Tag Archives: Symptoms

Common questions about Chemo!

Chemotherapy or chemo is a systemic therapy in which medications destroy cancer cells in your body, Chemo may be used alone or along with other medications or therapies such as such as surgery, radiation and biological therapy to slow or stop the growth and spread of cancer, Most often Chemo is given By IV or injection, a cream, or liquid capsule or pills and can be placed through out the body, Chemo can also be given by a pump either inside or outside the body.

Chemo is usually given in cycles, Some people will have a port placed by a Doctor so you don’t have to be poked so often.

Chemo is a cocktail of two or more chemo drugs.

Chemo treatment can be for any length of time, Your Doctor will give your plan of care. Chemo can last a few hours to most of the day. Everyone is different as far as symptoms and also depends on the medications given.

If you choose to skip a session, your cancer cells can continue to grow.

Some chemo patients can continue to work throughout chemo and always remember you may be able to shorten your days.

It usually takes a few weeks after your last session before you start to get over any symptoms you may have.

Usual test run to have Chemo, Your Hemoglobin- This is the protein in red blood cells that helps carry oxygen through out your body.
White blood cell counts- Help your body fight against infections. Platelets- enable your blood to clot.

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What does IVIG treatment feel like?

IVIG therapy also known as a normal human immunoglobulin, the use of a mixture of antibodies to treat a number of health conditions. This treatment can treatment many diseases such as mine autonomic neuropathy, autonomic small cell neuropathy, autonomic dysfunction but is used for so many other treatments and everyone has their own idea of what the treatment is like I can only explain how it makes me feel. Everyone’s experience is different. I was told you may be cold, or fluish, fatigue and painful joints.

My particular treatment plan is 5 days on and 3 weeks off. I was ready to go, positive thinking, I am not going to have any site effects, I am thinking positive. So it can be done by injection or IV. Mine is IV. One particular thing we noticed The faster the IV the more sick I felt, so a 2-3 hour treatment turned into 5 hours. This is done in a infusion center. and all around you are cancer patients, infectious disease all receiving some sort of treatment. That alone makes the entire situation more surreal. Other than the poke in the vein, it was nothing, I had planned on writing reading, but a part me needed to watch, learn and listen to what was happening, not out of disrespect for other patients but one reality of what I was enduring and 2 how lucky I was I was alive, tears for the people that were so sick, its really a difficult place to say Yeah I get to go to treatment today. So I dressed up, I was raised if you felt bad, dress up and you’ll feel better. I was the only one not in pjs, sweats etc.. I wanted to ward off all evils. I didn’t know what to expect,

The headache began, wow! I had never had a headache like this, took Tylenol, no relief, my legs hurt but that was normal but usually heat helps, not this time. I was nauseated, well I was use to that but I could conquer this, these people are fighting for their life, I can do this, I found myself tired, warn out, barley wanting to make it to the car, but tomorrow was going to be better. I came home no appetite and just slept until the tornado began, it was building and I was doing guided imagery to stop it, wasn’t working, I am getting a warmer and warmer stomach, head felt hot, didn’t even want to watch TV. I had so many things planned that I would get done during treatment.

Day 2 a little worse, Day 3 little worse, still forcing myself t dress up, said screw bringing the computer or writing or reading, I knew now, my fight was just beginning. I kept thinking just 2 more days, then sleep for a month. little did I know the days following made me sicker and sicker, found myself sleeping on the bathroom floor, can’t eat, can’t drink, my taste buds were leaving before the treatment but now gone, I was so sick I spent Christmas in the hospital, I didn’t even care that it was Christmas, my veins were giving out, and find a vein that worked was getting difficult, but I was so use to it, it didn’t hurt, my arms trashed, my hands are trashed so I had to have a port put in. This allows the treatment to have access with out having to stick me 6 times. It put me over the edge. The Doctor said it was normal for people to have this reaction after the first 5 days. Thanks for the information. I start again on the 25th, my taste buds are gone, I’m nauseated to the point the meds don’t work anymore, I will crave something like fruit and I pay after. I always thought food was suppose to be good for you, now its just a necessity to stay alive, I can even hold that down, my chest hurts, my esophagus hurts and burns like its on fire. My smell has changed and sounds, its like effecting every aspect of my life and with out food I have no energy, I guess because my body is loosing wt slowly it doesn’t matter, but when you can’t get out of bed your not going to burn a lot of calories.

So for me I pray my second treatment I will handle better and get through this easier. I have home health to do it at the house because with out a immune system, I can’t be around infectious disease. I feel so blessed, I can be in my pjs and no one will think lesser of me because it will just be me and the nurse. So I know I have along road, but it’s a road worth fighting. sometimes I feel so sick Ipray I don’t wake up, and peoples responses still blow me away, Until you try it, you don’t know how you will feel during and after treatment. so I will pray each treatment gets better and I will start to feel better, my dream to get my life back. I am willing to do anything to live. But IVIG is no picnic. But if you are starting this treatment your reaction may be different, you may have no symptoms, I pray that for you and myself.

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What is Gastroparesis?

Understanding Gastroparesis
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What Is Gastroparesis?

