Jump to content
Claudia

Starting chemo on Tuesday

Recommended Posts

Hello Fellow Warriors.

So after meeting with my oncologist (who I love so far) and the brain MRI (which came back negative, thank God) I'm taking my stage 4 Squamous Cell Carcinoma to my first chemo treatment on Tuesday. I have been told that it will be Keytruda and Abraxane and will last about 4 hours. It seems to me that 4 hours is a long time. Is it? Needless to say I am scared of the treatment side effects but I want to kick this cancer's *ss so I in a weird way I am looking forward to it. I figure each treatment session is one session closer to getting healthier. I was wondering if anyone might have any advice to a chemo newbie. I know that we are all different and have different side effects to the drugs that are given.  Any words of encouragement or ideas to make this not as bad as I am imagining would be greatly appreciated. Thank you all for this wonderful forum and good luck to everyone.

Claudia 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Claudia,  4 hours isn't unusual. For some drugs a long infusion time reduces the possibility of side effects. Also, with some, they infuse medicaiton or fluids first for the same reason. Take a book  or something entertaining with you. You'll get through this OK

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I always took a small blanket some booties and an extension cord for my phone. They had the tv going but I preferred listening to music or visiting. They usually furnish blankets but a friend gave me a special one that was perfect for chemo days and during my days sitting around at home. I also freeze all the time. I know others will add to this but wanted to say go get kick cancers butt. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Claudia, hang in there girl.

First don’t get spooked. As you said everyone is different and everyone has a different reaction to chemo. My first time around I had 4 hour sessions once a week of Carboplatin and Taxol along with steroids to guard against any reactions to the chemo. The first couple of days I was pretty well wasted. I had some trouble with nausea and just a general lousy feeling times two. Unlike most people I gained weight instead of losing it. I suppose because of the large amounts of steroids I was receiving every Monday morning. I did lose a very small amount of hair. I had to go everyday for radiation which was pretty intense. Between the radiation and the chemo I was very tired all the time. We laugh now about the fact that my wife had to watch me pretty close or I would fall asleep and go head first into whatever I was trying to eat. Hopefully you will have the the same lack of bad reactions that I did.

Main thing is don’t over think it. It ain’t a lot of fun but you can do it and get through it. Be strong for you, take care of you, and believe in you. If you can do that it will all soon be behind you

                     Be strong, 

                                Ron

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Claudia-

You go girl!  Drink lots of water (coffee doesn’t count).  Like Paula I had my own warm shawl.  I went locked & loaded dressed in Lilly Pulitzer.  

Hang in there!

Michelle

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Rower Michelle,

It wasn't as bad as I had expected. I think I let fear get the better of me.  It was an all day thing. Got there at 10. Got home after 4. I will be going for quickie (1 hour) infusions on the Tuesdays in between my long days which will be every 3 weeks. Doc said 80% of patients who get what I'm getting have little or no side effects other than fatigue. I'm hoping to be one of them. I will be losing my hair which is extremely upsetting to me. I feel like that's the worst thing of all. I feel pretty good today. Just a little "off". Thanks for checking in. 

Health and happiness,

Claudia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Claudia,

Just read your posts here and wanted to join in and wish you the best!  As of yet, I have no experience with chemo, but we're all in the same boat fighting cancer, so it was good to read how you and others approach this and handle it.

Wanted to pipe in regarding losing your hair... I started going to a women's cancer support group that's been very helpful.  I'd say half of the women have lost their hair. Most wear little knit hats due to the cold weather right now and I think they look great... but they're even more beautiful when they pull their hats off and display their beautiful hair-less heads! Truly! Something just shines out of each of them (and not from a bald sheen).  One of the women stayed after the meeting to try on wigs the cancer center provides to women undergoing treatment.  She found one that suited her well - I couldn't even tell it was a wig - but I have to admit that I found her to be just as if not more beautiful without the wig.  I think I can understand how losing your hair will be upsetting, but if that is "the worst thing of all" as you've said, than that would be great and something you CAN manage. But it's like anything we lose in this battle... whether it be our hair, a breast, a lung, uterus, etc. - we feel like we've lost a part of our body. Something that belongs to us. We've lost it to an unseen enemy - cancer.  Some of these things we can't get back again. Your hair will return.  I've even heard some women say they liked the way their hair grew back in better than the way it was before treatment!

Hoping you continue to feel pretty good.  Sending you positive thoughts and best wishes.

Colleen

Edited by ColleenRae
typo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you ColleenRay for your thoughtful reply. I do appreciate your uplifting words.

So I ended up in the ER on Thursday with severe constipation and the worst abdominal cramps I've ever had (and I had a baby lol). They gave me pain med, fluids and I was finally able to go in the hospital. I was sent home with Lactulose. I can see that this is going to be a problem for me. I was wondering if anyone has any advice. Sorry about the subject of this message but I gotta know sooner than later. 

Thank you all, Claudia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Claudia-

No need to apologize!  We’ve all been in the ER for something chemo related.  

