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Thread: Any one had chemotherapy?

  1. #1

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    Default Any one had chemotherapy?

    Has anyone here had chemotherapy?

    How much of your "usual" life were you able to carry on throughout the treatment period?



    I'm studying this term, trying to decide (without all the necessary information) whether I should drop a subject before the HECS census date (Ie Tuesday). I know your stories might be challenging but please don't spare me the details. I need to know.

    Thanks.

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    i dont know hun...but i really hope you are ok, lots and lots of love rach xxxx

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    MF - I don't work in oncology but my understanding is that it really depends on the drugs used, qty, frequency, and how you physically, mentally, and emotionally respond to the chemo. I don't want to sound discouraging, but it may be a good idea to drop a subject so you have the energy to fight this.

    Have they given any indication as to what kind of chemo they want you to have? Where is the cancer again? Some forms of cancer can be treated with chemo embolisation which is where they put a tube through your arteries (starting at your femoral artery) and go up to the spot where the cancer is, and inject the chemo directly into the site. This is usually done with liver cancer but I've seen it done with others (I recover these patients). It is a Day Proceedure. If it is something like that, there is no real reason why you couldn't continue with your studies.

    Sorry - I'm probably not helping. When will you get a firmer idea of what is happening from your docs?

    MG

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    my FIL is a brick layer and is about a month in to his chemo and still working and they are going to singapore in the next few weeks too...

    so im guessing you can still go on but being a bricky isnt brainy work(unlike uni)

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    MG I have a mass in my breast which might be lymphoma or might be some other type of (breast) cancer. It is fairly deep inside the outside quadrant of my left breast. I also have an enlarged lymph node indicative of lymphoma.

    Best case scenario is lymphoma-lymphoma - easier to treat with a single pathway. If it's another type of tumour it could get more complicated. The embolisation sounds way cool but I don't think it will apply in this situation.

  6. #6

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    sorry MD but I agree with you, I don't think chemo embolisation would be a suitable option. Do let us know what action is taken though. I hope it all works out ok.

    Actually, I just had a thought. I was driving past the Cancer Council head office the other day and I noticed they have a help line where you can talk to an oncology nurse with any questions you have. I don't know the number I'm afraid. But perhaps give them a call and see what they say? Im sure if you went to their website it would have details...

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    Thanks MG. I already have the cancer council helpline magnet on my fridge (a freaky coincidence, but that's a story for another day ). That's a very good suggestion. I have some brochures, too, just waiting for (highly observant at times) DD1 to go to bed before I pull them out.

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    My mum has had two rounds of chemo & pretty much lived a normal life throughout. The drugs did not make her really sick like they often do and both times she was recovering from a mastectomy. She kept volunteering, socialising, doing housework etc etc - if she didn't tell people they would never have known there was anything wrong with her (and she had a very good wig).

    My aunt used to get very ill whenever she had chemo but only for a couple of days at a time then she'd be bright and perky until the next treatment.


    A workmate managed to work throughout her treatment (call centre work) but always took the afternoon off work when she had chemo as it made it her feel sick for the rest of the day.

    My ex MIL managed to work as a nurse throughout her chemo and she was a single mum at the time...... and she's still alive over 30 years later.

    All these ladies had breast cancer.

    I think it really depends on how your body & mind react to the treatment and unfortunately you will not know that until it happens. Might be best to play it safe and drop the subject so you wont be stressing about not getting your work done if you aren't doing to well with your treatment.

    Best of luck with the journey you are undertaking.

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    Md - My mum had Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer in 2004. She found with the drug she was given that it didn't make her incredibly sick, but was nauseous and really tired.
    She took about 4 months off work. I would probably suggest dropping the subject - at least you can then put all of your energy into getting better. (you'll have plenty of time to do that subject later)
    hugs.

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    Satya, thanks very much for telling me about these courageous women. It sounds like it's a very mixed bag (and probably even depends on exactly what ****tail they decide to give each person).

    I think I might talk to the course coordinator about exactly how much latitude they are prepared to give re extensions, etc...that might help fill in some of the blanks. I agree that it's not worth having an extra "thing" to stress about during treatment but at the same time it's life in all it's glory that's gonna get me through this. You always think that when big stuff like this happens, that everything else just stops. It doesn't and that's part of the gift of healing.

    ETA - thanks JaZaH - you make a good point about the tiredness.

