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About to start chemotherapy. Some questions.

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  • About to start chemotherapy. Some questions.

    It's been a crazy couple of weeks from when I went to the doctor to fixing to start chemotherapy. I know it's scary but I know I have to be strong. I don't remember the exact type they are going to give me but I know its treatment for a week then rest for 2 weeks and repeat. Is there anything I can do or take to make it easier.

    • staying hydrated- Do I just drink water or can I drink also drink for example coconut water, pedialyte, or Gatorade

    • Should I take vitamins or supplements and if so which ones

    •What about foods? Any certain type of food that is better for me?

    •Dr. told me that my white blood cell count will be lower and can easily get sick. Should I just stay confine to my house or room?' Any precautions I can take if I do go out?

    Sorry for all the questions and thank you for taking the time to read and answer my questions.

  • #2
    I wouldn't take any supplements or vitamins without first clearing them with your oncologist as you don't want them interacting with any of your chemo drugs in a bad way. As for food and drink, I ate what I fancied, when I fancied it and didn't worry too much about set meal times etc. I tried to eat healthily but didn't worry if all I fancied for one or two meals / days was something unhealthy, it's more important to eat.

    When it came to the issue of white blood cell counts, I tried to stay away from crowds and kept a close eye on my temperature for signs of a fever etc. The docs gave me precautionary antibiotics to take before heading in to the hospital if, and only if, my temperature went up above a set level.

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    • #3
      Haven't gone through chemo yet (might), but I did hear about getting sick. Definitely don't go to gyms...I'm not even sure how I'd feel about going to restaurants. I guess it depends on each person. I say try to live your life as normal as you can...but if someone is sick, avoid them. I think you can eat whatever you want. I did read something about not taking anti-oxidants, though, as they could possibly interfere with chemo.
      03/10/16 - Something is seriously wrong
      03/11/16 - Ultrasound shows 7cm mass
      03/15/16 - CT scan: enlarged 1.5cm retroperitoneal node
      03/15/16 - Markers: HCG 2, LDH 220, AFP 2.8
      03/21/16 - Right I/O, Path: classic seminoma tumor 7.1cm (Stage IIA)
      05/03/16 - Radiation treatment started: 18 days/30 Gy

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      • #4
        Thank y'all for all your responses. I guess I'm just paranoid. I like how y'all said try to live a normal life. I will definitely keep that in mind.

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        • #5
          --Water is what I drank mostly, some coffee & iced tea as well.I don't see why your other choices would be bad, though.

          -- I took my normal vitamins that I'd been takingfor 40 years & it never crossed my mind to ask, probably should have & you should too.

          -- You will likely find that your tastes will change. I craved some foods I never eat & some favorites didn't sound good at all. (chocolate always sounded good though ). Like others said eat what sounds good to you, you will find it difficult to do otherwise.

          -- I live in a rural area, so I didn't really worry about catching anything.. You should try to avoid crowds & sick people when you counts are low.
          Jan, 1975: Right I/O, followed by RPLND
          Dec, 2009: Left I/O, followed by 3xBEP

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          • #6
            Hey,

            1- For drinking : No problem for water, juice, Gatorade, etc. Stay well hydrated, especially if you're vomiting. Try to avoid alcohol and too much caffeine to avoid being dehydrated.

            2- No vitamins or supplements needed. If you have electrolytes anomalies, doctor will find and supplement you.

            3- Chemo can affect taste. So, eat what you like to eat. But try to avoid raw food (sushi, uncooked meat, etc.)

            4- Avoid crowds. Wash your hands frequently. Avoid sick people. Some choose to wear a mask when receiving chemo.

            All the best,

            jp
            December 15, 2015 : Right I/O. Markers normal.
            December 24, 2015 : Merry Christmas ! 100 % pure EC, no LVI.
            January 7, 2016 : CT scan : 2 RPLN of 8 and 9 mm
            February 2016 : Markers normal.
            March 2016 : Markers normal.
            April 2016 : Abnormal B-HCG (43). 14 mm (from 8) and 10 mm (from 9) lymph nodes.
            April 25, 2016 : Happy birthday ! Relapsed confirmed.
            May 2, 2016 : BEP x 3 begins.
            July 3, 2016 : BEP x 3 ends.
            July 2016 : Serum tumor markers normal. 10 mm (from 14) and 6 mm (from 10) lymph nodes. Back on surveillance !
            December 23, 2016 : Merry Christmas ! Serum tumor markers normal. 6.8 mm (from 10) and no more visible (from 6) lymph nodes. Surveillance continues.
            June 2017 : Serum tumor markers normal. 4 mm (from 7 mm) lymph node. Surveillance continues.

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            • #7
              I guess my responses will be similar to others' but I'll put my two penneth worth in.

