• i'll be starting chemo in a few weeks. AC for 4 treatments (every other week), and then T for another 4 treatments.

    Asked by CC45 on Sunday, April 15, 2012

    i'll be starting chemo in a few weeks. AC for 4 treatments (every other week), and then T for another 4 treatments.

    can anyone offer some suggestions on how to best handle the possible side effects? home remedies, prevention tips, preparation before starting, etc.

    7 Answers from the Community

    7 answers
    • leepenn's Avatar

      I have three big bits of advice.

      1) GLUTAMINE - of course, ask your health care providers, but this supplement (10 g swirled in water, 3x per day for days 1-5 after each treatment... or more). If you do a google scholar search on glutamine and chemotherapy, you'll get a lot of hits. This stuff seems to help with all sorts of chemo side effects, and the one week when I slacked off, I really had a different (and worst) experience. It also has the benefit of helping you drink more water... Buy as a powder from a health food shop - buying as capsules is super expensive per gram. I used two big containers through chemo, and each one cost around $20. Totally worth it, if you can do it.

      2) Tell your health care team EVERYTHING - and I mean everything... Including poo problems, weird sensations in your chest, and more... EVERYTHING. For many of the side effects, they can help!

      3) No matter what, do not stop moving! If you are active now, maintain whatever you possibly can. Some days might be rough, and you might not get out, but keep those days to a minimum. I rode my bike every single day ... The shortest ride was like 8 minutes.... From what my health care folks told me, couch potatoes suffer the most chemo... and active people who stay active suffer less. If you are not active right now, start small and build... Walk a bit every day... building up to something like a half hour a day nearly every single day.

      Overall, the good days do outnumber the bad... And while it seems like it takes forever... I also felt like it was over before I knew it...

      I'm sorry we share this diagnosis. I wish you maximal effects with minimal side effects.

      over 4 years ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      Great answer above, I will add to keep a positive attitude, don't let the long sorry process of having to go through this get you down. Cancer is trying to get you, don't let it, and don't ever think that you are not going to win. You will do great! Wishing you the best, quickest treatments ever. Good luck!

      over 4 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      The bad news is that there is no way to predict which side effects you will have. The good news is that each person's side effects tend to be very consistent each cycle, so after the first treatment, you will be able to prepare for subsequent treatments. In addition to Lee's suggestions, some other OTC to have in case you need them are an NCID for body aches, a stool softener for constipation, something like Immodium for diarrhea, and something for indigestion and heartburn.

      over 4 years ago
    • PinkD's Avatar

      Agree with all of the above. They had me hold ice chips in my mouth during the Adriamycin push to prevent mouth sores and I didn't have any--some others I've talked to weren't given that tip. And the biggest surprise side effect for me was how Taxol affected my nails! I'm not sure if there's any preventing the pain and lifting of finger and toenails but I sure would have liked a heads up on that because it freaked me out =) One additional thing about exercise--do outdoor exercise if at all possible. There's something restorative about nature in general, and fresh air in particular. And take all the vitamin D supplements you want, I still think you need to make at least some of your own, so soak up as much sunshine as you feel comfortable with!

      over 4 years ago
    • RebeccaW's Avatar

      I highly recommend a book called Natural Strategies for Cancer Patients by Dr. Russell Blaylock M.D. His book and nutritional information on how to help the chemo and reduce side effects/chemo damage has been instrumental in my husbands journey. My husband has had minimal side effects since doing his recommendations. When he slacked off, many of the side effects increased. Juicing/Raw foods, decreased meat intake, non-processed/organic foods and supplements have been a huge factor! His bloodwork looks better than it did when he found out that he had stage 4 colon cancer that spread through his lymph and took over 55% of his liver. His tumors are also drastically reducing, some even by 70%, and he is on round 9 of 12 (though they might do more if he doesn't go into remission and can handle them). He is also on the control arm of a clinical study so what he is doing is being watched very closely compared to the other side of the study. We just upgraded our juicer a month ago and gave our other juicer to one of my husbands co-workers who came down with stage 3b lung cancer and she has seen a huge difference in her health and side effects with just adding fresh carrot/apple/greens juicing in her diet. I wish I had a list of all my husband is taking but it's too long to post here. If you want, you can email him at [email redacted] and ask him for his list/regiment. He'd be more than happy to share.

      **Warning** The book is VERY DRY and is like reading a text book or technical manual for a car. Dry but INCREDIBLY compact with information!

      over 4 years ago
    • MarnieC's Avatar

      Some really good information posted here! I've written about this very subject in my blog today: http://marnieclark.com/8-crucial-things-to-reduce-chemotherapy-side-effects/
      I hope this helps you! Sending along lots of love and healing to you today.

      over 4 years ago
    • Paprika's Avatar

      great advice above!
      I did find AC chemo was the worst, but don't be afraid of taking those anti-nausea drugs-they work wonders! Also, get off the steroid type asap and taper off to less potent as soon as your symptoms allow. DRINK LOTS OF WATER!!! EXERCISE! Be nice to yourself. Remind yourself that you WILL get through this and it does get better! I found soups were wonderful as I lost various taste buds and my friends were happy to have something to do for me! Regarding taxol-glutamine has studies saying it reduces neuropathy, but I find 30 grams/day is too hard to get down. I take 10 grams in warm coffee expresso (less volume is easier to get down). Pharmacist says it is heat-stable, so hot liquids OK. Again, lots of water and exercise outdoors. Enjoy the flowers and move around. Listen to your body and rest when it tells you. Do something you enjoy for a break. Hug a kitty/dog/kid/sweetie/tree/whatever. Accept the love that is coming your way! Don't be afraid to share your feelings here-it's been a great release for me! thanks to everyone out there!!! Hugs and kisses from Seattle

      over 4 years ago

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