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Experiences of docetaxel?

User
Posted 03 Dec 2019 at 17:21

I’ve signed up for early docetaxel (6 cycles over 18 weeks) which sounds like great fun, starting next week, just in time for Christmas (unless I change my mind at the last minute!)

I’d be interested to learn of others’ experiences of this.

For example, does it mean avoiding meetings and train travel while white cell counts are low? Is it exhausting? 

I’m beginning to wonder whether I’m really fit enough to have it, how long the side effects last and whether my overall quality of life would be better if I just skipped it and went ahead with radiotherapy in the new year.

i’m quite involved with running some small charities and wouldn’t want those activities to be too compromised.

 

User
Posted 03 Dec 2019 at 17:42

To be honest, I didn't find the side effects too drastic. I tried to avoid enclosed areas with lots of people on days 4 to 14 of the cycle. No one can make that decision for you though. Personally, I would hit it with everything possible 🔨 

Good luck to everyone coping with the insidious big C

User
Posted 03 Dec 2019 at 23:22

My OH has just had his second cycle of Docetaxel which started about 8 weeks after initial diagnosis with advanced PCa.
Mostly he has been feeling OK. Not had to take the anti emetic tablets. A bit tired but hip pain has improved since treatment began, so been busy gardening. Some funny taste in the mouth but appetite fine. Occasionally seems to have a little difficulty swallowing so just eats a little slower than before. The strong steroids on the day of the treatment and preceding day seem to bring on a bit of flushing but nothing bothersome.

Here comes the but...

on day 8 after the first cycle he woke up v early and retched over the toilet bowl but no vomit. Had some crampy pain in his legs so took one antiemetic, some paracetamol had a cup of tea and went back to sleep. Temperature when he woke up was normal, so we thought he was ok. Seemed a bit tired but not unwell for the rest of the day. But late afternoon he emerged from the study shivering and shaking. His temperature at first seemed low. By the time I’d checked the guidance and spotted that a low temperature could be a reason to ring in he’d taken it again and it was OK. Lit the fire, made a cuppa , he seemed better. I had to persuade him to ring anyhow...on account of the shivering. Temperature still not above 37.5. But during the call he was asked to take it again and keep the thermometer under tongue for what seemed like ages. 38.5. So advised to come straight in and bring an overnight bag. By the time we got there he was unsteady on his feet and temperature was 39.8.

He was in hospital for 4 days with neutrophenic sepsis. Neutrophils had gone down to zero, which was clearly quite a surprise to the nursing staff. But IV antibiotics and paracetamol worked wonders. Kept in till neutrophils crept up to 1.2. A week later they had recovered to 7.5.

So my advice would be..go for the Docetaxel. The side effects may well be quite bearable. But at the nadir phase for your immune system..about a week to 10 days after treatment I believe..DO NOT mess about if you feel unwell. You could have an infection and that could be life threatening. Ring for advice, don’t hesitate and don’t rely too heavily on your temperature readings. 
We will be staying away from people around the mid cycle stage if we can manage that. Going out for a meal can wait for a few days.

The idea for us was to combine the early chemo with hormone therapy but it now appears the Prostap isn’t doing what we hoped. PSA having fallen from 645 to 400 to 196 has climbed back up to 600. Bugger.

User
Posted 03 Dec 2019 at 23:46

My father in law sailed through it at the age of 79 - his main gripe was that his wife wouldn't allow him to go to the pub on days 5-8 in case of infection. Others here have worked full time throughout chemo. But as said above, invest in a thermometer and monitor your temperature carefully ... any signs of infection must be checked out immediately. Also, slice up fresh pineapple and freeze it to suck on during infusions - it helps protect your taste buds from chemo damage and also reduces the severity of mouth ulcers.

PS don't have pineapple without checking with your doctor if you have heart problems.

