Topic: Chemo

We just found out that my mom will most likely start with Chemo first then surgery then radiation. They will most likely give her Gemzar. My question is how many treatments would someone normally get in a week / Month?

Re: Chemo

From our experience with Gemzar, my daughter got it once every two weeks. She never had it by itself though. She had it with Cisplatin and 5FU and then just with 5FU.

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: Chemo

We are supposed to get her " plan " on Monday, she had her port put in  on Friday. I still can't believe this is happening... I'm just hoping her doctors know what they are doing....

Re: Chemo

Gemzar is often given on a 3 week cycle. Two weeks on, one week off. One treatment per week. That works out to 3 treatments a month, sometimes 4.

Re: Chemo

Thank you, have you had the Gemzar? Will she lose her hair or be very nauseated?

Re: Chemo

My wife did 6 cycles of Gemzar and Cisplatin after her surgery. 12 treatments in total. Her hair thinned a lot by the end of chemo but she didn't lose all of it. She started wearing a wig after a while. In retrospect, she regrets it. A very short haircut would have been more comfortable.

Nausea is hard to predict. Some people get very nauseated right off the bat, others don't. Keep in mind, she will receive anti-nausea medication before/after each treatment. It makes a huge difference.

Re: Chemo

Thank you, I appreciate all any information I can get.

Re: Chemo

I have finished 5 cycles of Gemzar and Cisplatin. 2 weeks on and 1 week off. Getting ready to start #6. Loss my hair - no big deal,  have been sick and have not lost weight. The biggest side effects I have are with my blood. Low WBC, RBC and platelets. I have add several shots of Neulasta and 3 Pack Red Blood Cells transfusions. Other than the above, my Doc says I'm doing OK.

Good Luck going forward

Re: Chemo

Thanks Jim, I pray you continue to do well. My mom says she isn't concerned about her hair but we all know she is. She has always been so particular about it, but I guess when you look at it...it's not as important as it once was. She already has such a hard time with a lot of Gas, belching constantly. I'm hoping she will see improvement there. I guess we will find out tomorrow what they will plan. They first thought it would be a lite does of chemo but now we just don't know.

Re: Chemo

I ended up with 5 cycles (10 treatments) of Gem/Cis, didn't lose any hair, but it stopped growing. No nausea whatsoever, took the steroid shot they give you at the time of treatment and didn't have any other nausea at all. Radiation gave me more nausea to be honest... Good luck!

Derin

Husband to Eileen, Dad to Hunter (16) and Sydney (14)
Attitude is everything, you have to keep it positive! And take it one day at a time, it's all anyone can do with this disease...

Re: Chemo

Thank you all.. I feel a little more prepared for my call with the doctor tomorrow. Because my mom and I live in separate cities ( for now anyway) she has given them permission to call me with all results to make sure nothing gets lost in translation.

Re: Chemo

Well they made the decision and they have decided that Gemzar alone for 2-3 months and the surgery again afterwards. The first appt is going to be on Thursday and it will be more of a learning session. They will tell her all about the chemo, what to expect etc... and give her a tour of the facility. The one thing I did forget to ask is how long will one session of chemo last? Is it different for each person?

Re: Chemo

My father's chemo lasts up to almost 6 hours.  The first hour or so is anti nausea medication and the rest is the actual chemo. They also see the doctor prior to chemo. When they travel to U of M for treatment it is an all day ordeal, 9am to almost 8/9pm.  Keep in mind, my parents live almost 2 hours (4 hours are travel time) away from the facility where treatment is held. Hope this helps.

Re: Chemo

My mom has been on Gemzar for 6 months. In addition to Gemzar she received 28 sessions of radiation treatments (IMRT). 
She is has only 2 treatments of Gemzar remaining. She received Gemzar once a week for 3 weeks, then one week off.
As far as the hair loss, her hair thinned, but she did not lose all. Nausea was an issue for her, but they premedicated her prior to the infusion with IV Aloxi, dexamethasone and oral compazine.  They switched her from IV Zofran to IV Aloxi because Aloxi lasts longer.  Medications did work for her. She had good three days after the chemo, but then by the 4th and 5th day after, symptoms returned, but not as bad.
Chemo is tough, but I think my mom felt worse when she was receiving both chemo and radiation. That radiation, especially after the 3rd week was very tough on my mom. But, she pulled through it.

Anna

Re: Chemo

Oh I forgot about the low blood counts.  My mom was transfused numerous time due to low blood counts.

Anna

Re: Chemo

Thank you Anna, if they do decide to do radiation on my mom it will be after the surgery. That's what we were told anyway. Can I ask what stage your mom was in when diagnosed and her age? My mom will be 75 in November and they are telling us she was diagnosed at stage 2. I'm hoping she can handle all of this ok. She has always been in pretty good health before all this came along.

Re: Chemo

My mom is 72. She was diagnosed Nov. 2011. She is stage 3, but inoperable due to involvement of portal vein. 9 years ago my mom had kidney cancer and they removed 1/3 of her kidney. She was followed by an oncologist for over 6 years with CT scans every 6 months and everything was clear until Sept 2011. It is really devastating...
It's great that they found the tumor at an early stage.  From everything that I have read on the net as well as this great site is that majority of the time, it is not found until the later stages.  I think my mom would have been able to have surgery if it was not for the vein involvement. Too risky of a surgery.
I very much hope everything works out for your mom, I really do. You sound like you're in the same situation like me.  I know you hear it all the time, but stay strong for your mom.  Several times during my mom's numerous hospitalizations I kind of lost it and I cried in front of her and it just makes her too sad.  She asked me to promise her that when it is her time to go that I not cry because she was blessed to have her family and a good life. Of course that made me cry even more.  It's hard to see your mom ill and the thought of losing her not being here is unbearable.
I just pray that the treatments she is going through will keep her here with us longer. 
The last scan she had in May, her tumor size was approx 4.5 cm x 3 cm.  The radiation treatments she received did decrease the size of the tumor by approx 1 to 1.5 cm.  Where is the location of your mom's tumor and the size?
I wish your mom all the best.  Moms are irreplaceable.

Anna

Anna

Re: Chemo

Before my mom started treatments she was completely asymptomatic.  The reason why they found the tumor was because she was having occasional fevers and because of her history of kidney cancer, I asked her Primary MD for CT scan.  We never expected cancer, but here we are. But then no one on this site expected to be diagnosed either.  This is a wonderful group of men and women who have a wealth of knowledge and I am so grateful that this site exists.
I am a RN, but oncology is not my specialty. So I come on this site for expert advise.
I hope your mom's surgery is a success!!!

Anna

Re: Chemo

I have had 20 rounds of gemzar. Once every two weeks.
I also take tarceva once a day.
I do 1 week on 1 week off of xeloda.
I also had 13 rounds of cisplatin. It was one week on one week off.

Good luck!
This is working very good for me!

~Tiffany~ 31 years young wink Fighting CC since 10-27-2011
Wife to Brian; Mommy to Carter (8) and Madison (4)
http://tiffanyschwantes.wordpress.com/
Liver transplant 7-9-2013

Re: Chemo

Tiff
How are you handling all of those medications? Lot of side effects? I wish you all the best!

Anna

Re: Chemo

Pak001 - You may want to look into Nanoknife surgery. It was developed for small tunors that were deemed unoperable. It's Electroproton Ablation. My cancer came back at the surgery site and it's to close to the portis/hepatic vein for conventional surgery so I am meeting with a radiologist next month to discuss the Nanoknife.

Re: Chemo

jim....please keep us posted.  Fingers crossed.
Hugs,
Marion

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