Gastroparesis is a condition in which your stomach cannot empty itself of food in a normal fashion. It can be caused by damage to the vagus nerve, which regulates the digestive system. A damaged vagus nerve prevents the muscles in the stomach and intestine from functioning, preventing food from moving through the digestive system properly. Often, the cause of gastroparesis is unknown.
However, the causes of gastroparesis can include:
Uncontrolled diabetes
Gastric surgery with injury to the vagus nerve
Medications such as narcotics and some antidepressants
Parkinson’s disease
Multiple sclerosis
Rare conditions such as: amyloidosis (deposits of protein fibers in tissues and organs) and scleroderma (a connective tissue disorder that affects the skin, blood vessels, skeletal muscles, and internal organs)

What Are the Symptoms of Gastroparesis?
There are many symptoms of gastroparesis, including:
Heartburn or GERD
Nausea
Vomiting undigested food
Feeling full quickly when eating
Abdominal bloating
Poor appetite and weight loss
Poor blood sugar control
What Are the Complications of Gastroparesis?
Some of the complications of gastroparesis include:
Food that stays in the stomach too long can ferment, which can lead to the growth of bacteria.
Food in the stomach can harden into a solid collection, called a bezoar. Bezoars can cause obstructions in the stomach that keep food from passing into the small intestine.
People who have both diabetes and gastroparesis may have more difficulty because blood sugar levels rise when food finally leaves the stomach and enters the small intestine, making blood sugar control more of a challenge.

How Is Gastroparesis Diagnosed?
To diagnose gastroparesis, your doctor will review your symptoms and medical history. He or she will also give you a physical exam and may order certain blood tests, including blood sugar levels. Other tests used to diagnose and evaluate gastroparesis may include:
Barium X-ray : You drink a liquid (barium), which coats the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine and shows up on X-ray. This test is also known as an upper GI (gastrointestinal) series or a barium swallow.
Radioisotope gastric-emptying scan (gastric scintigraphy): You eat food that contains a very small amount of radioisotope (a radioactive substance), then lie under a scanning machine; if the scan shows that more than 10% of food is still in your stomach 4 hours after eating, you are diagnosed with gastroparesis.
Gastric manometry: A thin tube that is passed through your mouth and into the stomach measures the stomach’s electrical and muscular activity to determine the rate of digestion.
Electrogastrography: This test measures electrical activity in the stomach using electrodes placed on the skin.
The smart pill: This is a small electronic device that is swallowed. It sends back information about how fast it is traveling as it moves through the digestive system.
Ultrasound : This is an imaging test that uses sound waves to create pictures of body organs. Your doctor may use ultrasound to eliminate other diseases.
Upper endoscopy : This procedure involves passing a thin tube (endoscope) down the esophagus to examine the lining of the stomach.

What Is the Treatment for Gastroparesis?
Gastroparesis is a chronic (long-lasting) condition. This means that treatment usually doesn’t cure the disease. But there are steps you can take to manage and control the condition.
Some patients may benefit from medications, including:
Reglan (metoclopramide): You take this drug before eating and it causes the stomach muscles to contract and move food along. Reglan also decreases the incidence of vomiting and nausea. Side effects include diarrhea, drowsiness, anxiety, and, rarely, a serious neurological disorder.
Erythromycin: This is an antibiotic that also causes stomach contractions and helps move food out. Side effects include diarrhea and development of resistant bacteria from prolonged exposure to the antibiotic.
Antiemetics: These are drugs that help control nausea.
People who have diabetes should try to control their blood sugar levels to minimize the problems of gastroparesis.
Dietary Modifications for Gastroparesis
One of the best ways to help control the symptoms of gastroparesis is to modify your daily eating habits. For instance, instead of three meals a day, eat six small meals. In this way, there is less food in the stomach; you won’t feel as full, and it will be easier for the food to leave your stomach. Another important factor is the consistency of food; liquids and low residue foods are encouraged (for example, applesauce should replace whole apples with intact skins).
You should also avoid foods that are high in fat (which can slow down digestion) and fiber (which is difficult to digest).
Other Treatment Options for Gastroparesis
In a severe case of gastroparesis, a feeding tube, or jejunostomy tube, may be used. The tube is inserted through the abdomen and into the small intestine during surgery. To feed yourself, put nutrients into the tube, which go directly into the small intestine; this way, they bypass the stomach and get into the bloodstream more quickly.
Using an instrument through a small incision, botulinum toxin (such as Botox) can be injected into the pylorus, the valve that leads from the stomach to the small intestine. This can relax the valve, keeping it open for a longer period of time to allow the stomach to empty.
Another treatment option is intravenous or parenteral nutrition. This is a feeding method in which nutrients go directly into the bloodstream through a catheter placed into a vein in your chest. Parenteral nutrition is intended to be a temporary measure for a severe case of gastroparesis.
Electrical stimulation for Gastroparesis
Electrical gastric stimulation for gastroparesis uses electrodes that are attached to the stomach wall and, when stimulated, trigger stomach contractions. Further studies are needed to help determine who will benefit most from this procedure. Currently, only a few centers across the country perform electrical gastric stimulation.

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