Chemo: What Tips & Tricks Helped you Through?

Posted by fastrategizer @fastrategizer, Aug 4, 2021

I’m on week two of my CapOx chemo treatment for stage 3 rectal cancer. Chemo sucks! The constant feeling of unwell & side effects are quite unpleasant. There are several weeks left so I’m curious…
What side effects did/do you have? Do you have any tips or tricks that helped you through chemo?

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Cancer group.

I am really sorry you are going through this. You are right, it sucks to feel that awful. The good news is that it sounds like you have an endpoint in sight. Is there specific side effects you are struggling with?

REPLY

I had Adriamycin (4 treatments) and Taxol (12 treatments) for triple-neg breast cancer in 2015. Some things that helped me:

I was given two different anti-nausea pills to take: ondansetron (every 8 hrs) and prochlorperazine (every 6 hrs). The trick is to not let one wear off before taking the other—so an hour to 1.5 hrs before time is up on one, take the other. Sometimes, I would be dizzy, but not nauseated; my oncologist said TAKE the anti-nausea meds—they work on the brain and it's your brain that thinks the world is spinning.

I lost my hair—including the little hairs inside my nose that move moisture to the back of the nose and down the throat. Ponaris Nasal Emollient kept the inside of my nose flexible and helped heal the sores I developed there.

When treatment will cause hair loss, I was advised to NOT shave my head; instead do a buzz cut. (If you shave the hair, you can get in-grown hairs when your hair comes back in post-treatment.)

Chemo can cause both constipation and diarrhea: be sure to take a stool softener and Ben*fiber every day if you can't "go" and have Im*dium (loperamide hydrochloride) on hand when you have the opposite problem.

Drink LOTS of water to flush the chemo drugs through your kidneys.

If you have a super craving for some food, indulge. One night after a treatment, I HAD to have some salsa. I ate an entire jar of P*ce Picante Salsa in one sitting and if it hadn't been the middle of the night, might have gone to the store for more. I think I needed the salt.

Hope these help and good luck, @fastrategizer.

REPLY
@auntieoakley

I am really sorry you are going through this. You are right, it sucks to feel that awful. The good news is that it sounds like you have an endpoint in sight. Is there specific side effects you are struggling with?

Jump to this post

The fatigue is worse than I expected. There are so many side effects that I’m struggling with, as I’m sure most chemo patients experience. Constant nausea, diarrhea, chills, hot/cold flashes, muscle cramps, tingling in feet/hands, so much discomfort. I don’t want to complain or focus on my problems. I’m just looking for tips and tricks people have found.

REPLY

I developed neuropathy (starts as tingling) in my hands and feet with chemo. It progressed until my feet felt like they were burning. It continued after chemo. If yours is similar, There is no drug to fix it, but I found a combination of supplements studied by the Cleveland Clinic and endorsed by NIH. The are definitely helping and symptoms greatly reduced. The combo is CoQ10 (200mg) and PQQ (20 mg) per day. Hope you make it through chemo without any more issues.

REPLY
@jldavis823

I developed neuropathy (starts as tingling) in my hands and feet with chemo. It progressed until my feet felt like they were burning. It continued after chemo. If yours is similar, There is no drug to fix it, but I found a combination of supplements studied by the Cleveland Clinic and endorsed by NIH. The are definitely helping and symptoms greatly reduced. The combo is CoQ10 (200mg) and PQQ (20 mg) per day. Hope you make it through chemo without any more issues.

Jump to this post

Thank you for the information, sometimes my feet feel like they are burning during the night. The tingling is almost always present. Did you take CoQ10 & PQQ while on chemo or after?

REPLY
@fastrategizer

The fatigue is worse than I expected. There are so many side effects that I’m struggling with, as I’m sure most chemo patients experience. Constant nausea, diarrhea, chills, hot/cold flashes, muscle cramps, tingling in feet/hands, so much discomfort. I don’t want to complain or focus on my problems. I’m just looking for tips and tricks people have found.

Jump to this post

Geez, I think I just had a flashback reading that. I know that a lot of chemo causes these awful side effects. There are a lot of great ideas here already but here are mine. The best nausea medicine I had was a cream from the compounding pharmacy. Called magic 4. Northwest compounding pharmacy has agreed to share the recipe with doctors. The pills did not work at all for me other than the compazine helped me sleep through the worst of it. The hot/cold flashes have unfortunately become a part of my life because of the estrogen loss. They become a little less bothersome. You absolutely need to tell your oncologist about the tingling in hands and feet so that if there is treatment decisions that can me made to stop further damage to those peripheral nerves, those decisions can come sooner than later. Finally, one of the hardest things is the fatigue, it hit me like a speeding train when it started, please allow yourself to rest. Don’t be afraid to ask for help with all the things that don’t require your personal attention. Do you have family with you to help?

