Topic: Have any of you experienced this?

Hi everyone,

My mom has encountered so many problems with her new round of chemo and so I'm turning to you guys for some advice. She had a first round of Xeloda for six weeks, Monday-Friday, and tolerated it very well. Her oncologist's nurse said she could discontinue Xeloda since her radiation therapy ended. Three weeks ago she started gemcitabine (once a week for three weeks, one off) and cisplatin once every 3 weeks.
She had the port put in on Monday and came in for gemcitabine and cisplatin today. Much to our surprise, her blood tests showed that her blood cell counts were too low to get her treatment. Instead, she will receive some shots tomorrow and the day after to boost her cell count. We're bummed (to say the least) but at the same time we're wondering if she should go back on Xeloda, which did reduce her CA-19 marker significantly. Before she started this new chemo, her doctor did say she could have stayed on Xeloda.

Have any of you heard of skipping a treatment for this reason? Did any of you take any alternative immune boosters during chemo? That's something else we've considered  but there's just so much out there that claims to "work". And finally, her hair has just been falling out in clumps...although we're not worried about the whole vanity aspect, I was wondering whether after just two treatments if that was a little early to be losing so much hair?

Sorry for all the questions...just so much to think about.

Abigail

Re: Have any of you experienced this?

Hi Abiail,  Sorry to hear about your Mum's troubles but they do sound pretty standard to the chemotherapy world.  To answer some of your questions.... Yes it is normal for the hair to start falling out within a week.  Gemcitabine and cisplatin is known for hair loss for alot of people. I had a thining out but did not loose all.  Yes it is definitely the right thing to do with stopping or not giving chemo when blood counts are to low.  I have had to delay a week a couple times two weeks because of low counts.  I highly recommend having blood checked weekly while on chemo. Yes I have had to get rehydrated several times and have had to give my self injections of filgrastin due to being nuetropenic ( low white bloods cells in your bone marrow). Plus you need to keep an eye on your platelets as they can go low and danger of not being able to control your bleeding should you get cut or bruise real bad.  Xeloda is a form of chemo but normally taking orally.  Your oncologist should know exactlly what your taking and when.  Especially if starting a new chemo regimen.  To much toxicity from these drugs can cause alot of problems.  CT Scans are recommend every 2-3 months to see if tumors are shrinking.   Just because your CA 19 marker is showing good signs of going lower doesn't always mean the tumor is shrinking as well that may come a little later or prove not to work.  Get yourself a little calendar that has room for notes and carry with you just in case there is questions of when and what.  I hope I've answered your questions.  And I wish your Mom and you the best on this unfortunate roller coaster ride.
God Bless,
Jeff G.

Take it to the Limit,One More Time! (Eagles)