Tuesday, July 27, 2004
A Little Chemo Savvy for All my "Chemosabes"
For everyone out there waiting to find out about my chemotherapy, here is the plan:

Chemo starts this Thursday.  I will be having treatments every two weeks for the next 16 weeks.  The first four treatments will be a combination of two drugs:  Adriamycin and Cytoxin (AC).  The last four treatmetns will be Taxol.  Chemotherapy works by attacking cells as they reproduce.  The drugs can't tell the difference between healthy cells and cancer cells so it does damage some healthy cells.  This damage to healthy cells is what produces side-effects.  This link I placed on "chemotherapy" above is a great link for understanding how the cells divide and how the chemo works.

Adriamycin -- Doxorubicin hydrochloride belongs to the general group of chemotherapy drugs known as anthracycline antibiotics. It is used to treat non–Hodgkin’s lymphoma, multiple myeloma, acute leukemias, and cancers of the breast, adrenal cortex, endometrium, lung, and ovary.  Doxorubicin stops the growth of cancer cells, causing the cells to die.  (source:  www.breastcancer.org)

Cytoxan --  Cyclophosphamide belongs to a general group of chemotherapy drugs known as alkylating agents. Cydophosphamide is used for the treatment of lymphoma, leukemias, multiple myeloma, mycosis fungoides, neuroblastoma, retinoblastoma, and cancers of the breast and ovary. It is also used to treat some noncancerous conditions.  Cyclophosphamide stops the growth of cancer cells, causing them to die.  (source:  www.breastcancer.org)

Taxol -- Placlitaxel belongs to the general group of chemotherapy drugs known as taxanes. It is also called a mitotic inhibitor because of its effect on the cell during mitosis (cell division). It is used to treat breast, ovarian, and lung cancers, and Kaposi’s sarcoma.  Paclitaxel stops cell division, resulting in cell death.  (source:  www.breastcancer.org)

The first four treatments of the AC cocktail will involve about a one-hour IV drip of the Cytoxan into my groshong catheter and then a 15-minute injection of the Adriamycin.  I may experience tiredness, aches and flu-like symptoms in addition to nausea for the first few days after chemo.  It should take about 2 weeks for my hair to start falling out.  All those things are insignificant if the chemo is doing it's job and killing cancer cells. 

Just remember, I love hugs and visits, but if you have the slightest inclination that you are not feeling well or may have a virus (sniffle, cough, upset tummy - anything), then please call, email, text message, or wave from afar.  My blood counts may drop, making it easier for me to get sick.  If Iget sick, it takes me off course with the chemo and this whole process takes longer.   But I do love hugs, smiles, and visits - just stay healthy so  you can stay close! 

(For the record, and all of you too young to remember "The Lone Ranger," Tonto would call the Lone Ranger his "Kemosabe" which was supposed to be Indian for trusted friend.  Apparently, this doesn't translate as such in any Indian dialect.  I just figured that if anyone was interested in learning about my chemo, they would be my chemo friends or chemosabes.   A person shouldn't have to work this hard for a laugh.)

Written by Jeannette Vagnozzi
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Name: Jeannette
Location: Southern California, USA

This is my story about being diagnosed with breast cancer at age 39. I thought I was out of the woods, but four years late it came back. This is my quest to be a two-time survivor.

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