (remaining) lung and I believe they occurred because I didn't receive my dust-up chemo.  Don't be terrified; be informed.  Read up on the possible side effects.  Here is a good resource - https://www.lungevity.org/about-lung-cancer/lung-cancer-101/treatment-options/chemotherapy  Select the "What are some common side effects of chemotherapy" and read about them.  You can also google the drug names and find information on side effects.

 

Chemotherapy is not a walk in the park but in truth, in my 3-week cycle of infusion, I only had about 3 bad days.  Plus, my doctor prescribed medications to help me through these bad days.  I lost my hair but it grew back.

 

You've already been through the tough and dangerous part of treatment - surgery.  Take the dust-up chemo to avoid the problems I suffered.

 

Stay the course.

 

Tom

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Hi Karen .  Welcome.  I had my chemo a long time ago.  I had Cisplatin and Etopiside, not Alimta.

Actually I didn't think they used Cisplatin very much any more.  I thought the newer drug they used was

Carboplatin.  Chemo is scary.  A central port is a good idea.  I am glad I was able to get it for I believe I

am here today because of it ( and radiation and surgery)

They have made many advances and have good treatments available that help with side affects.

Keep us posted on what you decide and how you are doing.

 

Donna G

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Hi Karen,

I had a upper right lobectomy in January 2009,the tumour in my upper right lung was actually in the airway leading to it.My oncologist arranged me to have was is called neo adjuvant chemo,which  was administered to me prior to my surgery in a  attempt to reduce the tumours size,this actually worked a treat,my surgery was successful,I live a very active and healthy life.My chemo was a cocktail of cisplatin and vinorelbine,which I sailed through without any side effects,although I did suffer one bout of constipation,which I could have avoided if I had paid more attention to drinking plenty of fluids during the chemo administration.Best Wishes.

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Hi Karen!

 

I've completed two rounds of the same chemo that's being recommended for you. 

 

I was diagnosed with IIIA NSCLC on February 15 of this year. I'm scheduled for a RML lobectomy on May 23, and I'll probably do some more chemo after surgery. 

 

There are side effects, and the severity varies from person to person. Fortunately, they have great medicine to mitigate the side effects. They want us to successfully complete the treatment, because not completing the treatment is no bueno for kicking cancer's butt.

 

Here are some side effects I experienced, as well as what doctors did to help me. Your mileage may vary. 

  • Nausea - I disliked this one the most. Fortunately, they loaded me up with lots of anti-nausea meds, gave me IV hydration appointments in-between appointments, which included IV anti-nausea and anti-stress meds, and were willing to experiment with new meds if what I used wasn't strong enough. 
  • Smells and Taste - I became hypersensitive to smells, and things began to taste funny. Some people prefer hot food during chemo, I preferred cold, because it had less scent. 
  • Weight Loss - No doubt related to the above two side effects, I lost weight quickly, because I didn't feel well, and things tasted and smelt terrible to me. The doctors don't like this at all. They gave me doses of steroid, additional anti-nausea meds and hydration, and marinol to stimulate my appetite.
  • Fatigue - This varies from day to day, and may vary at time of day. Naps are essential, but so are walks, even if they are baby strolls through the backyard. 
  • Hair Loss - I haven't lost all of my hair yet. It's gotten noticeably thinner. I suspect it will get much thinner after the next rounds. The severity of hair loss varies from person to person. 

I was very nervous as well. I'm nervous about the upcoming surgery too! Do you have a support system at home? Friends and family who can be there while you receive chemo? I have found that to be very helpful. Are you scheduled to actually receive the chemo on Monday, or are they still setting you up? If you are receiving it, have they installed a port, and given you an "education class", etc? 

 

Although the above side effects look unpleasant, I agree with Tom. It's worth pushing through. You've been through the tough part. They really do have great ways of dealing with the unpleasant side effects, because THEY WANT YOU TO SUCCEED. :-)

 

Oh, and stay hydrated! It's really important. :)

 

Mel

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