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Recovery from IV therapy and radiotherapy?

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Old 09-23-2009, 08:00 AM   #1
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Question Recovery from IV therapy and radiotherapy?

I have eusophagual cancer diagnosed about 6 months ago.
After surgery to remove the tumour (mostly) I underwent a 5 week course of IV and radiotherapy.
The first week was in hospital with daily IV with cisplatin (CDDP) and 5-FU (fluorouracil,Adrucil), and daily radiotherapy.
That was for 5 days, then for 3 weeks I went in each day for radiotherapy.
Finally, for the 5th week I was again admitted and had the same treatment as the first week, i.e. daily two-drug IV, and radiotherapy.

Okay, my problem is I felt almost dead when I left hospital - I felt really badly poisoned (which of course I had been!!). Short of breath, nausea, dizziness, bad metallic taste in my mouth, and unable to eat much, plus a very sore eusophagus. But not much pain apart from soreness and headaches.

I came home on the Sat 12th Sept., and really I don't feel much better now after almost two weeks. I just wonder how much longer this is going to continue? My dr. was not very specific at all on this just saying it varied a lot. I had expected to fell a lot better by now. (I have not seen him since leaving hospital).

I would appreciate some advice from those who had experience with this sort of thing. My main medication is Maxilon for nausea, paracetamol for pain and a mouthwash for ulcers. The nausea seems to be helped by lying down and taking weight off my stomach area.

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Old 09-23-2009, 10:02 AM   #2
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Re: Recovery from IV therapy and radiotherapy?

Hi Beefsteak,

Wow, you've been through a lot. I know that the treatment for esophageal cancer tends to be more harsh, in terms of side effects, than the treatment I had for Cancer of Unknown Primary, but I can tell you that it takes way more than a few weeks to start feeling normal again. I never had cisplatin, but I did have taxol, which caused severe joint and muscle pain, as well as nerve damage in both my hands and feet. The worst of the nerve damage was in my heels, and it was almost a year before I could comfortably stand for more than a few minutes (not that I couldn't stand at all, just that it hurt!). After about a year, it finally started easing up, and not too long after that, it was totally fine.

The radiation, too, affects you long after it's over, although again...since mine was to the groin and not the head/neck, it was much easier to deal with.

I think that probably in another 4-6 weeks you might start feeling "human" again, although you may never go back to exactly how you were before all the treatment. But it should slowly get better over time.

Hopefully there are some other people out here who've had the same treatment you've had, and maybe they can give you a more precise answer as to how long recovery takes for your particular type of treatment.


Old 09-24-2009, 06:33 AM   #3
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Re: Recovery from IV therapy and radiotherapy?

Hi. Sorry to hear about all you have been through. My husband is currently 5 months out of treatments for "base of tongue" cancer that spread to his lymph node in his neck. He had Cisplatin weekly for 7 weeks and 7 weeks of daily radiation (35 treatments). He had to have a feeding tube put in before treatments began and lost the ability to eat and swallow around week 4. Radiation continues to build for weeks after treatments have stopped. My husband had terrible nausea from the Cisplatin and was on Zofran plus Compazine for a good month after treatment ended. He has permanent hearing damage from the Cisplatin. Thank God his treatments were successful and everything looks "good".

Recovery from chemo and radiating the head/neck area take a long.........time. He still can't taste all foods and has limited saliva. Good luck with your recovery and be patient with yourself. Wanda

Old 09-24-2009, 10:00 AM   #4
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Re: Recovery from IV therapy and radiotherapy?

I am going thru similar therapy for Stage III squamous cell esophageal cancer. I am 3 wks from being discharged after my 1st in hospital chemo cycle with radiation continuing thruout. I will be getting 5.5 wks of radiation and one more cycle of 5 FU and cisplatin. So far, I have had bad bouts of diarrhea, wall to wall mouth sores and wound up in the ER with atrial fibrillation. I am being treated at St. Josephs in Baltimore. Have you had any IV infusions your protocol is different so guess you are getting ivs along with that, because after my diarrhea and not being able to eat anything other than cream of wheat, shakes and ice cream, my body is depleted. I know what you mean, I feel like I am walking thru mud. I am so sorry for all you have been thru. What helped my mouth ulcers is Nystatin rinse and rx for Famvir. The magic mouthwash with lidocaine burned too much for me to use. The diarrhea immodium and rx for lomotil. Try to put as much in blended drinks as you can take, milk, bananas, breakfast blend, ice cream and if you can find some protein powders put them in too. My cousin gave me some from a health store. Also if you like pea soup the broth but broths from any soups are good and I am drinking Glycerna cause I am a diabetic but you must know about ensure etc. and lots of water and I find I can tolerate cold milk which has got to be good for me. I wish you success and better days!!

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