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  • Question for People Who Have Had Chemo

    My fiancee is soon to start chemo. I am wondering if people who have had chemo can give me a good list of things to have on hand to make my guy more comfy; both during and after his treatments. And what should I make sure that the doc gives us prescriptions for after the treatments (anti-nausea, etc...)? Thanks!
    Finacee diagnosed in May 2011 - R side orchiectomy May 2011 - Mixed germ cell tumor (95% embryonal 5% yolk sac) 4xBEP to start June 20th

  • #2
    The hospital my husband did chemo at had us attend a 2 hour chemo class. A nurse sat with us for two hours and went over everything with us. What to expect, when to call. etc. She then took us a tour of the room where they do chemo. We met all the nurses. It was very informative. . She also gave us his perscriptions for all his anti nausea medicine. And she told us how to take them. It was zofran and compazine.
    Our hospital had wifiso you could bring a laptop. She also said you could bring a dvd player. My husband mostly slept and I read. I also brought him plenty of drinks to keep im hydrated. Good luck to your fiance.
    Last edited by T1130; 06-08-11, 03:36 PM.

    Comment


    • #3
      I found indigestion was a big problem, especially at night, which made sleep difficult. So I'd suggest having something to combat that. Mouthwash is also a good idea to prevent mouth sores.

      Something to keep him entertained is certainly a good idea. Back in the dark distant days of 2001-2, when I was being treated, there was no wi-fi in hospitals, but in these advanced and enlightened times, it's a great way to keep informed and entertained. I love reading, but found I lacked the concentration to read anything but magazines when I was having chemo.

      Good luck.
      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

      Comment


      • #4
        You should take a chemo class offered by the practice; do keep in mind that they target it to the lowest common denominator (old, weak people who are going through many cycles) so some of the measures the describe may be overkill.

        You should get prescriptions for compazine and ativan, as well as hopefully Emend. The Emend is very, very helpful - if they don't offer it automatically then ask about it; it consists of an IV component given early in the chemo cycle and 2 oral tablets per cycle. It's expensive so you know it must work! Also get some omeprazole for the inevitable reflux along with a good digital thermometer to check temperatures regularly if he feels feverish. Also with respect to medications I would ask if they are going to give Neulasta proactively or retain it for a reactive situation if the counts drop substantially. At the practice I used they give it to 100% of their patients, no questions asked. I cannot argue with this since my counts stayed extremely high and I had none of the complications that arise as a result of lowered counts.

        Comment


        • #5
          I got prescriptions for zofran and phenergen. I also take magnesium 2x day during the week of chemo (potassium is given IV). I get pepcid each day of chemo IV and will take it orally during the off weeks. I take a lunch with me each day with applesauce, jello, pudding, sandwiches, and cheese. It seems to help to eat small amounts of food frequently. I have books on my ipod and a computer with Netflix but I sleep most of the time.
          10/8/10- R testicular mass, normal tumor markers
          10/11/10- R I/O, 2.8 cm 100% Seminoma, positive for lymphovascular invasion
          10/15/10- CT scan with several small lymph nodes 5 & 6 mm
          Chose surveillance
          02/08/11- no change
          05/28/11- CT showing enlarged nodes
          06/01/11- PET shows 3 cm nodes throughout retroperitoneum, mediastinum, and supraclavicular
          6/6/11- Start EPx4
          8/12/11-Finish EPx4
          9/7/11- PET Scan, All Clear- no necrosis or enlarged nodes

          Comment


          • #6
            I got myself a child's tooth brush (v soft bristles) and kids toothpaste as well as some mouthwash. I would clean my teeth after every meal, it worked for me as I had none of the mouth ulcers some/others suffered.

            Whilst on treatment, looking back, I was quite affected with the steroids - somewhat more intense than normal. So if your man gets intense in his conversations just let them run their course.

            If you haven't got one, get a digital (ear) thermometer as you'll (he will) need to keep an eye on his temperature as its one of the first signs of infection. Also (for me) it gave me something to focus on when I was at home - counting down the minutes until my next temperature check. I also had a blood pressure monitor which also helped.

            And finally (for now) if he can't sleep because of the steroids (my heart rate just wouldn't let me sleep) then get the doctors to prescribe some sleeping pills. I only "discovered" these during my second cycle and they were an absolute godsend.

            Good luck, you'll get through this...

