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Old 02-02-2007, 02:05 PM   #1
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Question Chemotherapy Drug Questions

Hi Everyone.
Well, saw the oncologists yesterday and I FINALLY start chemo on the 15th.
The plan is to use Carboplatin and Taxol, once every 3 weeks. (For those of you who don't know me, I have Stage IV NSCLC)
So here's my first of many, many questions: Does anyone here have first hand experience with these drugs? And if so, what was you experience with them? You know...side effects, how you felt, did the shrink the tumors, and how long did it work for, before you had to try some other chemo drugs?
ok, I guess that's five questions, but it's all I could think of right now.
The one thing that really scares me is vomiting and allergic reactions. (I've thrown up once in 30 years and get allergic reactions to lots of meds.)
Thanks for any info at all!
Hellas

 
Old 02-02-2007, 03:48 PM   #2
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Re: Chemotherapy Drug Questions

Hi,
I'm a newbie on these boards and found your post and thought I'd reply. My husband has stage 4 lung cancer and has just finished his 3rd cycle of chemo with Carboplatin and Taxol. My husband felt tired after each treatment but other then that he didn't have any reactions to it, like vomiting or anything. The chemo didn't shrink the tumours and they didn't grow either. My husbands ocologist is now going to try radiation treatment. I don't know if this is any help to you. I hope it is. Good luck.

lubby

 
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Old 02-02-2007, 04:02 PM   #3
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Re: Chemotherapy Drug Questions

Faith,

My mom had carboplatin and Taxol as her first line chemo. Like you she got it every 3 weeks. I think it took about 3 hrs. They gave her other meds so no she did not get sick from it but it did leave her pretty fatigued at times and it did wipeout her immune system . She had 4 rounds and the doctor was happy with the shrinkage so gave her a 2 month break and she just never got any energy back and was running a low grade fever so I insisted on testing for a urinary tract infection and a pneumonia and she had both. ( that is when she got switched to Iressa then Tarceva).We had been careful while on the chemo we kept her out of public places and she gave up salads and raw fruits and vegetables that could not be peeled which was a big bummer for her yet she still got sick ( with later chemos she ate salads, fruit what ever and was out in public alot but did not get sick so go figure) While she was fatigued she still did manage to do some things as the fatigue was not as bad as the fatigue from Gemzar and Taxotere. She did develope neuropathy in her arms, hands, legs and feet and that was a bit painful until we talked her into starting some pain meds the day before chemo and for a few days after chemo then it was more annoyong then painful. She did loose all her hair but not at first it did take awhile.I know it was a rough chemo but it was not as bad as she had imagined it would be.

I will send lots of extra prayers and thoughts your way and be thinking about you on the 15th. Big Hug! JanMarie

 
Old 02-03-2007, 04:06 AM   #4
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Re: Chemotherapy Drug Questions

Hi Lubby And JanMarie
Thanks for the info. From the sounds of this chemo combo, it doesn't sound as though it has much effect on the cancer. That's rather discouraging.
JanMarie, was your mother instructed NOT to eat raw veggies? Just wondering as I too like eating them that way. They haven't given me any instructions or restrictions yet, so was just wondering? All they said was to notify them asap if any sign of infection occured.
Thanks for the respones.
Faith

 
Old 02-03-2007, 12:35 PM   #5
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Re: Chemotherapy Drug Questions

Hi Faith,

I had that combo and I've been cancer free for 15+ months. I had surgery beforehand so there was no tumor to shrink, but I still feel it wiped out anything that may have been left over. What I found encouraging about this combo was something I had read in Lance Armstrong's book of survivor stories. There was a woman that was stage 4, told there was no hope, and she decided to take part in a clinical trial. The combo was carboplatin and taxol! She had been cancer free for four years when she wrote her story.

The only thing that was discouraged when I was doing chemo and recovering from surgery was the drinking of alcohol and use of antioxidants. After I was found to be cancer free there were no restrictions.

While I was going through chemo the only side effects I had was fatigue, hair loss and some neuropathy in my toes. I'm not so tired anymore, I have some hair and my feeling is slowly coming back in my toes. All in all, I'd say it was a fair trade for getting rid of the cancer!

Stay positive and I'll keep you in my prayers,
Cindy

 
Old 02-03-2007, 05:27 PM   #6
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Re: Chemotherapy Drug Questions

Faith, Yes my mom's oncologist said that this chemo was going to wipe out her immune system and she should avoid crowds, avoid eating any raw fruit or veggies that could not be peeled, sort of the same restrictions one has when one travels to third world or developing nations.

