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Shelkay1

Chemo Questions

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I'm scheduled for a left lower lobectomy in 2 weeks; followed by chemo. I think I'm more scared of chemo then the surgery. My doc says 4-5 rounds, but nothing is certain until after pathology report following the lobectomy.

What do I need to know & what questions should I be asking about chemo. Does everyone loose their hair? How far apart are treatments? Do some make you a lot sicker than others? Are there some that have better track records for no-reoccurance then others?How do they decide what to use?

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Hi Shelkay1,

I think it's usually a standard treatment guideline they follow that determines which chemo they give. I didn't have surgery so I'm not sure what the protocol would be for post surgery chemo. Someone else here will likely know. But I did have 4 rounds of platinum based chemo. Three of the rounds were Cisplatin and Alimta and one round of Carboplatin and Alimta. I had it once every 3 weeks. I didn't lose my hair. Bought myself a wig and head wraps thinking I would- but I didn't end up losing it!  I found the chemo was pretty predictable. I would feel crappy for like 3 or 4 days, then I felt fine the rest of the time. So really I just planned my errands and things around the bad days.  Everyone seems to react differently to it though. 

Once you know for sure if you'll be taking it, and if so- which chemo they intend to use, someone will be able to give ya more info I'm sure.  

Try not to worry! Easier said than done I know. 😫

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I had eight rounds of Chemo first six was with radiation the last two were full dose and lost all my hair  lol, now growing back after eight weeks.

There are other side effects all different for each individual but they are out there for sure.

Bob

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Had 4 rounds of Cisplatin/Alimta. Lost about 1/3 of my hair. So, it just thinned and the texture became finer. Finished a year ago and same as it always was now. I believe it's the Taxol drugs that cause you to lose all your hair although everyone IS different. There are various side effects and you won't know yours until your first round. They will remain the same each time, but I did have a cumulative effect where each round was more intense version of the same. Once you know what yours are there will be those on here who have had them, gotten through them, and will be glad to do all they can to help you do the same. There have actually been some who barely experienced any side effects at all on strong chemo. Just a roll of the dice. You don't know til they land. 

Judy M

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We all react to chemo differently.  Drugs that didn't bother me sent others to bed.  I had four rounds of Cisplatin and Alimta following my lobectomy. My biggest issue during that round of chemo was nausea and it was well controlled.  I also had 8 rounds of Carboplatin and Taxol.  I had no nausea, but I lost all of my hair.  Like most of us starting chemo, I was a little apprehensive to lose my hair, but it was fine.  I lost it in early July and it started growing back within just a few weeks.    

The number and frequency of chemo sessions will depend on several factors so that should be determined following your lobectomy.  For example, during my first round, I had four sessions with 3 weeks between treatment.  For my second round, I had 6 weekly treatments, then a 3 week break, and then 2 more treatments 3 weeks apart.  

Once you know what drugs you'll receive, check out www.chemocare.com - it's a wonderful resource for drugs and side effects.  The site is run by The Cleveland Clinic. You should have some idea of possible side effects and you can work with your medical team to minimize them as much as possible.  

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Shelkay 1,

I agree with what everyone else has said. Seems like we all react to chemo differently so you are better off not expecting to react in a particular way. Your oncologist should tell you what to expect in terms of side effects. You really won't know until your body tells you. Certain chemo drugs do result in hair loss (such as Taxol). I had my surgeries prior to chemo. Keep updating us on what the results are after the surgery. That will most likely determine next steps and which chemo drugs they will suggest.

Best of luck with your surgery!

 

Ro

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BTW, my first surgery was removal of my left lower lobe using the VATS surgery. I was out of the hospital in 3 days.

 

Sending you my best!!

 

Ro

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Thanks everyone for answering some of my questions. I looks like I'll really not know a lot more till I know exactly what drugs they plan on using & how my body reacts to them. One thing I am learning is about a "round",  I thought each round was a treatment; now I understanding each round has multiple treatments. I've also learned to tell them I want a port; I have terrible veins. My nervousness about the upcoming chemo has not abated, but knowing I've got support from you all who've been there before me is a huge help. I meet with the surgeon tomorrow to make sure my most recent infection is cleared up & surgery is 9/14.

Shelby

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Definitely get a port.  I didn't have a port during my first round and it was awful.  One chemo took 7 sticks to get started.  I haven't used my port since last year, but I'm not getting rid of for a while.  We use it for my scans because I have terrible veins, too.

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