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Thread: What effects can be expected from Chemotherapy?

  1. #1
    Newbie New User
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    Girlfriend has Ovarian Cancer

    I have been lurking here for a few weeks as it was suspected that my girlfriend has ovarian cancer.

    Unfortunately, after surgery today, it was confirmed that is indeed the case and it looks to be an advanced stage with significant spreading to the colon and spleen. This is the saddest day of my life, she is such a beautiful person, inside and out. They did debulking and staging is/may be to come.

    It looks like it will take them a little to stage it if they do at all and then chemo starts. Pray for her. Thank you.
    Last edited by jontaejones; 10-13-2017 at 01:20 PM.

  2. #2
    Moderator Top User jorola's Avatar
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    I am very sorry to hear of her diagnosis. The important thing is to let the drs do their testing and staging and work out a plan of attack. Make sure you write down any questions the both of you have so you don't forget them when you are sitting with the dr. It also is important to gather your supports and not be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Teamwork is the key. We'll be here to support you the best we can as well.
    Wife to husband with squamous lung cancer stage 3 b
    dx - April 20/14
    tx started May 20/14 - radiation and chemo
    June 23 - chemo finished
    July 4 - radiation finished
    July 8 - PET scan shows tumor almost gone, lymph nodes back to normal
    Married July 19/14
    Sept 9/14 - repeat can shows tumor continues to shrink more, no new spots. New coughing and pain due to chest infection or side effect of radiation.
    Sept 19/14 - not infection but pneumonitis, place on dex for 4 weeks
    Oct 22/14 - now off of dex and facing even more symptoms of withdrawal
    Dec 16/14 - pretty much nothing left but a scar
    April 7/15 - ditto scan and screw you stats
    Oct 6/15 - more scarring but still cancer still gone
    Feb 2016 -scan the same
    Aug 2016 - more of the same
    Aug 2017 - and ditto
    Aug 2018 - 4 yrs NED - no evidence of disease
    Aug 2019 - 5 yrs NED and discharged from cancer clinic!!!!!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by jorola View Post
    I am very sorry to hear of her diagnosis. The important thing is to let the drs do their testing and staging and work out a plan of attack. Make sure you write down any questions the both of you have so you don't forget them when you are sitting with the dr. It also is important to gather your supports and not be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Teamwork is the key. We'll be here to support you the best we can as well.
    Thank you. Appreciate your kind words.

  4. #4
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    Hello.

    We have had some time to process and digest the news, and the staging (which took forever) is Stage III.

    That is not spectacular news obviously, but I actually thought it would be worse.

    I have had a month and a half to read every story I can about this beast (cancer in general, and OVC in particular).

    The one question I do have (and I realize this is a fairly unproductive question) is "How fast does this beast spread? Can things have really gone from Stage II to III in a matter of days, weeks, months?" It's just such a shame.

    Cancer is such a game changer. It's turns life on its head like nothing else.

    I am now very well informed about the process of diagnosis and surgery and if anybody has any questions, feel free to ask me or message me. Thank you.

    Get screened ladies. Tell your friends to get screened.

  5. #5
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    What effects can be expected from Chemotherapy?

    My GF has cancer and will be going through a long period of chemotherapy, maybe for a very long time.

    I have read about the side effects of chemotherapy and the side effect meds, but I would like to know on average, how 'out of commission' should you expect it to put you? At the very least, out of it for 4-5 days after?

    For example, if it's done on a Friday (which is the plan), is going anywhere for the weekend pretty much shot? Is flying to an island and relaxing pretty much shot?

    The main reason I ask is because I have a small window before she starts. And if chemo is as brutal as it sounds from reading about it, then I am thinking of taking her somewhere now.

  6. #6
    Administrator Top User lisa1962's Avatar
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    I am sorry to hear of your girlfriend’s diagnosis. To answer your specific question regarding effects from chemotherapy, the question really is a very difficult one to answer.

    There are many things to consider. Type of agents used, frequency of treatment, side effect from particular agents used and how your girlfriend tolerates the treatment. The one thing I can say is that chemo in cumulative for the most part. While she may feel very little effects from the first, they tend to become a little more difficult at least fatigue wise which each one. I will also suggest to be cautious while traveling once she undergoes treatment as her immune system will be compromised. Trailing off to somewhere may not be in her best interest so I would ask her what she wants to do.

    I certainly would take the lead from her and let her decide what it is she wants or needs.

    I have merged both your threads as it can get muddled when posting in several different forums. Our members are better able to address your questions when there are more details about a particular diagnosis.

    Lisa

  7. #7
    Moderator Top User jorola's Avatar
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    The effects of chemo extremely vary - including how long the effects last. Part of this is due to the "cocktail" (type of chemo or chemos) used, part the dose and the other part just how the person reacts to it. Some are able to continue working while others are bedridden. However there are many new medications out there that assist with this that do make the treatment much more manageable more most people so those that get bed ridden are not very common. Still I would find it unlikely, in my own personal opinion, that she would be up to a island holiday in the middle of it. Not just the chemo but there is the hair loss issue, many fight depression and fatigue - she probably just wouldn't be into it. I think it is sweet you want to do this for her but again in my opinion she has a lot on her plate and more than anything you should discuss this with her and see what she wants. It may be too much for her or it could be exactly what she wants. Best to check with her.
    Wife to husband with squamous lung cancer stage 3 b
    dx - April 20/14
    tx started May 20/14 - radiation and chemo
    June 23 - chemo finished
    July 4 - radiation finished
    July 8 - PET scan shows tumor almost gone, lymph nodes back to normal
    Married July 19/14
    Sept 9/14 - repeat can shows tumor continues to shrink more, no new spots. New coughing and pain due to chest infection or side effect of radiation.
    Sept 19/14 - not infection but pneumonitis, place on dex for 4 weeks
    Oct 22/14 - now off of dex and facing even more symptoms of withdrawal
    Dec 16/14 - pretty much nothing left but a scar
    April 7/15 - ditto scan and screw you stats
    Oct 6/15 - more scarring but still cancer still gone
    Feb 2016 -scan the same
    Aug 2016 - more of the same
    Aug 2017 - and ditto
    Aug 2018 - 4 yrs NED - no evidence of disease
    Aug 2019 - 5 yrs NED and discharged from cancer clinic!!!!!

