• Starting chemo shortly. 8 rounds 2 weeks apart. Any suggestions for keeping down the side effects? Also what to do during treatment.

    Asked by Horselady46 on Sunday, October 21, 2012

    Starting chemo shortly. 8 rounds 2 weeks apart. Any suggestions for keeping down the side effects? Also what to do during treatment.

    13 Answers from the Community

    13 answers
    • lynn1950's Avatar

      People's experience with chemo varies. First off, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. I reacted to the steroids given the day of chemo by being jittery and "up" for a day or two. My chemo session was on Wednesday and I was down for the count on Saturday and Sunday. Those days I felt very flulike. I let those days be "baby me" days where I did a lot of sleeping and listening to meditation and music tapes. By Monday I was feeling better and back at work. Keeping occupied with satisfying work really helped me get through the rough patches.

      If you have a port, ask in advance for EMLA cream. You slather it over your port an hour before it needs to be accessed. It has lidocaine and has a numbing effect.

      I brought videos with me to chemo and while I was there I would read or watch a movie. The benedryl I was given when I was taking the taxotere made me so sleepy, I just slept. Right after chemo I always felt fine and participated in some retail therapy - I live an hour and a half from my chemo center and from fun shopping.

      I was given Neulasta shots for my first four chemo sessions and then neupogen for my last four. I have heard that Claritin really helps tone down the bone pain associated with the Neulasta shot. Ask your oncologist about this.

      The prospect of chemo is truly frightening. Step by step you will make it through.

      over 8 years ago
    • leepenn's Avatar

      Considering taking glutamine as a supplement. 10 g swirled in water - DRINK UP! Do that three times per day. It helps cut down on side effects, including mouth sores and neuropathy. It's actually been studied in clinical trials and been shown to improve the chemo experience.... Clear it with your health care team, of course. But, I used it nearly religiously throughout chemo, and the two weeks I slacked off? HORRID mouthsores.... HORRID!!!! Best wishes... and good luck.
      PS - EMLA - totally agree
      PPS - HYDRATION is good!
      PPPS - hand hygiene! Number one way to keep from getting sick is to keep your hands clean... I used the foam they have in the infusion center, and I asked everyone coming into my office and home (including my child and his friends) to do the same). I managed to only have two colds throughout chemo, which is actually better than the norm up here in Minnesota!

      over 8 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      There really isn't much you can do until you have been through the first round. What ever side effects you experience the first round will be pretty much the same for each subsequent round, not only in which side effects you experience, but also how severe and when they start and end. What I would suggest is keeping a spreadsheet or diary of side effect after you first round. You can then use that to discuss how to minimize those side effects with your oncologist for the subsequent rounds. If you find a side effect particularly severe after your first round, call you oncologist and he/she can provide treatment for the side effect immediately.

      There are also several excellent web site that discuss common chemotherapy side effects and how to manage them including chemocare.com , patientresource.net , caring4cancer.com , curetoday.com , cancer.gov .

      As far as what to do during treatment, that depends on what interests you. Most chemo suites have internet access so you could take a laptop or tablet. They also usually have TVs with DVD or DVR. If you like to do any type of needle work, play computer games, or other hobby that doesn't require a lot of space of movement, that would work. Or just stretch out and take a nap. It is also a great time to meet new people that you will have a lot in common with.

      over 8 years ago
    • karen1956's Avatar

      drink water and more water.....take all the pre-meds and anti-nausea meds they Rx....listen to your body and rest when you feel the need.....My biggest side effect was nausea....I had chemo on Thursdays.....and came home to bed......by Monday I went back to work....cuz i had trouble drinking anything even water, I went for IV hydration the 3 days after chemo and I really think this helped me.....during chemo Tx, I preferred to shut my eyes and sleep....I brought lunch with me, but I didn't want to listen to music, watch TV or be social....my DH came to all Tx and he would do work....Let people help you......we had meals cooked for us the day of chemo and the week following....play dates for my then 8 year old...I had a port and used the numbing creme on it...put it on before I left home and covered with plastic wrap...when I forgot they would use a spray to numb...got neulasta shot the day after chemo....no real side effects that I remember....Wishing you an easy time through this journey...it is hard, but it is DOABLE!!!!

      over 8 years ago
    • sjjohnson1's Avatar

      I drank lots of water prior to chemo sessions. I also took my nausea meds as soon as I got home from chemo and took them as prescribed. Doing this, I never felt any nausea. I did have days that I was tired, but all in all, chemo was not the experience I feared it would be. I took a laptop and puzzle books with me to each session.

