Starting Taxotere this week - advice please

Hi Ladies,

Am due to have 1st of 3 Taxotere this Thursday 25/03 and am a bit nervous. Its like starting all over again not knowing how I am gonna be, what se’s etc.

Would really appreciate any advice/tips anyone can give me. Am due to take steriods the day before 4 x am and 4 x pm.

Have heard things about aches/pains/diahorrea and problems with nails.

Am type of person who is better knowing all possibilities. Found the tips on chemo brilliant for the FEC and really helped me to be prepared.

Thanks

Anne

Hi Richo, I am one treatment ahead of you - due to have my second Doxetaxol on Wednesday. I know dox and tax are not exactly the same - but I hope this helps. My se’s took a few days to kick in, and felt fine first few days. I sucked ice and dipped my fingers in ice during treatment to try and minimise the mouth and nail problems.

My nails are fine, but I have had the worst sore throat you can imagine - not helped by having a nasty cough. My tongue felt swollen and sore. The taste disturbance has been quite marked, and I couldn’t tolerate anything remotely spicy - even ketchup, which I thought would be useful to mask some odd flavours - my mouth felt like it was on fire! I was also given some antibiotics to take as a precaution, with which you cannot eat any diary. My onc has agreed I don;t have to take them this time round, as made meal planning so difficult (I don’t eat meat and rely on diary).

I haven’t had much in the way of aches and pains, but for about a week I was totally exhausted - a struggle just to get up the stairs. Felt like I was 90 years old, and felt sweaty, shaky and horrible. I also felt very down and tearful, although this may well have been a SE of the antibiotics - another reason my onc said I can miss them this round. It is hard to describe - felt ill without any specific symptoms.

I didn’t get the runs - if anything the opposite. But I had Avastin and Zometa at the same time - so maybe some of my SEs were due to these. I wasn’t too bad on FEC - my onc told me if you have a relatively easy time on FEC, tax tends to be harder. She was right in my case.

Good luck Richo - let us know how you get on.

finty xx

Hi Richo

You my find it useful to have a look at the BCC booklet on taxotere as it includes information about what side effects may be experienced. If you would like a copy or to read it on line just follow this link:-

breastcancercare.org.uk/healthcare-professionals/publications/quick-order-list/*/changeTemplate/PublicationDisplay/publicationId/115/

I hope this is helpful.

Kind regards
Sam (BCC Facilitator)

Richo

Sadly I agree with everything that flinty has said. I’ve just finished tax and cant say it was a walk in the park. I did find that paracetamol and Ibuprofen worked well with the pain. I also got zopiclone as sleeping pill.

Just to add, I’ve now got swelling to both legs and feet, a known side effect I believe but not that common.

Hope it goes well for you

Julia xx

Hi Anne,

This time last year I was in your position, just finished 3 x Fec and about to start 3 x Tax. I found that days 5/6/7/ after Tax were the worst for me.
I didnt get the nausea that I had with Fec but did experience joint pain which was quiet severe during those 3 days.
My advice to you is to take the painkillers, keep hydrated and give in if you are tired and try to get some sleep. Fresh air also helps lift your spirit even if you cannot manage a walk around the block…just wrap up warm and sit in the garden or some other open space for a while.
As for the nails…I wore nail hardener and black nail varnish throughout my treatment and kept my nails, however lost them after rads.
Try to think that you are now on the home stretch and you will gradually get back to some kind of normality at the end of it all.
Good luck with your treatment.
Lynn x

Hey Richo

I was the opposite!

I hated the nausea with FEC & the constant fatigue…it was just awful…but Tax was so much easier for me!

I did have to keep a close eye on my temperature, as it did fluctuate more for a few days (around day 10)& my throat & tongue were a little icky for a couple of days after treatment. I also lost my taste buds, but only for a couple of days, nothing like I experienced with FEC. I also slept most of days 3 & 4 as I was very sleepy…didn’t mind that tho, as it meant I missed most of the euchy mouth days!

I didn’t experience the joint pain either during my 4 cycles, but I was given Gabipentan (sp?) from my onc to take for the first week to 10 days. I did have a few hours of horrible lower back pain one evening, when I forgot to take the meds…so they were obv very effective!

I painted my nails dark before my first treatment & kept them like that until I had finished Tax. I never lost any nails & they were never painful. They were very thick afterwards & darker & stripier than normal, but this is growing out quickly & my nails look fine.

I would say don’t worry too much over tax. You may be lucky enough to have minimal se’s or none at all!

