• about to start interferon on Monday. Is it going to help?

    Asked by piii on Saturday, November 26, 2011

    about to start interferon on Monday. Is it going to help?

    There are alot of people telling me I should not do it due to the side effects. Has anyone gone through it and can tell me what I can due to fight the side effects.

    17 Answers from the Community

    17 answers
    • KarenG_WN's Avatar
      KarenG_WN

      Hi piii,

      I see that you are starting interferon tomorrow. I am hopeful that someone will be able to share their experiences soon. In the meantime, I will see if I can find someone who can provide some perspective for you.

      Please keep us posted.

      Thank you,
      Karen

      almost 6 years ago
    • ScrappysWife's Avatar
      ScrappysWife

      I just joined, and saw your post. I'm assuming that you will start the 4 weeks of high dose infusions today. As far as whether it helps or not, there is conflicting info on that. My husband did the course, starting in 09 and finishing in 2010. To help with side effects, the most important thing is to stay hydrated. A gallon of water a day. Eat healthy - bananas especially, go for one a day. Also, rest when you can. Alternate between advil/tylenol for the chills/bodyaches. You will get a fever, and this help controls it. For the month of high dose, REST! Once you start the injections, your body will start adjusting to it.
      Best of luck to you - and remember, it's your decision, so once you've made it, don't look back.

      almost 6 years ago
    • Janice's Avatar
      Janice

      I have been on interferon in conjunction with chemo. As ScrappysWife said above - hydrate. I was told to drink 50 oz per day - I weigh 100 lbs so you drink 1/2 your weight in oz. Put OJ in water for extra calories and potassium - very important. There are loads of flavored waters so you don't get tired of drinking the same thing day in and out. You will work out what works. I get my shot at 10 at night. I then take an anti-nausea med and tylenol. Just as I am ready to sleep I take an Atavan - check w/your doctor. Helps with chills, nausea and helps you sleep through some of the side effects.

      almost 6 years ago
    • piii's Avatar
      piii

      Thank you for the responses. I did start Monday and the chills are the worst. I did start to alternate between advil and tylenol today and helped a little. I can't fall asleep until 2 -3am so I will talk to my doctor. It will be a long month but I can deal with it. Do the chills and aches get stronger as the weeks go on?
      Thanks
      Peter

      almost 6 years ago
    • Steffiellie's Avatar
      Steffiellie

      Hi piii, hope you are dealing the intense interferon and your symptoms are manageable! I'm currently in month 7 of my interferon treatment. The symptoms certainly vary throughout the process... the chills definitely get better and the aches got less, but the tiredness and weakness definitely got worse. I'm 31 yr female and can't believe how long it takes me to walk a block or up stairs when I was a regular cyclist and gym goer!
      I'm a healthcare worker so I did A LOT of research before starting IFN because people on forums had mostly discouraging things to say. I went to the library at my hospital and read about 30 medical journals! I basically read the bad and the good and came out feeling that it was the best option as a young person who would likely be able to manage the side effects, it will improve my chances of avoiding recurrence. As well I concluded that the one month of high dose was the most important part!
      The low dose is the long haul part. I'm unable to work (12 HR shifts in ER is my gig) and I'm very weak. I try to stay really hydrated, I get heart palpitations otherwise and woozy feeling. I haven't had much issue with appetite but some things taste quite terrible now. I also have been lucky to have no real depression which is one major side effect. Friends and family have been a blessing there I think! I lost quite a bit of hair week 16 on and buzzed it off finally, my skin and mouth are always quite dry as well. Constant ringing in my ears is a new bonus!
      I'm sure I could go on and on...it's a challenging year. My bloodwork has been mostly stable since month 3. I'm a little neutropenic and my liver enzymes are always up a bit, but I avoid alcohol and try to keep my tylenol use at a minimum on nights i don't have a shot. I wish you all the best and feel free to contact me with questions. Vitamins, fruit smoothies, cold-fx, rest and water water water are getting me through!
      Steffiellie

      almost 6 years ago
    • happydad's Avatar
      happydad

      I did it for a year. No question that it was hard. Was like having a bad case of the flu for a year. Advice that I received was keep hydrated and rest. I was able work after I finished the first four weeks of infusions, but I usually left work early, went to clinic, got my treatment (shots) and then went to bed. It was tough, but it bought me three Christmases I might not have had otherwise.

      over 5 years ago
    • Terri's Avatar
      Terri

      I did interferon for 3 months but could not tolerate it,. I hope you do better. I consider interferon one of the hardest things I have been on, biochemo being up there too. I hope you are doing well.

      about 5 years ago
    • Lari's Avatar
      Lari

      My husband has been on interferon for almost a year now. He will be done treatment on Sept. 28th. It is a very tough treatment, but he has made it through. He has suffered from extreme fatigue, aches, nausea. However, the doctors have been able to give him meds to counteract the symptoms to a degree. He has worked through the entire treatment (well, except for the first month -- he had infusions for 4 hours a day, 5 days a week.. He basically ate and slept that month.) Now he gets shots 3 times a week. I am actually allowed to give them to him at home. I give them to him on Monday, Wed, and Friday right before bed. That way, he sleeps through the worst of it. He will be getting a PTscan the beginning of October. Then we'll know for sure if it worked. However, all blood work, etc. has come back just fine so far!