I think the same applied to the Taxol/ gemzar combo but the doctor never said it that time probably thinking she already understood that but because he did not say it mom ate what ever she wanted and went wherever she wanted with no ill effects. She would be a little more careful about such things when a lab test would say her white count was way too low.But the minute they started coming back up she was back to eating her salads!

I will be thinking of you as you get your chemo on the 15th, JanMarie

 
Old 02-04-2007, 01:34 PM   #7
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Re: Chemotherapy Drug Questions

Like Cindi my husband had surgery first and then the Chemo. He went every week for three weeks and had the fourth week off for a total of 16 treatments. he was tired for a few days after each treatment and he lost his hair (which has since grown back better then ever)He also lost some toe nails but they have grown back also. During treatments he would have lab work done prior and a few times he had low white cell count or low red blood cell count if they weren't to low he would have his treatment but once or twice he had to have a shot and skip that treatment. All in all he did well and worked through out all his treatments.Just make sure they give you anti nausia drugs to take after every treatment for a few days and you will do well.

 
Old 02-04-2007, 03:18 PM   #8
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Re: Chemotherapy Drug Questions

Thanks Cindi, JAnMArie and lorriem
Great to have so many people with info on this.
I found that story Cindi, or the survivor from the lance armstrong site.
JanMaire, well I guess I can eat steamed veggies too, and not a big fan of salads in the winter either. I can adjust!!
Lorriem, how soon does the hair fall out? Just curious. Its cold here in New England this time of year!!! HaHa! Oh and I already told them I would rather die than throw up so they HAD to prevent nausea/vomiting!!!
I do take vitamins, so not sure about those antioxidents someone mentioned.
They haven't given me any instructions, so guess I'll find out eventually on that. For now, I'll keep taking what I'm taking and exercise when I can. It makes me feel like I might have a little control here!
GOd Bless Everyone!
Faith

 
Old 02-04-2007, 05:12 PM   #9
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Re: Chemotherapy Drug Questions

I guess I should have been clearer about the antioxidants. While antioxidants occur naturally in some foods, some people take antioxidant supplements. Antioxidants promote cell growth and don't distinguish between good cells and bad cells. While undergoing chemo, I didnt' drink black or green tea, which are very high in antioxidants, basically, if something advertised it was high in antioxidants, I avoided it. I still ate fresh fruit and veggies (which I had always peeled anyway), which also have antioxidants.
I understand what Janmarie is saying about avoiding salad bars and things that can't be peeled and I'm sure that is very good advice. I was extremely susceptible to germs while undergoing treatment. If you haven't had a flu shot you may want to ask your oncologist about getting one.
At any rate, ask your oncologist as the tide may have turned as far as antioxidants go.
Also, my hair started falling out after three weeks. I got tired of the clumps and realized it wasn't going to stop so after about a month I shaved it. I had my treatment in the winter as well...a knit hat works wonderfully!
Oh, and if you are a tea drinker, mint tea works wonders at keeping nausea away. I would fix a cup as soon as I got home and I never got nauseaus! And drink lots of water while you are having your treatment.
OK, I've rambled enough. Take Care!
Cindy

 
Old 02-04-2007, 06:38 PM   #10
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Re: Chemotherapy Drug Questions

Faith
My husband was told that his hair would fall out so we had it cut in a buzz cut just prior to starting Chemo after it started to get thinner we had it all shaved off. You should see the collection of caps and hats he has now.Funny thing happened right after Chemo ended we noticed that he also lost his eye brows. I don't know why we didn't notice that sooner but they also grew in fast. When your hair grows back it does come in thicker and my husbands hair came in so wavy plus it was darker.

 
Old 02-04-2007, 07:12 PM   #11
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Re: Chemotherapy Drug Questions

My eyebrows and lashes fell out about three weeks or a month after chemo ended. It was in one fell swoop, I got out of the shower, dried my face and they were gone. They did grow back quickly though, within a week or two.
And, the hair does come in thicker. Mine actually has a wave to it and my hair was poker straight from the day I was born!

 
Old 02-05-2007, 09:53 AM   #12
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Re: Chemotherapy Drug Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by CKP View Post
My eyebrows and lashes fell out about three weeks or a month after chemo ended. It was in one fell swoop, I got out of the shower, dried my face and they were gone. They did grow back quickly though, within a week or two.
And, the hair does come in thicker. Mine actually has a wave to it and my hair was poker straight from the day I was born!
CKP the two pluses of Chemo is it kills cancer cells plus you end up with beautifull hair.