              During my chemo I had to try to drink lots of fluids. Didn't matter if it was water or cordial or whatever. I was given intravenous fluids too and therefore needed to urimate every 45 minutes. Here in England the chemo is given over three days not five and therefore it's important to hydrate well. I'm not sure if fluids are given intravenously in other countries.

              I was warned by my doc not to take any supplements. Some of them affect the efficacy of the chemotherapeutic drugs. Good thing he told me as my family pushed me to take eichanacia to supposedly boost my immune system. That would've been a very bad idea.

              I'd advise not trying to limit what you eat and don't try to eat the 'right' type of diet. Food tastes different and your appetite can be all over the place so I think it's best to eat just what you feel like in order to keep your strength up.

              You immune system is at its lowest, if I recall correctly, from about day eight to day twelve of your cycle. At that time, avoid crowds and sick people.

              All the best for the treatment. I can't say it's a walk in the park. At times it's pretty hard but there will be lots of times when you feel fine. Once the treatment starts it goes pretty quickly and soon you'll be saying 'that's the first cycle done'; 'half way through now'; 'only one more cycle to go' etc.
              Nick

              Embryonal Carcinoma; Seminoma. Marker negative.
              August 2001: Right I/O .
              August - December 2001: Surveillance .
              December 2001: Relapse - Stage III. Mets in lymph nodes and lung.
              December 2001 - March 2002: 3xBEP .
              Complications: Neutropaenic sepsis during cycles 1 & 3. I/V antibiotics and isolation.

              March 2012 - Ten years since finishing chemo.

              Survivorship Blog is here

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              • #8
                Just wanted to say thank you to all of y'all for your advice. I feel better going into this. I will keep y'all updated of my progress.

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                • #9
                  Well I started my first treatment of EP. They are giving me a higher dosage spread over four days since yesterday the office was closed due to all the rain and flooding here in Houston. I'm just passing time being on my phone and not trying to think it.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by risk235 View Post
                    Well I started my first treatment of EP. They are giving me a higher dosage spread over four days since yesterday the office was closed due to all the rain and flooding here in Houston. I'm just passing time being on my phone and not trying to think it.
                    I will be headed your way next week to get my cure started! Its pretty crazy how quickly this happens. Diagnosed on a monday lost a ball on a tuesday. Now waiting patiently to get started at MD so i can press on with life. Hope all goes well with you and all cancer fighters/survivors. Are you seeing Dr. Tu?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by DGee View Post

                      I will be headed your way next week to get my cure started! Its pretty crazy how quickly this happens. Diagnosed on a monday lost a ball on a tuesday. Now waiting patiently to get started at MD so i can press on with life. Hope all goes well with you and all cancer fighters/survivors. Are you seeing Dr. Tu?
                      Thanks for the support. I'm seeing Dr. Farha here at Memorial Hermann Greater Heights. It's at 610 & Ella. All the doctors have been real supportive. I just finished up. I feel fine except for a tingle in my lower leg. Hopefully I feel this good throughout all of my treatments.

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                      • #12
                        Avoid alchool..just to reduce strain to liver and keep hydration levels up.
                        Oddly some nutrologists say to avoid grapefruit. It interacts with chemo reducing efficiency.
                        Why risk it?

                        My oncologist said to eat quality food..to get the nutrients at minimum quantity.
                        So i had to eat no fat meat rather than the greek equivalent of heartattack burger.
                        (I eat it now though..)

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                        • #13
                          Well I finished my first round of EP. Three more rounds to go. I have been feeling fine with just a little nausea and feeling a bit tired but not too bad. I go next week to check my blood work. Overall everyone has been real supportive. I try to stay positive but then get bummed out from time to time. I blame myself for not going to get checked out earlier and it probably wouldn't have went to my lymph nodes in my kidneys and my lung.

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                          • #14
                            I thought about that too some during my treatment but you can't do anything about that now, just know that you are doing the right thing now!
                            6/5/15: bHCG 27,AFP 8.66, LDH 361, 5.6cm lymph node - Stage IIC
                            6/16/15: Left I/O 85% EC, 10% chorio, 5% yolk sac opinion 2 (mayo) 90% EC, 10% yolk sac
                            7/7/15: bHCG 56, AFP 42, LDH 322
                            7/13/15 - 9/18/15: 4xEP
                            10/1/15: bloodwork normal, ct scan shows 2 lymph nodes 1.0cm
                            10/26/15: 2nd opinion on CT results - lymph nodes normal. Surveillance!
                            4/6/16: 1.7cm X 1.5cm lymph node found with markers normal.
                            4/20/16: RPLND @ IU - teratoma only!
                            9/27/2018 all clears up to this date!

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by biwi View Post
                              I thought about that too some during my treatment but you can't do anything about that now, just know that you are doing the right thing now!
                              Thank you.

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