Edited by member 04 Dec 2019 at 00:45  | Reason: Not specified

"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." Soren Kierkegaard

User
Posted 10 Dec 2019 at 22:46

I’m due to have my last round of chemo this Thursday 12th Dec. Don’t know if I’ve been lucky but my side effects have not been to bad. Normally within 36 hours I get oral thrush but Nystatin clears this in 7 days, although some foods taste strange for a couple of weeks😢. Thighs and knees ache for about a week but paracetamol controls this ok. Not had to take any antiemetic medication, but have felt more fatigued after the last couple of chemo sessions. Hope your treatment goes ok 👍

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User
Posted 03 Dec 2019 at 17:42

To be honest, I didn't find the side effects too drastic. I tried to avoid enclosed areas with lots of people on days 4 to 14 of the cycle. No one can make that decision for you though. Personally, I would hit it with everything possible 🔨 

Good luck to everyone coping with the insidious big C

User
Posted 03 Dec 2019 at 23:22

My OH has just had his second cycle of Docetaxel which started about 8 weeks after initial diagnosis with advanced PCa.
Mostly he has been feeling OK. Not had to take the anti emetic tablets. A bit tired but hip pain has improved since treatment began, so been busy gardening. Some funny taste in the mouth but appetite fine. Occasionally seems to have a little difficulty swallowing so just eats a little slower than before. The strong steroids on the day of the treatment and preceding day seem to bring on a bit of flushing but nothing bothersome.

Here comes the but...

on day 8 after the first cycle he woke up v early and retched over the toilet bowl but no vomit. Had some crampy pain in his legs so took one antiemetic, some paracetamol had a cup of tea and went back to sleep. Temperature when he woke up was normal, so we thought he was ok. Seemed a bit tired but not unwell for the rest of the day. But late afternoon he emerged from the study shivering and shaking. His temperature at first seemed low. By the time I’d checked the guidance and spotted that a low temperature could be a reason to ring in he’d taken it again and it was OK. Lit the fire, made a cuppa , he seemed better. I had to persuade him to ring anyhow...on account of the shivering. Temperature still not above 37.5. But during the call he was asked to take it again and keep the thermometer under tongue for what seemed like ages. 38.5. So advised to come straight in and bring an overnight bag. By the time we got there he was unsteady on his feet and temperature was 39.8.

He was in hospital for 4 days with neutrophenic sepsis. Neutrophils had gone down to zero, which was clearly quite a surprise to the nursing staff. But IV antibiotics and paracetamol worked wonders. Kept in till neutrophils crept up to 1.2. A week later they had recovered to 7.5.

So my advice would be..go for the Docetaxel. The side effects may well be quite bearable. But at the nadir phase for your immune system..about a week to 10 days after treatment I believe..DO NOT mess about if you feel unwell. You could have an infection and that could be life threatening. Ring for advice, don’t hesitate and don’t rely too heavily on your temperature readings. 
We will be staying away from people around the mid cycle stage if we can manage that. Going out for a meal can wait for a few days.

The idea for us was to combine the early chemo with hormone therapy but it now appears the Prostap isn’t doing what we hoped. PSA having fallen from 645 to 400 to 196 has climbed back up to 600. Bugger.

User
Posted 03 Dec 2019 at 23:46

My father in law sailed through it at the age of 79 - his main gripe was that his wife wouldn't allow him to go to the pub on days 5-8 in case of infection. Others here have worked full time throughout chemo. But as said above, invest in a thermometer and monitor your temperature carefully ... any signs of infection must be checked out immediately. Also, slice up fresh pineapple and freeze it to suck on during infusions - it helps protect your taste buds from chemo damage and also reduces the severity of mouth ulcers.

PS don't have pineapple without checking with your doctor if you have heart problems.

Edited by member 04 Dec 2019 at 00:45  | Reason: Not specified

"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." Soren Kierkegaard

User
Posted 10 Dec 2019 at 22:46

I’m due to have my last round of chemo this Thursday 12th Dec. Don’t know if I’ve been lucky but my side effects have not been to bad. Normally within 36 hours I get oral thrush but Nystatin clears this in 7 days, although some foods taste strange for a couple of weeks😢. Thighs and knees ache for about a week but paracetamol controls this ok. Not had to take any antiemetic medication, but have felt more fatigued after the last couple of chemo sessions. Hope your treatment goes ok 👍

 
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