      I wish you luck and will pray for you. We believed interferon was worth it because of the amount it raised his survivor percent. Our lives have definitely changed, but I am hoping that we will soon be heading bach towards normal!!

      about 5 years ago
    • MelanomaMama's Avatar
      MelanomaMama

      I started to answer this question, then saw last year's date on your posting. I hope you are doing well and that the interferon (if you chose it) helped. I've experienced interleukin-2, ipilimumab, 3 surgeries, and two rounds of radiation. Still here with good quality of life -- dancing, hiking, camping, playing music, and writing.
      Constance Emerson Crooker
      Author of Melanoma Mama: On Life, Death, and Tent Camping
      http://www.melanomamama.com
      [email redacted]

      about 5 years ago
    • MelanomaMama's Avatar
      MelanomaMama

      I started to answer this question, then saw last year's date on your posting. I hope you are doing well and that the interferon (if you chose it) helped. I've experienced interleukin-2, ipilimumab, 3 surgeries, and two rounds of radiation. Still here with good quality of life -- dancing, hiking, camping, playing music, and writing.
      Constance Emerson Crooker
      Author of Melanoma Mama: On Life, Death, and Tent Camping
      http://www.melanomamama.com
      [email redacted]

      about 5 years ago
    • Terri's Avatar
      Terri

      Interferon helps a lot of people, but it sure didn't help me. I almost died on it. Make sure you eat and stay hydrated.
      Try Zelboraf or Yervoy....if you can. Watch those white blood cells!!

      about 5 years ago
    • ROSIE's Avatar
      ROSIE

      My mom was on interferon and it did not help her but she is a stage 4 so she is on right now Sudent

      about 5 years ago
    • daca1964's Avatar
      daca1964

      I did the whole year it was grueling but I'm still here after three years. I had stage IIIB I was 45 years old. I had all the side effect vomiting, the runs, shakes, flu like symptoms the whole year lost 30lbs. It's not easy but if you are health and have a good outlook you can do it. After the first month which was every day then the other 11 months it is giving yourself shots 3 times a week I did the shoots at night so I could sleep through most of the symptoms. Also make sure your one some type of anti depression and take adavain (SPELLING) that helped me sleep. Inter Feron makes your mind race and the advain helped a lot. Good luck

      Deb

      about 5 years ago
    • daca1964's Avatar
      daca1964

      Hi,

      I did inter feron its a tough regiment, but it worked for me I'm a 4 year survivor. I did the first month everyday and then did 3 shots a week for the 11 months. I lost up to 40lbs had all the side effects. Just make sure to get on adavain for sleep and depression medication. That helped me out a lot. I did treatment late in the day so I could go home take a shower take my meds and went to bed to sleep through most of my side effects. Good Luck. It's not going to be easy, How old are you? I was 45 years of age in good health and survived it.

      Stage IIIB Melanoma Survivor.

      Deb

      about 4 years ago
    • skippee1644's Avatar
      skippee1644

      I feel your pain! I just finished my year of interferon treatment May 22. Have had several ct scans during my journey and more cancer never showed up. I would say it is highly effective. Kind of makes you a stronger person. Wish there was some miracle pill or something to make your time going thru it a breeze. It will not be easy by any means! I would say that water is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Drink plenty of it and get all the info from your dr that you can on this form of medicine. There may be something that works better for different people. But I highly recommend the water. Don't ever give up, even when your blood cell count becomes so low you have to take a week or 2 off from treatment. Always just listen to your doctor and trust him. No matter what others say about things, always trust/listen to your doctor. Good luck! It is a very difficult form of treatment, but it works, I am living proof of that!!!

      about 4 years ago
    • tk421's Avatar
      tk421

      Piii, I'm in a similar situation. I was told a month ago that I would need to start interferon after I've healed from surgery and 6 weeks of radiation. So i'll start it around February. At first I told them there was no way I was going to go on interferon, but I did all the research and decided to go ahead with it but first am looking all over the country for clinical trials of similar treatments. So your first question - I believe it helps based on the research and outcomes. I can't answer your 2nd question because I haven't gone through it, but my doctor is quite experienced with it and reassures me that if I communicate every side effect and symptom, they will be able to help me manage the side effects. She also said that some people stop after several months, and that is ok. Sounds like it is better to try than not and some people don't have as many problems on it as others. I wish you the best of luck.

      almost 4 years ago
    • scl1979's Avatar
      scl1979

      I did the full year. I guess we will never really know if it helped or not. I am 3 years in remission.

      over 3 years ago

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