            Feb 2009: RHS (Seminoma) & RT
            Mar 2010: LHS (Embryonal Carcinoma)
            Sep 2010: Relapse & 3 x BEP
            Mar 2014: Four years a eunuch!
            http://doublezeroami.blogspot.com

            Comment


            • #7
              Hi Andi -

              Shaun also started chemo thinking he'd need something to pass the time, but he usually just slept through his treatments or chatted with others in the room. We bought a portable DVD player and didn't use it once!

              As others have said, the hospital should give you prescription anti-nausea drugs and detailed instructions on when and how to take them, so hopefully his nausea will be kept under control that way. Constant small meals worked well for Shaun too - like the same way you'd treat morning sickness. We always brought snacks to chemo.

              As for the other possible chemo-related issues, here's what worked for Shaun:

              Insomnia
              - took Melatonin every night.

              Mouth Sores
              - Used a soft toothbrush + Weleda natural salt toothpaste.
              - Swished/swallowed with L-Glutamine 2 times every day.
              - Rinsed with sea salt and/or aluminum-free baking soda at least 4 times per day if/when sores appeared.

              Dry, cracking skin
              - Applied Weleda Skin Food moisturizer generously to hands and face every night (putting it on feet is a good idea too as this skin can sometimes get sore).

              Constipation
              - Drank at least 2 to 3 liters of water every day (important for detoxing the kidneys too).
              - Took 2 stool softeners every day from the first day of treatment.
              - Took high quality probiotics (e.g. HMF Forte by Genestra) every day.
              - Took 2 tbsp of high quality Fish oil and 1 tbsp of Flax oil every day.

              So glad the chemo will be starting soon. And it will be over before you know it.

              Thinking of you guys!
              Husband Shaun diagnosed March 2010. AFP 4571, HCG 3340.
              6cm x 6cm x 8cm retroperitoneal mass + 1cm nodule in right lung.
              Stage IIIb, Intermediate Risk.
              Left I/O March 9/10: 75% EC, 20% Teratoma, 5% Yolk Sac + Seminoma.
              3xBEP + 1xEP March 15 - May 21/10: markers normal.
              Bilateral RPLND July 28/10: 9.5 x 7 x 4.5cm mass, teratoma only.
              Chylous Ascites Aug/Sep.
              November 2012 All Clear
              Continuously monitoring 0.9 x 1.7cm omental nodule (possible fat necrosis)

              www.teamshaun.wordpress.com

              Comment


              • #8
                If you get reflux, ask for nexium as well as it can be fairly annoying. I also had unctontrollable hiccups until they removed dexamethasone from my regimen (I don't think this is normal though!).

                I had sleeping tablets prescribed as well as circadin (melatonin), but they can be a bit addictive :-)

                Jules posted some great stuff.

                People also mention something for neuropathy, but I can't remember if its any good.

                They will also give him pramin, make sure to take it before he feels nauseaous. I had a prescription for kytril but it is *expensive*, so i borrowed some extra Emend from the clinic (emend in my opinion is amazing).
                Initial diagnoses: Elevated hCG, Left I/O 17-June-2010. Prosthetic implant.
                Pathology: Stage 1b, Seminoma/Teratoma
                Treatment: Surveillance. hCG normalised 07/10
                Relapse: Elevated hCG. 3xBEP finished 24/01/2011

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by TGlover View Post
                  People also mention something for neuropathy, but I can't remember if its any good.
                  VITAMIN E (Alpha-tocopherol)

                  I found a research of a couple of italian cancer institutes, that took 400 mg a day of it for the whole chemio treatment and for three months after it, to many patients under cisplatin.
                  >41% of patients under cisplatin had neurologic issues, againsts the < 6% treated with cisplatin and adjuvant vitamin E.
                  If I remember correctly another user shared a link about other researches on vitamin E against cisplatin side effects.
                  Future BEP/EPers should at least talk about it to their oncologists.

                  If I'm not mistaken Davepet said something about another vitamin (B6 ? B12 ?) that should work for neuropathy issues (mostly used for diabetes induced neuropathy though) , but I'm not 100% sure.
                  Last edited by Nut of Mordor; 06-10-11, 06:22 AM.
                  - early Apr/11: something is "wrong" in my righty
                  - 16/Apr/11: ultrasound find a mass in it
                  - 27/Apr/11: right I/O
                  - 29/Apr/11: stadiation CT scan shows "all clear"
                  - May/11: pathology: 1 cm Seminoma (90% necrotic), no RT/LV invasion
                  - Surveillance....
                  - March/13: relapse - para aortic node 1.7 cm, waiting for treatment...

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