First Chemo treatment

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JLWP
New Member


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 17
   Posted 5/23/2005 5:42 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi There, 

I am going to my first treatment on Wednesday.  I was wondering if there is anything besides a book and some water that I should bring or anything I should do before I go?  I am just getting nervous about it.  I know the sooner I start the sooner I'm done but some how that is not so comforting right now.   
 
Judy

Tavish
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2272
   Posted 5/23/2005 6:01 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Judy-
Many of us will agree that the anxiety and fear of the unknown is worse than the treatment itself. At the center where I went, they offered beverages and crackers or muffins. I watched tv, others may nap or read or enjoy a good conversation.

I did AC and after the first one, went out to lunch. RN said eat light, and I learned that meant soup and toast, not a chicken sandwich. I found each treatment to be very similar in the time it took, the side effects, etc. Know that you will hear of a hundred side effects but you will probably only get a few of them. You'll want to drink lots of water and juice the first couple days, as the chemo can be toxic on the bladder. The pre-meds can be constipating, so take precautions at the first sign of trouble.

Chemo was on Tuesday for me, and around 10:00 each chemo night, I threw up. No nausea, just a little wave, and that was it. No nausea or vomiting at all the rest of the time. I was tired for a couple days but worked from home and went in to the office half days on THurs and Friday. Listen to your body...mine said to sleep. My onc encouraged exercise, so I walked a mile a day and I think it helped me to feel better and alert.

I developed acid reflux around Friday of each week and it lasted a few days...other than that, business as usual. Some tastes may change, I was not interested in coffee during chemo but drank tea instead. You'll see what works for you....

Hang in there! Get through that first one and it will be all down hill after you know what to expect. And if others want to pamper you, let them...

L&H,
Lori


JLWP
New Member


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 17
   Posted 5/23/2005 6:24 PM (GMT -7)   

Thank You Lori,

Somehow that makes me feel better.  I can be normal or sort of normal.  I have a 5 year old daughter who will take a lot of my energy.  She very scared about me losing my hair, she is afraid she won't recognize me.  I bought a wig and put it on for her but she is still worried.  Gosh what a worry bug family we are.  On the other hand I have an eight year old son who thinks it's funny that his mom will be bald!!

Thanks again

Judy


ardee
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Date Joined Sep 2003
Total Posts : 854
   Posted 5/23/2005 7:31 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Judy,

I'm sending prayers your way that you ease through your chemo treatments with a minimum amount of discomfort. I never threw up, and had very little nausea. My granddaughter was three, and I put my wig on to show her what I would look like one day. No trauma until my hair came in and she saw me without my wig and refused to come to me. LOL Never expected that!

Lori gave you some wonderful advice. You'll find your routine. And know that we're all here for you.

Hugs,
Rita


Tavish
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Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2272
   Posted 5/23/2005 7:56 PM (GMT -7)   

Judy-

Yes, there is a very good chance that you can have a very normal life during chemo!  I need to clarify though, that I have no kids and just had myself to take care of. Your kids will take some energy, but if you set your mind up that you can do it, it will help you lots. You may want to even let the kids sleep away the first night or 2 just to see how you feel, or arrange for a friend to come and hang out to help. Don't expect to need help, but prepare for it just in case...my advice, anyway.

I made up my mind that I was not going to feel sick, since the cancer never made me sick, why should I let the chemo take my health away? Sounds funny, but I was determined to keep a normal routine.  The hair loss was traumatic for a day or so, but like everything else, you buck up and carry on...you will be amazed at the strength you have, it blew me away that I could get through it.  You may let your daughter help shave your head when the time comes....let her take an active role and see you go from having hair to being bald, so it won't be a total shock. There are others here with kids who can help with advice on how to work with them and hair.  I have heard of some moms who let their kids draw on their heads to make it more fun.

You will get through this, we'll help you. One other thing, don't just sit and suffer! If you have any side effects that are hard to tolerate, talk to the doc or RN about it, they usually have something to counter the side effects.

L&H,

Lori



debbiR
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Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 730
   Posted 5/23/2005 8:04 PM (GMT -7)   

Hi Judy! Wow, I remember how frightened I was the week/night before my first treatment. I discovered that the fear and anticipation was worse than most of the side effects. I am a little odd but I ate McDonald's breakfast before each of my treatments and didn't get sick. I remember that the first time they gave my bendryl as a premed it totally knocked me out. Slept forever. lol I usually didn't sleep for the first 24 hrs after my treatment. The streiod premeds would keep me up. It was amazing all of the work that I accomplished during that time. I never threw up and wasn't constipated (just the opposite for me) I did learn to listen to my body and rest when it told me to. Judy, there is a med for almost every side effect that you might experience. Just don't be afraid to ask.

