Starting Chemo next week

Hey all,

Well I met with my Oncologist and we have decided to move ahead with Taxotere Chemotherapy. 6 treatments over the next 18 weeks.

I was looking for a some input of what to expect physically and mentally. I have read over some of what the doctors say I will experience, but I have found that you dont really get the whole truth from them sometimes. I would rather hear from guys who have actually been through it.

I am 49, 12 for 12 positive on my biopsy, Gleason 5/5 = 10. PSA in February was 49. Did 9 week of targeted radiation. 30 day post radiation PSA = 0.01.

17 Replies

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  • Hey Rollo, Good going on zapping that psa down to undetactable, looks like you won round 1, I understand chemo is suggested now. I just finished 9th cycle, I think first I will say on the day after it is good to have a mild laxative on hand. Taxotere side effects tend to be cumulative, meaning more you do worse it gets, I think you will breeze right through 6 cycles and be done with it. Peripheral neuropathy has always been one of the side effects of docetaxol ,and the fingernail becoming brittle , I always keep my fingers in ice water and lay my feet on gel ice packs to prevent these problems, and it worked for me.Others have ordered an elastogel frozen helmut to keep the hair, the use of ice restricts blood flow to the area and thus decreases about of chemo flowing through scalp and fingers. There is also a thing called elastogel gloves for chemo , basically frozen gloves. It is important that someone (Nurse) be with you for first 10 minutes at least of infusion as if you have an allergic reaction( face flushed , increased breathing) they will be able to stop immediately and give benydryl, after that they will continue. Premeds are important, I get a bag of antinausea , and dexamethasone, to go with oral dex taken day before , day of and day after chemo. Let us know how the side effects go, many on here will have solutions to side effects that may come up. I feel much better today being 7 days out from chemo, than I did on days 3 through 6 after. wishing you the best. I was also dxed at age 49 with 5,5 Gleason 10, I am 61 now.

    Dan

  • Wow Dan! So much useful and helpful info!!! I hope I can find this if Elgie gets chemo. Always my good wishes and huge gentle hugs.

    :) Jackie

  • Hi Rollo67,

    I was diagnosed at age 52, now 56. Same as you 12 of 12, Gleason 10 although never got my psa to be undetectable so your already off to a good start.

    Dan's advise is right on the mark, you will find a ton of support and good advise here.

    Ask as much as you can from as many people as you can and try not to second guess yourself after you reach a decision. Each of us respond differently to the drugs we get to chose from so there isn't going to be a cookie cutter answer that will be right for any of us.

    Keep fighting and enjoy he times when you feel "normal"

  • I really agree with your approach to doing to chemo now. Treatments have more leverage so to say when done early. That's what the CHAARTED, STAMPEDE, and LATITUDE trials have shown.

    Went the same route as you, started chemo a month after Lupron. I've got one cycle left to go. I had a dramatic response with my PSA which went from 463 to .2 It may still be going down so hoping for undetectable PSA.

    So far the side effects have been very tolerable for me. Not exactly a picnic, but the first two cycles were fairly easy. Things got a bit harder on cycle 3. The nausea part stayed about the same, and it was never even bad enough for me to take meds for it. The lack of stamina got a little worse after cycle 2, but I still can walk 2 miles almost every day so not too bad. I'm having more fluid retention now and teary eyes also. Small bit of neuropathy, but only in one finger and its very minor. For cycles one and two the first week I felt crappy like I was coming down with something followed by a much better second week and then a normal third week. After cycle 2, the crappy first week was about the same, but the recovery got longer, stretching into the second week.

    Most people tolerate the side effects of this chemo well. I think in general, the younger you are, the easier it is to tolerate.

    The real test for me is now that I'm almost finished, would I do it again if I could do it over? For me, the answer is: Yes, Absolutely. Do I need a break from it now? Definitely. At the end you are really wanting to be finished.

    Good luck with your chemo and keep us posted on your progress. A lot of us have here have experience with this so we can offer you help and support to get though it.

