Starting Chemo Friday, Jan 11....and scared

I have uterine cancer stage 1a, and ovarian cancer stage 1C. I have had a total hysterectomy, and nothing was found in lymph nodes, omentum, and have normal liver and kidney function.

I start chemo (taxol and carboplatin) on Friday. Total of 6 treatments, three weeks apart....ovarian cancer was deemed aggressive...so they want to be aggressive!!?

I am scared to death, while doing my best to keep a good attitude, and being grateful for having found the ovarian cancer so early.

BUT privately still scared and freaking out a little.

I have had "chemo education class" yesterday.....but would prefer advise from people who have been there!!

Thank you,

Claudia

14 Replies

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  • Hi Claudia

    Just wanted to say Good Luck. There are so many lovely women on here who will give you advice about chemo...I can't, but if you use the Search box at the top of the page and type in chemo or the names of the drugs that you're having, you will be able to tap in to loads of previous conversations on here.

    All the best for your treatment. It may not be as bad as you fear, and if it blasts those ***** cells, then it will all be worth it. Let us know how it goes

    Love Wendy xx

  • Hi. I only had carboplatin but you'll soon get lots of replies from others who can tell you what to expect from the double regime. The chemo process itself is not really awful you'll soon finds it becomes fairly routine and even boring. The nurses really know what they're doing.

    I know the fear can be all-consuming and hard to deal with but your cancer was found early and that's a great advantage and gives you the best chance possible so try and focus on that.

    You'll find great support on this site so keep coming back with any questions. I do hope your chemo goes well and you make a great recovery.

    Best wishes

    Linda

  • Dear Claudia

    I'm sorry you've had to go through this. None of us here would wish it on anyone. However the good news is that you have discovered these problems in the very early stages and you do have a very good prognosis.

    I know just how it feels to be facing chemotherapy. I dreaded it. I hated going into the hospital the first time and having to admit to the world that I was suffering from cancer.

    I can only promise you that just as soon as you start your chemotherapy you will be starting to fight back. Each time you go there will be one less to have.

    Carbo-platin and Taxol is the Gold Standard of chemotherapy for gynaecological cancers. It's the best they have. Taxol does have the unpleasant side-effect that it takes off your hair but you can try the cold cap which may well prevent too much hair loss. It's worth discussing this in detail with the hospital staff, here on this forum and with your nearest and dearest. Many women on this site have found it wasn't at all bad losing their hair. Some are even positive and say it's saved a fortune on hairdressing bills!

    Some of us have been lucky enough to literally dance through their chemotherapy. Others have experienced not-so-good days and side effects such as a sore mouth or numb feet. Apparently women who experience morning sickness in pregnancy are more likely to feel a bit queasy for a couple of days after the chemotherapy session. Generally the hospital can adjust your prescription so side-effects are minimised.

    It really isn't as bad as it seems at first. I'm gearing up to have a second line of chemotherapy and in all probability you'll never have to do this. My view has swung completely. I'm now pleased it's available because for me the disease is progressing and if I can have chemotherapy it buys me time.

    I wish you love and luck with this. Please let us know how you're getting on.

    xxxx Annie

  • Hi Claudia

    I had carboplatin and taxol for my first round of chemo(I was stage 3) so hopefully I can be of some help. Firstly the nurses watch you like hawks, especially for your first one. I had a reaction to the taxol which was dealt with quickly with extra antihistamines. They also slowed down the taxol for all other treatments. What with that & the extra antihistamines I have had no problems since. The day itself is usually wonderfully boring! That is exactly what we all want. Carboplatin is the main drug, and taxol is a booster, I don't know if anyone has told you that.

    The after effects vary, some people don't have any, others get more. The more usual ones are nausea, and sometimes sickness.....if you are sick more than once or twice, talk to your onc nurses straight away, there are plenty of things you can take for this. I found eating little and often kept the nausea at bay. Some people get a bad taste in there mouth, again drinks and small snacks can help. The obvious hair loss....I got mine clipped as soon as I started to loose it, last year I felt like a werewolf every time I washed it....you know, hairy hands! It's easier to get over seeing really short hair shedding than long hair. When it starts to grow again get it trimmed regularly. This stops it growing wispy and uneven. Just be prepared for the tight curls....I looked like I'd had a 70's Old Lady Perm, but my hairdresser recommended some stuff to calm it down.