Good Luck

Hxx

Hello Richo
Had 6 Tax for a local recurrencein 2008 (having had 6 FEC in 2004) and although it wasn’t a walk in the park, it wasn’t terrible. I did not lose any nails, I did have some back pain but after the first time i kept well on top of this with painkillers (they only lasted a couple of days each cycle). I did get very tired (worse towards the end) but it was better than the FEC because that made me sick and the tax didn’t. I did get mouth ulcers but again, kept on top of them (usually) with corsodyl. I also worked all the way through (had a few days off after each, but then went to work). I think things are different for different people - hopefully you will have a good experience with it.
love, Mo.

Hi Ann,
My experience with Tax was similar to Hazel’s - I hated FEC as it made me so nauseous so Tax for me was easier. I had no nausea, the joint aches and pains kicked in on day 3 and lasted for around 2 days, for which I took co-codamol which was adequate. The injection I was given to administer into the abdomen boosts the white cells as Tax really depresses the bone marrow, but can increase the joint pain subsequently. However I chose to have this because I didn’t want to get neutropoenic. I had one day where I couldn’t walk properly, legs achey and weak knee joints. The yukky mouth was much the same as with FEC but I found the taste change horrible, metallic to start, then a bitter taste in the mouth. I lost 6 finger nails… but I had forgotten to paint them dark as suggested.
For me I found Tax more doable than FEC, and as Hazel said you may well get minimal or no s/e’s. Good luck
Lynn x

Hi, I’m having Taxotere on a more or less weekly basis - three on and one off for good behaviour! I’m finding the joint paint pretty grim and a lot of aches in my right hand side (it’s in my liver and spine now) I struggle to take many painkillers as they seem to have lousy side effects. I can’t even take codeine as it makes me nauseous and light headed as if I’ve got the worlds worst hangover, so if anyone has any ideas about a stron painkiller which may be easier I would really appreciate your help. I’ve tried Tramadol, Oxycodin and both of these are a no go for me. Also, I haven’t heard about painting your nails dark, how does this work and what sort of colour and make do you use? I haven’t yet lost my hair, but I’ve got a very nice wig lined up for when it does go! Any advice anyone can give me will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance and good luck and god bless you all. Dianne

Thanks all for your comments.

Looks like I need to stock up on pain killers and get my nails painted nice and dark.

Its surprising some of your se’s don’t kick in till days later. After FEC I was rough straight away but usually pulled round after 6-7 days.

Looks like nausea is not so bad on Tax, hated that on the FEC.

Any advice on taking the steriods?? 4 on a morning and then another 4 on the evening. On FEC was only taking 2 a day on a morning and took them with a bannana. Should I expect sleepless nights and weight gain??

I used to take an ice pop to suck on while having the FEC, so might still do that for Tax.

Again, thanks all, this really helps.

Best wishes to you all out there and hope everyone is doing well.

Anne x

Hello all,

Yes, dark nail polish definitely recommended, and I kept my nails very short too, My oncologist explained that the taxotere makes the nails sensitive to light, so I used very dark colours on both hands and feet throughout the chemo and for quite a time afterwards (Chanel cosmique is a lovely very dark blue which covers well in only one coat). I lost only one nail (small toe). It was fascinating after treatment to see the distinct lines across my nais - one for each dose of tax - and follow them as they gradually grew out!

J
x

Richo - re the steroids, I was told to take the second lot at lunchtime, otherwise sleep would be impossible. I haven’t heard of anyone taking them in the evening - I think you should check that.

Richo - was advised for the steroids to take one lot 24 hrs before chemo and second lot 12 hours before. They are high doses but need to be taken to stop any allergic reaction. The dose continues for 3 days, which is why no side effects immediately. I had tax on Thurs and ses kick in on Sun nite lasting for about 3 days.

Hope it goes ok with you -

Thanks Flinty will do x

Hi Richo
My steroids were the day before Tax, on the day & the following day, 4 in the morning & 4 at lunchtime. These are really important to prevent allergic reaction I was told. Also I was told that with Tax your immune system dips faster (day 4, rather than day 7 with Fec),& stays low for longer. I found the joint pains not too bad, felt a bit rheumaticky (sp?), only lasted a couple of days. The taste change was what I found worst, couldn’t eat much & even drinking was hard but you MUST. With me, everything tasted disgusting, & I had a permanent salty taste. By the end of chemo, I had no appetite at all, & still don’t have much, couldn’t eat anything sweet at all, or potatoes, or pastry …the list goes on; however I’m not too unhappy about this having seen on here the struggles some ladies are having to lose weight. Had herceptin last week, & weighed less than at last chemo. Post tax, I have lost my nails, but then nobody warned me about this, or told me about dark nail polish. I do wish advice was a bit more consistent. I also have pretty bad neuropathy, but not everyone gets it so bad - however you MUST tell your nurses about any tingling in your fingertips. Use loads of moisturiser on your hands & feet, & if the skin on your feet is peeling on the day of a treatment, tell your nurses & show them (hands are very visible, feet less so).