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by jontaejones View Post
    My GF has cancer and will be going through a long period of chemotherapy, maybe for a very long time.I have read about the side effects of chemotherapy and the side effect meds, but I would like to know on average, how 'out of commission' should you expect it to put you? At the very least, out of it for 4-5 days after?For example, if it's done on a Friday (which is the plan), is going anywhere for the weekend pretty much shot? Is flying to an island and relaxing pretty much shot?The main reason I ask is because I have a small window before she starts. And if chemo is as brutal as it sounds from reading about it, then I am thinking of taking her somewhere now.
    Provided she isn't too sick already, going BEFORE the chemo sounds like the best bet, provided she fully buys into it.As far as afterward, you really need to think this through a little more thoroughly. What happens if she gets really sick on the island? What are the hospitals like? What are the doctors like? How much does an emergency flight back to where you live cost?? Small, simple, but rewarding activities that you can do when the chemo demons have left for a few hours will give you the most bang for the buck. Good luck!
    05/6/16 pre-op physical for surgery show low WBC & RBC
    5/22/16 [Birthday] Results of BM biopsy: AML 25% blasts with inv t(3:3) mutation, HIGH risk
    5/30/16 Undergo 3+7 chemo, but it doesn't touch AML, infections nearly kill me. Blasts 65%
    7/04/16 Diagnosis now Refractory AML. [:tombstone:]Six cycles of azacitidine, 21 shots over 7 days w/ 1.5" needle into gut + below navel.
    11/05/16 Move to NOLA - Infusion center 4 minutes away. 15 shots for 5 days with 5/8" 25 ga. needle Huge increase in quality of life.
    12/28/16 BMB shows blasts 12%
    4/16/17 BMB shows CD34 16%, cycles dropped to 4 weeks
    7/20/17 Diagnosis changed to "indolent leukemia", aka MDS
    7/27/17 BMB shows CD34 17%
    8/15/17 Venclexta chemo in PILL form added Onc estimates survival time now 2 - 4 YEARS.
    10/26/17 BMB results show 17/20 metaphases with inv(3:3) mutation-low blood cell counts - transfusions ineffective
    12/4/17 Diagnosis: Uncontrolled refractory AML

  9. #9
    Senior User Chef's Avatar
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    Hey sorry to hear of this as well. Yes go, but, only if her oncologist says it's ok. Try and go before if she's game. I took my wife to Oahu last December for a week while I was on chemo and my oncologist even gave me a blood transfusion the day before departure. I wore a N-95 mask for the entire flight-airport part but it was sooooo nice to get away and relax out of our cancer world at home.

    She may not feel up to a weekend getaway until she gets into a routine for the first while. Learning what to expect with chemo is scary for most.
    Make sure you have insurance and a back-up plan. Most of all get the doctors permission and of course hers! I wish you both the very best, sending good vibes your way!
    Dx NSHL StageIIIA
    CT {groin 6.8 x 3.3 cm} abdomen nodes, enlarged spleen 2/07/16
    Bone marrow, Colonoscopy, Gastroscopy biopsies {-}
    Lung & Heart tests Good.
    Pet scan Worrisome bone marrow 3/17/16
    ABVD 6 cycles started 3/31/16
    Interm Pet {+} 5/19/16
    Stop ABVD 9/01/16
    Pet {+} 10/04/16
    Salvage GDP 10/27/16
    Misdiagnosed from Hodgkins to {ALCL ALK-} stage 4B 12/01/16
    Adcentris 12/05/16 ~ 3/07/17
    Lumbar, Tri-fusion line, G-CSF, Collection 3/17/17 ~ 3/18/17
    Auto stopped due to infections, sent home to wait 3/27/17
    Developed 12 tumors on base of skull, patho = {ALK-} CD30 4/26/17
    Restart Adcentris 5/18/17
    High dose Chemo/MTX/Total Body Irradiation for three days-twice daily 8/17/17
    Donor Allo Transplant 8/23/17
    Pet scan NED 12/01/17

    “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity."

  10. #10
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    Reality sticky...

    Chemo was not fun. Chemo was not like you see in the movies ... a group of people sitting in a circle joking around with others getting infused. Or some blogs which tell you to bring board games and a friend to pass the time.

    It was segregated and a lot of people come alone.

    The drugs they give you during chemo or the side effect drugs may make your body react in extremely uncomfortable ways it has never reacted before. To counteract that, they give you additional doses of painkillers and sedatives, which cloud your mind, rendering the patient extremely irritable and non-communicative.

    Let's just say, you're hardly in the mood to play Scrabble or Chutes & Ladders.

    Hopefully a deep sleep can bring some normalcy back to her.

    It's gotta get better than this, because there's a ton of sessions left. Gotta be positive and believe it gets better.

    The first session was sure unlike anything I thought it would be.

 

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