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Thread: How long after surgery before chemo restarts?

  1. #1

    Unhappy Treatment worse than the cure?

    Hi All.
    This is my first post - sorry if its long winded.

    I'm really struggling today - and just feel overwhelmed - needed to reach out and talk to some like-minded people who are in the same boat.

    A very close friend was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer in March this year - She’s never told me what stage - she possibly doesn’t know herself? and i don't want to ask - but would suspect its late stage 3 or early stage 4…. When do they actually stage ovarian cancer anyway? Is it after the operation? Or before?

    Have been trying to stay upbeat and positive around her - but its hard living with / being around someone with cancer . I suppose I’m seeing more of what the cancer is doing to her than most - her husband works away alot as hes a fifo worker in the mines) .. so either myself or my husband pop in every day that he is away..... running her to appointments, picking up the kids from school, making dinner when shes too sick etc - you get the picture...

    I'm just really worried about her - i joke that the cure is worse than the disease - but it might actually be true! - the chemo is making her so sick!
    She was told initially that she would need a total hysterectomy followed by 9 weeks of Chemo; then her labs came back saying her cancer was too big to operate. The doctor advised that she needed 9 weeks of chemo before the operation aswell.

    So 9 weeks came and went ... and she got really tired – drained of all energy – and really sick. At the end of the 9 weeks the surgeon told her that the chemo wasn't working as well as they hoped and the cancer wasn't shrinking fast enough - and that he wouldn't operate. So the oncologist upped the dosage? and stuck her on chemo for another 6 weeks.

    The extra 6 weeks of Chemo has been quite frankly hell. She got admitted to hospital towards the end of chemo as barely get out of bed; she was so tired, anaemic and completely drained. They made her have total bed rest for 5 days and she had to have blood transfusions and steroids as her platelets and red blood cells were really low <30.

    We were afraid that they would cancel her surgery as she was so low – but the oncologist told her husband that they had to operate now if she had any chance. So she had a 2 week break from chemo and finally had her op end of July. The surgeon says there are still "alot" of spots left that the chemo should get rid of ... but all went well.

    But they made her stay in hospital longer than expected as she’s having trouble with her platelets again. They have dropped below 30 again so they gave her a bone morrow biopsy whilst in hospital and then sent her home.

    Its been 18 days since her debunking. She was told that she would need to go back on chemo for another 9-15 weeks about 2 weeks after the operation - Not the normal 4 weeks – but this has been delayed whilst they wait for the bone marrow results.

    I’m just so worried. Surely they can’t leave her for too long without starting Chemo? Or all those spots left over when they operated are going to spread soon.
    She’s already had a few scares along the way – first they thought it had spread to the liver as one of her scans came back with a shadow (but then they said they thought it as a scar and that the first round of chemo had killed whatever it was). Then last month they found 3 spots on her breasts…. (then they reconned the spots were small enough that the next round of chemo will kill off). She used to have a lot of sun spots - and now her skin is so smooth and pale (one of the nurses said that the chemo killed them all off – and that they could have been a pre-cursor to skin cancer).

    It just seems like every few weeks they find more ‘suspicious’ spots and have to run more tests. I don’t know if this is because its spread and they don’t want to tell her – or the more cynical side of me keeps whispering that they are just trying to milk the health insurance for more money.

    Should I be worried about the bone marrow results? Are they testing because they think its spread to the bone marrow now? Or for some other reason?

    I’ve been round today to see her today. She’s putting on a brave face but she’s so tired she can barely make it out of bed for a pee… and yet it’s been over 4 weeks since her last chemo treatment. I’m just sick with worry – if she carries on like this I will be surprised if she makes it to xmas.

    Can the chemo or the low platelets kill you off before the cancer?

    thanks for listening

  2. #2

    How long after surgery before chemo restarts?

    Hi All.
    Getting pretty worried about a friend.

    She had 15 weeks of chemo before her op.
    then a 3 week break
    then her op on 23rd July...
    Quack says she needs another 15 weeks of chemo

    i would have thought they would have re-started chemo by now - but shes very weak.
    struggling with white/red blood cell counts and very low platelets

    It now been just over 4 weeks since she had a her operation - bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy ... how long is it before they quacks usually re-start chemo?

  3. #3
    Administrator Top User lisa1962's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    We can not possibly answer your question. It is up to the doctors to evaluate the overall status of the person and then make the decisions regarding re-starting treatment. If your friend is having difficulty with blood counts, then this must be stabilized.

    I also question why you refer to her doctors as “quacks”. The doctors are doing what is necessary in order to help your friend.

  4. #4
    Newbie New User
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    You could suggest that your friend get a second opinion on the decision about her treatment. This process will take a few weeks to get started but it's not a bad idea to get that relationship built so that you have a second opinion on tap if/when you need it.

    Aside from that treatment is a balancing act. Chemotherapy agents are generally designed to kill selective parts of your body with more or less specificity. Even though it feels like the clock is ticking your friend really does need to be in a good physical state to handle the treatment.

    It's incredibly frustrating and feels barbaric most of the time. Hopefully future generations will get a cherry flavored vaccine when they are born to equip their bodies with all of the ammo needed to blast this unholy disease into oblivion.


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