Topic: Chemotherapy

Hey, I have posted some stuff about my sister with her Stage IV metastasized Bile Duct Cancer.  She is anticipating starting chemo here soon and I was just wondering what the side effects are.  How do people feel while they are on chemo.  I am really worried for her.  Are they able to chemo if they are anemic? 

Thanks for any advice.

Re: Chemotherapy

Tanoland... Glad to here they will be starting chemo soon.  Side effects are different for different chemo's and people.  Normally some nausea, maybe, some vomiting, tired and sleepy.  The oncology Nurses should explain to your sister and the doctor should provide some prescriptions to help with any known normally seen side effects. Could have hair loss, then again maybe not. It is really so individual.  I would make it a point to discuss with doctor and nurses so you are prepared.  Some people even keep on working their jobs.  They will check her blood weekly while taking chemo treatments.  They will check her blood prior to each treatment.  Sometimes treatment is held a week or two or even up to a month until counts get back up to pretty much normal.  I would recommend asking for a portacath be put in.  It is usually done as outpatient half day visit.  It will be so much easier than getting an IV in the arm all the time.  Be sure to get side effect prescriptions ahead of time and have on hand. Wish Your sister the best!
God Bless,
Jeff G.

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

Re: Chemotherapy

Thank you for your help.  They did talk about putting the port in.  And that made me happy for her.  Her chemo is Gemzar mixed with something else.  She is weak physically and I am so worried for her.  If she doesn't get chemo, there is no other treatment for her.  And then we just give up I guess.

It's so frustrating.  But I do appreciate your advice.

Re: Chemotherapy

Tanoland,
my heart goes out to you and your family.  Hopefully, the chemo will work for your sister as it has been beneficial to many others.
Wishing for the best,
Marions

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: Chemotherapy

Do any of you know if they will do chemotherapy if she is anemic.  She is very anemic and has been for a long time.  And she is refusing to take her iron pills.

6 (edited by JeffG Wed, 09 Apr 2008 12:27:09)

Re: Chemotherapy

Tanoland,  They will check her blood levels prior to each chemo.  They will monitor her white bloods, red blood cells, plateletes.  They will check all her metabolic levels.  Has she had any blood work that says she is anemic? The bottom line is they will not press on with chemo if there is any chemistry to low that would put her in danger.  I have had below normal counts many times but from an oncology standpoint they will still press on unless there is something so low it would further compromise her health.  What you may feel is anemic and what they see on the lab reports are to different things.  That's why I repeat and say they will do weekly labs to monitor and can only tell you on a weekly basis wheter or not you levels are safe for chemo treatment.  I know you are very concern about her getting started and I can understand anxiousness.  If she was prescribed iron tablets then she needs to be taking them.  You need to say Sis, light he candle of hope! and get mad and fight.  Miracles do exsist.  We have seen them happen right here on this site.  Anemia is normally caused by low red blood cells.  I have had low red blood cells and still have had chemo but they determined it was still safe.  Sorry, wish I could explain or give you a better clear cut picture but in dealing with cc nothing is clear cut but so individual.
God Bless,
Jeff G.

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

Re: Chemotherapy

No, that is very helpful.  And I do appreciate you answering me.  I know her blood work showed she is very anemic and they did prescribe her these iron pills. 

Hey, I am not sure I know what cancer you have.  Or how bad.  But I am one of those people who find it really hard to believe in miracles.  I mean when you say that you have seen them happen on this site, would they be people who have had Stage 4 Bile Duct Cancer that is in the lymph nodes and bones?  I don't mean to be negative but I am really losing hope. 

Again thanks for your support and help on answering my questions.

8 (edited by JeffG Wed, 09 Apr 2008 16:34:48)

