General Question

MagicalMystery's avatar

Have you or has anybody that you known had chemo and what were the experience and side effects like for them (or you)?

Asked by MagicalMystery (900points) May 29th, 2010

someone in my family was just diagnosed with breast cancer, and she will probably have surgery and chemo. i know there are different chemo medications and meds can effect people in various ways. i am wondering if you have any experience with chemo, or know someone that has had it. what was it like for them? what side effects did it have? how long a period did they take chemo for? months? longer? did they recover from the effects of the chemo?

someone i work with had it and she said it just made her not want to get out of bed at all. she said that they gave her something to not make her nauseous. she also said she cut her hair off beforehand so she would not be upset seeing her hair fall out.

a guy i used to work with had a mom with breast cancer, and the chemo did something to her lungs and she died, not from the cancer but from the effects of the chemo.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

9 Answers

anartist's avatar

My friend had breast cancer and had chemo. She lost her hair and had a lot of trouble eating or having any appetite. A friend of one of her children recommended marijuana ad managed to get her some. It was not through a physician and was laced with PCP. She had a terrible experience with that.

When the cancer went into remission and therapy ceased her hair grew back much curlier than it had been before. She liked the change. She has been completely recovered for about 10 years now. She wrote a poem about her cancer. If you want, I can copy that to you privately.

deni's avatar

my grandma has had chemo a few times. it makes her really sick, but she has a few other physical ailments anyhow so it might be more magnified with her. pretty much everything @anartist said. no appetite. but when the hair grew back it was RED ISH instead of black and gray! funky! she also enjoyed the new change.

majorrich's avatar

I got pretty sick and was sleepy/tired all the time. I lost some of my hair an shaved the rest of my head to make it all even. My appetite was off and I got constapated for a couple days after each treatment. I think it affects everybody a little different. Mine was for a couple brain tumors, and breast cancer is a different critter. My mental faculties are about the same, except some vision and memory problems and vertigo. The wife unit says there were some personality changes as well, but I can’t verify that.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I worked as a nurse for 3 years on an oncology (cancer) unit. We administered chemo therapy and took care of patients receiving radiation and brachy therapy (implants that give a localized radiation treatment).

My mother-in-law was diagnosed with breast cancer a few years ago. She had a lumpectomy and then received radiation. She had several radiation treatments over the span of a few months and is now considered cancer free.

As you said, there are a lot of chemotherapy medications. The combination of medications given can also determine how it affects the person (because of the interactions of the medications). I’ve seen patient’s with very few side effects and others that got really sick afterwards. I’ve seen patients experience severe nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation, weight loss, hair loss (the hair usually grows back differently once the therapy is stopped), and fatigue. It really depends on the medication and how the person reacts to it.

Treatment depends on the stage of the cancer and which medication the patient is getting. Patients will be set up to get a specific number of treatments according to what is considered best for them. Those doses are then spaced out over time. I’ve seen some patients get it once a week, and others more often, and some less often. Those are really questions that will need to be answered by her oncologist. One thing to watch out for is depression. Being diagnosed with cancer is devastating, then talking about possibly needing to remove a breast can add to that. With the change of body image associated with cancer and all the treatments necessary, some patients become depressed, so it’s important to watch out for that.

blueberry_kid's avatar

Usually during chemo, your body cant take to much radiation so you throw up. But afterwards, you might experience crampig, nose bleeds, and maybe more puking. But it may vary depending upon how your body funtions with chemo therapy. I saw it in a movie.

asmonet's avatar

My mother has been on and off chemo for over a year.

She has lost 40lbs. Her hair multiple times, her eyelashes and her eyebrows are now gone, though they stuck around for other kinds of chemo. She gets minor nosebleeds, sharp pains, what she calls ‘chemo brain’ – a distracted, fuzzy sort of thinking where she’s forgetful and burns food, floods bathrooms, etc – her fingernail beds crack and the nails have bumps and ripples in them. Sometimes she smells like percocet because of how much she needs to take. She also has a port in her arm for the chemo. She vomits, she coughs, she needs oxygen sometimes, and she’s passing out by 7PM.

There’s also a risk that the chemo could irreversibly damage her heart.

It’s not a pleasant experience, for the patient or the loved ones.

Jabe73's avatar

My dad suffered very horrible effects from the chemo, his hair fell out, little appetite, no energy, and he could barely move. This was the same for 2 of my best friends who also had chemo. The cancer came back in all 3 and they passed away.

It is your relatives call on how she treats her cancer but personally I would avoid chemo and surgery if I was ever diagnosed with cancer. There is a good website called and they sell a good book called “How To Stop Cancer”. It is not one of them phony anti-meat “alternative” or “natural health” websites but talks about a proven effective scientific method based on known facts about cancer. Its her call like I said but i’m just trying to help.

Aster's avatar

Yes, a very close friend died 2 years after diagnosis. Her one and only mammogram was fine a year before she was told she was stage 4. She didn’t complain of nausea; the dr. gave her pills for that. She lost her hair then it grew back nicely. For the first year she did wonderfully, keeping up with housework and laundry and driving herself for treatments. The second year the dr. told her she was “in remission” and a couple weeks later it came back to multiple sites. She was in and out of the hospital for months before she died. She said she wished she had never had a mastectomy because the doctor knew it had already spread to her lung when he removed her breast. He stuck to his protocol.

plethora's avatar

Alternative treatment

Click on “In the News” at top of site.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther