Ovarian Cancer Community
Gemzar Chemo
About This Community:

This patient support community is for discussions relating to ovarian cancer, biopsy, chemotherapy, clinical trials, genetics, hysterectomy, immunotherapy, radiation therapy, screening, and staging.

Font Size:
A
A
A
Background:
Blank
Blank
Blank
Blank Blank

Gemzar Chemo

Hello , I would like to here from anyone who has taken Gemzar for Chemo and what kind of side effects they had.
Related Discussions
13 Comments
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
This is interesting. I just joined this website and have read several discussions. My heart goes out to all of you. We are all in this together. My mother is unfortunately dying. It's just a question of time. I am trying to be her support but i get home and collapse falling asleep in a bed soaked with tears. Why? it's so unfair!! She was a wonderful person. No one deserves this!

Anyhow, my mother just started to take Gemzar as Carboplatin didn't work. She feels a lot of pain in her left side and after xrays and all, no one could explain what it was....?? any advice? Also, she has to eat 6x's a day and she's finding it hard to drink so they will infuse her in two days with fluid.

What can I expect? how much longer? The doctor won't say to me. I'm trying so hard to stay positive but i slowly watch her deteriorate. Please help me with anything. I'm at loss for words.

I hug you all so tightly and know you are all in my hearts!
Blank
155056_tn?1333642288
I personally have not taken Gemzar, but, I know many women that have been on Gemzar when Taxol/Carbo does not work.  This is a much easier chemo then taxol.  No hair loss.  The problem is that it usually does not work for the "long term".  But you both must remember, that what works for some does not work for others.  That is one of the tricky things about this terrible disease.  There are people that never recur after being on Taxol/Carbo, there are women that go into long term remission from other chemos such as Gemzar, Doxil, etc.  Some women also do well on tope(something - I can't remember the name, it is the chemo often given for breast cancer).  There are women that also go into a long term "stable" period on drugs such as Femara.

There are so many new and different chemos out there....keep fighting!!!!!
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Dear Gina:

First I want to say that I admire your courage and tenacity. I just want to ask you a question because my wife may use Gemzar eventually(she's presently on Doxil), when the treatment stopped in May, does that mean that you are now in remission? Did Gemzar lower your WBC? Thanks for your inputs.

Dear sm72:

Welcome to the site. I will pray for your mom. Tears flow down from my eyes even unconsciously relating to my wife's suffering. Yes life is really unfair to a certain degree, but me and wife believes that this life is only temporary. This is not our final home. I hope all the best for your mom.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Dear Gina, You've been on Gemzar for 1 year going in for every week treatment? My mom is not feeling hungry at all. She feels very tiered and just wishes for the torture to end. I feel so sad to hear that. She has pains in her left side, but she doesn't know from what? Her CA125 is now at 890 from 4500 5 months ago being on Carbo, but that didn't seem to work so she's now on Gemzar. In fact, last month it seemed to go down and was 850, but strangely enough it's gone up this last session a few days ago. Bizarre? But I want to thank you for being so honnest with me. My mother is 65 and I feel she is so young. It's not fair!! I also understood Gemzar is supposed to prolong the cancer? I know my mother has Ovarian C stage IIIC but she was so much stronger a year ago. She was diagnosed in May 2004. What more can I expect? thank you so much!!
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I actually feel very fortunate because I had very few side effects from Gemzar. I had treatments weekly for over a year for a recurrence and just finished in May. The only side effects I really experienced were fatigue and constipation. I also still have some neuropathy, but that was left over from when I was on Carbo/Taxol when I was originally diagnosed with Stage IIIC in Sept 2002.

If there is anything I can help you with, please don't hesitate to ask - my thoughts and prayers are with you!  Gina
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Thank you for your kind words. I'm just really sad to see that I can not do anything and I'm not good with watching the pain my mother has to go through. I always was told that a parent is the strong one and now it's reverse for me. My mother called me last night telling me she was in a lot of pain due to soemthing on her left side, and I can't imagine what it could be. She is thinking along the lines of an ulcer, could it be? She is going for another Gemzar treatment. They say it prolongs your life, meaning that she doesn't have much time left. I just want straight answers so I can mentallly prepare myself and my young kids. Ofcourse, everyone reacts differently to chemo's and all, but my very strong mother was so much on a high and positive but now I think she's getting tiered after 2 and some months. At times I think it's better for her to pass away peacefully and not go through the pains. What do you think? I will miss her so much!
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Dear Sm72:

It's really a hard time for most of us to be seeing our love ones suffer. Suffering is a paradox to all of us. It's the hardest subject in the world. If you are a Christian, then you would know that even Jesus Christ had to question suffering,"If this cup will pass? .... But not my will by thine be done" He said. I recommend a good book on suffering: "Making sense out of suffering" by Peter Kreeft. Me and my wife, again, believe that suffering find its meaning in the sufferings of Christ.

Read the present post of Dr. Goodman in the medical side of this forum. She gives us also some good advice on coping with cancer. A good advice that me and my wife got from other patients was to take one day at a time. Please take care of your health. Your little ones need you. Let us pray for your mom and please do for my wife also.

All the best!
Jatoo
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
My name is Joanne, I am 43.  I was diagnosed with OV CA March 2005.
After surgery I was given 6 rounds taxol/carboplatin.  At that time diagnosed cancer free.  Approx. a year later I had an unusual reoccurance, a few cancer cells attached themselves to the lining of me stomach, I had a sub-gastic surgery to remove the tumor and surrounding tissues and a procedure where " I forgot the name of the drug" was poured into my stomach cavity at 150 degrees rotatated through the area and removed.  That was Sept. 2007. In Jan 2008 my Pet scan showed a reoccured, taxol/carbo did not work and now I am allergic to carbo.  Has anyone had any positive experiences with Gemzar?  I have an 18 son who is graduating high school and on to college, his life is just beginning  and I want to be around for him.  This is breaking my heart.  I trust all of my physicians and the hosp.  I just thought experiences from people who have had Gemzar would be able to
share if it helped shrink their tumors, etc. My OV CA is abnormal and does not respond to platinum based drugs. I feel like my life is at a standstill but put but a good front for family and friends.  I anyone who like to share ANYTHING with me it would be appreciative.  Thank all of
you and God Bless.  When you have something weighing you down "Hang it on the Cross".
Joanne
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
I finished carbo/taxol in Dec 07 with only one normal CA 125 reading of 13 and a clear PET/CT.  Within 3 weeks my CA 125 started rising rapidly and by Feb I had clinical evidence of disease and the plan was to start me on Doxil. In the next few weeks I was hospitalized twice and had colon surgery and my CT showed lots of disease progression and a tumor large enough to block my colon.  I should mention I am stage IV.  My chemo was switched to Carbo/Gemzar because my onc said it was more aggressive and we had to act fast.  I got the impression from one of the posters that they believe this is pallative tx, but my onc is counting on it to reduce my tumor.  I started it in the hospital and today have the second part of my third tx.  One of the features of this chemo is that it tends to raise your CA 125 for the first 3 tx or so and mine has made it up to over 800 but I'm not concerned because I was warned this would happen.. A CA 125 next week should be a true indicator of whether the chemo is working.  I follow a strict anti-nausea med regimine after each tx and have managed to control that (carbo makes me nauseaous).  But, your blood counts can be very compromised.  After my first tx, I waited in the hospital for 7 days for my WBC and platelet counts to come up enough so I could have surgery.  I now take weekly procrit injections for my RBC which still never gets to normal and my WBC and platelet counts start out lower with each tx and we've had to reduce my dose.  This week I started having spontaneous bruising with low platelets and of course the lowered RBC means I'm pretty tired.  I am very cautious about hygiene and exposure to germs with a low WBC to avoid infection.  Another woman on here and I have found that this drug also seems to affect our mood.  I find myself quite grouchy and just generally feeling out of sort a lot of the time.  Having said all that, I'd take this drug combo over carbo/taxol anyday, as the side effects are either manageable or in the case of the lowered counts, not as intrusive on my life and in general I have good quality of life right now.  Good luck to all of you.  Paula  
Blank
167426_tn?1254089835
My daughter was dx  in June of 2006, had the debulking and the 6 rounds of carb/tax,  recurred in feb of 2007, did a trial for 2 months, CA125  went up, switched to doxil for 9 months, till that started to fail, is now on Gemzar, a full cycle is 2 weeks on and 1 week off then 2 more weeks, so that covers 1 month, her CA125 has just started to come down for the first time, her blood counts go way down, but in the extra week off they go up enough for her to continue , she works 40 hours a week at a fairly active job, takes quite a few suppliments and eats very wisely, has had a few bouts of constipation, some fatique, her recurrance seems to be 3 small lesions on the abdominal wall, she is 51 now, leads as normal a life as possible, very positive attitude, does not take HRT, is never moody or grouchy, sleeps 8 hours a night, drinks plenty of fluids daily.  Her suppliments include, green, sage teas, cranberry capsules, COQ10, Vit C 2500mg,  vit E, fresh fruits and veggies, especially Broccoli, Multi vit, activa yogurt, trail mix we make up of cashews, raisens, cranberries, dark chocolate chips, dried fruit, soy beans,  she drinks a 4 oz glass of red wine per day, florida oranges, avoids sugar, has lean red meat 3 times a week, halibut fish, melons, she has a good appitite and is beginning to lose that chemo weight, has nausea  the day after her chemo,  but tries to flush out the chemo with extra fluids as quickly as possible.  Has not had to be hospilized at all since her initial surgery. Only lost her hair with the carb/tax,  we believe in getting all the anti oxidents  she can to aide the immune system and to keep her as healthy as possible.  We are hoping that Gemzar will give her a remission so she can build up her body and give her a relief from chemo for a while.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
