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afraid of starting chemo
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afraid of starting chemo

I had a hysterectory and debulking surgery I was diagonosed IC and am suppose to start chemo next week.  Does anyone know if there is a test to tell if the cancer cells are gone at the end of chemo the CA 125 only tests for future tumors per my doctor.  Also, after chemo stops how long before I can expect to have real hair 2 or 3 inches long?
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The first visit to the infusion room can be scary, but the people who work there are wonderful and also try to focus on the fact that you caught it at an early stage and have a very good chance that this will be the only chemo you will ever need. Having your CA-125 drop into the normal range after chemotherapy will tell you that you had a 'complete response' to chemotherapy and that you are in a true remission. It took about 9 months for my hair to grow back to a length of 2 inches. Hang in there and be happy you caught it at an early stage. I wish you the best.
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Also most of us have a ct scan at the end of chemotherapy that indicates whether one has 'no evidence of disease'. Best, westgal
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Have not heard of any test to see if cancer cells are dormant (cancer cells are in all of us just some become active and in others dormant).  Think only CA125 and scans will show activity.
Have stopped my chemo going on my second month and hair is about 1/4 inch so far, so figure about 1/4 inch per month...But now no longer wear a scarf and love rubbing my hand across my head, nice tickly feeling.
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282804_tn?1236837191
Walking into that chemo room the first time is kind of scary but it will be okay.  I promise it is not nearly as bad as you might be imagining.  Are you doing the carbo/taxol? What was your CA125 prior to surgery and what was it after surgery?  
While you are on chemo you will have blood work every week and every 3 weeks or so you will have a CA125 test.  If it drops than you know the chemo is working and than at the end of chemo you do have a CT or PET scan.  The CA 125 is used to monitor recurrence, but a rise does not always mean a tumor.  I finished chemo in April with a CA125 of 8.5.  @ my 6 mth checkup it was 33 and 3 weeks later 61.  I had a CT and a PET and there were no tumors, so it was just microscopic cells.
My hair is about 2 1/2" or so.  Hard to tell, it came back super curly and with no grey!!!
Take care and try to enjoy yourself a little before chemo starts.
Jan
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Thanks for your information and support I really needed it, I am so afraid that I have contemplated not doing the chemo and just taking my chances.   Jan asked what my CA125 was before surgery 533 but last week it was 100.    I feel so good and have had nothing short of a miraculous recovery from the surgery so it is reallly hard to want to go and make myself sick.  I'll keep you all infomed of what I decide to do.   thanks again
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Don't wimp out on us! If your CA-125 was 100 last week you need chemo (have you had a clear ct/pet scan?) You will definitely regret it if you just roll the dice.
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I will be finishing my first-line carbo/dosetaxol treatments next week and the immediate follow-up plan before the end of the year is a CA-125, physical exams by both my onc and my gyn/onc who did my surgery, and a PET/CT.  I am also awaiting results of my BRAC analysis.  My CA-125 has yet to be in the normal range, but I am absolutely confident I will start 2008 in remission and my BRAC will be negative.

As to the hair.  I had 3 rounds of chemo, surgery and started three more rounds of chemo 8 weeks after surgery.  I lost all my hair 10 days after the first treatment and most of my eyebrows but held onto my eyelashes until round #4.  However, with one more treatment to go my hair is already growing back (about 1/2" already) and I have my eyebrows back and some of my eyelashes.  Weird.  Since I'm a worrier I am now worried that the chemo is not strong enough or something because of my hair growing back so soon.  They had to cut back on my dose because I've lost so much weight, but it should still be proportional.  

You'll be OK.  The first treatment is the scariest just because you don't know what to expect, and as someone said the people at the treatment center are very caring as are the others there for treatment.  Good luck.  Paula
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