• How sick

    Asked by Blackmama on Wednesday, June 5, 2013

    How sick

    Hi to all,
    So how sick does one get when taking chemo and radiation? I have one friend that really wasn't too affected at all, while I have heard that sometimes one can feel really bad. I am sure it varies from one person to the next. Just wondering. I am sure that I will be put on one, possibly both. Blackmama

    12 Answers from the Community

    12 answers
    • gsbasset's Avatar

      What type of medication that is being used will make a big difference as to how sick.

      over 3 years ago
    • gsbasset's Avatar

      What type of medication is being used will help people answer this......

      over 3 years ago
    • Peroll's Avatar

      You are correct that it varies a lot from person to person and also depends on what drugs and radiation is used.

      Radiation effects are impacted more by what is near the tumor being irritated and how those organs are affected. My personal experience was very little in the way of side effects as it did not impact other organs. I did get some skin "burns" (a lot like a sunburn). Others have had anything form fatigue to sore throats, nausea and such.

      Chemo varies even more than radiation. My first round of chemo I had just some fatigue with mild nausea and diarrhea (common with colon cancer treatment). My second round and subsequent rounds I have had severe diarrhea, nausea and vomiting leading to dehydration and lots of fatigue.

      That is the bad news. The good news is that meds and other things can minimizer the effects and help you get through chemo and radiation. Every patient should, before treatment have a discussion about side effects with their Drs and get prescriptions for meds to help with the side effects before starting treatment. I and others have found that getting out ahead of side effects by taking meds at the first sign of side effects helps minimize them. So it may take a while to get to the point that you recognize the onset symptoms but once you do you can usually minimize the side effects. Good Luck

      over 3 years ago
    • curly57's Avatar

      It varies from person to person. Next week will be my third chemo. After that, I'll start receiving radiation treatments and then three more chemos. So far, I have had some hair loss, weakness, nausea, etc. None of my symptoms have been severe. Some things that help me get through my treatments are exercise, rest, and eating right. Also, you need to have a positive attitude and realize the treatments and cancer are only temporary. I hope what I said helps you and wish you the best!

      over 3 years ago
    • curly57's Avatar

      There's one thing I forgot to mention. Another thing that helps me with nausea is I take a special medication my oncologist prescribed for me.

      over 3 years ago
    • SueRae1's Avatar

      Each person is unique. Radiation exhausted me while others can go to work every day after treatment. Chemo depends on the cocktail, etc. Most people feel the worst starting somewhere between 12-36 hours after the infusion and it lasts 2-3 days.

      over 3 years ago
    • itsjustme736's Avatar

      Every person is different, depend on your body and what type of treatment you are on

      over 3 years ago
    • Journey's Avatar

      Hi Blackmama,
      I have not had radiation so can not answer that. As for chemo, it will depend on what medicine combination they use. I had Cisplatin and Navelbine - Cisplatin once a month, Navelbine every week for 4 rounds or 4 months. The Cisplatin is really notorious for causing nausea and Navelbine is supposed to be easier on that score. The good thing is now they have many different types of anti-nausea meds available for chemo treatment, but they can cause constipation as does pain medicine (if you have surgery). My husband made a chart for me because it got complicated to figure out when to dispense each medicine since they were not on the same schedules. That was very helpful to me. Chemo can cause hair loss. My hair became much thinner, but I was not bald with this medicine. Because chemo kills fast growing cells, it also kills some of the blood cells: red blood cell (low=anemia), white blood cells (low=infection) and the platelets (low=bleeding problems). When you are on chemo try to stay away from sick people. They will tell you all about that and what you need to watch out for. When you go in for chemo, you will have blood tests every time. They watch you very carefully. If you go to your Cancer Center's Orientation Class, they will give you information as to what to expect and how to treat the side effects that you might have. All the doctors, nurses, dietitions, everyone at the Cancer Center are specialists. They will help you and answer what ever questions you might have. I hope this helps.

      over 3 years ago
    • INSBOB's Avatar

      Hey Now,
      how sick and how affected?? as all the posts written so far, yup it varies but being like a beached whale or what ever is nothing when the light at the end of the tunnel is LIFE. and yes Sat I attend another Survivor Day. Take each day as it comes and thank god you are looking down at the grass and not up. insbob.com

      over 3 years ago
    • BuckeyeShelby's Avatar

      I had chemo once every 3 weeks for 6 cycles. Except for the first one, my symptoms were managable. I ended up w/severe leg pain, which no one was expecting, so I couldn't get in front of it after my first cycle -- after that, I knew what to expect and had a prescription for pain meds. I had minimum nausea, but I did take my nausea meds religiously. I did have the hair loss (hats, scarves & turbans were my friend...). I was able to work through my chemo -- other than treatment days & dr's appointments, I only missed 2 days of work through the whole thing. I hope your experiences are no worse than mine.

      over 3 years ago
    • Baldredhead's Avatar

      Greetings, Blackmama! I made the mistake of reading as many blogs as I could find about chemo before I had it - I tended to take away the worst case scenarios from them all, but the one thing I have learned throughout this journey is that everyone is different - Even if you have the same medications, your acceptance of them will be very different from others! I am done with chemotherapy and almost done with radiation and although there have been some times of difficulty and fatigue, I was able to work through the whole thing, with the exception of a couple of "crash days" each treatment, and of course on the treatment day I wasn't at work - Be strong, my fighting friend, and know that you will overcome this! We are with you!

      over 3 years ago
    • Tracy's Avatar

      I have had many friends go through both with many different kinds of reactions. It all depends on the treatment plan.
      One very good thing is that the treatments have gotten so much better over the years! The big thing is to go in with positive thoughts and know that it will pass. You will be fine, Tracy

      over 3 years ago

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