Kattbird, starting a new thread....

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Tavish
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2272
   Posted 8/7/2005 6:33 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Katt-
I saw your questions under the thread related to Bernadette's tx plan, thought it was time for a new one.
 

Can you all tell me about this porta cath? Where does it stick out from? etc... I go for consultation on 8/17 to a Medical Oncology & Hematology office. I guess this is where they will tell me what kind of chemo and drugs I will get??? Does anyone know if they will prescribe med(s) for nausea right before the chemo starts?. I hate the thought of being sick.  Someone here mentioned about drawing blood each week. Is that as soon as chemo starts? And who normally does the bloodwork, the same place that gives the chemo? Sorry, for so many questions at one time. This trauma will be upon me before I know it. My underarm is still sore from last week's surgery.

Thanks

I did not have a cath so I can't answer those questions, but many others had one and will help. As for chemo and pre-meds, there are a lot of combinations out there, so no telling what your onc will use. I was given meds about 30 minutes prior to chemo, I took Kytril (anti-nausea) and decadron (steroid) before, and took them for 3-4 days after. I also was given Torecan, which I never needed. I took an occasional Ativan (anxiety) before the first chemo, just to help me relax. I also took it a little bit later to counter the restlessness i felt from the steroids. 

One thing to note is that the meds can be constipating, so pay attention to your body and ask the RN about a stool softener or something sooner rather than later if you think you may need it. There are meds to counter most side effects, so no need to sit and suffer in silence...ask for help.

As for nausea, I had none ever. Well, at about 10:00 pm only on chemo night, I got a wave of nausea for less than 5 minutes, threw up once, felt fine the rest of the time. It was very predictable for me. Everyone is different, so try not to expect the worst. As for blood work, oncs may vary on that, but I think it is pretty standard to get weekly blood draws. You may want a copy of your reports so you can learn your patterns and know when your low points are. I was advised to stay out of malls or movies during the low period for white counts.  We did these at my PCP's office and then I faxed the results to my onc.  That arrangement was because of 1. distance to my cancer center, and 2, my HMO that says I need to have certain things done at my PCP's office. It was easier for me anyway, so no big deal.

My advice is do what you need to for you, mentally and physically. Most of us agree that the fear of the unknown is much worse than the actual chemo, so hang in there....we'll be here with you!@

Lori



JUJU8872
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 349
   Posted 8/8/2005 10:28 AM (GMT -7)   

Gee whiz, no one has yet posted to this. Well, let me start. I had 4 A/C chemos and 12 Placitaxel (Taxol) treatments. At my sister's, who is a med tech, recommendation, I had a "port" implanted. It is a day surgery, they put you to sleep and you will go to recovery. Port was placed beneath the skin, on the opposite side of my b/c, just below the collar bone. There was a small tube that ran from this to a vein,  perhaps my caroid. Treatments and blood were drawn by the onc RNs from this port. They stick you through the skin in about the same place each time. It is virtually painless and easy. Removal is much easier, sleeping and takes about 15 minutes. I always wore a button front blouse for the treatment each time. If you have a lot of treatments, I recommend a port to prevent the possibility of painful sticks.

There is also another type of delivery system available, it requires maintenance, though with saline flushing, etc. It is easier to implant, but I live alone and was unable to maintain this type of system. Your treatment plan and your onc will help you decide what is best for you.

Hope this answers some of your questions.

JUJU

PS Your underarm will be sore for a while - 3 to 6 wks -- but it gets better each week. Remember your arm exercises.

Kattbird
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 243
   Posted 8/8/2005 2:52 PM (GMT -7)   

Sorry, I didn't mean for you to have to start a new thread. I was trying to avoid staring too many threads if it was something that's been discussed before.

My surgeon didn't tell me about any arm exercises!

So with IV chemo, I think I read someone else say to take a book?? or something to keep you occupied? You lay there for a long time? All I can think of is missing time from work.

 JUJU,(sorry, I don't know your real name) your 4 A/C chemos, how often were they? And 12 Taxol treatments, is that some kind of chemo also? And how often were they? I'm also trying to get an idea of what some of these things are. Gosh, there is just so much to know and learn. I would have never thought there was so much different treatment(s) and options as far as meds for side effects and chemo in general.  

I know that I won't get the same as everyone else, but at least I can get a general idea of what to expect or not expect. Thanks again for the info.

