Today at Dr. Porubcin’s office his nurse Sherry (sp?) went over the chemotherapy drugs, additional prescriptions and side effects mom could expect over the course of treatment. Sherry is a cute little lady with a sunny personality so I’d say she’s perfect for the line of work she’s in.
The two chemo drugs they are going to give mom are Praxitel and Carbopatin. Both are used for the treatment of ovarian cancer and in mom’s case also primary peritoneal cancer (high probability that that is where it is as well). I looked up the drugs when I got back to my office, there’s a good web site http://www.chemocare.com/bio/ that does a good job of describing the drugs. Be careful – there are more chemo drugs out there than you think.
It’s going to take about three hours to infuse the drugs. They will be watching her closely to see her reaction with the Praxitel – if there is an allergic reaction they will have to find another type to go with. Dr. Porubcin will be there to see if there are any reactions. Doesn’t seem to be the same concern with the Carbo drug, however there are other side effects such as nausea and a general achy feeling. The side effects don’t normally show up the day of treatment, more likely 3-5 days later. And the first two times will be the easiest – she can expect around the 6 or 7th treatment to start feeling it more.
The other medicines that she is going to take to prevent the side effects are a dose of steroids before the treatment, then a pill for the nausea right before the treatment, and then she’ll have a second prescription for nausea if it gets too bad. She is free to take Tylenol as needed for any aches and pains. Other general instructions: drink a lot of water, small frequent meals throughout day are best, sleep when tired, get around and move (mom won’t ever have a problem being a couch potato that’s for sure)
Hair loss will start happening after the first couple of treatments. Mom has some wig resources in Moline and there is a specialty boutique called “Always A Woman” that is very good with “cranial prosthesis” (aka WIG) and the nurse actually had some coupons that mom can use there.
We took a tour of the room where the treatments will be. It was a very busy place. There were at least 10 chairs with IV hook ups and an assorted range of people receiving their treatments. There is a big picture window facing a small lake at one side. As packed as the room was, it was a good atmosphere. There are at least four nurses in that room at all times.
Mom felt good about the fact that she’s getting started on the chemotherapy. I told her by Christmastime this would be all behind her and she can look forward to starting 2010 in a healthy way!