• Any suggestions on combatting Chemo Side Effects (TC (docetaxel (Taxotere) and cyclophosphamide (cytoxan)) for stage IIA Breast Cancer

    Asked by dawn-dawn on Tuesday, July 15, 2014

    Any suggestions on combatting Chemo Side Effects (TC (docetaxel (Taxotere) and cyclophosphamide (cytoxan)) for stage IIA Breast Cancer

    I'm excited to finally get treatment going (had bilateral mastectomy on 6/2 and start chemo next week on 7/22).

    And although I realize not everyone reacts the same, Just wondering what others have found useful in combating side effects from the chemo and/ or from the dexamethasone

    Thanks All - Hope you are all having an excellent week!!

    23 Answers from the Community

    23 answers
    • Noureen's Avatar

      Love your positive attitude! I finished chemo on May 8th. My suggestion would be to drink lots of water, take your nausea meds, rest and eat whatever you can! Best wishes to you!

      almost 7 years ago
    • Ejourneys' Avatar

      I've been getting Adriamycin and Cytoxan. My main side effects have been fatigue, mild edema, constipation, queasiness, heartburn, and metallic "chemo mouth."

      Water -- I drink at least 10 glasses/day. It helps flush the toxins out, helps me avoid dry mouth, and helps alleviate queasiness. I add lemon juice to combat chemo mouth. Drinking at least 10 glasses the day before chemo also helps. Also, I drink considerably more on the day of chemo.

      Prune juice has helped me with constipation. I haven't needed anything stronger.

      Exercise (even at reduced intensity) has really helped boost my stamina. I've actually felt better with each successive infusion (e.g., have needed less nap time). Just moving helps to alleviate edema and queasiness.

      For edema I also elevate my feet, including in bed.

      My ARNP prescribed Prilosec 40 mg for heartburn. That's been doing the trick.

      Good luck next week! I'm done with my four cycles of AC and am getting ready to move on to Taxol later this month. I'll see how I do with the new drug. :-)

      almost 7 years ago
    • ChildOfGod4570's Avatar

      Like was previously noted, drink copious amounts of water to keep hydrated and to also flush out those excess chemicals. For the metallic taste, spicy, salty, or frozen foods really helped me. Love those popsicles! I took Prilosec for heartburn and Mirolax for constipation. Exercise when you feel up to it, but do it gently and as you can handle it; don't force yourself. Eat what you can handle, and give yourself license to baby yourself for a while. Don't be surprised if you find yourself napping during the day; that's normal. Because your immune system might be compromised, stay away from sick people and wear a mask and gloves if you have to pick up after any pets. On the emotional side, please surround yourself with friends and family who will love on you and take care of you when you are going through your blue days, and trust me, you will have some of those; we all do. Nobody likes to think of this, but now is the time to prepare for hair loss, so if you are going to wear a wig, you will want to start that ball rolling so it's there for you when you need it. You can also buy hats, scarves, caps or turbans if you aren't going to opt for the bald and beautiful route. Remember, we're here for you ... just an email away ... if you need us. HUGS and God bless.

      almost 7 years ago
    • Samcharlie's Avatar

      I had the same stage IIA, hormone positive and same chemo. Great advice from Noureen, Ejourneys and ChildofGod. I had terrible metal mouth and my oncologist advised me to chew ice during the infusion. It really worked! Also, I relied heavily on my nurse navigator and the infusion nurses; they were fabulous and quite knowledgeable. I walked when I could muster the energy - I thought it helped with weight control. I wore hats when my hair fell out but I had chemo during the winter. Good luck and let us know how you're doing!!

      almost 7 years ago
    • dawn-dawn's Avatar

      Thanks for all the advise - think I will definitely make sure my water bottle has ice in it!! I'd read about it being good to drink extra water (already trying to get back into that habit) - but think this may be the first I heard about ice helping too (kind of funny cuz my boyfriend loves to chew ice :-) ).

      I will be opting for hats/scarves, etc over a wig - its pretty warm here in summer (suburb of los angeles california) - and I already get hot easily (and thats before this puts me into menopause).

      But hurray for no longer having heavy periods, and here's to the bigger boobs I'll have after reconstruction.

      So glad I have finally got a chance to take advantage of this site. I have great support from family and friends - but sometimes its good to be able to get advice from those who are or have been in the same boat.

