Your Experience with Chemo

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Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 69
   Posted 5/16/2005 8:19 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Ladies,
I know that everyone reacts differently with chemo, depending on the type and your own body.  But please share with me what your experience has been like.

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 146
   Posted 5/16/2005 8:34 AM (GMT -6)   
I just had my second chemo this past Thursday.I've found I tend to get tired between days 3 and 6.They give you naseau meds. that seems to work quite well for me.I did have some issues with constipation, and then the other extreme the first time.Happy to report not a problem this time.I'm doing dose dense(every 2 wks.) AC.I finally had to shave my head yesterday-it was really coming out.My scalp is a bit tender, and I believe that will go away when the stubble falls out.Not too much fun so far, but it really has been doable for me.
I know everyone responds differently, and I"ll be praying you do well.
Best Wishes

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2272
   Posted 5/16/2005 9:45 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Randi-
THe chemo experience seems to be highly individual and unique. Try not to expect that all of ours will be yours, but preparing for some side effects will help.

I did AC every 3 weeks. Each time was a carbon copy. I ate lunch afterwards and threw it up at about 10pm that night. I learned that soup was a better lunch on chemo day. But other than that, I had no nausea at all. I did feel tired and slept more for the first couple days. Seems there are meds to counter most side effects and more meds to counter those effects. Yes, the pre-meds can be constipating. Ask the RN about taking a stool softener during the week. It helped me tremendously when I did.
I had chemo on Tuesday and took off work on Wed, then did a half day on Thurs and Friday. I never felt bad, just not always like myself. By 5:00 on Friday, the acid reflux set in and stayed a few days, so I took Pepcid. I used Mylanta for that too, and learned it can cause the use sparingly. I learned that salami and pizza are very bad foods to eat when having reflux issues, and I learned that bland diet like eggs and cottage cheese worked well.
I kept a bottle of Purell hand sanitizer at my desk and in my purse to try and keep germs away. I avoided malls and movies during the period when my counts were at their lowest, and had no other real lifestyle changes.
My onc advised exercizing, esp during the week of chemo, and it did help my energy and feelings of normalcy. I walked a mile a day and it felt good.
On Thursday, my mint gum and water tasted like metal, and lasted for 2 days. My voice faded those days too, which was odd.
I never got mouth sores, never needed injections and never had any real issues.
I took a little ativan to counter the jitters from steroids, and then needed ambien to sleep. Insomnia is common during chemo.
Everyone here will have a different situation, but just know that it can be very tolerable.
I found the idea of coffee was horrifying and I drank tea instead. For some reason, I had trouble eating a bagel for breakfast and switched to English muffins.

Hang in there!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 730
   Posted 5/16/2005 1:20 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Randi: I had 4 rounds of A/C -  every 3 weeks. I never threw up. I was NEVER constipated, just the opposite. There were pills that I took to counteract that. I was extremely tired. The night after chemo I usually didn't sleep as the premeds kept me awake. I didn't have mouth sores. I would stop at McDonald's on the way to chemo and have a sausage biscuit and a diet coke to eat on the way. My taste buds did change. I had to find a different brand of toothpaste other than the one that I had used for years. I cooked everything w/ onion in it. I found out that if I used plastic forks and spoons I didn't get the metal taste. I also didn't drink anything that was in a can...soda, juice, etc. I was very careful not to be around anyone w/ a cold or the flu if possible and avoided crowds. My family and friends were more careful usually than I was. Chemo is very doable. It reacts differently in each person. Just remember that there are meds to help counteract everything.

Lynnie the Pooh
New Member

Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 5/16/2005 5:25 PM (GMT -6)   
Well it's been 8 years since I did the chemo,but it seems like yesterday.I did get mouth sores,and couldn't eat anything spicy. I never could be alone in the house,it seemed I would panic and think  too much.My doctor told me not to walk or exercise,to save my energy.I had a blood transfusion about half way through the 4 months,and had to go to the hospital over night.I was tired,couldn't read (my favorite past time)because I couldn't concentrate.I visited people or had them visit me every day,trying to have someone around me all the time.I hated bed time when it would get dark,scarey thoughts came then.Only with God watching over me did I come through this.I will be praying for all of you.You can do it.

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2004
Total Posts : 141
   Posted 5/16/2005 11:58 PM (GMT -6)   

8 years ago, I did 4 rounds of A/C.  It was bad, I vomited a lot, had mouth sores, back hurt, head hurt and I felt HORRIBLE.

Last year, I had 1 round of A/c and couldn't tolerate it.  Then, I took 6 rounds of Taxotere.  It was so much better. I never got sick, about the fourth day, I was exhausted, sometimes ran a fever but compared to the first time.  It was pretty good. I have to take cortisteroids and I gained a lot of weight which I am finally beginning to lose after 8 months.

Lost hair both times but both times it has come in really curly and pretty.  Pretty expensive perm, if you know what I mean.

Teresa King

Jeremiah 29:11 - "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."


Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 1090
   Posted 5/17/2005 5:04 AM (GMT -6)   
I had A/C and I had a three day window after treatment where I could eat anything I wanted(I took treatment in Philadelphia and stopped at Pats Cheese steaks and ate a whole one) and then it ended and I had to watch everything I ate. Most meat took on a new flavor, I like to describe as suck on iron pipe. My onc. told me to take a bit of Phillips Milk of Mag. to keep things going. I took a bit the first couple of days, then I found an apple a day did the job. I drank lots of cranberry and something mix, because someone told me my kidney would thank me for it. I had a cancer that required you take A/C until the cancer was reduced as much as possible. Surgery was next and then Tax. and Rads. I have to admit on double treatment days I was dragging my pink tail feathers a bit. I also kept purell with me and used it all the time. If I touched something without gloves outside my home I used it. My onc. said the most dangerous thing out there was a shopping cart. Never use a shopping cart and touch your keys or your car until you use purell. All those wonderful little darlings are just working so hard to share thier germs with you on that handle. It was not until he mentioned this that I realized how many children teeth on that handle with their nose running. Love
How wonderful it would be to see Angels where there are only clouds. How sad it would be to see clouds where there are Angels.

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 239
   Posted 5/17/2005 1:22 PM (GMT -6)   
Randy,i just had my 4th chemo treatment.The doctor said by the fourth one your usually wiped out(tired).They give me a steroid and zofran for nauses for three days after treatment but that wasnt enough so i take ativan and it helps with nauses also.i cant eat spicy foods .I take zantac 150 twice a day for reflux.Have lots of scarves on hand,their my best friend right now. Good luck to you,Hugs Tammy

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2004
Total Posts : 826
   Posted 5/17/2005 2:41 PM (GMT -6)   
My chemo wasn't that bad.  I did have nausea, but the meds helped.  That lasted about 3 days after treatment.  My tastebuds changed and my sense of smell.  These side effects were during the first round, which was FEC.  It made me very tired, too, but only once did my blood count go down.  Taxotere didn't really effect me much at all.  Never got tingly fingers or toes.  I managed to avoid all colds and flu that were going around at work. 
I had my last chemo 3 weeks ago and am feeling back to normal.  YIPEE!!
L & H, 

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