Just want to wish you all the best as you begin your Taxotere treatments. After your first treatment, you will feel so much more relaxed, as you will soon begin to see that each treatment begins to follow a routine pattern.
Getting through your first treatment is a HUGE step and then you will feel experienced after that. Honestly, I wish I could alleviate all the anxiety that each of us has felt before our first treatment. Looking back, I think I envisioned some sort of torture rack with about
a thousand needles being injected into my body --- instead, I needed to be visualizing a comfortable recliner, a supportive medical staff, a caring environment, snacks and drinks, and just one tiny needle inserted into my hand. It helps to talk to someone who has actually been through the experience first-hand. This forum has done a lot towards that goal, I feel.
Several of us have added to the suggested thread listed above that details a wide range of our collective experiences. We've all done our best to illuminate various aspects of chemotherapy treatments, from a first-hand point of view, trying our very best to be objective and honest. We've all done our best to relate experiences which wouldn't be listed in the "medical brochure" about
chemotherapy treatments found at the hospital ...
Over time, there have been advancements in making the chemotherapy treatments MUCH more tolerable than they used to be years ago. We definitely have a "Chemo Club" here with many members that have been through the experience. We ARE here to support you in any way that we possibly can.
I can honestly say, I went to work every single day. My appetite stayed intact, my energy level stayed fairly constant for the most part, and my side effects were minimal overall, with the exception of hair loss. I'm very mindful of others that have experienced higher levels of side effects, and realize I was very fortunate to have only mild side effects. I kept in touch with friends and family and kept up with my usual activities and hobbies and social events.
I felt very fortunate to be able to keep up a full schedule, but I also worked very hard to keep myself in shape during all those weeks of chemo treatments --- healthy foods, water consumption, good sleep at night, some exercise, staying in touch with the world, and not letting chemo treatments define my life --- you have to stay strong and stay determined through it all.
I knew I needed to pursue chemo treatments to take my rising PSA down, after realizing the hormone shots could only do a certain amount for me. A powerful statement that has stayed with me is that chemo is like loading up a double-barreled shotgun --- adding chemo to my other treatments was like adding a second BULLET to shoot at my cancer. That was a powerful image that kept me motivated through all those weeks of chemo treatments. Let that thought carry you through, because it's a powerful image ...
I was in the first wave of patients treated with the "early" chemo for advanced cancer following the FDA approval of this plan after the results of the CHAARTED study. Because of that, I was able to see that adding the chemo in addition to the hormone shots was bringing my PSA lower and lower with each chemo treatment. When my oncologist stated that the chemo is able to kill some of the cancer cells that the hormone shots can't ever kill, that was also a very POWERFUL message that has stayed with me and that I have shared with others. I know that researchers envision a day when there will be more tolerable treatments than chemo in the years to come, but this is what we have right now, and we need to consider using every weapon we have in the arsenal today ...
Chemo can be a tough road sometimes --- physically & emotionally --- we all acknowledge that. Lesson learned in my case: I soon found out that I was extremely allergic to Taxotere and also found out that the Taxotere trashed my immune system --- those are relatively RARE situations, fortunately. I NEEDED these chemo treatments to help me ... yet found that I was extremely allergic to the treatments. Despite those setbacks, my oncologist was immediately able to find strategies to overcome both of those situations for me and my treatments continued seamlessly. He added an extra infusion before each chemo treatment to overcome my body's allergic reaction to Taxotere and then later prescribed an extra injection of Neulasta to rebuild my immune system after each infusion. Those setbacks were quickly overcome and I continue to remain an ADVOCATE for early chemo treatments when the medical situation warrants, with your doctor's approval, of course. There are more of us on this forum joining the "Chemo Club" all the time ... and we are all here for you.
I'm a school teacher and my first chemo treatment began the first week of school --- great timing, right?!! My oncologist is VERY dedicated and watched over me with great diligence and I was able to keep teaching in an elementary school filled with hundreds of school children each day. Miraculously, I didn't even catch a cold or a fever during those months of chemo treatments.
I consider my oncologist a miracle worker, because he said it was HIS personal goal to maintain my health during chemo treatments so that I could keep teaching. He knew how important it was for me to be at school each day with my school kids. I have a lot of gratitude for all the care and support I felt from my friends, family, students, colleagues, and community members. It's important to have a support system during treatments --- find those people in your life who will support you --- and this forum is ALSO a tremendous avenue of support, 'round the clock, whenever you are in need.
Best of luck with your treatments --- please keep in touch with all of us !
Sent with my best,
Post Edited (ISU-CycloneFan) : 10/27/2015 1:46:33 PM (GMT-6)