I will have my first chemo session tomorrow, comments please.
About 20 days ago I was diagnosed with Hodkin's Lymphoma stage 3. The specialist tells me the chemo will take place every 15 days for 6 months. So that means, twice a month to come to a total of 12 sessions.
I am posting here to just expect some good feedback on someone who maybe went trough something similar or knew/knows someone who is going trough it. I have a pretty active life. I am an artist, musician and like to be out as much as possible. Also, the hair loss problem, I dont think it will be much of a big deal even though I do have long hair. Hair grows, and so does energy!
I hope to read some helpful insights and thanks for reading.
Hi. Good luck on your upcoming treatment! Hodgkin's lymphoma is one type of cancer which is very responsive to chemotherapy, so I have a lot of hope that your treatment shall turn out favorably. Drink plenty of fluid (10 glasses of water or more a day) so you can avoid a post treatment complication called tumor lysis syndrome. As the chemotherapy takes effect, the tumor may shrink fast and release lots of uric acid and electrolytes into the bloodstream. These need to be diluted by fluid intake, otherwise your blood may become acidic and you may experience gout-like symptoms (muscle and joint pains and swelling) because of the increased serum uric acid. Your appetite may also decrease during the treatment course. If this happens, will yourself to take in adequate amounts of food, even if the food doesn't taste well (the chemo can alter food taste). You can withstand the effects of chemotherapy better if you have adequate nutrition. While you're undergoing treatment, you're susceptible to catching an infection, so wear a mask when you're near other people, avoid crowded areas for the meantime, and keep your bedroom well-ventilated.
Again, best of luck to you. I'm sure you'll pull through.
Thank you very much! I just got out of the car 36 bottles of water and 36 bottles of green tea, IM READY TO GO! About avoiding being around people, that will be sort of hard but I guess I will have to do some sacrifices. I am a musician, do you recomend playing drums can be a healthy way to keep myself active and keep my mind in a good state? And what do you have to say about hair loss? Thanks again!
First I am sorry about your diagnosis – even though we hear that HL is very treatable, nevertheless it's cancer and it’s scary. I was diagnosed with HL Stage II B about a year ago. I completed 6 months of chemo and 3 weeks of radiation the end of December 2007. Now 3.5 months later I am starting to feel really good - energy is back and in fact I feel a lot better now than I did before I was diagnosed. Life is very good! :) You WILL get through this.
Re Chemo - typically the first few days after chemo are the worst. I had Chemo on Thursdays. Did not work Friday, rested over the weekend and then went to work on Monday. By the time I got to the next treatment I'd feel pretty good - at least for first 9 treatments and then I decided to go on disability - HOWEVER, many people work throughout treatment. Each person's response is very different. Drink water as noted above, try to eat healthy and remain as active as you can, but listen to your body. They will give you antimetics for the nausea- DO NOT be afraid to ask for different meds if you feel yours are not working. It took awhile for them to get my antimetics correct - I took ativan, zofran and emend. I think they put Kytril along with some steroids in a drip bag prior to treatment to help offset side effects. Main side effects I had were nausea, fatigue, anemia, shortness of breath, insomnia, migraines and chemobrain (yes it’s real)- my oncologist proscribed Ambien to help with sleep. Today I am taking no medicines. Note your oncologist will probably have you get lung tests periodically to ensure that the Belomycin is not causing any damage.
Some people actually gain weight during treatment (I did) but I have now lost my Chemo weight. Rather than losing appetite I was ravenous.
Hair? Its really variable. Some people lose all their hair, for others it just thins. My hair gradually thinned throughout treatment. By the end I had very little left and got a wig midway through for important company/client meetings. Most of the time I just wore a head scarf. I also lost much of my eyebrows and my eyelashes. I know hair loss can be traumatic, particularly for a women but as you noted it does indeed grow back!
There is a great forum site for people with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma:
Today when I first entered the chemo room, yea, I felt fear for the first time but once I sat down, things went smoothly, can't say anything has affected my animic state yet.
I got home like at noon and all I did was drink water, I've drank 3 gallons so far. I did not have much sleep last night so I took a nap from like 4 to 7 pm then just sat/layed around all day. I took a Reglan 10mg with lunch just for "precaution". As far as medication for the kidney, they have me on Allopurinol 300mg a day and Tranxene 3.75 too. As well as the usual Zoloft 50mg but I feel I dont need it anymore. I have more anxiety than depression really. I will make sure to ask him about the lungs like you said. And related to the lung, one of the affected areas is right on of my left lung, can smoking marijuana be harmful more than helpful?
Insomnia, it is right now almost 4am and I am not sleepy at all. Despite that 4 hour nap, Im usually passed out by this time. Maybe by tomorrow I go back to my usual sleeping pattern if not will ask for something to help.
Thanks for your post and for reading. Best regards
Hi. Paxbo gave some good advice when he said to listen to your body, specially during the treatment period. There's no harm in playing drums to keep yourself in shape. But if you feel fatigued more easily after the chemotherapy, try to take things easy for a couple of days before exerting yourself in any strenuous physical activity. The hair loss is temporary, as are a lot of the effects of chemotherapy. However, there is a chance that the treatment may cause permanent sterility. You may also want to discuss this with your oncologist and consider the option of sperm banking.
Sterility? thats fine with me. I have no plans on reproducing any time soon! Sperm banking can be an option but not one i will be taking this time. Thank you all for your advice and so far, Ive had no sidefects from all this. Thank you all again and hope to read more replies soon.
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