I was constipated afterwards & it’s a major issue on my oral targeted therapy.  Here’s what I’m doing to stay ahead of it but I still have issues.  Get some witch hazel cause the hemorrhoids will probably be next. Ugh!!

1.  Two cups of black coffee in the am

2. Morning & afternoon dose of Pecta-Sol (doesn’t taste great but also has cancer killing properties)

3. High fiber diet- track the fiber- 25 grams a day

4. Lots of water- I use Smart Water at least 64 oz per day 

5. Try to walk at least 20 minutes a day

6. 4 prunes a day

7. Miralax as last resort

Even after all of that constipation is still a side effect!!  Sometimes in acupuncture I get the needles in my belly.  Can’t tell if that one helps but worth a shot.  

Hope some of this is helpful.  Hang in there!

Michelle

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh & I forgot about my broccoli soup recipe-

3 tbs of olive oil

4-5 cloves of garlic 

1 cup chopped sweet onion

1 bunch of green onions

1 leek

1 cup chopped celery

1/2 head of cauliflower 

2 large bunches of broccoli 

Fresh flat leaf parsley

Fresh Thyme  

cover with low sodium organic vegetable broth

cook it up until it’s slight soft & blend it all together.  It freezes well. 

I have this three times a week. 

Bon Apetite

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Claudia, hope you are feeling better. I started losing my hair 2 weeks after I finished my infusions. I thought I didn’t care about my hair loss until it came time to shave it because it was everywhere. I think as women we are led to think our hair makes us more feminine. When I finally got my head shaved it was quite freeing. I didn’t shave down to nothing, I left about a quarter inch, it’s not coming out in clumps just an overall thinning and it’s still falling out. Just today at the grocery store there was a woman completely bald with nothing on her head, no scarf, hat, wig and she looked gorgeous. Don’t fret about your hair, you will probably love the fact that it’s one less thing to deal with and you will look fabulous. And it will grow back. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/16/2019 at 9:34 PM, Rower Michelle said:

Oh & I forgot about my broccoli soup recipe-

3 tbs of olive oil

4-5 cloves of garlic 

1 cup chopped sweet onion

1 bunch of green onions

1 leek

1 cup chopped celery

1/2 head of cauliflower 

2 large bunches of broccoli 

Fresh flat leaf parsley

Fresh Thyme  

cover with low sodium organic vegetable broth

cook it up until it’s slight soft & blend it all together.  It freezes well. 

I have this three times a week. 

Bon Apetite

 

 

Thank you Rower Michelle for this recipe. This sounds wonderful. I will definitely try this.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Claudia,

I lost my hair. I was initially a little upset about it but then realized that being bald in Texas in July wasn't a bad thing. I shaved my head in early July when it was all falling out but it started growing back fairly quick - mid-September.  I bought scarves and fake eyelashes to get me through it.  I even had a t-shirt that said "My oncologist does my hair."  There's a picture of that somewhere on this site. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Michelle,

I'm doing alright. I had a very emotional day yesterday as my hair was falling out at record speed so I had it buzzed and did the wig thing. Now that's its done I feel a little better about it and I try to remember that it will grow back. Actually it looks great and I plan to keep the cut and color when I have real hair. Much more positive today than yesterday. I actually laughed today. 

I am slowly crawling out of the deep hole that I have been in since my diagnosis. I am trying to stay positive and live the best I can with the side effects I have. Other than losing my hair my main problems seem to be stomach issues. I eat prunes every day (stewed are much better than dried) and lactolose every day as per my dr. I had my  3 drug 4 hour infusion today so I am hoping for a minimum of side effects. I sure hope it's working. 

Thank you so much for checking in on me. It makes me feel less alone and afraid. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Claudia-

I was so glad to see your post this morning.  You’re not alone & the LUNGevity family is here for you!  Even if you’re having a tough hour reach out & give us a shout.  We’ll help pull you through it. 

The side effects will subside. I found a new acupuncture place while my doc was on vacation & she put the needles in different places for constipation - viola!  Better than prunes!!!!  I’m giving my doc quite the lecture when he gets back- the Eastern Chinese Method  worked better.  😂 

Better days are on the horizon- the Beatles had it right when they said “Here comes the Sun”.  

Hugs! 

Michelle

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Claudia. Hopefully you are feeling ok today. Stay positive and strong. Keeping busy doing something that requires a lot of thought-it keeps your mind off of this LC thing. Thinking of you 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Claudia,

It was really nice to read your post and hear how you are... I'm so glad you are happy with your "new look" with the hair color/wig!  I am certain you look terrific and just hearing you say it made my day!

Glad to read that you actually laughed, too.  I know what you mean about being able to turn to this site for support - especially when you are feeling afraid and alone in this journey. I don't know what I would have done without so many of the caring (and informative!) individuals here.  I try to remember their strength and messages whenever I am feeling scared, less-than-optimistic, etc.  They are great role models. The cyber hugs you'll get here can actually be felt! :-)

Thinking of you and hoping each day gets easier and more positive for you ~ Colleen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×
×
  • Create New...