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Sunday, November 06, 2011 pink girl, Community Member, asks

Q: first chemo

Hi ladies I just started chemo on Friday but I had nausea and vomited 6 times already, although I took decadron and also I am very groggy and feel no strenght, today I will go have a shot of neutrogen the next 5 days to bring the white blood cells up, how does all this sound to you? Has anyone experienced this?

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Answers (4)
PJ Hamel, Health Guide
11/ 6/11 5:51pm

Yes, unfortunately this sounds like a fairly normal reaction, although the number of times you vomited is a bit high. You should definitely call your oncologist or his/her nurse to report how you felt over the weekend; they may want you to try a different anti-nausea drug next time. Make sure you're staying hydrated; plain water is best (not icy cold). If you can't keep anything down, including liquids, then call the oncologist on call where you're being treated; they may want you to come in sooner rather than later.

 

As for the shot, yes, most women taking chemo now get a shot to boost white blood cell counts. Best of luck to you as you continue with treatment - PJH

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pink girl, Community Member
11/ 6/11 6:54pm

Thank you I already called the oncologist on call he said the same thing, they should try a new drug next time. I do feel so groggy all day, and I also had the shot for the white cell, I am not used to feeling like this hope it gets better soon, thanks so much PJH.

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
11/ 6/11 9:16pm

Well, chemo is a tough experience; and you'll find out just how strong you are (which is VERY strong). Try to exercise a bit each day, even if it's just walking around the house; the last thing you want to do is just veg out on the couch.

 

And keep a diary - the way this first treatment goes is probably pretty much like the rest of them will go (except for less vomiting, I hope). There's a definite cycle: first you feel awful, then gradually you feel better until you're feeling pretty good - and then it's time for the next infusion, and you start all over again. Take care- YOU CAN DO THIS! And we're here to support you, all the way. PJH

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pink girl, Community Member
11/ 7/11 6:49pm

I know that you so much PJH I am glad someone knows what I am going throught. Today was a better day I have to say. Thanks again, I will let you know how I am doing.Have a good night.

Pinkgirl Ann.

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
11/ 7/11 8:06pm

And you have a good night too, Ann. You should - gradually - feel a bit better each day, with perhaps a bit of backsliding (I always felt bad on day #10, for whatever reason...) Take care- PJH

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Phyllis Johnson, Health Guide
11/ 8/11 6:20am

The first night after my first chemo treatment, I vomited all night.  The next time I took the anti-nausea drugs before I got sick, went straight home, and stayed away from food smells.  That worked for six out of my seven remaining chemo treatments.  There are quite a few different anti-nausea drugs available now, so ask your doctor what else you can try.  Let your doctor know how much trouble you are having; they may be able to call in a prescription for you before you go back to the doctor.  For most people who have nausea, it is just for the first few days, not constant.  For me it was just the first 24 hours.  The important thing is to let your doctor know and not assume that it is inevitable.

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pink girl, Community Member
11/12/11 9:48pm

Hi ladies, thank god I feel better this week, every day I felt good maybe 2 nights I couldn't sleep all night but the rest were good. I was the 2 days following my chemo that were the worst, I will ask my doctor for another type of ani nausea, but I don't like the half asleep feeling, anyway I will keep in touch, thanks to both lovely ladies, you are angels.

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
11/12/11 10:04pm

And when you're through this, Ann, and back on the road to health, you'll be able to reach your hand out to the wooman you meet who's just been diagnosed; you'll use this experience to help someone else, I'm sure of it. Best of luck as you continue the journey. PJH

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pink girl, Community Member
11/16/11 8:31pm

Yes I will try to help others, I will do my best.

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Phyllis Johnson, Health Guide
11/13/11 6:45am

You may just need to plan for two bad days after every chemo.  I personally preferred being groggy to being nauseated.  I pretty much just went to bed.  I am a teacher and was on summer vacation when I started chemo, so I could lie around the first few days after a treatment.  I was still on chemo when I went back to school in the fall, so I had my treatments on Friday afternoon and had the weekend to recover.

 

The shots may keep you from having fatigue mid-chemo-cycle.  Like PJ, I could count on being very tired by Day #10.  For people on a three-week chemo cycle, blood counts are dropping until about Day #10, and then people gradually feel better until they feel almost as good as new by Day #21 when it's time to start the cycle again.  The shots you are getting are designed to keep your blood counts up, so you may not have the fatigue I did.

 

Everyone is different, and you will find your ways of coping with all of this.  Do ask your doctor about other anti-nausea meds for next time, and let him or her know about any symptoms that crop up between doctor visits.  Never assume you have to suffer.  Most side effects can be mangaged pretty well these days.

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pink girl, Community Member
11/16/11 8:36pm

Yes thanks I will talk to the doctor, I didn't feel tired on day 10, sometimes I feel tired but it goes away. I have to cut my hair in about 3 days before it starts to come off and I don't know how I will feel. I am prepared with a wig but I don't know how I will take this, my hair is important to me. I hope I will be ok. My chemo falls on Fridays too. Thanks to both of you ladies.

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
11/16/11 8:40pm

You know, you'll actually feel better once your hair falls out; it's the waiting that's painful, in my opinion. Once it happens - well, you just pick yourself up and move forward. It'll grow back, and in the meantime, take this opportunity to admire the beauty of your bald head - true! Be sure to have some pictures taken, because this is the only time you'll see yourself without hair - and bald CAN be beautiful! Take care- PJH

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Phyllis Johnson, Health Guide
11/17/11 6:18am

However you feel about the hair is OK.  I had my hair cut short in expectation of its falling out.  By then it had already lost its body and shine, so that didn't bother me.  When it actually started coming out in clumps, I realized that more needed to go.  My husband and I both cried as he shaved my head.  Once it was all gone I thought I looked like a concentration camp survivor, but in two weeks I got used to it, and decided my bald head looked elegant in a strange sort of way.  Since it was summer, I went bald around the house and wore a hat or scarf outside to protect my scalp from sunburn.  During the winter I wore a soft turban or the wig to keep me warm.  I found young people were less freaked out by my baldness.  I think they are used to seeing rock stars with weird hair or no hair.

 

But you will have your own reactions that will be perfectly valid.  Our relationship to our hair is deeply personal.  One tip I wish I had known is to wash the wig before you wear it to get some of the chemicals out and make it softer and less scratchy to wear.

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pink girl, Community Member
11/20/11 4:18pm

Thanks ladies, I had it cut today, I didn't cry but I felt sad. I had long hair so it was harder anyhow I am looking forward for everything to finish and to start growing my hair again.

Thanks so much have a great night.

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pink girl, Community Member
12/15/11 6:04pm

Hi ladies I am having my third chemo tomorrow, the second went well. Better than the first, no vomiting but a little tired until day 5.The doctor gave me an additional anti vomit pill but  after that smooth sailing. I hope tomorrow will go well.

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
12/15/11 7:37pm

Fingers crossed.... Sending you positive energy. Let us know how it goes, OK? Be well - PJH

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Phyllis Johnson, Health Guide
12/15/11 8:09pm

I'm so pleased that the second treatment went better.  Try to maintain the changes you made like the additional medication.  I hope this time is even better than treatment #2. 

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Peglove, Community Member
12/16/11 2:24am

I am so sorry you felt sick. I had the same my first chemo. They adjusted it after. I went in the next day and had some hydration. Try to keep fluids in you. try another 1/2 of the decodran, and it may help. Yes the deco makes you sleepy and drowsy. The drugs in chemo make you feel that way. don't fight it, just sleep and try to close your eyes. It will be over in 3-4 days. The first is hard to predict. It won't be this bad the whole time.

 

Big hugs,

 

Peg 

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pink girl, Community Member
12/24/11 1:39pm

Hi ladies I want to wish each and everyone of you a wonderful holiday season Merry Christmas with health and love and happiness with your families.

I want to say you help us a lot by being there and answering our questions and worries, you always reply and that helps a lot, Thank you so much for that.

I didn my third last friday Dec. 16 and for 5 days I wasn't that great, now I am feeling better, I still have 4 to go.

Again thank you for all the support.hugs and kisses.

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
12/25/11 5:55am

Glad to hear you're feeling better - hope you can enjoy the holidays with family and friends, and that you handle your last four treatments as well as you've dealt with the first three. We're very glad you found us here- and look forward to hearing how your LAST treatment goes! Take care- PJH

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Phyllis Johnson, Health Guide
12/26/11 2:01pm

Thank your for your kind words and wishes.  We're glad you were feeling better for Christmas.  Now that you have been through this three times, you have a pretty good idea of what to expect each time and can schedule your life around your worst days.  I'm sending my best wishes for a wonderful new year in 2012 for you and your family.

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pink girl, Community Member
1/31/12 11:49am

Hi ladies, I have a question. I had my fifth chemo on friday jan. 27.this one was a different chemo, it's called taxotere, I still have 2 to go. My question is I have a lot of pain throughout my body including my belly, is this normal? They told me I might have some pain but I am not sure if this is normal. Thanks in advance.

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Phyllis Johnson, Health Guide
1/31/12 3:11pm

Flu-like aches and pains are very common the first few days after the taxane chemos like Taxotere and Taxol.  If you are still feeling pain tomorrow, if you are running a fever, or if the pain is severe, call the doctor.  Most of the time by day three or four the aching should be improving.  Each new drug has its own side effects, so it always takes a while to figure out how you are going to respond.  I hope you are soon feeling better.

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pink girl, Community Member
3/31/12 8:05pm

Hi ladies, 3 weeks ago friday I finished my chemo, I had 7 altogether. I am happy I finished. I had a hard time the last 3 were the hardest to cope with. I had lots of pain and numbness on my fingers. I also lost my eyelasthes which was very hard to deal with and my eyebrows. I am still having muscle pain when I bend, or try to stretch my legs, is this normal? I start radiation after the 9th of April for 5 weeks everyday, I am nervous for that too. Then probably in July I will have my surgery for the implant. Very nervous for that as well.

Anyway I wish the best of luck to everyone who has to deal with all these challenges, it's a long road but we have to have faith and be positive in life.

