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Ann Cronin

Starting chemotherapy next week

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Hi, all,

I'll be starting chemotherapy next Thursday. The chemotherapy drugs are Cisplatin & Pemetrexed. I'm not seeing any references to these 2 drugs in this forum, I'm seeing Cisplatin and Paclitaxel. If anyone out there has any experience with the combo that will be used on me I would appreciate some feedback! I've briefly googled what the differences are in the two combos - not finding much except perhaps the Cisplatin causes more nausea?

Thanks in advance for input!

Ann

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Ann

I had 4 rounds of this combo. Did have nausea. Was given nausea meds,  but for me sucking on peppermint candies helped more than the meds. Almost all foods except plain vanilla ice cream and donuts tasted horribly bitter. In spite of that I gained weight on it because of the steroids I was given along with it. But it came off a while after my treatment ceased. Lost about 1/3 of my hair to thinning and the texture changed. My hair began to get back to normal about 6 months after treatment ended. Had a lot of constipation. Was tired of course, but I'd just had radiation right before the chemo, so could have been that. Infusion took 7 hours and I had it every 3 weeks. First week was pretty miserable, second week things started getting better, and by the 3rd week I felt pretty normal. Blood counts stayed pretty fair and only had one U. T. I. to deal with during treatment and that was easily cleared up. That was my experience. Which doesn't necessarily mean it will be yours since we all seem to react differently. Just letting you know I did have it and sharing my experience. Hope it goes easily for you and works well. Amazingly, I've read of people on here who have no side effects at all. 

Judy M. 

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I probably don't need to add this as many times as it's been said on here, but you should get a port. I ask for one as a result of reading this forum and I'm glad I did. Even though I have a port just from blood draws previous to getting it and having my veins accessed by techs for scans who can't use my port I've had a vein blow. You may have to ask for one. I did. 

Judy M. 

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Thanks, Judy, really not looking forward to this..... I was hoping I wouldn't need a port? I don't usually have an issue with finding a vein so I guess I'm confused as to why one would benefit. I thought they were used when chemo treatments were more frequent than once every 21 days.

The steroid & gaining weight.... wondering what the purpose of that is? In addition to feeling like crap, hair thinning.... now they want to pack a few pounds on us? Dang.....

Ann

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Getting  port has many advantages, I wish they were offered 20 years ago ---- to me !  Cisplatin can cause a lot of damage to tissue if it infiltrates.

I have  small scars when just a little was  left in the tissue when they pulled out the needle.  Ports are great for blood draws too.

Donna G

 

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I didn't have a port. I had weekly chemo along with radiation for my cervical cancer.  I had only one arm that could be used  for infusions due to lymphedema risk in the other one. My veins really took a beating. I wish I had asked about a port. Maybe if your veins are easy to access you don't need one.I think it's worth talking to your oncologist about. 

Bridget O

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Ann

The steroids were to help with the nausea. I didn't have any vomiting, just a continual nausea, I didn't appreciate the weight gain either. Especially since I had a compulsion to eat as a result of the steroids at the same time everything tasted totally nasty. I was complaining about the weight gain one day when I saw my Pulmonologist. She said lung cancer patients should not complain about weight gain. She had a point. But she'd have complained too. Haha. I know her. I think the steroid I was given was called dexatrone? Still have some put away somewhere. I had to take tablets 2 days before infusion and had a bag of it on the day of infusion. I was able to keep exercising through chemo other than 2 or 3 days that were more difficult than usual. Only gained about 5 pounds. Still glad I have the port. I had constant blood draws of course every time I saw the Oncologist and still do. Plus, now I'm having Opdivo every 2 weeks. So, it's been much easier even though my veins are also easy to access. Plus, with the Embla cream applied beforehand you don't even feel the stick. My infusion nurses told me about that. Had to ask for it also. Chemo wasn't a pleasant experience, but it's doable. 

Judy M. 

