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    Old 09-05-2008, 04:38 AM   #1
    shetland kiwi
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    Just had first chemo & need to hear from others.....

    Hi guys,

    This is all new to me and I still feel in a state of shock some days.

    I had a complete hysterectomy 8 weeks ago (after having bad abdominal pain about 3 weeks earlier) and discovered that I had stage 3b ovarian cancer - talk about sneak up on you!!

    Had my first chemo carbo/taxol 1 week ago so I'm starting the "low immunity week", I'm also at the finger tips being numb stage - weird feeling!!

    I have been told that the chemo has a cumulative effect but that everyone is different .... can anyone tell me their experience please?


    I am being as positive as I can!! & I am strong in my faith, but sometimes the enormity of it all is overwhelming!! How do you cope??

    Last edited by shetland kiwi; 09-05-2008 at 04:39 AM.

     
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    Old 09-05-2008, 09:44 AM   #2
    Annie57
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    Re: Just had first chemo & need to hear from others.....

    I had cancer in my fallopian tube and uterine cancer at the same time. Both were primary cancer. The fallopian cancer is rare and is treated the same as ovarian. It seems this type of cancer behaves like ovarian. Treatment was total hys and chemo carbo/taxol for 6 rounds.

    I also had numb finger tips and the bottom of me feet.This happened over the course of treatment and 3 years later I still have some numbness. I have been told this is very common with Taxol.

    My major side effects were pains in my muscles and bones. Fatigue was a big factor after 3 treatments. But overall it was not as bad as I had thought it would be. I always felt good the day of treatment and for about 2 days after. By the 3rd day I would start feeling tired and sore. that would last about 2 days then I would be fine. I lost every hair on my body (Taxol). I looked at that as a small price to pay to become well again.

    I also had colon and breast cancer before these two. This is 3 years later and I am doing well. I am back at work , still seeing the doctor every six months and life is somewhat back to normal.

    Stay positive and believe that many many people go on to live happy healthy lives after treatment.

    Best wishes

     
    Old 09-05-2008, 05:11 PM   #3
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    Re: Just had first chemo & need to hear from others.....

    I don't have any advice, but wanted to say that you are in my thoughts and prayers! I'm glad you are staying positive!

     
    Old 09-06-2008, 07:46 PM   #4
    shetland kiwi
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    Re: Just had first chemo & need to hear from others.....

    Pickle Eyes, thank you for your thoughts and prayers. I think the more people praying for others the better, I do pray for others as well. I thank you for yours


    Annie, thank you for sharing your experience, I am so glad to hear you are 3 years down the track, the statistices they throw at you are so daunting. You have been through so much, and are still so positive, what an inspiration!!

    I was very interested to hear that you only really encountered fatigue after 3 treatments, I did not really have much fatigue at all this time, but I did have aches like the flu about the same time as you. I keep waiting for other things to happen but so far they have not.... other than now and then feeling really emotional, but I guess that goes with the territory. I feel very up in the air.

    I do know I will loose my hair, infact I ran my fingers through my hair this morning and there it was in my hand - my 3 year old grandaughter is very excited by that prospect, she has a red dress up wig already picked out for me, which of course I will have to wear!

    How did you cope in your weeks when you had low immunity?

    I am determined, like you, to be one of those who go on to live a happy healthy life. God willing.



    Thank you both again

     
    Old 09-08-2008, 08:56 AM   #5
    Annie57
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    Re: Just had first chemo & need to hear from others.....

    Hi again;

    With each treatment I found I became more tired. The later treatments caused the most fatigue and unfortunately muscle aches. All handled well with Advil.

    The week after treatment was when I was told my immunity was at its lowest. I stayed home quite a bit that week and made sure to stay away from crowds. I slept alot and tried to stay a busy as I could , considering I was exhausted. I also made sure to eat, even if I did not feel like it. My treatments were always on Friday (every 3 weeks) by the following Wednesday I was feeling stronger.

