We're here to support you, every step of the way as you consider chemotherapy treatments. Taxotere was first approved in 2004 for prostate cancer, but was used after other treatments had failed. Interestingly, Taxotere is derived from compounds found in California YEW trees and Taxotere has been included in the arsenal of weapons used against prostate cancer for over a decade. In recent years, after clinical studies such as STAMPEDE and CHAARTED showed survival advantage by using chemo treatments early in the course of disease for certain cases, the use of chemotherapy for advanced cases of prostate cancer has now moved to an "upfront" treatment.
Because of that move to an frontline treatment approach, there are more and more of us here who have joined what we informally call "The Chemo Club" --- in my case, I started chemo treatments shortly after diagnosis with advanced prostate cancer. Other comrades here have gone through the treatments --- past, present, and ongoing --- and we have supported, advised, and counseled each other over time.
While we all acknowledge chemo treatments can be a bit of a "Rocky Road" at times, many of us have found that we went through the series of chemotherapy treatments with fairly mild side effects, overall. Doctors HAVE worked diligently over time to reduce the side effects, such as fatigue and nausea. They have also formulated compounds to overcome allergic reactions to chemo, which are fairly rare --- and they have also formulated medications to boost suppressed immune systems --- in my case, I actually faced both of those situations, but my chemo treatments went along without a hitch --- and these antidotes left my side effects relatively mild, for which I am grateful to this day.
In my case, my medical oncologist watched over me carefully during the series of chemo treatments. I'm a public school teacher and it was my goal to continue teaching. With care and diligence, my oncologist watched over my lab levels and I taught every single day during the series of chemo treatments. He scheduled my chemo appointments for late in the day, therefore I missed very little time at school. Working in a public building with hundreds of school children, I knew I had to be proactive and take good care of myself --- hydrating myself each day with LOTS of water to help my body tolerate the chemo infusions, eating properly, washing my hands frequently to avoid flu and fevers, and exercising a bit each evening to maintain my health.
My chemo regimen was the typical "textbook" series of treatments --- a regimen of six total treatments, given once every 21 days, for a total of 18 weeks for the entire series. In my case, I started my treatments in August and finished them up in November, just to give you a personal example. It seems a bit daunting at first, but soon enough, you will have a few treatments under your belt --- and then the finish line is in sight after that. You have to stay determined during chemo treatments --- mentally, physically, and emotionally --- chemo IS chemo, after all --- but soon enough, you'll find that you're well on your way through the series of treatments. You're a soldier --- going onto a battlefield for a limited time --- a fairly short "tour of duty" and then you will return to your usual civilian life, so to speak.
During chemo, it's important for me to state that each of us needs to stay connected to friends and family. It's important to build a TEAM of support --- your TEAM becomes your doctors and nurses, your family members, your friends, your neighbors, your work colleagues, and people from your community. People are very supportive when you are going through treatments --- they understand and they want to help. The drawers of my teacher desk at school are crammed full of the cards, notes, and letters I received while I was going through treatments. Your team of support will form as you begin treatments --- and all around you these supporters will become your teammates, coaches, and cheerleaders --- and YOU will be the quarterback on your TEAM as your treatments continue, Don.
I have five friends who now share in my diagnosis --- they come from separate chapters in my life --- old friends from my hometown, one of my old college roommates, a church friend, and a work colleague. We have formed a tight bond and many of them have gone through chemo treatments, right alongside me. What I have learned over time is this: no matter what it takes, find someone who will be right there with you every step of the way during chemo treatments to check in with you and support you --- a confidante. It can be an old high school classmate, a fishing or hunting buddy, your golf partner, a work colleague, a church friend, your next-door neighbor, a family member, your old college roommate, or a poker club buddy, for example.
Chemo can be an effective weapon of attack for advanced prostate cancer. Over time, I witnessed my PSA climbing down with each subsequent treatment, to the lowest level I had ever achieved at that point. After chemo treatments were over, I then added ZYTIGA to my treatment plan, which helped bring my PSA to the lowest level I had ever achieved since diagnosis. I've remained on ADT hormone shots the entire time through all of my treatments, ever since I was diagnosed.
It's important to remember that chemo treatments can attack the residual cancer cells that ADT hormone shots can't fully attack. There are always those notorious, stubborn, hormone insensitive cancer cells that remain while taking ADT hormone shots. That's where chemo treatments can come into the gunfight ---chemo treatments add another bullet to a double-barreled shotgun to attack the cancer. For friends of mine just starting chemo, I tell them to visualize a Winchester repeating rifle from the Old West --- if you're undergoing six chemo treatments, it's like loading up the Winchester rifle and shooting at your cancer six times, in rapid succession ... bang, bang, BANG ... bang, bang, BANG !
We have many fellows here who have undergone chemo treatments in recent times. Each of us have a story to tell, and that's why it's important to have a range of respondents to your post. The decision to undergo chemo treatments should be done after careful consideration and consultation with your medical team, of course. Once the decision is made, your doctor will watch over you carefully and monitor your lab levels to maintain your best level of health as your treatments continue over time.
For those of us here who have joined the "Chemo Club" --- I think we all feel that it's vital to say that it's important to stay interested in your usual hobbies, interest, pastimes, and social activities. While there will be times when you will need some extra rest and relaxation, it's important to keep living life --- many of us here kept pursuing full-time careers while undergoing chemo and kept setting daily goals and kept attending social events throughout our course of treatments.
A powerful philosophy can be summed up as you ARE undergoing chemo treatments, but that does NOT mean that you are a "CHEMO VICTIM" at all. Our collective message from this band of brothers here on this website would be: KEEP LIVING LIFE TO THE FULLEST EXTENT, even while going through treatments.
Don --- several of us here worked over time to create a first-hand, "down in the trenches" account of our chemo experiences to share with our fellow comrades here who would be starting chemo treatments. I'd like to invite you to read the thread we created, as I feel it would be helpful and informative and insightful for you, based on your post from above.
To find the thread we created, simply use the search bar at the top of your screen and type in the title of the thread which is: "TAXOTERE SIDE EFFECTS?" and this will lead you directly to the thread. The thread was started by one of our members, Madeline Smith.
Another way to locate the thread is to search back through the archives and it will be found as last updated on March 13, 2016. This gives you two different ways to locate the thread.
We're here to support you through your treatments, Don. The "Battle Brothers" and "Battle Sisters" who check in here 'round the clock, 365 days a year, are here to encourage you and support you, as you forge ahead into your series of treatments.
I want to wish you all the best, and invite you to check out the above-mentioned thread as a way to read the collective experiences of our band of brothers here who officially joined "The Chemo Club" ---
Sent with all my best, from across the miles,
"Cyclone Fan" From Iowa State University
PSA At Diagnosis In Year 2013 : 138
Initial Diagnosis: Advanced Prostate Cancer, With Metastases In Both Lungs
Age At Diagnosis: 48 years
ADT Treatments: LUPRON, FIRMAGON, and currently ZOLADEX
Subsequent Treatments: Chemotherapy Treatments (TAXOTERE) & now ZYTIGA
Additional Medical Consultant: Dr. Eugene KWON - Mayo Clinic
Current PSA: Consistently < 0.50, With Treatments Ongoing
Post Edited (ISU-CycloneFan) : 4/17/2016 5:07:30 PM (GMT-6)