 


JUJU8872
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 349
   Posted 8/8/2005 4:00 PM (GMT -7)   
Sorry, Katt, the A/C chemos were 3 weeks apart, so that portion lasted 12 weeks. and yes, Taxol is also a chemo for those of us who have nodes involved. They were weekly. I can't remember if you had a lumpectomy or a mastectomy. I had a mastectomy with sentinel node and 5 positive nodes. This is why I did 2 chemos and the 36 radiation treatments. I believe with lumpectomy you have possibly a A/C and radiation. Anyone out there that can elaborate?

JUJU (Judy)

chantry31
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 188
   Posted 8/8/2005 4:15 PM (GMT -7)   

Hi! I understand about having lots of questions, cause I'm new to all of this too. My surgeon didnt give me any exercies either, so I looked some up on the net. Two websites were the BC Cancer Agency (British Columbia), @ www.bccancer.bc.ca and the American Cancer society @ www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/content/CRI_2_6x_Exercises_After_Breast_Surgery

Hope these help, and good luck!


There are no wrong turnings, only paths we did not know we were meant to take - Guy Gavriel Kay


Kattbird
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 243
   Posted 8/8/2005 4:37 PM (GMT -7)   
I had 3 nodes taken out but they were negative and I had a lumpectomy. I guess for the time being I should consider myself somewhat lucky??  I go on the 17th for a consultation from a diff Onc & Hematologist. Thanks for the link. I'll check it out.

Tavish
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2272
   Posted 8/8/2005 7:11 PM (GMT -7)   
Drats...I had a long post and was almost done and the AOL gremlins disconnected me.

First of all, NO apologies for questions or needing support! Before you know it, you'll be offering support too. When a thread gets too long, an important question or thought can be buried in it, so it is good to start a new post sometimes.

Yes, negative nodes is a very good thing and you are lucky!

I used to watch tv during chemo, but you may read or talk or knit...ot snooze. I did chemo on a Tuesday (just had 4 AC). With the hour drive, blood draw, onc appt, the whole thing took most of the day for me. The chemo itself was a couple hours. I drove myself for the second two, but it is good to let someone drive you till you know how you'll react. I felt fine when I got home, in fact, I went out for lunch twice (till I learned that toast and soup was better those days). Not that I felt sick, but I learned that the stomach needs gentle light foods that day.

As for missing work, wait and see,.....I did chemo on Tuesday. I worked from home a little on Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday and Friday I slept late and went in for a half day. I missed minimal work...so it is possible.

Taxol is part of the taxene (or taxane??) family...in my day, in 2000, it was mainly given for those with positive nodes, but sometimes negative node gals got it too. I am not sure what the protocol is these days.

As for stretches, no one told me either...they said it was not necessary with a sentinel node biopsy. Not true! I wished I had stretched out more, as I had tightness when reaching back for a while. But with some easy stretching on my own, it did the trick. I recall that ACS sent me some material with diagrams and tools for stretching.

Hang in there, you're doing great!
L&H,
Lori


chantry31
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 188
   Posted 8/9/2005 7:14 PM (GMT -7)   

Hi Katt, I guess we are both at the same stage. I just had my lumpectomy last Tuesday. Today I found out that all of my nodes (22 of them!!) were negative!! (Question for the more experienced out there - Isnt that alot of nodes to take out??) However, I was told I'd probably have to go through radiation first(4-6weeks, every day) and then start chemo (again, is this normal??). Although I wont know for sure until I see the oncologists.Until then I am just happy to recuperate from the surgery.  

Good luck

chantry


There are no wrong turnings, only paths we did not know we were meant to take - Guy Gavriel Kay


gma
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2921
   Posted 8/11/2005 7:18 AM (GMT -7)   
As crazy as it sounds I have heard of numbers from 13 to 25 when all lymph nodes are removed. I think the number varies according to how they are located. When you hear of lesser numbers like 3, the dr is probably doing a Sentinel Node biopsy, which means a dye is injected in the breast and the dye follows the lymph system pointing out the first few nodes.

A friend of mine had 23 of 25 nodes that were positive. She had a bone marrow transplant. She went several years without recurrence, then it came back in her nodes in her neck. But she lived over 12 years with a good quality of life after the transplant. With that many positive nodes I was amazed at how well she did for so long. She worked full time right up to the last couple of months with a great attitude.

I had 19 removed and all were negative. My daughter had about 13 removed and they were all negative. So that your 22 are all negative is great news.

Hugs MK

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