    As for being emotional, yes it happened to me all the time. I never was an emotional person until I had cancer. Emotions play such a big role in our recovery and survival. I cried when I felt down and just let the emotions out. During treatments and for a good year after I felt like I was on the outside looking into everyone's life. I feltapart from everyone. Sometimes I felt lonely even though my family was terrifc in supporting me. I can honestly say I have changed, this has changed me. In many ways for the better. Sounds funny but true.

    This is a very stressful time for you and I understand fully your feelings. Try and look ahead to when treatment is done. Never give up. Statistics are just that numbers. Everyone is different and I know so many people beating the numbers everyday. Try and concentrate on the good things, in life and know that this time willpass.

    My 3 year anniversary is today, I had my last surgery September 8, 2005. I am keeping my fingers crossed, spirits up and trying to live the best I can.

    Good luck and best wishes. Let me know how you are doing...
    Annie

     
    Old 09-08-2008, 05:45 PM   #6
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    Cool Re: Just had first chemo & need to hear from others.....

    Hi Shetland Kiwi - I, too, have done chemo - 6 initial rounds of carbo/taxol and then 9 "maintenance" rounds of taxol only. I found that the fatigue was the worst - as soon as I got home from each chemo, I'd take an advil, then 4 hours later take an aleve, and 4 hours later, a tylenol. That rotation really helped with the muscle/joint pain. It doesn't matter what order you take them in - just to rotate all three.

    Obviously, it stinks to lose your hair - as women, it seems like we're often defined by our hair & boobs! There's no easy answer to that part - it is terrible to look in the mirror & see yourself bald, without eyebrows & eyelashes. It certainly tries to take your femininity from you. All I can say is fight the good fight & keep your chin up. I had a wondeful support system and very loving husband, but there were still days that I was oh so blue & just couldn't find the light at the end of the tunnel. I talked with my doc about it & he prescribed a low dosage of lexapro, which helped quite a bit.

    As for the low immunity weeks, I had weekly shots of procrit which helped to boost my red blood cells. The shots hurt like heck (given in the back of your arm), but they definitely kept me "up" and I stayed working full time until my 5th and 6th treatments. Bottom line: ask for help if you need it! I know it's sometimes hard just to walk from your bedroom to the kitchen without stopping to take a rest. Get a friend to bring you dinner, have someone vacuum for you, or do a load of laundry. Little things like that make a BIG difference!

    I finished my chemo last December & have been cancer free ever since - I was stage IIIc, ovarian and uterine. I also don't believe the statistics - I'm a young woman who had cancer, and I'm a young SURVIVOr of cancer! I know in my heart that I will live many, many cancer free years, so I don't even think about the statistics. Every person is different & I truly believe the mental piece is half the battle. I HATE that I had cancer and went through what I did, but I also know that it made me appreciate every day for what it is and I find myself being more tolerant of others and kinder to everyone. Maybe that's the silver lining??

    Keep us updated on how you're doing - you'll join the Survivors Club soon!! I'll keep you in my thoughts & prayers.

     
    Old 09-11-2008, 05:31 PM   #7
    shetland kiwi
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    Re: Just had first chemo & need to hear from others.....

    Thank you guys,

    I must admit as this week has gone on I have been starting to tire more, I assume it is my blood count dropping? Finding that I am really missing the kids at school but as it is a hot bed of germs (they are only 5&6 and most at that 'wonderful wipe their nose on their sleeve rather than get up and get a tissue' stage) .... best I stay home.

    This is going to sound odd but what are advil, aleve and tylenol? I've not heard of them, (mabey we don't get them here) I was told to take paracetamol which does not sound as thorough a pain maintenence as yours!

    When I wrote that my first hair had come out I was mistaken, however on the 13th it did start, I was so sure I had prepared myself for it, but no, I cried on my 19 year olds shoulder, she was great. My grandaughter on the other hand was very excited by it all, and asked her mum when they could go wig shopping. Kids are so great!

