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  • How soon after chemo began did you have side effects?

    I'm curious to know how soon side effects begin after chemo. My son finished his first round of EP 1 1/2 weeks ago, but hasn't had any problems except some ringing in his ears (which has gone away now), and a slight "heartburn" feeling. We were expecting vomiting, hair loss, general fatigue, etc. I'm just wondering if it's going to be that easy, or if the problems will come after the next round or the third round, or whatever.

    I'd be interested in hearing what has your experience been. Thanks.

  • #2
    Chemo effects

    It took about 3 weeks for my hair to start falling out. and once it started, a shave was the only way to keep from shedding like a Collie all over the house!

    Nausea began around mid second week, and sadly, it gets worse each cycle.

    Fatigue is also cumulative, so by my 4th BEP cycle, I was a very accomplished sleeper (12-16 hours per day).

    The good news:

    Everyone has the chemo affect them differently.
    It is definitely temporary
    The anti-nausea drugs are getting better all the time
    The cure rate is REALLY high.

    Hang tough!
    Stage III Non-Seminoma- 7/11/06
    Right I/O 7/12/06
    Completed 4x BEP 11/06
    Bi-Lateral RPLND (Dr. Shenifeld)- 11/27/06
    Surveillance since then

    When you think about it, what other choice is there but to hope? We have two options, medically and emotionally: give up, or Fight Like Hell.
    Lance Armstrong.

    Comment


    • #3
      My son did not get any side effects until the 3rd week after his first chemo his hair started to fall out. It was'nt till his 3rd round of chemo that the sickness started to kick in and was more tired, the 4th round wiped him out altogether, anti sickness tablets usually helps and plenty of rest. People are different and might not get as bad side effects as other but as they say "what makes you bad makes you better" it will be worth it in the end.
      Irene
      Kevin (17yrs) Diagnosed March 2006
      Stage 3+
      spread to spine,lung and liver.
      Paralised Due to spinal Compression With Sheer determination started to Walk again be it with crutches
      4 X Bep 3X Tip 5 days Radiotherapy. Spread to his brain 8th Feb 07 passed away 15th Feb 07.

      Comment


      • #4
        Honeybee:
        The effects will build just make sure he keeps taking his meds and mention to the doctors about the ear ringing and how long it lasted.
        Son Jason diagnosed 4/30/04, stage III. Right I/O 4/30/04. Graduated College 5/13/04. 4XEP 6/7/04 - 8/13/04. Full open RPLND 10/13/04. All Clear since.

        Treated by Dr. Rakowski of Midland Park, NJ. Visited Sloan Kettering for protocol advice. RPLND done at Sloan Kettering.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by icoe
          My son did not get any side effects until the 3rd week after his first chemo his hair started to fall out. It was'nt till his 3rd round of chemo that the sickness started to kick in and was more tired, the 4th round wiped him out altogether, anti sickness tablets usually helps and plenty of rest. People are different and might not get as bad side effects as other but as they say "what makes you bad makes you better" it will be worth it in the end.
          Irene
          I will echo this. Most days after chemo, I would take my husband to lunch and he felt okay. It was not until the 3rd round that he started sleeping more during treatment. He worked on-line from the chemo center most days. He never once threw up, but came close..although I am still surprised that he never actually vomited. He does have a cast iron stomach which I am sure helps.

          It was not until the 4th cycle (with bleo) that he was really worn out and slept a lot. He told me many times that if he had only had to endure 3 cycles, he would have done really well. I think 4 cycles are not the norm. but he had one tumor that was over 10cm in his abdomen so they wanted to give him all they had.

          He ate every two hours, or he felt bad. Once he learned that he needed to eat every two hours, he saved himself from a lot of nausea. He liked cheese pizza so we kept it around all the time.

          I am not sure if this helps, but I hope so.

          Margaret
          Co-survivor with husband Boyce, Diagnosed 7-11-06, orchiectomy right testicle on 7-12-06- Stage 3A: Mixed germ cell tumor with inguinal seminomatous and kartotypic carcinoma. One tumor over 10 cm, second tumor 4 cm, Chemo 4xBEP: Bi-lateral RPLND Dec 2006, nerve sparing but left sterile.
          Current DVT
          Current testosterone replacement therapy, Testim.

          "You must abandon the life you planned, to live the life that was meant for you" ~wisdom I have learned from my family on this forum

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi Honeybee,

            My son just finished his 3rd round of EP and the side effects have been minimal so far.