      Unfortunately I know more than i would like - as my dear husband passed away over 3 years ago. Unfortunately his was quite advanced when it was found, But that experience made me realize how strong I was and I know he is watching over me and sent Scott back into my life to keep me safe, healthy and more importantly bring back my smile and sense of joy,

      almost 7 years ago
    • cam32505's Avatar

      Good luck on your first chemo. I didn't have a great experience with it and was terrified every time afterwards. I had an allergic reaction to my chemo drugs (Taxol), but the staff was fast in stopping everything and stabilizing me. Afterwards, I felt fine the next day, probably due to the steroids. But, two days later, the achiness started. I had no idea it was from the chemo. I used a heating pad for all the the joints that ached. Pain meds didn't help the pain. It lasted 3-5 days. Then, I would find myself starting to recover and a little bit of an appetite.

      almost 7 years ago
    • kayclement's Avatar

      Ice packs on hands & feet while getting Doxetaxal chemotherapy to help prevent numbness & pain. Suck on chips while getting Doxorubicin chemo treatments, as it helps to prevent mouth sores...

      almost 7 years ago
    • fiddler's Avatar

      For dry mouth - suck on a lemon drop and drink lots of water - a glass an hour at least, but because it's summer, be sure to take electrolytes either in tablet form (order from Costco online) or Pedialyte or half Gatorade and half water. For pain, up to a point, Claritin. For constipation psyllium seeds (order #9 from Sonne). For radiation - slather on calendula gel after each "zap". For routine stuff like cooking and cleaning - line people up to do it because you may be flat on your back for awhile and not able to do stuff.

      Ice packs were discussed with my chemo doc and he said he was not a fan because cancer cells may (may) "hide out" wherever the ice pack is placed.

      almost 7 years ago
    • fiddler's Avatar

      If you develop neuropathy from Adriamycin - as soon as it develops start on 3 tbsp a day of L-glutamine.

      almost 7 years ago
    • fiddler's Avatar

      One last thing ... get that stuff out of your bladder (and kidneys), use the facilities all night if you have to.

      almost 7 years ago
    • Yvette0516's Avatar

      Hi Dawn Dawn,

      Sorry to hear about the loss of your husband. Glad to hear that you know he is watching over you and keeping your safe.

      You've got a lot of good advise here from all of our loved ones on here. This site is phenomenal for answering any and all questions because its based on those who have been there and/or are there at the exact time we are, offering experience, strength and hope.

      For the chemo, my experience with the AC part of my chemo was pretty rough on me. I was expecting the side effects to be the same with each treatment, because thats what I was told. Mine were different and seem to be more intense with each treatment.

      I relied heavily on my Onc. and nursing staff and they did the best they could to combat and to give other types of meds to help. I, like cam32505, did not get relief from the pain meds until around my 3rd of 4th treatment.

      Yes, water, water and more water, definitely helps. The immune boost shot you will get caused me a lot of trouble. On here, many people said that Clariitan and tylenol 650 mg. helped them. It did not help me. (the immune booster shot helps your body replace white blood cells that are wiped out by the chemo. Your bone marrow expands to create new white blood cells and this can cause pain in low back, upper back, arms and legs. Some people on here just took naproxen, and/or took advil and some heat and were fine. Others tried the claritin and had good results -- for me I just had to suffer through it and tried to knock myself out for rest with pain meds and heat - - usually lasted 3-4, sometimes 5 days.

      I also had a lot of burning on the bottom of my feet, my toes and fingers. Cool compresses helped a little, and pain meds did help with this.

      I am done with AC like Ejourneys, and will be starting Taxol next week. So, I have no idea what to expect. My docs are concerned about the Taxol, because I have fibromyalgia, and one of the side effects of Taxol is the muscle and joint pain, so we'll see how that goes.

      Please keep us posted on how you're treatment is going.

      Baby yourself. Please. If you're anything like me (or most of us) one of the hardest things for us to do is to put ourselves first. You have to. You have to find a way to let it be okay that you can't do what you're used to doing, when you can't. Its difficult at best, but taking care of yourself, allowing yourself to rest, allowing others to care for you -- it gets a little easier with time, and then other times the limitations are down right frustrating. It has been the biggest adjustment for me, because I've always been a busy, busy, doer - - the one who handles it all, never the one that relies on others or pampers myself.

      I pray a lot, I read, when I can about all things spiritual, and self care. When I read up on cancer, and anything gets me scared, I stop reading.

      I cry. I give myself the 3 day rule that I learned from Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips writer, Kris Carr. If I am in a depressed, down funk, I only allow myself to say there (usually one-two days) and then I take a vaca from cancer, focus on other things - - my children, grandchildren, family, watch distracting movies, read a novel, write about other things, poetry, journal about family or other subjects, I just get out of cancer thoughts as much as possible.

