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Chemo treatment for rectal cancer

Posted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:27 pm
by kal74
I’m scheduled to have my port put in soon my oncologist is recommending oxaliplatin/5fu every other week for 6 months.
I get the oxiplatin infusion for 3 hours and then I’ll leave with the 5fu for two days then disconnect. Can anyone who’s done this already share with me side effects and how you felt on your off weeks? Also were you were able to work during treatment? My dr also told me I can choose the day for infusion not sure if that makes much difference

Re: Chemo treatment for rectal cancer

Posted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:37 pm
by NHMike
I'm doing XELOX which is Xeloda + Oxaliplatin every three weeks. Xeloda is the pill form of 5fu. I had the second Oxaliplatin infusion today.

I had cold sensitivity, some arthritis-like symptoms in hands and calves, throat closing sensation, difficulty talking, first bite hurts when eating, eyes frozen shut. I had to take a 15 minute nap in the lobby before leaving the hospital.

The first time these lasted about a week and then the subsequent two weeks were pretty good. I find the Oxaiplating to be awful but I've bought several things which help. Winter in cold climate is the worst time to start.

But I'd rather the cancer not return.

Re: Chemo treatment for rectal cancer

Posted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:22 pm
by Robino1
I did your regimen and am still doing the 5FU + Avastin. I dropped the Oxaliplatin after the 10th treatment.

Cold drinks bothered my throat, touching very cold objects was like a burning sensation. First bite was pretty bad for me.

The best thing to do is start a spreadsheet or journal and make a note of your side effects, when they start and when they stop.

Cold throat only lasted a few days for me. Cold hands thing lasted about 5, as well as first bite. These are all caused by the oxaliplatin. The only side effect I have from the 5FU is thrush in my mouth. I use something called Magic Mouthwash. It is prescribed by the oncologist. Thrush like stuff shows up about 2-3 days after I disconnect from the pump. I use the Mouthwash from Monday to Friday. As soon as I start feeling smoothness on the roof of my mouth, I stop using the Mouthwash.

You want to get a prescription for an anti nausea med. you will be getting some in IV during chemo and it lasts about three days. The first time I had chemo, I didn't feel nauseous until the afternoo/evening of pump disconnect. After that first time, I started taking the pill in the afternoon the day of disconnecting from the 5FU pump. I found that I only needed that one pill that one day. Keeping track of all of this helped me find out how long I really needed to be on any extra meds.

I would experiment on stopping something early and see what happened.

Not everyone gets the same side effects. Some get them worse, others have no problem with these. The above are more common and most people get some form of them. Severity really is an individual thing. The most important thing to remember is to tell your doctor about anything that seems unusual to you. If something doesn't seem to be working (for example an anti nausea med) let the doc know. There are other meds that may work better for you.

You can call the nurses at the chemo center any time you have questions or concerns. They are absolutely the best. They will get to your doc to get an answer for you. You don't have to wait for your next scheduled appointment. They are there to help and they really are amazing.

As far as working, I'm retired but I know I'd be able to work through all of this. It hasn't slowed me down at all. Staying active helps with everything.

You Can Do This! The payoff can be huge = life. :D

Re: Chemo treatment for rectal cancer

Posted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:40 pm
by Tdubz
First of all, everyone has a different experience and you could very well handle it better. It’s important that you keep track of your side effects and be sure to let your onc know exactly what you experienced and for how long. With that said, here are the side effects I had. For me, the first few rounds were the worst for the nausea. I either got used to it or just managed my anti nausea medicine better as time went on because it wasn’t a huge ordeal in later rounds. Then there’s the diarrhea. It was like clockwork I’d have diarrhea on the Friday of infusion week. The first and second day after infusion I’d get first bite. Cold sensitivity was the worst side effect for me. Basically touching or drinking anything cold was a no no. First few rounds it’s only for a few days, but by the end, it was almost the whole two weeks for me. My brain seemed to work a lot slower as well. Things that require fast reactions were very difficult. I did not feel comfortable driving, but I think most people do. I generally felt like an old man all the time instead of a 37 yr old lol. Neuropathy kicks in after a few rounds, and it likes to hang around even after your done. I finished chemo about 3 months ago and still have neuropathy with no end in sight. I personally had problems with chest pains but I don’t think most people experience this. 5FU can cause problems with your heart so make sure to let your onc know if you experience anything. This website becomes a “chemo journal” for lots of people, so you should be able to find some of those threads and see the symptoms and how people were feeling throughout their journey as it happened. I found those to be great resources for myself.

When to get your infusion really depends on you. Since my work was kind enough to let me have infusion weeks off, I chose to have infusions on Monday. This way if I had any bad side effects that needed attention, I didn’t have to worry about the onc office being closed on a weekend. Also it allowed me to still enjoy weekends as I’d usually feel better by then. If you plan to work, you might want it later in the week so most of your bad days happen on the weekend and you don’t have to miss as much work.

Re: Chemo treatment for rectal cancer

Posted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:51 am
by nkoske
I did XelOx (Xeloda and Oxaliplatin)...only 6 cycles as my onc gave me credit for the chemo I had during chemorad.

I chose Thursdays for the Oxaliplatin. I found that worked really well for me. I was basically at the infusion center all day Thursday. I got the cold sensitivity thing before they even disconnected me from the Oxali drip. For what ever reason something in the infusion stopped my bowels right up and the bowel movement Friday fell like passing a telephone pole. Friday I felt pretty good and was able to go to work for my desk job, but faded in the afternoon and felt like shit all weekend. But, I'd wake up Monday and head to the office and worked everyday until my next infusion of poison (uh...I mean Oxaliplatin)

I really liked (well liked may not be the right word) the Xeloda, pill based 5-FU. I didn't have to be on a pump. Just had to take a handful of giant pills in the morning and evening.

Overall I was fortunate, chemo and my body got on mostly OK aside from some constipation that I managed with Colace and Mirlax. I was diligent slathering my hands and feet with BagBalm and never got the hand foot thing (could be just correlation rather than causation)