• Chemo side effects

    Asked by Catouheart on Wednesday, May 29, 2013

    Chemo side effects

    I have joined a clinical trial and will be reciving Cytoxan and Adriamyacin every 14 days for 4 cycles, and then Taxol every 14 days for another 4 cycles.I start on Thursday - and am pretty nervous. I have heard that Adriamyacin and Taxol are both pretty evil. Can anyone give me any feedback from personal experience with these particular chemos??

    20 Answers from the Community

    20 answers
    • Bunnies' Avatar

      I have had two cycles three weeks apart of Cytoxan and adriamycin followed the next day with an injection of neulasta. The first cycle went very well - a little indigestion, tiredness, and some minor mouth sores. I had a good appetite and enjoyed bicycling a few miles each day. My hair started falling out on the 12th day following the infusion. After this first cycle the oncologist said these initial side effects would be a good indication for the remainder. (not true) The week of the second cycle I was more tired, everything tasted strange, had severe stomach cramps and diarrhea, poor appetite and didn't feel like biking. It is now the beginning of the second week after the second cycle and my appetite is back and I feel good. I can't give you any feedback on the taxol portion. I wish you the best.

      over 3 years ago
    • ValerieR's Avatar

      I had the same type of chemo. I did lose my hair right at the 2 week point. I had the neulasta shot the following day after my weekly treatment. I would be tired about 3 days after that, but not intolerably tired. I still was able to work. The Taxol made my toenails actually come off. My toes would hurt, even up against the sheets. I did not realize they were actually lifting. It took a while, but they all fell off. One day I tripped over the garden hose ( I also developed neuropathy in my feet), and one of my big toenails popped right off. I got some double sided tape, and back on it went, so I could wear my sandals with polished toes! It worked!! Some of my fingernails peeled, but did not pop off. Everything tasted funny for a while, even water. The thing that tasted the best was spaghetti! I had some bone pain in my legs from the neulasta shot... but ibruprophen and Benadryl helped that, along with steroids that they prescribed. I'm sure you will do fine. Chemo does have some bad side effects, but it KICKS cancer butt! Best of luck to you.

      over 3 years ago
    • MMarie's Avatar

      So many new experiences. Sigh... AC - T every 2 weeks is exactly what I had. As much as I hate it when they say, "Everyone's Different", I suspect it is true. My Onc said I tolerated it well. He obviously had a completely different baseline than I did. I thought I was struggling. He was really big on not having his patients suffer. I always had PRN medication for nausea, mouth sores and pain. Never used the first two, but did take a substantial amount of pain medication during that part of the journey. I managed to work 35 - 40 hours a week through my treatments. My hair came out around the second treatment. The worst for me was the pain that accompanied the neulasta, neuropathy in my feet and the fatigue. Had I not needed to work as much, I don't think my experience would have been so tough. I was so grateful to have a port. Honest conversations with my Onc and the nurses administering the chemo helped a lot. Will be thinking of you.

      over 3 years ago
    • JennyMiller's Avatar

      I had Cytoxan and Adriamyacin every 14 days for 4 cycles and then Taxol every 14 days for another 4 cycles. My Oncologist gave me meds that made the journey quite bearable. I was not nauseated. The fatigue was cumulative. If you go to my wall, you will find that I wrote about each session and the side effects in great detail. It may help you to know what to expect. Of course, everyone is different. I took Claritin (not Claritin D) with the Neulesta Shot and I did not experience the bone pain (a great hint that I got from a friend on WhatNext). I wish you the best -- and you will be in my thoughts and prayers on Thursday.

      over 3 years ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      I can't help you with the combo, but I did have adriamycin 25 years ago. It alone was pretty rough on me. On the other hand, back then there were almost no pre-meds and nausea medicines to help.