      I come on here as much as my body allows - - and I push any guilt I may feel out of the way, that my family and friends are doing so much for me right now. I embrace what they're doing and give thanks everyday for it.

      Good luck with your treatment. Please keep us posted and updated and let us know how you're doing. We will all be thinking of you - - praying for you, steadily. Holding you up in healing light and comforting prayers and thoughts.



      almost 7 years ago
    • KLC's Avatar

      Hi Dawn-Dawn. Sorry you have to join our "cocktail" party. Good advice above. Adding fresh lemon juice to your water a few times a day will help offset the metallic taste and help keep your body's alkalinity in check. Opt to stay hydrated constantly, not just the few days after chemo. Take the anti-nausea meds as directed to prevent feeling queasy. Keep ginger tea in the house in case you do feel a bit off. It's normal to feel fatigue (especially as you progress into treatments), when you need to rest do so. But, always at the very least try to take a decent walk on the days you're not exercising. That cute little pooch in your photo will be happy to come along ! - I'm sure will be a good nap companion also ; ) I took glutamine throughout chemo to prevent neuropathy. Also helps to keep you vitamin D levels up. Your taste buds go haywire and sometimes people develop some digestive issues while undergoing chemo. Do your best to eat as healthy as possible as it's in your best interest in the long run. Best of luck to you. Karen : )

      almost 7 years ago
    • Roses4ever's Avatar

      Hi Dawn-Dawn! I'm so glad u found us! So sorry to hear about your husband, but what a beautiful attitude and outlook you have. You are going to be just fine girl!
      As for chemo you are so smart to ask questions before hand. Wish I would have:/ Everyone has great tips. My question is do you work? I couldn't work at all, and some people go part time. I would literally sleep for 2 days after chemo. I also gained about 16 pounds cause sweet was the only taste I could taste. It's all good now though as I'm trying to cut back and exercise. Definitely get the Emend the anti nausea med, and also take a daily Claritin. Pedi light pops are awesome. I did good with a fresh pot of chicken noodle soup too. I would cook everything the day before and make sure I had all my favorites in the fridge. Most of all just let go and rest. Don't try to be a super hero just let go and let everyone pamper you. I know it's hard but just do it. I'm 5 month out and I suffer from severe neuropathy, so listen to fiddler about taking L- glutamine and vitamin b. I'm also getting my hair back yeah!!! If you decide on a wig let me know cause there's the best wig designer in Long Beach Ca ( not too far from LA) and he's amazing! Give me your email if you want me to send you some pics of my wig. It's absolutely amazing! I'm all finished with my expanders, had my exchange surgery a couple of months ago( went with saline) and I'm a healthy C cup. Very happy with my results:) nipple surgery next month.
      Please let me know if you have any question or need anything. I'm happy your here!!!

      almost 7 years ago
    • maggieH's Avatar

      So much good advice already. I only have two others to add:
      1) The Cancer Fighting Kitchen cook book has been outstanding for recipes to battle the specific side effects and keep my bone marrow working.
      2) When I cut out processed foods, fast food, junk food, caffeine/alcohol (though I still have desert once a week - something worthy of once weekly!), I definitely felt MUCH better. More energy, faster bounce back, less flu-like symptoms.

      I hope it goes well for you! You can do it! You have lots of company :)

      almost 7 years ago
    • rrabunal's Avatar

      Dear Dawn, I had the same exact chemo and it was not so bad. All the advice above is perfect! Like I said I did not have any major problems, but I followed the advice of my dr. and chemo nurses. I had a phone that I could call 24 hrs, maybe you can ask if available, I did not need to use it for any emergency, but it did give me peace of mind. I would add that I ate salt free from the day before chemo and through that whole week to avoid fluid retention. Setron works great for nausea and lots of veggies and watter. One thing to keep in mind is that your white cell count, neutrophiles and monocytes, may drop a lot a few days, 5-10 days after your chemo session, in case you fell quite unwell, please go for blood work to check this, because they will give you a Neupogen and that will take care of it. Keep your positive attitude and I it will be over before you know it. Rest all you need. Love and many blessings in your journey!!

      almost 7 years ago
    • AJFL62's Avatar

      Gentle Hugs to you Dawn-Dawn.

      Everyone has posted a bit of the things I would have said. Everyone has mentioned great things!!

      I had Adriamycin and Doxyrubicin Monday. My very first Chemo appointment. Yesterday was my one Neulasta shot.

      My port surgery was over 2 weeks ago and my experience so far with Chemo has been OK.

      I agree with the water and when I was getting the Chemo, I actually had a LifeSaver Wint-O-Green mint in my mouth, and that helped but I had a really weird smell in my nose with the one medication.

