• I have heard conflicting stories about the chemo side effects. Can anyone tell me what to expect?

    Asked by dbain1990 on Wednesday, July 18, 2012

    I have heard conflicting stories about the chemo side effects. Can anyone tell me what to expect?

    11 Answers from the Community

    11 answers
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      Unfortunately, no. The reason you have heard what seem to be conflicting stories is that there are so many variable in side effects to chemo drugs. The vary based on which drugs you are taking in what dosage, frequency, duration, and combination. Even 2 people on the exact same regimen can have completely different side effects based on differences in age, overall health, other sensitivities, conditions, etc.

      The good news is that which side effects you have, how severe they are, when they start and stop, etc. are usually very consistent for a given individual. So whatever side effects you do experience after your first treatment are highly likely to be the same throughout each round of treatment.

      over 4 years ago
    • markmather's Avatar

      There is a full spectrum of chemo side effects. I unfortunately became an expert with the worst ones. So what I can tell you is you will be able to get through the chemo no matter what. The general consensus is wait and see.

      over 4 years ago
    • ImStillHere's Avatar

      Like others have said, everyone is different. What is important though, is to let your medical team know when you are having an unacceptable side effect, and don't let them blow you off. Also consider complementary therapies like massage.

      over 4 years ago
    • Bellamore's Avatar

      While I don't have any serious chemo side effects, I was having other issues, pain, lots of stress, anxiety, etc. So I gave acupunture a try. It gives my whole body a sense of "all is right with the world". I think the fact that I am doing something for myself gives me a sense of empowerment. Hope things go well for you.

      over 4 years ago
    • packerbacker's Avatar

      Like everyone is saying, the side effects vary for everyone. I didn't have any serious side effects from my chemo last year, mainly slight nausea and fatigue. But, I'm going to start 3 more chemo drugs the end of the month, and I'm nervous about the side effects. One thing you can do is let the doc and nurse know whenever you are feeling something abnormal/uncomfortable. There are so many things that can help to ease some of the side effects. I wish you luck in your treatment!

      over 4 years ago
    • Mollie's Avatar

      All I can offer is what my grandma is experiencing. No nausea, tons of fatigue, weight loss and very week(especially days 10 and 17) and sores in her mouth/throat. Hope that helps :)))

      over 4 years ago
    • mgm48's Avatar

      I can only add that I am apparently an exception as I have worked full time since Day 1 of Chemo. My doctors recommended that I drink a lot of water and exercise. So Following those recommendations, I have been nearly side effect free. I will admit that one other thing does make a significant difference - attitude. With a positive attitude, some minor icky feelings are just that minor. With a less positive attitude they become debilitating. If you "need" to work and the boss is supportive, then put on the mind over matter hat and decide for yourself that you will make it work. Good luck.
      Keep it positive and Smile:)

      over 4 years ago
    • jolobeme's Avatar

      These are all good answers and yes, a positive attitude is what will help you the most as well as healthy eating and daily exercise. i admit to my having a streak of couch potato in me, but I purchased a treadmill and started with just walking for 10 minutes each day. The doctors and nurses tell you the best remedy for fatigue is exercise, and it seems counter-intuitive, but it's true. It will also help your mental state.
      I just finished chemo and continue to "fast" walk over a mile each day.
      Good luck to you and I hope your side effects are minimal.

      over 4 years ago
    • Bashiemn's Avatar

      I had mild nausea, hair loss, weight gain, amnesia, mental slowness/forgetfulness, and sometimes increased appetite, insomnia, and shortness of breath, fatigue. It was hardest at first, and got easier. Sometimes I had mild tingling in my fingers and feet.
      I think once I decided I wasn't going to just sit around any more and I started getting out and doing things and even went back to work it all lightened up.

      But everyone is different. You never know what to expect.

      over 4 years ago
    • FreeBird's Avatar

      It's my understanding that it can be different for everyone. There are also different chemicals used for different cancers. My dad has so far been through two different chemotherapies for two different cancers. The first time, was Taxol and Carboplatin-- followed up by Neulasta to help with the low white blood cells-- for non-small-cell lung cancer, after surgery. (Besides the sticker-shock from Neulasta, that was $8,000 per shot, x4- thankfully paid for) There was some anemia, hair loss, a funny taste in his mouth, fatigue and just being tired a lot like he had a touch of the flu. It was not as bad as he expected it to be. The nurses will help with any side effects that come up, like nausea. If you feel crappy, we were instructed to call them because there are things they can do there at the center.

      The second time, right now, for metastatic pancreatic cancer-- they are using Gemzar, or gemcitabine. It's difficult to say what the side effects are, because he was experiencing so many symptoms before the chemo this time, and he's on more drugs for the cancer pain this time around. Increased fatigue is the main thing I noticed. Looking around the chemo room, it seemed some people go through it very easy, while others have a harder time with it. You could probably find out more, when you learn what drug they're going to use for your chemo.

      On the first visit, it was mainly to talk about finances. They had a little room that we went into, that feels like the office a car dealer takes you into to qualify you to buy a car. I think that was the worst part. Each visit, the experience was basically the same. We check in and pay at the front desk, wait in the waiting room, move into an area where dad is weighed, bp is taken, blood is taken when needed to check the blood counts. Because his pancreas is involved, they check his blood sugar. Then we wait in an exam room to see the doctor. Then we move into a big chemotherapy room where there are about two dozen recliners with IV pumps next to them. We wait there until they're ready to start. There's a little kitchenette where people can help themselves to a drink or crackers. When they hook you up, it's just like getting an IV in the hospital. Kick back and relax while it works its magic. Some people listen to music or read. Others take a nap. Everyone in the room looks pretty comfortable. Occasionally there's someone with nausea and everything that goes with it. The time varies for different people. One girl was there for four hours, getting the works. We finish up in about an hour. The last time, it was a couple hours. When he's done, they schedule the next visit on the way out.

      Best wishes to you.

      over 4 years ago
    • Blue's Avatar

      I agree that the chemo effects differ from person to person. Been fortunate because even with the switch to a super aggressive chemo cocktail, my side effects have been minimal. Did experience light headedness and brain fog.

      over 4 years ago

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