      We wish you an easy treatment!

      over 3 years ago
    • MillieS's Avatar

      I had all three. Fatigue was the worse of this side effects. Nausea was easily handled with anti-nausea meds. All in all , it was not as bad as I thought it would be. Good luck with it. Hugs

      over 3 years ago
    • PrettyToes' Avatar

      I might add that taxol can cause your nails to turn black, and even fall off. I had 12 IV treatments of taxol. My onc told me in advance about this possible side effect. She recommended I put my hands and feet in ice during the infusion. I did this during every infusion, and never had a problem with my nails. She also recommended that I apply tea tree oil to my nails daily, which I did.also. Sometimes taxol causes peripheral neuropathy, which is nerve damage. If you have any symptoms: pain, tingling, numbness, in hands or feet, be sure to let your doc know. Good luck! You can get through this!

      over 3 years ago
    • kfk's Avatar
      kfk (Best Answer!)

      I toke the same regimen of dose dense A/C every 14 days for 4 cycles and then dose dense taxol every 14 days for 4 cycles. Other than hair loss, the side effects were very minimal for me. I worked full time throughtout these treatments. I never had any nausea. I took a 3 day anti-nausea medicine (Emend) on the day of my chemo which probably helped. My side effects included dry mouth throughout. Get Xylimints that you can put in your mouth to sleep with . The mints helped me sleep better and avoid waking up with a very dry mouth.

      My skin was a little dry but this was during the winter too. So I used unscented lotions like Eucerin. I also took pepcid AC for the first few days after chemo. I would get the hiccups on the 2nd day but just for a few minutes.

      With the taxol, I did have a few days after the last treatment where the balls of my feet felt a little numb, but it didn't effect my walking or daily life. The numbness didn't last for more than a week.

      The best advice I received was to exercise throughout my chemo for 50-60 minutes a day. My oncologist pushes the exercise (even on a chemo day) as it helps to fight fatigue and she believes it helps the effectiveness of the chemo. I would walk 4 miles each day within an hour. I also recommend listening to visualization CDs to help the chemo's effectiveness. I did this while I walked and it helped me keep a positive outlook. I also prayed alot during this hour each day.

      I had a bilateral mastectomy after chemo and I am very blessed to say that I received a complete pathological response from the chemo. (Meaning no cancer cells left in the pathology report in my breast tissue removed and in 2 lymph nodes.)

      I hope the best for you and that you have minimal effects from the chemo. Don't be afraid, not everyone has terrible effects. You can do this!

      over 3 years ago
    • laurie2025's Avatar

      I had neuropathy from the Taxol, and food tasted crummy. And of course fatigue. But nothing you can't make it through. Good luck to you.

      over 3 years ago
    • debco148's Avatar

      This appears to be pretty standard treatment for many types of breast cancer. The A/c is the first and can cause nausea. But, you will get anti nausea meds and if you follow the orders of the onc and nurses, you'll be fine. I never got sick. The tiredness does accumulate over the four does and exercise is great for overall feeling better especially after the first 2-3 days.. I did Zumba and walked a lot about 4x week. The weeks that I'd didn't get treatment I did more. I also did Reiki, and meditation. Then, we started Taxol.. I had a severe reaction, I tend to run low bp anyway, but I actually got so low I passed out, also severe neuropathy. My onc took me off after one dose (at that point chemo was insurance and not to reduce a tumor, had mastectomy and no sign of active cancer before starting chemo). Then, I went onto radiation for added insurance. 28 rads. One year later, doing great. We are all different, but stay on top of side effects, they have so much to help you with ..it is doable and certainly worth the fight!

      over 3 years ago
    • jad's Avatar

      I had similar treatment. Some of my side effects were more severe than others experienced, some less so. The important thing is to keep in close contact with your oncology practice. The
      specially trained oncology nurses are usually excellent. Carefully look at any handouts your oncologist provides, and in some cases links. That can be very informative.