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    Sorry - I don't have a personal experience to be able to help, but one of my good friends I worked with had to have chemo for hodgkins lymphoma mid to late last year. I'm not sure what type of chemo treatment she had for it though. She had 8 treatments, done fortnightly and I know that she felt like crap one week and just alright the next. She said she just felt really tired and nauseous and struggled to find any food that she could eat that would help too. She has been off work due the whole time due to this.

    So I suppose as people have said as to what type of chemo treatment it is and whether it will knock you around alot or not and also how your body handles it too.

    I hope everything works out well for you

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    Thanks everyone who has answered. I will take some time to digest all of this and to arrive at a decision that feels 'right' at all levels.

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    Hi Marydean,

    I had chemo 5 years ago for breast cancer when I was 32.

    I had 4 treatments of a combination chemotherapy of Adriamycin (Doxorubicin) and Cyclophosphamide 3 weeks apart.

    How did it effect me? I won't spare the details as it's best to know the truth OK. But keep in mind different drugs have different effects and everyone reacts individually to chemo, it's not a one size fits all, but I know you know that.

    Well lets start with my hair: by the 2nd treatment my hair was patchy and I was in a hat, by the 3rd it was all gone and I bought a lovely long brown wig (which by the way I still have and you are welcome to it if you want it. They are very expensive so I'm more than happy to give you mine).
    I had my treatments on a Friday morning and would take the following Mon and Tues off work to rest and recover. I was never sick as in vomiting but I made sure i adhered to the anti-nausea drug regime very carefully. I had Stemetil and Zofran, one was oral and one was suppository (I can't remember which was which) but I took both and so was OK. I also took a steroid dethamethesone to help with nausea.
    I used to get tired for the weekend following my treatment but was OK by the wednesday. Having said that I wasn't house bound I just took things easy and didn't run any marathons!
    During my treatment I consulted a Naturopath and took a herbal tonic to keep up my strength and protect my liver and immune function - one particular beneficial herb is Astragalus for immune health.

    I had weekly blood tests every thursday to make sure my bone marrow was recovering so my arms and veins became quite tender and scarred. A trick to remember is to ask for a small guage needle or even better a "butterfly" needle. Where are you located? I was living in Sydney at the time and used to work for a pathology company back then so if you are a fellow Sydney-ite I can let you know which are the best collection centres to go to!!

    Another thing which helped me cope was fresh juices. I bought a juice extractor and juiced fresh organic produce every day. the best combination for chemo both for keeping up energy and building strength and stamina is carrots, raw beetroot, apple, silver beet(spinach) and ginger. Sounds awful but I came to enjoy it and it helped keep me hydrated and gave me lots of vitamins and minerals when I didn't feel like eating. I or my DH would make my 'healing' juice everyday - enough for 3 large glasses. It's expensive but worth it.

    Another thing (again depending on where you are) is a health retreat in Bundanoon (NSW Southern Highlands) called the Quest For Life Centre. We attended a weekend meditation course focussed on health and healing. It was a great experience.

    As for your studies, I would seriously consider lightening the load if you can. The next few months is about completing your treatment, healing and regaining your health, strength and vitality. Your studies will wait, your health may not.

    Lastly, I really do wish you all the very best. Please free to ask anything you like either via the forums or by PM. Nothing will embarrass me or is too personal. i will be totally open and honest. If I can alleviate a doubt or a fear then i will do my very best to do so. xxx

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    I have not had personal experience with Cancer however i work with alot of cancer patients and my advice would be to lighten your load if possible, as the others have said, every person reacts differently to the treatment(s) and i would personally like to think that you were able to concentrate on your health rather than worrying about a heavy study load!

    Good luck with everything hon!

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    Hi Marydean
    I had 8 months of chemo for lymphoma in 2007/08.
    I spent about 6 hours having the drugs every 3 weeks. It can knock you about a bit so lightening your load would be a good idea. How bad you feel will depend on the drugs they give you and also how you react to them. Some weeks I did not feel too bad but other weeks I did feel like I could do anything.
    I would be happy to answer any of your questions.

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    Thanks everyone for your replies. I think the consensus is a lightening of load is the wise choice. I'd like to think I'll have a "spoon" or two left for some fun enjoyable activities during that time.

    Thanks Alan especially and Krisp...I have PMed you both.

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    Ok, well I've been in communication with my lecturers, I am dropping one subject, and for the other subject they are going to apply for some sort of status which basically gives me an infinite extension. It's a distance ed class and I may be able to knock a lot of it over before I even begin treatment. So all good there.

    Thank you all so much for sharing your observations and experiences.

  18. #18

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    Good luck hun. If you need anymore help/info let me know

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