      over 8 years ago
    • JennyMiller's Avatar

      Chemo is a journey unique to each person -- however we all have had some similar side effects. Through the sharing on this site, I was spared some of the discomfort. An example was claritin to prevent bone pain from the Neulesta shot -- another was Biotene mouth rinse for dry mouth -- Oral Jel Rinse for throat sores -- etc. etc. I posted the details (and I mean details) of my chemo sessions on my wall -- it may help you to know what to expect. I wish you the very best and please keep us updated.

      over 8 years ago
    • Carol-Charlie's Avatar

      My oncologist gave me meds prior to starting chemo. Directions when and how to take it and what it was for. To keep down nausea, etc. I had almost two years of chemo and never once threw up. When having treatment I planned on reading a book, However, friends would drive me and we'd sit and talk, have something to drink ( fruit juice, water, etc) Then other times, they'd read and I'd just sleep... You do tend to get tired as your body fights and kills those cancer cells. With the right meds - taken as directed you get out ahead of the side effects and they can be lessened greatly. Remember... Hair is higly overrated and showers become a breeze. I'd towel dry and be dry... no wet hair to blow dry. Of course I bought a wig in advance in darn near my Clairol color and had it styled like mine... Many people thought I never lost it... (well not that many, but I tell myself that) God bless and strengthen you. AND we're here to listen, help with advise and cheer you on!

      over 8 years ago
    • Mollie's Avatar

      Hi. They gave my grandma several anti-nausea meds, some to take before, some after. Make sure you have what the Dr. Wants you to have prior to starting. She took Benadryl too at night for sleep, I'd ask my Dr. About that. Hope that helps. Good luck :)))

      over 8 years ago
    • Kristinaako's Avatar

      Perhaps i will be not in total sync with all the answers, but i found out that through the last 10 rounds of chemo with my friend that eating organic and not taking liberties with soda-helps him through and does not create nausea. He does receive neulasta shot after every session twice a month and does take claritin.

      over 8 years ago
    • GregA0406's Avatar

      A lot of great answers from the community. I might suggest that if you don't have a port, I would highly recommend it. My first rounds of chemo caused terrible phlebitis in my arms. When the cancer returned, and I we went to a different drug, I went with the port. You can use the port for blood draws and most types of infusion, but it needs to be flushed about every 4 weeks. While you are an active chemo patient, they will do this as part of their routine. I've never had any of the creams for the port. That's a new one for me - I guess that's one of those individualized things.

      Be as active as you can be, both physically and mentally - but listen to your body. I usually "crashed" 3 days after treatment. I'd spend the day on the couch or the Laz-E-Boy. My wife knew and just made sure I was comfortable. Then I be up and about until the next week.

      If friends and family don't call, call them. Ask them how they are. Some aren't sure how to "break the ice".

      It can be tough when you are living it, but I have found that I hardly remember the bad stuff.

      Best of luck.....

      over 8 years ago
    • judyrb825's Avatar

      My biggest side effect was insomnia That was corrected with meds. Make sure you talk to your oncologist and tell him/her everything. Mine told me his job was to make sure I wasn't sick and I really never was. Make sure you stay hydrated - that was one issue I had. I spend most of my time during treatment reading - I had just gotten an e-reader and it was wonderful.

      over 8 years ago
    • LMUmom's Avatar

      your side effects will depend on what regimen of chemo you are going to have. I had 4 rounds of dd-AC and now about to start 4 rounds of dd-Taxol. All 2 weeks apart like yours. The dd-AC was a breeze until the last round and all XXX broke loose. Here is my journey so far in point form lol. --lost my hair 10 days after my first treatment, no big deal, my head has a nice shape ;-) hint tho, it itches and prickles when this is happening, I found baby oil or a natural cream helped
      --second round, boundless energy!!! I was painting my living room and hallways, mowing lawns, gardening etc.... family could not keep up!!
      --third round, crash! about day 3 after, I could not sleep enough, no energy, nothing in the tank. plus mood swings due to chemo-pause!
      --forth round, same as round 3 but worse. Sleep, cry, sleep more and then get angry.
      I have neupogen shots day 3 to day 12 every round and they are no big deal to administer to yourself but I am one of the few who have a reaction to it. lol, lucky me!!! I get prickly heat type rash after the second dose and it for obvious reasons prevents me from sleeping, it hurts and burns and itches and there is nothing except cortisone cream for it.
      Now that I have scared you, I WILL say none of this was unbearable!!!! these side effects were just there. My advice is to stay strong and as some one mentioned earlier remember that this is all a road we must take to healing!!

      I have no idea what my dd-Taxol will cause but I am here to fight it, to meet it headlong and to beat it!!!

      Horselady46, you will beat it as well!!! stay strong, stay positive and good luck.
      Positive thoughts and lots of strength sent your way.

      over 8 years ago
    • Crash's Avatar

      Marijuana worked great for me. I was able to eat and receive treatment.

      over 8 years ago

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