            His hair started falling out between 4 and 6 weeks after starting chemo ( I cant really recall exactly how long.) He took the clippers and buzzed it down to the scalp. At first he thought he wouldnt want anyone to see him or anything, but now he is fine with it. I said to him one day "who luvs ya baby" and he looked at me like .. MOM? ARE YOU OK? =)

            I had to show him who Kojak is and let him know that he looks great with a bald head.

            He does get fatigued sometimes and it seems to be about midweek during his treatment. He will usually just nap for a couple of hours and then he feels fine..

            As for nausea, he gets it a little here and there but he just takes a compazine and eats something and it's better. He has not felt sick enough to make him want to go to bed or anything like that. His doctor told him that he is tolerating the treatments very well.

            I think a lot of it is because he eats really good, and he is very good about drinking a lot of fluids during chemo week and for about 3 or 4 days after.
            Around 10- 8oz. glasses of fluid every day. About 3 or 4 days after chemo he just goes back to normal amounts.

            Have your son eat something before each treatment, and maybe every couple of hours or so between meals, just snack on a couple crackers, toast or whatever he feels like.. the food along with the anti nausea meds really seem to prevent the nausea well.

            My son eats better now than he ever has and has actually gained 10 lbs since he started chemo. He is happy about that because he is 6'3 and his weight was around 170, and sometimes a bit under. I think good nutrition and hydration are key, so if he is able to do it that will be in his favor.

            He is on zofran, decadron, and compazine for nausea prevention.

            Other symptoms .. I see changes in his skin tone, and dark circles under his eyes; and after round 3 he began getting very gassy. Bloated belly and belching a lot.

            I hope your son does well all through his treatments.
            Last edited by mstlyn; 03-21-07, 05:44 PM.

            Son Anthony DX 12/11/06
            L/O 12/20/06 Stage IIIA, 95% EC, 5% Yolk Sac
            4XEP 1/29-4/6/ 07
            AFP started increasing3 wks later
            Residual abdominal mass found on CT
            RPLND 6/8/07
            Cancer in pathology-
            80% mature teratoma, 20% Yolk Sac. --
            No adjuvent chemo and
            AFP normalised

            July 22, 2010 ---- 3 years all clear!

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks everyone. I thought that it was cumulative, but my son was saying that he thought it would leach out of his system in the 2 weeks between treatments, so he expects it all to be this easy.

              I have found so much help and information just by reading the posts here that I really haven't been all that scared for him. It is so helpful reading about the experiences of others. It has been interesting talking to the various doctors because everything they've told us we've already learned about here!

              I'm so appreciative of all the people who post their questions and answers. Even though I mainly lurk, I do read and learn what to expect for my son. Thank you so much.

              Comment


              • #8
                My husband took Cisplat, vp-15/16, and bleo. He started losing his hair the week after his first full week of Cisplat. the ickies as my daughter came about 2-3weeks into it and only got worse with each cycle.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I wonder if the bleo is making a difference in whether or not people have more problems with nausea, or is it just a difference in person to person and how well they tolerate it. OR

                  for those that have more problems with nausea ..

                  are you eating something before chemo?

                  are you drinking a lot of fluids? I realize that this may not matter for some people, but I am curious about the differences from person to person.

                  Son Anthony DX 12/11/06
                  L/O 12/20/06 Stage IIIA, 95% EC, 5% Yolk Sac
                  4XEP 1/29-4/6/ 07
                  AFP started increasing3 wks later
                  Residual abdominal mass found on CT
                  RPLND 6/8/07
                  Cancer in pathology-
                  80% mature teratoma, 20% Yolk Sac. --
                  No adjuvent chemo and
                  AFP normalised

                  July 22, 2010 ---- 3 years all clear!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hi, I just wanted to add my 2 cents, for my brother, he had 4 rds. BEP. He started to notice some bald spots around 3 weeks into his first treatment, so he just went ahead and shaved.
                    He took Prilosec 2 times a day, ativan am and pm compazine and or zofran for nauseas. I will say, which we didn't figure out until trial and error, is to stay on schedule with the meds, even if your son's not nauseas, take the meds. And if and when he gets really sick, we had a nurse come to the house on the weekend after chemo to hydrate him with extra fluids to help flush out the "JUNK" one bag am and one bag pm. But hopefully he won't get to that point.
                    I forgot a med, During his 4th round of chemo for the nausea they put in his IV, EMEND and then that Sat. and Sun. after chemo, he would take a pill of it.
                    Krista
                    Brother Diag. 10/05 Non-Sem.
                    Right I/O 11/05
                    Surv
                    4XBEP 8/06
                    RPLND 12/06
                    2X VIP 1/22/07
                    Only completed 1 Rd.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by mstlyn
                      I wonder if the bleo is making a difference in whether or not people have more problems with nausea, or is it just a difference in person to person and how well they tolerate it. OR

                      for those that have more problems with nausea ..

