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Old 08-19-2007, 06:37 PM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2007
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kalsmom HB User
How long is / was your chemo?

I'm just curious is there is an average or if it is based specifically on what type you have and what stage you are in?

How long was or is your chemo ?

What side effects did you feel and for how long?

Thanks. I figure since I can't get any info from the drs yet I can at least pump you guys for your info...ha ha.

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Old 08-20-2007, 05:08 AM   #2
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Re: How long is / was your chemo?


You are funny. Smiles.

It is a hard question you are asking... hard because answers are going to vary unbelievably and you won't really have an answer in the end!

Chemo is administered as a 'protocol.' Chemo is just a generic term like 'medicine'. If a single chemo is given, it is titled by its chemical name. If combos are given, it is shortened to an acronym. I had the MAID protocol. This is Mensa, Adriomycin, something and Decadron. Can't remember the "I" chemical. Each individual serves a differnt purpose. Sometimes one chemical potentiates another chemical. Like regular medicines, each has its own side effects. And each chemical prescribed varies as to the cancer... same as diferent meds are used for different illnesses.

The way chemo is administered varies greatly also. For me, it was 5 full days of chemo continuously through IV and portacath and had to be in the hospital 24/7 for those five days. A portacath is a device surgically implanted and used to take blood samples and administer some types of chemo. Mine was implanted in my upper right chest area. I have read now that it can also be implanted in the upper arm area. The surface of it is under the skin. For me, the portacath had to be used because of one of the chemos... it lead directly to the heart and had to be administered this way, but I can not remember exactly why. ( nice to forget some details actually!). Some people take oral chemo... like a pill and do this at home like taking medicine on a certain schedule. Some go to the oncologist's office once a week and have a 'pus'. This is a process of taking chemo through a nedle and having it slowly pushed into a vein . Takes anywhere from 5-15 minuts to have it 'pushed' in.

Side effects vary just as greatly. The short terms ones like nasuea, loss of appetite, achiness and stuff generally show up on the second or third day after dosing. Lots of medicines to combat those symptoms! General fatigue begins after the first round of chemo and kind of buildss we go along. Loss of hair varies greatly. For some chemos, it is not a side effect. My mom had thinning hair only. I went bald.... on schedule and in one swoop. I also lost eyebrows and all hair like that. For me it was predictable. I was told it would happen after the third treatment and that is exactly what happened. Three days after the the third treatment it just all came out in clumps. MAID is a very, very harsh protocol. After that third treatment, I also lost sense of taste and sense of smell. These senses returned eventaully when all chemo was stopped. It was frightening to discover them gone, but can occur.

These are the best words I ever heard concerning chemo that made me understand whhy I was going through all the stuff I had to go through, and they came from a caring nurse:

Sometimes, Honey, we have to make you sicker in order to make you bbetter."

It helped me have a better attitude about what was happening. Give these words to your son when the time comes. Keep them planted in your own head, also.

So, kalsmom, a simple question with no simple answer, huh? Chuckles.

Connected with care

Old 08-20-2007, 11:35 AM   #3
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Suzi Q HB User
Re: How long is / was your chemo?

I agree with reachout. There are so many variables. I have been on for different chemo treatments and had pretty different results with each. I was first on carboplatin and taxotere and it was by far the ahrdest one for me. I was very nausous, achey, very fatigued, weak, weight loss, and I lost all my hair. I did one 4 or 5 hour treatment every 3 weeks and believe me it took me that whole time to recover.

Then I was on Topotecan. I think that was the one that I had once a week for 3 weeks then a week off and then repeat. I wasn't as sick and my hair started to grow back by I had issues with my bowels and lots of fatigue.

then I was on another drug for a short amount of time with similar side effects

lastly I was on doxel. I had the mostly had issues with fatigue and nausuea again but I also had this constant weird taste in my mouth .

I was also told the "sometimes you have to get sicker to get better" It is very true with cancer specifically.

Good luck
Suzi Q

Old 08-20-2007, 11:52 AM   #4
Join Date: Jul 2007
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kalsmom HB User
Re: How long is / was your chemo?

Thanks guys yeh I know everyones situation and treatment was different and such but I just wanted a general consensus on each of your experiences with it just for reference.

I'm a little confused. Does chemo kill your wbc's? I've read alot about ppl getting their levels and being low and having to take nupagen before chemo is that pretty common or only with certain kinds? I see some ppl have had to have blood transfusions or get blood to help with that too. I thought you only had that low immune system thing before a bone marrow transplant....but maybe that is with chemo? Anyone know? If you did take Nupagen were those for ya? Don't worry I'm not "projecting" I mean I pretty much know we will have to do chemo just don't know how long or when it'll start. I'm just gathering stories and advice / opinions / experiences, etc. I have also read that they have several great meds for nausea now too. Plus I have read that lavender essential oil works good for nausea too! Read that from a mom of a cancer kid. She put it on cotton balls and placed it in her room and it helped alot. I already have some of that just in case.

Old 08-20-2007, 02:26 PM   #5
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Re: How long is / was your chemo?


The shots of nupogen... yep, I had to get those. I would have ten to fifteen days of one shot a day until my counts came back up to an acceptable level. That's when I would be 'ready' for the next round of chemo. Some months were harder than others to get them back up. However, my mom never had to have them nor many of my friends. All depends on rthe chemo. yes, the chemo can knock your counts totally out of normal ranges.

I also believe in aromatherapy and it was actually used on me in the hospital. Lavendar is a soothing scent. Do some research on aromatherapy for illness. Also apricots are a good thing to eat going through chemo.

It is good you aare preparing. evrything we can do to help ourselves (or sadly, your boy) helps us through the whole ordeal.


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