Sunday, March 22, 2020

My chemo regimen

Almost done with the last one.  

To wrap up my chemotherapy journey, here's a bit of background -

I was diagnosed with estrogen- and progesterone-positive, HER-2-negative breast cancer in September of 2019.

I had a lumpectomy and sentinel lymph node dissection in October 2019, and a power port placement in November 2019. 

Chemo started 04 December 2019. 

This is my treatment regimen, once every 3 weeks:

  • Day before and after infusion - 4 mg dexamethasone BID

  • Day of infusion - by mouth - Pepcid 20 mg (antacid), Decadron 12 mg (antiinflammatory),  Ativan 0.5 mg (sedative)

  • Day of infusion - by port and in order saline 500 ml bolus, Aloxi 250 mg (nausea med), Cinvanti 130 mg (nausea med), Taxotere 133.2 mg over an hour (anti-cancer chemotherapy), Cytoxan 1065.6 mg over 45 minutes (anti-cancer chemotherapy), then a heparin flush.

  • Day after infusion - Neulasta 6 mg subcutaneous (stimulate white blood cell production).


Translation of brand names to generic:

Pepcid: famotidine.

Decadron: dexamethasone

Ativan: lorazepam

Aloxi: palonosetron

Cinvanti: aprepitant

Taxotere: docetaxel

Cytoxan: cyclophosphamide

Neulasta: pegfilgrastim


Common effects of this treatment regimen for me have been:

  • Irregular/rapid heartbeat for a couple of days after infusion - a known side effect. Can be ameliorated somewhat by heavy hydration to flush out the meds.
  • Bone pain starting 3 or so days after infusion, 2 days after Neulasta.  This is a known side effect.
  • Fatigue.  Obviously a known side effect.
  • Nausea about a week after infusion.  Also a known side effect for which medications were prescribed.

Oh, and my fingernails are in the process of falling off.  This is common and is the same as hair loss, which is an expected effect of both Taxotere and Cytoxan.  I expected the hair loss, but  was hoping to keep the fingernails.  No luck.  Oh well.

All in all, while chemotherapy isn't something I'd wish on anyone, it wasn't so bad and certainly a better experience than I would have had a few years ago.  Treatment options and medications have improved since then.

That's it.  One for the memory books, that I probably won't whip out for the grandkids.

Tiff out.

1 comment:

kenju said...

I'm sure this post will continue to be read and consulted - as people discover it. It is invaluable to people with a similar diagnosis - to be able to see what might happen and what they can expect. Bravo to you for putting it out there.

I am hoping that your fingernails and hair will grow back better then ever....and quickly. More power to you, Kerry. I"m sorry you had to go through this, but I think you have done it with grace.