Thanks for being there for me, I will keep in touch with the remainder of my treatments.God bless you for helping us.

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
3/31/12 9:26pm

Congratulations! It must feel great to finally be done with chemo... And yes, it does take quite awhile for side effects to abate; don't be surprised if the major ones linger on for a few months.

 

I think you'll find the radiation is much easier than chemo - best of luck with it. You'll get into a groove, and the 5 weeks will be over before you know it. As for the implant process, some women sail right through it, while some find it quite a challenge.

 

I hope things go well for you; your obvious faith and positive attitude will really help you as you finish this journey. Best of luck - PJH

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pink girl, Community Member
9/26/12 10:49pm

Hi ladies, I stopped in to say hello and say that I will never forget the support you all gave me here. I had my radiation but 6 weeks instead of 5 and finished the end of May. My hair is growing back slowly I still wear my wig though. My eye brows started to grow my eye lashes not very strong but slowly they are growing. My nails started tp get stronger too. I have so much energy now, sometimes I feel tired but mostly I am well. I will have my surgery for implants and expander remover in Feb 2013. Wish everyone all the best hugs and kisses to everyone.Kiss

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pink girl, Community Member
9/26/12 11:02pm

I forgot to ask something. I started to take Tamoxifen in April and I wake up in the middle of the night every night and I have a hard time to get back to sleep does it have anything to do with Tamoxifen? Also the gyno recommended vitamin D did any other ladies also take this? Thank you.

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
9/27/12 9:01am

As far as tamoxifen, yes, sleeplessness is one of the side effects of loss of estrogen; so that's probably what you're dealing with. Please see our series on sleep issues for informaiton that might just help you catch those 40 winks! PJH

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Phyllis Johnson, Health Guide
9/28/12 5:28pm

It is so good to hear that you are getting stronger after your treatments.  We always like to get updates.  My doctor put me on Vitamin D after a blood test showed my levels were low.  I haven't noticed a change in my sleep habits since I started it, but Vitamin D has many benefits including breast health, so it's worth a try.  It should be just fine to take it at recommended levels.  

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
9/27/12 8:59am

Thanks so much for checking back in. It sounds like things are going really well for you, and that you've held onto your positive spirit. Best of luck with the implants - and with the road going forward. PJH

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pink girl, Community Member
10/ 8/12 10:20pm

Hi ladies may I ask a question, I am on tamoxifen and occasionally I like to have a glass of wine, maybe 3 times a week, is this allowed, the doctor didn't say I shouldn't I don't remember asking him. When I have a wine I feel light head or dizzy, does this have anything to do with tamoxifen, should I avoid wine altogether?

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
10/ 9/12 5:41am

Tamoxifen and wine have no known negative interactions (so far as I know). As a survivor, alcohol isn't good for you in general, as it does raise your risk of recurrence slightly; but most oncologists will say, if you keep your consumption to 1 glass/day or under, your risk isn't raised significantly. As for feeling light-headed, I'd suspect that's just alcohol working its usual "magic," rather than anything to do with tamoxifen. But do ask your doctor about all of this, OK? It's best to speak with your oncologist when you're talking about anything that may impact your your recurrence risk. Good luck - PJH

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pink girl, Community Member
10/ 9/12 10:15pm

Thank you so much, I will look into it.

 

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pink girl, Community Member
11/ 3/13 8:31pm

Hi ladies, just dropped in to say hello and to tell you I am feeling very good. It has been 2 years since my diagnose and I am trying to put it behind me. I wanted to say hi to you wonderful ladies that helped and answered my questions during my very hard days and months. Thanks again.

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
11/ 3/13 9:37pm

So nice to see your name here again, PG! I'm very glad to hear you're doing well, and moving forward with your "new normal." Best of luck, and I hope you're doing well with the tamoxifen (which I assume you're still on). Cheers - PJH

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pink girl, Community Member
11/ 5/13 9:46pm

Thank you  so much. I am  still on tamoxifen yes and I am ok on it. Tomorrow morning I have surgery for re construction on my other breast, I had to remove the implant 9 months ago because it got infected and now hopefully everything will go well this time. I will let you know how it went. Thanks again.

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Phyllis Johnson, Health Guide
11/ 6/13 6:17am

Pink Girl, I hope this surgery goes well.  Give us an update as you recover.

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Phyllis Johnson, Health Guide
11/ 4/13 9:04pm

It's such a pleasure to hear that you are doing well.  I'm sure your comments will encourage other people who are just starting out on their treatments.  Stay well!

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
11/ 6/13 5:12am

Hi - Thanks for checking back in here. I'm so sorry you're having to go through these side effects. I can tell you that this all sounds very normal. Unfortunately, chemo does make some women quite ill. Make absolutely sure you've reported all of this to your oncologist, or his/her nurse; there are often different medications they can try to keep the nausea in check. They can also share some coping strategies with you around eating and activity. DO NOT "suffer in silence!" I hope the nausea abates soon, and that next time it's not as severe. Keep this in mind: every day that passes, you're that much closer to being through this. Sending you lots of positive energy - PJH 

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By pink girl, Community Member— Last Modified: 12/30/13, First Published: 11/06/11