  • Rollo67,

    I did six cycles of Taxotere two years ago. some of my hair starting falling out so my wife gave me a buzz cut. I never did get sick, in fact my appetite remained fairly good. I continued to exercise, ran four days a week, lifted the other three. Along about the 4th cycle, My 5 miles runs became run, 2, walk 60 seconds, run 2 more, walk another 60 seconds. In other words my stamina suffered. Of course I was 64 and it was 80 degrees out. I didn't lose any strength weight lifting wise. My oncologists told me staying every active was the best thing I ever did. Taxotere combined with Lupron and casodex took my psa from 850 to 0.06. It did take a year for my psa to drop to 0.06, approximately 6 months after my final chemo infusion. Personally I think chemo gets a bad rap. Sure you will suffer collateral damage but it does KILL cancer cells, not subdue them. I did self inject Neulasta due to a low white blood count while going through the chemo routine. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. In fact when the time comes my oncologist and me have a plan in place to begin another six dose course. Call me crazy as hell but in a strange sort of way, I got a kick out it, it gave me sensations that I had never experienced. You might want to Google foods and supplements that create a synergy with Taxotere and what substances to avoid. NOW, I'm about the furtherest thing from being an oncologist you could possibly imagine. All the above is based on my personal experiences. Good luck and get ready ready to open up can of whoop ass on your cancer.

  • Rollo,

    Congrations on the success thus far! And as everyone above says, the chemo early is the right thing to do. I did it and am glad I did.

    As for me, I was diagnosed at 53, bone met in my spine, PSA 227, Gleason 4+4=8. Started with lupron and then had taxotere a few months later. PSA went to undetectable for a year. It's 1.2 now, after 2 1/4 years.

    Everyone's advice is excellent. Wish I had known about the gel pads - I have some neuropathy in my toes and balls of my feet.

    You asked about how you feel psychologically. I felt like with each treatment I was mentally gearing up to have a mild case of the flu. Nothing too bad - body aches, some fatigue. But you just push through it. I had my chemo on Wednesdays and was able to work from home part time starting on Monday and back at the office full time by Wednesday. And then able to travel the next couple of weeks before starting it over again. The effects are cumulative, though, and you bounce back slower each time. Just keep the end in mind - it is closer with each treatment.

    Exercise is key. I'm amazed what others were able to do. I just forced myself to walk 3 miles each day. Really helps to combat the fatigue. And drink lots of water.

    The day after chemo you get a nulasta shot to boost your white bloood cells and ward off infections. That drug can cause pretty tough body aches. For some reason if you take Zyrtec, the over the counter allergy medicine, it helps stop the aches. That was a great tip from the nurse - which I later heard from lots of other people, too.

    I kept my hair by using a treatment called Polar Caps. It really works. You can find the company online.

    The chemo also dries out your skin. You need a good moisturizing lotion. (Something I had never used in my life.)

    You will do just fine. We are all pulling for you! Please don't hesitate to ask for any advise - someone here undoubtedly knows the answer. We will all be praying for you!

  • It just hurts my heart so very much reading all that each of you go through each and every day and yet you reach out to help each other. You're all amazing ♡

  • Hi there.

    Of course we are all different and therefore experience different side-effects from the Chemotherapy.

    My husband and I were very worried before he went for his first infusion. But the Chemotherapy is not as bad as we thought it would be.

    Side-effects are minimal and manageable.

    I wish you good luck whti the treatment! Try not to worry too much before hand!

  • Excellent advice from Dan. I would like to add to his cooling list, sucking on ice cubes to prevent mouth sores. And also monitor your blood counts because chemotheraputic drugs are cytotoxic and kill fast dividing cells - cancer cells as well as good cells. Cells in the bone marrow too are fast dividing. When white cell count goes too low your body immunity will be affected making you more susceptible for infections and when the red cell count goes too low it will cause more fatigue. However,this may or may not happen in your case.