                      are you eating something before chemo?

                      are you drinking a lot of fluids? I realize that this may not matter for some people, but I am curious about the differences from person to person.
                      The bleo did not cause more nausea in my husband than he otherwise had. But the bleo did cause very high fevers in him...which was the worst part of the entire treatment for him. Once the fever went away, he was much better. The fever lasted a day and got as a high as 103.5. But we are both still glad he did the bleo, our doctor said for us it was the right course of treatment.

                      Hope this helps.

                      Margaret
                      Co-survivor with husband Boyce, Diagnosed 7-11-06, orchiectomy right testicle on 7-12-06- Stage 3A: Mixed germ cell tumor with inguinal seminomatous and kartotypic carcinoma. One tumor over 10 cm, second tumor 4 cm, Chemo 4xBEP: Bi-lateral RPLND Dec 2006, nerve sparing but left sterile.
                      Current DVT
                      Current testosterone replacement therapy, Testim.

                      "You must abandon the life you planned, to live the life that was meant for you" ~wisdom I have learned from my family on this forum

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        My, how quickly things change. We were sitting in the doctor's waiting room yesterday when my son (Thomas) rubbed his hand over his head and ended up with hair stuck to his hand. We've done the ol' close buzz cut this morning after he tried to shampoo his hair (which had already been buzzed kind of short), and just rubbed hair out.

                        As far as drinking water -- he's always been a great one for drinking lots of water, and now that he knows how necessary it is he's been very diligent about drinking water rather than soda.

                        He told the doctor yesterday about the ringing in his ears, and the doctor said that when he looked at the cat scan Thomas had on March 2, he could see that Thomas had sinusitis when the cat scan was done and feels that could be what was causing the ringing in his ears since the ringing is gone now. (Pardon the run-on sentence).

                        He goes for his second round of chemo on Monday. The doctor said yesterday that they might only give him two rounds of chemo rather than the four they originally planned. I don't know if that's good or not. I'd rather have all four rounds to be sure it gets everything, but two rounds would mean Thomas might not get as sick. He's on Etoposide and Cisplatin. No Bleo. We'll talk with the chemo doctor tomorrow before the chemo starts and see what the pros and cons are.

                        Anyway, that's the latest.

                        Jennifer

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Jennifer:
                          Don't let the oncologist go to two cycles without the consent of an expert. have him contact someone on this list . It's really important to get a solid plan and stick with it. My son's markers were normal by the start of round 2 but we finished all 4 because that's what's required to make sure the cancer is gone. Don't insult your doctor but be firm this is as important a thing as you will ever do in your life.
                          Son Jason diagnosed 4/30/04, stage III. Right I/O 4/30/04. Graduated College 5/13/04. 4XEP 6/7/04 - 8/13/04. Full open RPLND 10/13/04. All Clear since.

                          Treated by Dr. Rakowski of Midland Park, NJ. Visited Sloan Kettering for protocol advice. RPLND done at Sloan Kettering.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I agree with Dadmo

                            Don't get me wrong, the chemo sucks right out loud! But in the scheme of a young man's life..it is not a significant time frame or a physical detriment.

                            I opted for the MOST aggressive treatment i could get. Dealing with cancer once is sobering..dealing with it again would be REALLY difficult for me.

                            A cure is in sight for your son, so please keep taking the long view.

                            The pain is worth it. It' s a long and valuable life in front of him.
                            Stage III Non-Seminoma- 7/11/06
                            Right I/O 7/12/06
                            Completed 4x BEP 11/06
                            Bi-Lateral RPLND (Dr. Shenifeld)- 11/27/06
                            Surveillance since then

                            When you think about it, what other choice is there but to hope? We have two options, medically and emotionally: give up, or Fight Like Hell.
                            Lance Armstrong.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by honeybee
                              He goes for his second round of chemo on Monday.
                              Jennifer, I know your son had RPLND surgery back in December, but I don't recall hearing what they found. When was the decision made that he needed chemotherapy, and was it based on the RPLND results or other tests?
                              Scott, scott@tc-cancer.com
                              right inguinal orchiectomy 6/5/2003 > nonseminoma, stage I > surveillance > L-RPLND 6/24/2005 for recurrence, suspected teratoma but found seminoma, stage II > chylous ascites until 9/2005 > surveillance and "all clear" since


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