      My keeping in close contact resulted in a diminished dose for my last treatment because one of
      my side effects was so severe. A good oncologist with a good team WILL listen, and help you.
      And keep a daily journal of what's happening and an ongoing list of questions. The questions seem to appear at odd hours of the night.

      over 3 years ago
    • Snooks' Avatar

      Evil is too kind a word for the "ACT cocktail". Although I was barely a Stage I cancer, my doctor said it was "aggressive", whatever that means. My onc suggested a very strong chemo cocktail of "ACT". The first two cycles went fine and then it hit me. My white blood count plummeted as well as my potassium levels, I had extreme diarrhea and I was dehydrated, so I had to be admitted to the hospital. This happened three times during the next three chemo cycles. By the sixth (and last cycle) my onc cut back on the cocktail and I was fine. I will tell you thart my onc warned me about the ACT cocktail before I started treatment, but I went ahead with it. Looking back, it was difficult, but in the long run I would make the same decision again. Good Luck and God Bless

      over 3 years ago
    • Myungclas' Avatar

      Taxol is brutal on fingernails, and no one ever died of cancer of the fingernail...my infusion room nurses kept my fingers in ice for much of the taxol infusion, and I never got the gnarly nail stuff I saw other people endure. Gargle often with the soda and salt solution...I never had mouth sores either, but I was crazy diligent about the gargling.

      over 3 years ago
    • Bug's Avatar

      Hi, Catouheart. I can't address your question but I just wanted to say the best of luck to you. It sounds from the responses that some of the folks managed well and I hope you can keep that in mind. I'll be thinking of you.

      over 3 years ago
    • Catouheart's Avatar

      Thanks everyone for your helpful responses. My cancer is Stage 2, also labeled aggressive. My oncologist wouldn't feel comfortable letting me slide without the chemo, and I agree with her. Why get cautious when I opted for the bilateral mastectomy.Time to keep going!

      If I summarized all your responses, I get: A/C - plan on losing your hair before the next treatment. (I've already gotten my "beat-chemo-to-the-punch" haircut). Taxol - will mess with my nails. In general: fatigue, food tasting weird, and whatever else my body decides.

      Trying to stay calm - 12 hours to go.

      over 3 years ago
    • Catouheart's Avatar

      First chemo treatment went well - now we see how the body responds.....
      JennyMiller - I remember what you said about the claritan. Did you have to take it every day while you were going thru the chemo or only for a few days around the Neulasta injection??

      over 3 years ago
    • ljb23's Avatar

      I did that same as you are about to. The first 4 are the hardest. Make sure they give you good anti-nausea meds. I had Compazene and Zofram. Worked pretty good. I never actually vomitted. Just didn't have much of an appetite. I felt tired and just worn out on days 3 and 4. My hair started coming out right after my second round. I just had my friend buzz it off. It felt good to have some control over something in this whole mess. Once I started Taxol (I also had Herceptin with mine since I am HER2 positive), it was soooo much easier. It's been just over a year since I finished chemo (had radiation til last June), but I feel great. if you would have told me a year ago that I would feel this good now and have all my hair back, I wouldn't have believed it! Hang in there, it does get better!

      over 3 years ago
    • ljb23's Avatar

      I also had the joint pain with the Neulasta, that sucked, but was tolerable. I was lucky that I didn't have any problems with my fingernails or toenails. I did have the yucky, metal taste. I found lemon hard candy did the trick for that. That subsided once I went to the Taxol. I did get some neuropathy in my fingers and toes with the Taxol, but that subsided once I was done with it all. Keep using moisturizer for your skin. My soft tissue linings took a beating (inside nose, only a couple of mouth sores, bowel area, vaginal area), but all that got better once I was done. Big Hugs!!!

      over 3 years ago
    • Geo's Avatar

      Having my 4th ac on wed, have been very tired lately. No nausea, just a little diarrhea. I start taxol on July 10, hope it is as easy as ac was.

      over 3 years ago
    • Catouheart's Avatar

      Well I am about to go for my 3rd chemo treatment in 2 days. The nausea was worse 2nd time around - seems that days 3 and 4 are the worst for me. The fatigue is unbelievable. I know my blood levels have dropped but they are still just above where they need to be. And food just isn't what it used to be. I never sleep the night I receive the chemo - the steroids keep me awake. Neulasta went great the first cycle, but did experience some bone pain and slight numbness 2nd time around. Thanks to a great tip I found on here, I did start taking Claritin and my side effects have been minimal so I am gonna keep it up.
      Geo - I am about 2 weeks behind you. My first Taxol will be July 25th.
      Hang tough everyone!

      over 3 years ago

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