    The numb hands and feet is manageble. if you get it let your oncologist know at your next pre chemo check. its caused by the taxol, and as taxol only boosts the carbo it can be reduced quite safely. All it feels like to me is sore fingertips, like I've done too much sewing, and cold, tingly feet.

    Finally it's the exhaustion. The first day or so after chemo you feel fine, full of energy etc. this is quite often because you are on steroids for about 3 days. When you come off them, the tiredness pounces. The only thing to do is rest and let it get on with it. By about 5 days after chemo I always start to feel better, after a week I'm usually able to drive short distances(school run)

    Things to watch out for is that your temperature is normal. If it goes beyond 35.5C phone your oncology emergency number, you may need antibiotics, but they will decide. Last year I never needed any treatment between, and got through without any delays.

    I know this sounds horrendous, but you can cope with it. It helps to keep a diary of any symptoms, it means you can refer back to it for each chemo, and you remember what to discuss with the onc. Talking of remembering, "chemo head" is a genuine thing, it's when you can't remember the daftest things, like what exactly you went downstairs to get! It's basically like being too easily distracted. Again though, it gets rapidly better after chemo finishes.

    Bit of a long answer but I hope it helps.

    Good luck

    Love Chris

  • Best of luck tomorrow, I know how the thought of the unknown can be scary. I had my first chemo last Thursday, given the opportunity would have made a bid for freedom once in the waiting room, but I knew it had to be. I am on Carbo only, with a stage 1 OC too. All my biopsies were clear post hysterectomy. The chemo process itself was pleasant enough the nurse was lovely, I chatted with a couple of other ladies and had hubby along to hold my hand, I'm quite needle phobic so that was my biggest challenge.

    Chemo day, bouncing off the walls, the next day cleaned the house, the next day I started to slow down a little, and since then been off colour, although it could just be me. I did feel better last night and brighter today too but not much energy. My temp is usually about 35.6, so watching that has been interesting, it nips up to 36.8 and drops to 34.9 plus I've had some hot sweats from I guess the surgical menopause. Appetite at the moment is poor. I was told no paracetamol as it masks a temperature. Prepare to rest, I tried to fight it and wish I hadn't.

    This is my experience, I think that we all have different effects. My advice is take a book and some water and food, be prepared that you may have to listen to horror stories from other patients (I didn't prepare for that one!) read through the chemo record book while you are there in case of any questions, and tell them about anything that worries you, I had a cold hand where the iv was and they bought me a hand warmer. Clothes in layers as it gets hot in there and then cools down when people leave.

    Most of all, good luck, it isn't as bad as I thought, the chemo iv itself is okay, once it starts you'll feel much more relaxed and think of the outcome, blitzed cells for a healthier you.

    LA xx

  • Dear Claudia

    Oh it is scary isn't it - but in reality not half as bad as the word and your imagination often makes it out to be. I has carboplatin/taxol (on weekly doses in a three week cycle times three, for stage 3c, then a slightly different trial regime after the op), and am now in remission. Sounds like your op result was pretty positive too, so would think you are in good position for that treatment, which is the standard, to do its job of mopping up. I also had reaction to taxol but was so amazed at how easily the nurses dealt with it. I stayed pretty scared if it all through but looking back I am not really sure why! Chemo nurses are a breed apart, I think. Didn't encounter a bad one, ever. Although your arms take some abuse with all the blood tests and cannulas.

    Everyone in the chemo suite will be in the same boat and chatting may help but do a bit of observation before getting into chats is my advice - my heart sank sometimes as I realised partway into a conversation that I really didn't want to be having it with that person and would happily push them out of a window. Isn't that awful? Am horrid person...! Better still take a buddy along. My cousin came to several, husband to lots , and my best mate to the odd one. It stopped it becoming too Groundhog Day. Plus the wig trying session was hilarious with my friend there!