My dd and granddaughters lived w/ me when I was first diagnosed. When I had my head shaved, I showed my granddaughter. She looked at me, rubbed my head and said, "Nana, it's not bad but just wear your hat when my friends come over". lol I discovered that my family and friends accepted my baldness in the same manner that I did.

Hang in there. It really won't be as bad as anticipated. Remember, you have lots of friends here that will walk beside you on this journey.

Hugs....Deb 


 


JLWP
New Member


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 17
   Posted 5/23/2005 9:21 PM (GMT -7)   

 

Thanks so much everyone, your stories are really helpful and comforting.


gma
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2921
   Posted 5/24/2005 5:31 AM (GMT -7)   
My daughter had a very easy time of chemo, also. When she lost her hair, living in TX a wig was way too hot, so she wore a ballcap often. One night when she went to pick the kids up at day care, one of the other kids asked my grandson if that was his mother or his father. Christian very politely explained she was his mother and she had to take medicine that made her lose her hair. He was about six at the time. Another cute hair story. My grand daughter was behind my husband sitting in his chair and noticed he was getting very thin on top. She rubbed his head and said, "Don't worry, Grandpa, it will grow back!". She was only about three and we wondered what made her say that until we remembered her mother's hair had 'grown back'. You will do fine, we will be with you in spirit. Hugs MK


Kattbird
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 243
   Posted 7/18/2005 4:21 PM (GMT -7)   
When (whoever here) started chemo, did it take a couple of days before you may have felt ill, or whatever side effects may have effected you? My surgeon said most of her patients found if they did theirs on Wednesdays or Thursdays, by the weekend they would feel a little ill, but it gave them the weekend to recooperate so they went back to work on Monday feeling pretty good.

Tavish
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2272
   Posted 7/18/2005 5:52 PM (GMT -7)   
Katt, it varies widely from person to person, no 2 of us had the same experience. In my case, chemo was Tuesday. I felt tired Tuesday night and Wednesday, went to work half days on Thursday and Friday, I never felt sick, just a little off. I kept a normal life during chemo, working and doing my household chores, walking for exercise and socializing (skipped movies or malls during the time when my counts were low). It will depend also on what kind of chemo you have, dosage, frequency, etc.

After you get that first one down, you will have a good idea how to predict the others. For me, it was like clockwork....acid reflux at 5:00 on Fridays, etc. I knew what to expect once I got through the first one.
Hang in there...
Lori


debbiR
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 730
   Posted 7/18/2005 9:19 PM (GMT -7)   

Hi Katt! Like Lori said, the side effects are different for each person. I never threw up. I was never constipated..just the oppositie. One thing to remember is that there is a med for each side effect that you will experience. Don't be afraid to call your onoc and ask for something to help you. You will receive premeds, usually IV, before the chemo is started. Usually at least one of these will be a steriod. I think that one side effect that each of us can say we have in common is weight gain. Also, the first night I didn't sleep. I was awake for about 24 hrs. A side effect from the steriod. I sure got lots of work done during that 24 hr period but when I crashed, I crashed hard and slept for quite awhile.

The most important thing to remember is to learn to "listen to your body". It will tell you what it needs.

Hugs...Deb


 


Kattbird
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 243
   Posted 7/19/2005 3:36 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks again ladies for help. I talked to a dietician that the Amer Cancer society recommended. She said not to gain weight or really try to lose any while on Chemo, and I just read that online today. I printed a bunch of stuff out and I thought that was one of them, but I can't seem to find it. I think it increases the chance of it reocurring if you gain weight. I guess that may also depend on hiw much you gain.

BAK
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 44
   Posted 8/5/2005 2:36 PM (GMT -7)   
I liked this thread ......full of info. Hmmm...now I read this about weight. Well, my doc said most gain 7-10 lbs so not to worry. I hope he is right. I do plan to lose it once I am off the steroids and stuff.

I always sleep through my chemo now that I get benedryl before the taxol. lol It is hard to stagger out to the car but once I am out and about I am ok to drive home.

I also found out that you should not eat pizza just before your first chemo session, and that if I felt sick afterward that a McDonald's hamburger would help. Funny, huh?

Beth

BAK
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 44
   Posted 8/5/2005 2:43 PM (GMT -7)   
Oh, and I forgot to say.......where i go, you need to take socks and a sweater or something because it is cold there in the summer. And I LOVE the hot blankets they give me. I snuggle in the pillow and go to sleep, read, or watch the little personal TVs that attach to the recliners. There are BIG picture windows (well, glass walls I guess, that look out from the second floor, where the chemo room is, too so scenery is great as well. The last few times I was there around lunch and got free lunch (sandwich and fruit) and they always have soda, coffee, water, crackers, jello, and a few times cookies still warm from the oven! Yum!

And the staff is wonderful! So my chemo experience is not all bad. : )

Beth
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