 
Old 02-05-2007, 12:41 PM   #13
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Re: Chemotherapy Drug Questions

My mom's hair also had been very straight and she spent tons on perms well after her chemo she too had the wave in her hair that she had always wanted and talk about soft hair! Hers was a bit slow to grow in as she was put on Tarceva and that slows the growth down. Her hair loss was complete eye brows ,eye lashes, everywhere !

Faith I never thought that at 80 yrs old my mom's hair loss would bother her so much but it did, maybe it is the fact that the world now knows you have cancer? My Cousin and his wife came to visit.A few years earlier he lost his mom, my mom's sister to ovarian cancer. My mom hated her wig as it was hot and she made some remark so they said " oh take it off we saw Marilyn bald all the time and it did not bother us" so she did and she enjoyed the visit with them much more. To be honset she looked ok bald as she had a very nice shaped head!

On the same note I was working with a 49 yr old lady in the ER one night she was a breast cancer patient and she commented on how hot her head was from her wig so I said " take it off,no one here will think anything of it and the young male techs will be envious as they have to shave their heads and several of them do" She took it off and her beautiful blonde hair was already in the process of growing in but was still very short but she looked stunning with hair that short and I told her as did several others that came in the room. My coworker with Hodgkins Lymphoma also looked stunning when her hair started growing in, short hair made her look elegant and most of us thought she should consider short hair but she went back to long hair and that elegance went away

Don't let the hair loss be a downer as the cancer society puts out a little booklet with alot of really cute hats, wraps and wigs so you can have fun and not have to spend alot of money. My mom's all time favorite wig was a halloween wig that had strands of tinsel in it that my coworker with the lymphoma gave her. Mom thought it was so funny to wear it and watch people! Her hairdresser a young guy that is my age and was like a son to her took her wig shopping and they bought an expensive wig together and he styled it for her. Well a couple weeks later he stopped by the house to see her and she came out in her halloween wig and said " well I washed the wig and look at it now!' He laughed and laughed and said " this is why I love you so much."

She also had a little head wrap that had a Harley Davidson theme on it ( bikers like to wear them under their helmets). Mom loved it and everyone always got a laugh out of it.... little motorcycle grandma!

I will end here and hope my stories have given you a laugh as that does help build the immune system so try to get lots of laughs in. I will also say to you and any others facing hair loss or living with it during chemo. When I see a woman with a bald chemo head that is brave enough to go out in the world without having to hide it I think there goes a strong, confident beautiful woman not, Oh that poor lady has cancer. The baldness is a badge of courage! Try to have a good day Faith .(((( Hugs)))) JanMarie

Last edited by Janmarie2; 02-05-2007 at 12:45 PM.

 
Old 02-05-2007, 02:36 PM   #14
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Re: Chemotherapy Drug Questions

Hi there,
This is my first post to this board. I hope I can give you some encouragement. I was diagnosed in July 2006 with Stage 4 adeno carcinoma non small cell lung cancer. At first I had 2 little pea size nodes come up ion my neck at my colar bone. They biopsied them and they removed them. Scans started ct and pet. I started my first Chemo of Taxol and Carboplatin Aug 9 every three weeks. They did scans after every 2 treatments. I only got sick once and that was the third day after my first treatment. (kinda like a virus). Every one is different and has different results. Each scan would show a decrease in size. I go tomorrow for my next scan. Every time just before a scan I get scaird to death of what I will hear, but so far with the help of the Greater Phsycian Upstairs, I have had good news. Right now I am on a break from the Carboplatin and taxol. They gave me Amend for nauesa at the time I had chemo. It is a 3-pill dose one a day. It kept me from being sick. I did have some neuropathy in my toes. I had the fatigue. I took a neulasta shot each time on the day after chemo. So far my blood has done well. My hair came out but is coming back a little.
I hope you do well with your first treatment..I did.
May God be with you and I will remember you in my Prayers

 
Old 02-05-2007, 06:32 PM   #15
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Re: Chemotherapy Drug Questions

faith~ i'am currently taking carboplatin but i do erbutux with it. the first week i had carbo i did get very sick- so from then on- the weeks that i have the carbo i take emend before and after the treatment which keeps it at bay. the side effects dont seem to be bad as most are telling you. also i have not lost my hair yet and i have been on it since the end of nov. so hopefully it will stick around but i do have a wig just in case.
so all in all so far it hasn't been too bad. i will keep you in my thought and prayers........melissa-

 
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