    On side effects, anticipation doesn't help much as everyone is totally different. I had no nausea at all, no sore mouth either. I did lose my tastebuds, and hair of course, and got terrible peripheral neuropathy (numbness) in fingers and toes, plus the knackeredness and just feeling crappy. And my skin was terribly dry and sore, everywhere. Somehow you cope - aveeno was great for the skin, bland foods like plain rice took over my diet - and chocolate / sweets, which I don't normally like! Take calories wherever you can find them while you don't feel much like proper meals!

    It probably won't be half as bad as you think, but if it is get posting after, and have a good moan to us lot - we will totally understand. Good luck with session one

    Love

    Sue xxx

  • Thank you, all of you!!! I may be able to sleep tonight because all of you. I really appreciate your positive thoughts and emotional support. You have taken away some of my fear, and I hope to stay in touch. I'll give an update after tomorrow, and will be looking for your updates as well! What a wonderful and loving community I have found in this site!

    THANK YOU,

    Claudia xx

  • Good luck today Claudia. Thinking of you.

    Chris x

  • thinking of you- good luck for today,

    Sue

  • Hi Claudia

    Welcome and the very best of luck for today. I am sure that , like so much in life it won,t be half as bad a you think it might be.

    Do let us know how you get on.

    Love

    Charlie xxx

  • Hi there Claudia ,

    You have had some of the best advice that there is to help you long your Journey ..

    Just wanted to say hi and welcome to a wonderful site .

    Just remember that everyone reacts in a different way to the chemo and you hopfully will not get all the problems and symptoms that the books tell you that you could have .

    The best advice I had was to drink lots and I mean lots of water ...I had at least 2lts a day to wash the chemo through your body .

    Keep a note book of how you feel and how your body reacts to each session .

    I had carbo /taxol as last year I too was diagnosed with 1c Ovarian cancer a rare one too ..

    Take good care now .

    Love Jan x

  • Hello

    I'm a 1c and finished chemo at the end of November. It didn't hurt but I did feel full of chemicals. Drink a lot on the day and keep your hands and arms warm as it helps get the canula in.

    The way it worked for me was I felt tired for a week, started to pick up the second week then getting back to normal third week.... then back to week one.

    Take the anti-sickness drugs as soon as you feel queasy. There's no point in 'waiting and seeing' as you would do normally. For the first few days I also took anti-sickness meds just before going to sleep so I wouldn't wake in the middle of he night feeling weird (which is what happened after chemo 1).

    As my immune system was already suppressed because of treatment for rheumatoid arthritis I've had a few infections, but got them treated quickly once I realised things were going off.

    It feels like a long haul when you're just starting treatment. Probably best not to plan anything too ambititious, though my youngest daughter got married after chemo 1.

    The blood tests and canula were quite stressful for me as my veins aren't wonderful. They've had needles and canulas stuck in them for 50 years, and I was worried they wouldn't co-operate. There are various lines you can have if you have a problem so I knew that one way or another I would get the chemo. It is a matter of pride that I managed without such extras. Strange thing to be proud of!

    Last Monday I had the end of chemo scan and get the results in 2 weeks time.

    Good luck! It helps if you are a reader as you'll probably have a lot of hanging about.

    Love, Christine

  • Hope you came out the other side of session one OK. One down five to go - you will get through this, Claudia!

    Love

    Sue xxx

  • Chemo went okay today! Long and seemed like forever....I was there for 7 hours, Taxol first and the Carboplatin, plus other types of helpful IV's like anti nausea, anti allergy, hydrating, flushing of Chemo port.

    Had a severe attack of cramping diarrhea for a few hours this evening....took my anti-nausea meds right after, and hoping for a peaceful night. Have the extra bedroom with "stuff in place", just in case. I like to be prepared...LOL

    Someone told me to dip my fingernails in ice water, to keep them from turning dark...might do that, since it does not seem to hard to give a try.

    One of the chemo nurses said that some people have had success with using a "cold cap".....similar to the finger dipping thing, to keep all of your hair from falling out.

    Personally I prefer to wear a wig over thinning hair. I plan to shave it over that, and I already bought a wig at the "Survivor Gals" Shop.

    Thank you, with all of my heart to all of you....you are angels!!!

    I will get through this

    Love

    Claudia

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