      I drank A LOT of water the first day and since then I have been drinking water, ice chips and some lemon water. Not much of an appetite but make myself eat to be honest.

      Stay strong, AND positive as you are now and this time will pass by fast!

      Take care and keep in touch here. We're here for you!

      almost 7 years ago
    • leepenn's Avatar

      hey there - sorry you have to do this.

      i wrote a blog piece on surviving chemo very soon after finishing treatment.
      i hope you find it helpful.
      five things: hydration, taking care of your bald head, nutrition, communication, and exercise....

      my care team told me that if i treated chemo like an inconvenience, then that's probably how it would play out. with a few exceptions (low blood counts a couple of times, one bad week after the last of 16 treatments), i really did find that to be the case. i worked through chemo, and i only took off about one-half day per week on weeks with chemo.... right after my last treatment, i did work just half-days during the week after that infusion. that one was rough.... overall - 90% manageable... 10% suckeeeeeee.

      someone up there mentioned glutamine, which i describe in my blog. the "t" of your chemo has neuropathy as a potential side effect... ask your care team about adding this a supplement. it can be purchased as a powder, and you can swirl a spoonful in a cup of water... and slam. doesn't tast like anything, so it's very tolerable. you do it three times per day for three days after each infusion. it's been through some clinical trials and shown to reduce side effects, so it's definitely one to consider adding to your treatment plan - ask your care team!

      good luck - i wish you maximum efficacy with minimal side effects!

      almost 7 years ago
    • LindaAnnie's Avatar

      Lots of helpful advice above, so I won't repeat it (plus what I did is in my journey experiences). The one additional thing I will add - stock up on anti-side effects supplies BEFORE your treatment. I was so glad I did. Then I could simply take what I needed and not have to deal with going out or shopping. Keep a positive attitude!!! That's as important as anything else. Good luck to you.

      almost 7 years ago
    • dawn-dawn's Avatar

      Thanks again to all for the advice!! I breezed through the first Chemo appt, went out to lunch with my parents afterwards, and will probably find something for dinner soon.

      I realize side effects like fatigue (probably around day 4-5), hair loss (around day 14-15) and possibly nausea are bound to happen, but hoping to keep my positive attitude and deal with it (and learn to lean more on friends and family when needed)...

      My mantra is "wake up, kick butt, repeat"!!

      Have a wonderful week everyone!

      almost 7 years ago
    • Yvette0516's Avatar

      Hi Dawn-Dawn, just checking in with you. How are you feeling today. Been praying for you. Hope all is well. You have a wonderful, positive attitude! Take care and keep us posted on your progress.

      almost 7 years ago
    • dawn-dawn's Avatar

      Hi Yvette and everyone... I've been doing really well - so far no bone pain from the Nuelasta (been taking Claritin) and just a bit of nauseousness (taking Zophran - to keep it at bay).... Tues - Thurs - I even was able to get up early and take my cardio barre exercise class at 6:00 am and while I was still feeling good got errands done, etc.
      Last night I started feeling a bit more tired than usual and today I'm still feeling pretty beat - so will take it easy and reschedule my lunch plans! At least I'm out of bed and dressed and played a bit with my sweet dog (she is 60 lbs of love!!),
      I've got lots of friends and family around to help (just probably need to get better at "asking" and "letting" them help :-) ).
      Wish my boyfriend lived closer (he;s in Napa (in Northern California) and I'm in Los Angeles area), but he is amazing and so supportive - we talk multiple times a day and I can always just feel his love.
      So all in all I'm feeling pretty GREAT so far and sticking to "WAKE UP, KICK BUTT, REPEAT"!!


      almost 7 years ago
    • Yvette0516's Avatar

      So glad to hear you're doing okay. Sounds luke its going great! Yeah!! Yea, the asking and allowing others to help has been a struggle for me. Its taking me practice, reallt but my side effects have been pretty bad to severe, so its gotten easier since i've not had much choice. I hope your weekend remains calm and you enjoy it to the fullest. Much love, prayers and thoughts to you! Yvette :)

      almost 7 years ago
    • Lisaluwho2's Avatar

      So happy to read that you are hanging in there and kicking butt!!! I just got my port in the other day and will start TC chemotherapy on August 5th. I'm not gonna lie...I'm still pretty scared, but it helps SO MUCH to see how well you are doing!!! Sadly, I just moved here from 1000 miles away and so don;t have the support I wished I did...but I'm strong, optimistic and inspired by everyone on this site! I will be keeping up with your progress - You Go Girl!!

      almost 7 years ago

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