    Wish you all the success in your choice of Chemo Treatment.

    Sisira

  • I agree with Melanie I just had my first Chemo infusion yesterday it was fine just had slighty numb fingers during it & also having hormone therapy and metformin, so far just feel a bit crappy flu like the anti sickness drug helps but I can only take the anti sickness for 2 days, see how I feel over the weekend may still go back to work next week. My PSA was 8. before starting see how fairs at the end.

  • Hello Rollo, what these wonderful folks have said was extraordinary. I need not repeat what they said because of its worthyness. I was diagnosed in March of this year and immediately started ADT plus chemo. I am 52. My PSA was 415. After the 4th round it dropped to 0.1 and my onc said that's the lowest anyone can get. I finished my 6th and final round 3 weeks ago and I feel great, plenty of vibrance and energy. I asked my Onc what he thought of the tumor size, he said with the PSA so low, it is microscopic. The only thing I can offer you to add what these find folks have already said is to "go about your business. " Embrace the challenge of this journey and treat it as if you dont even have it. It did not stop me from working, doing handy man things around the house, traveling and of course loving and caring for my wife and 3 boys. I believe that your outcome will be a positive one. Keep us posted. God bless.

    Nick

  • Rollo, I am on my 4th round of docetaxol and carboplation. PSA was 43.28. I will be taking indefinitely. Side effects for me were extreme fatigue, dizziness(lightheadedness), nausea, vomiting and stomach distress (gas both ways). We had to reduce the docetaxol slightly for the 2nd round due to extreme fatigue. I could only lie in bed, it hurt my head to watch tv or read, could only barely get up to use toilet. I eventually found eating pickled ginger would resolve my nausea, peppermint chewing gum reduced my stomach discomfort, Tums could help with gas at night. Sleeping pills to help me sleep. I have not found anything to reduce my dizziness, however. My PSA is down to 1.5 after 3 rounds, my liver mets have shrunk greatly. Judicious use of dexamethasone to control side effects, now on the 4th round, which has greatly increased my quality of life. I have posted elsewhere on my five year progression with Aggressive Metastatic Castrate Resistant Prostrate Cancer. The standard protocol has gotten a lot more aggressive over the past five years. It makes sense. Good Luck and wish you the best of success.

  • See theprostateadvocate.com/obs...

    for a comprehensive of most aspects of PCa treatment and side effects (both physical and emotional. Clint

  • Diarrhea is on the side effect list, too.

    My husband ran into trouble with diarrhea on the third day after infusion that increased in duration with each infusion. After the sixth infusion, he lost 8 pounds by the one week checkup, he overdosed on Imodium, and his blood pressure was so low, combined with lowest, so far, WBC and RBC, that the nurse wanted to give him IV fluids immediately. One of the side effects of dehydration is mental: he refused the treatment. She warned him that the ER was the next step. He promised to drink more. For the seventh infusion, he has laid in foods on the recommended list. We'll see in the next few days if his strategy works.

  • Hi Rollo67, I was also diagnosed at age 49 (April 2016), with 11/12 cores +ve and Gleason10 with a dozen bone mets. I started docetaxel in March this year and finished in late June. My experience was very similar to others. The only thing I'd add was major constipation, so I started taking Movicol liquid and Coloxyl Senna laxatives, two days before each infusion and that worked wonders. I found the fatigue lasted longer with each round, so after round#1 I was fatigued for two days and by round#6 it lasted 11 days. It was tolerable though. I had minor nausea and used Pramin tablets once in a while. I had quite bad sleep disturbance, but that is mostly better now. I continued working full-time during chemo (office job) and tried to exercise as much as possible, even though I didn't feel like it. I lost interest in my favourite foods, but that has all gone back to normal. Good luck with everything. Cheers Paul.

  • Wishing, hoping and praying for no side effects and the chemo to kick its butt....not yours Rollo ;)

    Jackie

  • Starting today. WooHoo

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