    Swoosan, I too am young to get this, I don't fall into any of the so called at "risk catergories" and consequently did not know anything about it. We have highly advertised breast and cervical screening programmes here, but nothing is mentioned about ovarian cancer, I know there is no screening available, but no one even talks about symptoms. Grrrr frustrating!
    I also had 3c (got it wrong in the first msg) so they had to take away all the tissue around my bowel as well, so I hope the cells that are left are curling up their toes as we speak!!

    I am learning to say yes to help, it's so hard! The women at church have put us on a dinner roster, so we are provided with meals 3 times a week as needed. Which was hard to say yes to but I would have done the same for anyone of them, so what goes around....

    Blow the statistics, I like you guys, am going to be on the side that beats this HECK YES!!!!

    I have my next chemo Friday (19th). Our youngest daughter has just completed her first year at college so she is home with me and has said she would like to come this time, which is cool.

    Must away off to get my wig ..... should I go for something sensible, or get 2 one sensible and one a little daring??? mmmmm I'll let you know!!

    Bye for now, thanks for all your advice and positive thoughts. Thinking of you and praying for your too!

    God bless.

    Maxine

     
    Old 09-11-2008, 07:13 PM   #8
    Pickle Eyes
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    Re: Just had first chemo & need to hear from others.....

    Advil is ibuprofen, an NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug). That is just one brand name. Personally, I use generic ibuprofen.

    Aleve is naproxen (sometimes called naproxen sodium), it is also an NSAID. It inhibits COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes (I don't know what those really are, but you can look at an online community encycolpedia for a better explaination). Aleve is the brand name.

    Tylenol is the brand name for acetaminophen. I just learned it is called "paracetamol" everywhere else in the world besides the USA.

    I hope that helps!


    Quote:
    Originally Posted by shetland kiwi View Post
    Blow the statistics, I like you guys, am going to be on the side that beats this HECK YES!!!!
    Heck YEAH!!!

     
    Old 09-14-2008, 11:07 PM   #9
    shetland kiwi
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    Re: Just had first chemo & need to hear from others.....

    Thanks for that, I was beginning to think I was going nuts! The main ibuprofen brand we have is Nurofen. Not sure about the naproxen, I know er had trouble here with a cox 2 inhibitor called Vioxx which was withdrawn but not sure what it targeted or exactly why it was withdrawn. Wouldn't life be easier if they were uniform in their naming??

    Had what was left of my hair shaved off today, thought I was coping well until about 1/2 hour ago when the tears started to flow. I really don't like wearing the wig, but have only had it for half a day so I will get used to it I guess, feels odd. I am told that it takes about a week to get used to it.....mmmmmm I will keep trying. I far prefer to wear the scarf/turban/hat thingy.

    Go for my next chemo on Friday, and I'm feeling ok about it. Positive positive positive!!

     
    Old 09-15-2008, 05:16 PM   #10
    Pickle Eyes
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    Re: Just had first chemo & need to hear from others.....

    (((((Shetland Kiwi)))))) I'm sorry you are having a bit of a difficult time with shaving your head. Your positive attitude really well help things! You are in my thoughts and prayers! If you don't like wearing the wig then just wear the head coverings. I'm sure you have a nice assortment of them! If not, then it is time to shop, right?! :knodding head up and down with a huge grin:

    Back to the drug names. Vioxx was pulled from the USA market, also. I think it caused heart problems, but I can't remember for sure (and am too lazy to go look it up right now! )

    Take care of yourself! (((hugs)))

     
    Old 09-16-2008, 05:29 PM   #11
    shetland kiwi
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    Re: Just had first chemo & need to hear from others.....

    Thanks for the hugs, I needed them. I'm fine now. I took my daughter and grandaughter with me when I had my head shaved. Children are so great, she is only 3 and giggled all the way through the process and couldn't wait to feel my head. Bless her!

    You are right it was the heart problem with vioxx. One of my daughters has a heart problem and she had just finished using it. (thankfully with no side effects)

    Thanks for your prayers you are wonderfully supportive. I will let you know how I get on on Friday.

    God Bless

     
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