I've been doing chemo pretty much non stop since dx in Feb.04...Stage 4. Gemzar was by far, the worst chemo I've had as it played havoc with my bloods to the point where I needed transfusions for both red cells and platelets. My platelets were so low that my Oncol. treated it like an emergency citing that I could have haemorraged that day. It didn't work all the well for me, although it did reduce my CA.125 a little.  I'm presently on Doxil, and I've had a reduction of 2800 after 3 treatments of it. Still have a high CA.125 but it's going in the right direction.
Wishing everyone well. Hugs...Helen...
Blank
282804_tn?1236837191
I think you are what they call resistant to carbo and not allergic.  If you were allergic, you would not have been able to take the original chemo or this second one.   We are considered resistant to carbo if we recurr within 6 mths of finishing carbo so that is most likely why you are getting the Gemzar.  It doesn't mean they can't use it again somewhere down the line.  
I hated Gemzar.  I threw up and was hospitalized after everyone of my last treatments.  The first 3, two part chemos (6) weren't awful and I thought I was getting off easy compared to some women,  I did not have the blood issues that so many women have faced, but I seem to have about the worst vomiting problems on the forum.  I am fixing to start Topotecan and I plan on asking my onc to use Aloxi instead of or with Zofran prior to chemo and I am going to try the Emend pills even though they are kind of expensive at $260. a month for 12 pills.  Still cheaper than 10% of a hospital stay and a lot less taxing on the body if they work.  
I think I am the B*tch that Paula is referring to.  LOL  Paula may be grouchy, but I turned into a stone cold withch and I still have an anger issue.  I don't know if it is lingering effects of the Gemzar, the idea of facing more chemo with yet another drug I don't know anything about, or if it is all catching up with me and I am realizing all the reasons I have to be angry.  I really wish you good luck with this one.  Stay on top of the nausea and watch the blood issues.  There are a lot of women on here who have had Gemzar and hopefully they will fill in with their stories.  Oh, have a glass of water in your hand 24/7 because these are some tough toxins to wash out.
Jan
Blank
272338_tn?1252284004
     I am another one who has been on non-stop chemo since dx. (which was Nov 05) My only break from chemo was the 6 weeks recovery period after my surgery. (yes , I had chemo first, cargo/ taxol, 8rounds) I have never really had what my Dr calls an "official" remission. The only time I was free of cancer, was the few months after my surgery. I was kept on chemo after my surgery (taxol) a a maintenance plan. My first recurrence about 5 months down the road, I had to switch to Doxil. (My Dr goes by my CA as it is a good indicator for me. Three consecutive rises and it is time to switch again) Several months later when the Doxil quit working, I was then switched to Gemzar. I echo the 2 post above me in saying that for me, Gemzar was the hardest chemo I have been on. I did not suffer the vomiting as Jan did, but it played heck with my red and white counts. They sent me home with Neupogen that I was supposed to give myself. I was also anemic a few times. I would get home from my treatment and know that I had about 2 more good hours. Then I could feel it coming on, and I would hit me like a ton of bricks. I felt so horrible and was so tired that all I would do for the nexr several days was sleep. If I was lucky, by Fri I was feeling a little better. Then on Mon it was time to go again. But it definatley worked. It brought my CA down from 618 (something like that) to 157 at its lowest. It just did not work long enough.
   I have since been on Topotecan ( which did absolutely nothing for me, my coounts continued to rise the whole time I was on it) and am currently on avastin/abraxane, which was working until it caused severly elevated BP and am currently just getting back to my normal regime.

   It is hard on all of us and probably even harder on our families. But you sound as if you are going pretty good so far, so don't put yourself on the back burner just yet. Just keep your spirits and your hope high. I hope that this wil work great for you without many side effects.
  Oh I almost forgot, with me, the more timme that passed and the longer I was on it, the side effects started gradually easing up.
   I wish you the best of luck.
        Chris
  
Blank
Continue discussion Blank
Blank
Weight Tracker
Weight Tracker
Start Tracking Now
Ovarian Cancer Community Resources
RSS Expert Activity
469720_tn?1388149949
Blank
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm-treatable... Blank
Oct 04 by Lee Kirksey, MDBlank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
The 3 Essentials to Ending Emotiona...
Sep 18 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Control Emotional Eating with this ...
Sep 04 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
Top Ovarian Cancer Answerers
667078_tn?1316004535
Blank
HVAC
Durham, NC
Avatar_f_tn
Blank
old_before_my_time