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My prescription for the Dexatrone states to take once daily on days 2,3 & 4 of chemo cycle. Didn't realize it was for nausea, that means I have 3 nausea meds.. yikes!! I need to somehow get my mind ready for this because right now I want to run as far away as possible :-(  You all are so brave....

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Ann-Where are you having your infusions? I'd be happy to share my experience with you but as others have said, everyone's response is different. They started me on Carboplatin + Pemetrexed and then after two infusions switched me to Cisplatin + Pemetrexed. Mine were also 21 days apart and I did not need a port. The nurses are very experienced and you will be well taken care of. Wear comfortable clothing and layers. Let me know if you have any other questions. 

 

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Roz....I will soon start on Carboplatin and Pemetrexed.  Why did they change you to Cisplatin?

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Hi, Roz, thanks for the response. I will be having treatments closer to home at the Seacoast Cancer Center in Dover NH. Why did they switch your meds from Carboplatin to Cisplatin?

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Hi, Ann.  I had this same combo for my first round of chemo.  Nausea was the big side effect for me.  I took steroids prior to treatment, and during treatment if I recall.  I also had to have 2 folic acid injections.  Super Doc prescribed Zofran and Compazine for me and allowed me to piggyback them to keep the nausea at bay.  Fatigue, neuropathy and chemo brain were my other side effects.  You might want to look at www.chemocare.com for additional info.

I didn't have a port for my first round and I'm a tough stick.  One of my infusions took 7 sticks to get a vein.  Chemo is really hard on your veins so if you have a chance to get a port, I would recommend it.  You can have it removed following treatment.  I had one put in last spring for my recurrence treatment and I've kept it.  I have it flushed monthly.  If I can go for any decent length of time without a recurrence, I'll have it removed.  For now, it's not an issue.

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Yikes! 7 sticks! Guess I will see how it goes, there wasn't any mention of a port... I started taking the folic acid today orally. I had asked on my other post about the steroid and wondering why my Doc doesn't have me taking it prior to treatment - only after treatment. I was prescribed the 2 additional nausea meds (same ones you mention) to take as needed. Thanks for the web site reference - I'll check it out!

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Something to watch for during chemo that no one else has mentioned is fever. Fever may be the only sign of serious neutropenia. This is low neutrophils, a kind of white blood cell that helps control infection. If neutrophils are low, you can get infections easily, not only from other people's bacteria, but from the ones we all normally have on skin and in the digesive tract. These infections  can become systemic and even fatal within hours if not treated. I had two instances during my chemo. One with cisplatin and the other with carboplatin and taxoterre (docetaxel). In the second one my neutrophils went to zero. Both times I had fever, I was advised to go to the ER immediately where they did blood tests and prescribed two antibiotics and I  reocovered quickly. After future infusions, I had neupogen, which prevented the white blood cell crash.

So if you develop fever during chemo, call your doctor or go to the ER right away. Don't wait, even if you feel OK.

Bridget O

 

 

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I can't remember what temperature was considered "a fever". I do remember that the time my neutophils were Zero, my temp was a few tenths of a degree below what they told me, but I felt "feverish" so I called and went in. So I suggest asking your doctor about temperature numbers, but also paying atttention to your body.

Bridget O

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Hi Ann,

I'm about to start on almost the same treatment protocol as yours, Pemetrexed but with Carboplatin. I've also been searching the forums for mentions of Pemetrexed but it seems this is the only thread that talks about. I'm really grateful for what I've learned from everyone about it. I will be taking it as adjuvant chemo treatment. 4 cycles, once every 3 weeks for 12 weeks.

Curious though is the difference between Cisplatin and Carboplatin because my Oncologist and I discussed Cisplatin as well but after an extended discussion she said she'd rather go with Carboplatin (it's a bit more expensive than Cisplatin but she says the side effects are less adverse).

Nice to know there's someone going through the same exact chemo journey as i am. and that there have been others as well! 

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