Re: Chemotherapy

Tanoland.... I have cholangiocarcinoma stage IV.  I have had a lobe of my liver resected and my gallbladder.  It returned or was always there and grew in to appearance back to the other lobe of liver, then it mets to both lungs, and then to my ribs and soft tissuse. This all started 9 years ago when my prognosis according to doctors was terminal about 12 months. I'm still considered terminal but still here after radiation and almost every kind of chemo treatment you can think of.  Take time and read through this site you'll be amazed.  Just had one today, finally found a chemo that reduced tumors by 50%. The tumor on my liver reduced by 50% but with a different chemo. With this disease you have to believe in hope and have a positive attitude. I don't want to pass out false hope though as with this disease it reacts so differently with each individual.  I personally still have to be vigilant and determined as my little battles I call it, still exsist.  One person on this site had stents put in his bile ducts after turning juandice. He now has no stents and is doing very well with out them.  Yes there has been members of this site that passed on too eternal life.  In the last couple years I have seen doctors; Oncologist and surgeons alike take bigger and bolder steps in treatments with positive outcomes.  If you listen to the one doctor he /she could be right or they could be wrong.  you just have to make up your mind whether you want to at least try or throw your hands up and let things steer it's own course.  We have said farewell to some but have also jumped in joy when hearing the progress of others.  Maybe your Sister's disease was discovered to late or maybe not. In either case I sincerely hope and pray for the best possible outcome. A positive attitude will take you a long ways. 
God Bless,
Jeff G.

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

Re: Chemotherapy

I did find out that my sister will be taking gemzar and xeloda.  I hope she handles that well.  I'm really nervous for her.

Re: Chemotherapy

Hello Tanoland

My dad is on the second week of Gemzar and Xeloda. He has not lost his hair but is tired and feels a burning feeling on his skin. All in all not too bad so far.
His CA-19 has went from 1400 to 883 in 2 weeks. Not sure if we can jump up and down yet.
Maybe Jeff will chime in here but if the tumor marker drops, does that mean its working? Also my dad has lost 10 lbs in 1 week during this chemo.

Tom

11 (edited by JeffG Sat, 12 Apr 2008 13:14:31)

Re: Chemotherapy

Tanoland.. I also had gemzar and Xeloda at one point with my treatments and it reduced my tumors about 40 % and held them at bay for about six months before I moved on and tried something different.  I remember cutting my dosage of Xeloda in half to 2000 mgs daily instaed of 4000 only cause it for me was causing to much tingling ang and pain in my finger tips.  I did fine on the lower dosage.  I would have preferred to stay on the full dosage but that was an individual choice at the time.  If your counts are dropping that is good! In my opinion it is eating up some of those free radicules of cc and slowing things down.  It's when you see if they stop responding you try something else it has given me quite a few years.  Thats why I pay close attention to the scans.  In fact I just shaved my head again last night as being off Taxotere for about two months and then starting up again this month show it is still going after them cells.  Unfortunately have to take it slow and easy with this chemo as it eats white and red good cells as well.  I have to counter act that with injectionsof figrastim and antibiotics each treatment.  It's like a wait and see if my marrow will outlast the cc cells. One last thing is you got to eat and drink no matter what when doing this chemo stuff.  Do alot of snacking as well.
God Bless,
Jeff G.

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

Re: Chemotherapy

Jeff, you are a great source of information but I am really sorry for everything you are going through.  And so positive.  Thank you for being so helpful.

Re: Chemotherapy

tanoland,
My husband Joe will be starting on the same two drugs in about a week if his bilirubin comes down a bit more.  We don't know if the xeloda will be covered by Medicare because it is oral and wish we didnt' have to worry about expenses.  We spent so much on alternative last year and are still in heavy debt but I won't let that stop us from fighting this.  He now has mets to his spleen and lymph nodes in his abdomen as well as large liver tumors and multiple lung tumors.  The amazing thing is as his bilirubin drops, his strength is coming back slowly and he has no pain and no queasiness.  We thank God for that.  Our oncologist tells us that he should tolerate these two drugs really well so we have to wait and see.  He sure doesn't want to lost any more weight.  Boost is really good and he will drink that between meals.  Best of luck and know you are in our prayers each day.  Mary Anne

Re: Chemotherapy

I was on gemzar and Xeloda and had no side effects except for some fatigue.  I was even able to continue working without any problems.  This regimen shrunk my tumor by 50%.  Didn't even lose my hair!

Re: Chemotherapy

Just wanted to say ... don't forget to submit forms from doctors or social services to drug companies for medication assistance.  You will be surprized how generous and compassionate they are when you are going threw a financial rough patch.  My son has recieved assistance several months now for free medication. They just need to have the doctor sign off and then they send it directly to the doctor for ditributing them as precribed.  He qualified as low income and unable to work at this time. Hopefully that will be turning around real soon. No he don't have cancer and I respect his privacy as he does mine.
God Bless,
Jeff G.

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