Topic: first timer

My sister and I fly To Chicago tomorrow for her first chemo treatment.  I think she is getting gem/cis,  but not certain.  Any advice to help me help her is greatly appreciated!

Joyful

Re: first timer

My husband just finished his fifth treatment today.  He's on FOLFIRINOX which is a very tough regimen but it hasn't been too bad for him so far.  Each individual reacts differently.  The day he started treatment, an oncology nurse spent about an hour with us explaining exactly what would happen and telling us about possible side effects and how to deal with them.   They give him some medicine to reduce nausea before the treatment starts and so far he hasn't had any problems.   He brings his laptop with him and usually manages to get some work done while he is being treated.  Some of the other patients chat or play games and others prefer to sleep.  The hospital tries to provide a relaxing and pleasant enviornment for its chemo patients and I think that approach is common these days.  I hope all goes well for your sister.

Re: first timer

Dear Joyful,
I was really anxious before treatment so they gave me IV Ativan and it relaxed me and I slept much of the treatment. It is good to wear comfy clothes. Does she have a port ? If not I recommend one, makes chemo so much easier.
Good luck.
Lisa

This Information Is Not Intended Nor Implied To Be A Substitute For Professional Medical Advice. You Should Always Seek The Advice Of Your Physician Or Other Qualified Health Care Provider

Re: first timer

Hi Joyful,

I feel we are almost experts on the chemo experience since my daughter, Lauren has had over 30 treatments. We have found at the cancer center we visit that the nurses are so nice and caring. You will want to wear comfy clothes because Gem/Cis usually takes quite a while. They should give your sister an anti nausea med in her iv. Lauren also got a steroid. I've read on here where some people get hyper from the steroid, but Lauren never did. Just really grumpy. Bring favorite snacks and an i-pad or laptop. At our place, they provide juices, coffee, tea, pop, bagels, crackers, and ice cream. I don't know if other places provide food. There is also the hospital cafeteria. Magazines, books, cards, and knitting or crocheting are also things people do. They usually have tvs there as well. Once in awhile you may get put next to someone you can chat with, but more often than not they are sleeping or not in the mood to visit. Lauren likes to close her curtain for privacy. Like Lisa said, a port is a great thing. If your sister doesn't have one, ask about it. That's about it. I hope you have a great experience. Please let us know how things go.

-Pam

My beautiful daughter, Lauren Patrice, will live on in my heart forever.

My comments, suggestions, and opinions are based on my experience as a caretaker for my daughter, Lauren and from reading anything I can get my hands on about Cholangiocarcinoma. Please consult a physician for professional guidance.

Re: first timer

My sister had gem Cis and had few side effects  in the beginning except constipation (probably from anti nausea meds). Hydrate and eat well. She did have a little fatigue too and her hair thinned a bit but she never lost enough for anyone rlse to notice. her Biggest issue was low white blood cell counts after only 1 chemo. Then, with Neulasta shots, that came back up but then platelet counts were often too low for chemo to be allowed. Not getting to have treatment is a disappointment, but we just moved on and looked forward to the next chance 2 weeks later. They adjust for these common problems by either spreading out treatments or lowering dose or changing chemo drugs in addition to giving the blood cell booster shots 24 hours after chemo tx. The fatigue was probably partially from the low blood cell numbers. The chemo day/infusionitself was not bad, she ssid. She would just really relax (the ativan helps) and she had the attitude of feeling thankful for the treatments. Now she is having a different  type of tx (radioembolization ) and may resume chemo later.

Willow

Re: first timer

Joyful....good luck, tomorrow.  Most people experience some anxiety at onset of treatment, but often are pleasantly surprised with the ease of it all. I wish the same for your dear Mom.
Hugs,
Marion

THIS INFORMATION IS NOT INTENDED NOR IMPLIED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF YOUR PHYSICIAN OR OTHER QUALIFIED HEALTH CARE PROVIDER

Re: first timer

Thank you all for your encouragement and kindness!  I will share this with her on the plane today and work to establish a positive,  encouraging atmosphere. I will post later to let you know how she did.  Bless you all!!

Re: first timer

Hi Joyful,

I hope that your sisters chemo goes well for her and I will be keeping my fingers crossed for the best possible results! Loads of positive thoughts are coming your way from over here! Please let us know how she gets on with it.

My best wishes to you and your sister,

Gavin

Any advice or comments I give are based on personal experiences and knowledge and are my opinions only, they are not to be substituted for professional medical advice. Please seek professional advice from a qualified doctor or medical professional.

Re: first timer

I, too, am on gem/cis. What dosage is your sister? They are good at managing the nausea with lots of drugs. I develop a terrible kind of migraine in the night after the first - - it takes lots of anti-migraine and percoset to get through. But they are gone the next day! The chemo is very hard on your gut - - experiment around. I take one-half dose of miralax every day to keep "normal"  ....  try to get a nap every day even if it is just 45 minutes - - that helps a lot with energy levels.  the hydrating is perhaps the most important thing of all. Drink and drink water. If you actually feel thirsty you are already behind! Expect to have a couple days of just lolling around. It can feel like you are getting the flu, with all those chemicals in your body. The good news? It gets better every day here on out for three weeks! Good luck! Let us know how it goes for you both!

Re: first timer

The chemo is done for this week.  Next week just gemzar, them a week off,  repeatcycletwo more times then check. Thank you all for encouraging words and advice.