REPLY
@texasduchess

I had Adriamycin (4 treatments) and Taxol (12 treatments) for triple-neg breast cancer in 2015. Some things that helped me:

I was given two different anti-nausea pills to take: ondansetron (every 8 hrs) and prochlorperazine (every 6 hrs). The trick is to not let one wear off before taking the other—so an hour to 1.5 hrs before time is up on one, take the other. Sometimes, I would be dizzy, but not nauseated; my oncologist said TAKE the anti-nausea meds—they work on the brain and it's your brain that thinks the world is spinning.

I lost my hair—including the little hairs inside my nose that move moisture to the back of the nose and down the throat. Ponaris Nasal Emollient kept the inside of my nose flexible and helped heal the sores I developed there.

When treatment will cause hair loss, I was advised to NOT shave my head; instead do a buzz cut. (If you shave the hair, you can get in-grown hairs when your hair comes back in post-treatment.)

Chemo can cause both constipation and diarrhea: be sure to take a stool softener and Ben*fiber every day if you can't "go" and have Im*dium (loperamide hydrochloride) on hand when you have the opposite problem.

Drink LOTS of water to flush the chemo drugs through your kidneys.

If you have a super craving for some food, indulge. One night after a treatment, I HAD to have some salsa. I ate an entire jar of P*ce Picante Salsa in one sitting and if it hadn't been the middle of the night, might have gone to the store for more. I think I needed the salt.

Hope these help and good luck, @fastrategizer.

Jump to this post

Thank you for all the info!! I’m sorry you had so many side effects. I also love salsa so enjoying a jar of it sound wonderful 😊

REPLY

I endorse what @auntieoakley said about letting your doctor(s) know about the tingling in your hands and feet—I knew several fellow breast cancer patients whose tamoxifen treatments ended early because they were developing neuropathy and their doctors didn't want to cause permanent damage.

I'd also mention the fatigue. My third Adriamycin chemo was reduced to about 80% as my blood counts were getting dangerously low on the full dose (my oncologist assured me it was still effective). Also, I was very jittery for 2–3 days after the first two chemos because of the amount of steroids I was given, so he reduced those to half beginning with the third treatment.

A niece and her husband gifted me a nice selection of Queasy Pops to combat nausea. These can be ordered online and are available in a variety of flavors and sugar-free options as well as lozenges.

I recommend Red Oval Farms Stoned Wheat Thins Crackers and Nabisco saltines; when nothing else tasted good, these DID and got me through months of not feeling like eating anything.

REPLY
@fastrategizer

Thank you for the information, sometimes my feet feel like they are burning during the night. The tingling is almost always present. Did you take CoQ10 & PQQ while on chemo or after?

Jump to this post

I didn’t find out about this combo until after chemo, and my symptoms weren’t going away.

REPLY

Here are a few things that have helped me.
Tingling feet: Two drops of each essential oil: Frankincense & Peppermint mixed with Unscented lotion applied to the feet.
Nausea: Keeping food (mainly carbs & soups) in my belly during chemo weeks helped reduced nausea however it’s difficult to keep eating.
Cold Sensitivity: Still trying to find solutions to the inability to drink cool liquids. It’s challenging to drink hot liquids during 90+ degree temps lol

REPLY
@fastrategizer

Here are a few things that have helped me.
Tingling feet: Two drops of each essential oil: Frankincense & Peppermint mixed with Unscented lotion applied to the feet.
Nausea: Keeping food (mainly carbs & soups) in my belly during chemo weeks helped reduced nausea however it’s difficult to keep eating.
Cold Sensitivity: Still trying to find solutions to the inability to drink cool liquids. It’s challenging to drink hot liquids during 90+ degree temps lol

Jump to this post

And how are you doing now? How many treatments do you have left?

REPLY
@texasduchess

I endorse what @auntieoakley said about letting your doctor(s) know about the tingling in your hands and feet—I knew several fellow breast cancer patients whose tamoxifen treatments ended early because they were developing neuropathy and their doctors didn't want to cause permanent damage.

I'd also mention the fatigue. My third Adriamycin chemo was reduced to about 80% as my blood counts were getting dangerously low on the full dose (my oncologist assured me it was still effective). Also, I was very jittery for 2–3 days after the first two chemos because of the amount of steroids I was given, so he reduced those to half beginning with the third treatment.

A niece and her husband gifted me a nice selection of Queasy Pops to combat nausea. These can be ordered online and are available in a variety of flavors and sugar-free options as well as lozenges.

I recommend Red Oval Farms Stoned Wheat Thins Crackers and Nabisco saltines; when nothing else tasted good, these DID and got me through months of not feeling like eating anything.

Jump to this post

Is the nausea reduced by queasy pops and do they really work?

REPLY
Please sign in or register to post a reply.
  Request Appointment