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Chemo, what to expect?

Posted by

My husband had his remainig testical removed just before Christmas (5 years after having first one removed due to cancer, different cancer this time though,) he is to have one blast of chemo, which will be on Wednesday, 

I know it’s probably different for everyone but what should I expect that night, is he going to be really sick, do I need to take some time off work to look after him? 

Thank you in advance x

Posted by

Hi fluffymum

You’ve hit the nail on the head, there are hundreds of different types of chemo and the side effects are varied. 

My partner’s first IV chemo didn’t cause any nausea at all but caused a myriad of other side effects including exhaustion. She had difficulty walking because she didn’t have the energy to lift her legs and by the time she had her third round, she had one night sleeping downstairs as she couldn’t get up the stairs. In TV programmes they often portray nausea and hair loss as the biggest issues, but thisbisboften not the case it seems to me. My partner’s chemo was for tumours in bones so very different, o was just giving this as an example btw

For specific info on his chemo, I’d suggest posting the name of it in the group for his cancer type. You’ll get useful anecdotes on that page from people who can tell it from first and second hand experience. 

Every time my partner has had IV chemo she’s been given a decent dose of steroid (Dexamethasone) which is there to prevent rejection of the chemo we’ve been told but also acts as an antisixkness. He may even be having a few days of this after the chemo. When she had chemo sickness with her last IV chemo it was a few days after when the Dex had gone out of her system. (She had weekly chemo on a Wednesday and was sick every blooming weekend). 

If sickness is going to be a side effect then my tip isbuy a spare washing up bowl. I found a smaller squarer one more useful as it fits in lap more easily, takes up less space when put aside and the more sturdy plastic made carrying and emptying less of a risk. (Spills and control over emptying down the loo). 

I’ve found managing stomach was the biggest challenge and getting the right laxatives cocktail. Get advice from a specialist (not the GP, suggest call Macmillan). With my partner, when she hasn’t been for three days she starts to vomit. Everyone is different but for general well-being keeping things moving is important. Drinking fluids helps. 

As for time off, it’s your call. If he’s going to have side effects it might be crucial in the first 25 hours or he might be fine for days then it hits him or perhaps he will sail though. Remember infection is a risk so get a digital thermometer if you haven’t got one already (they’re expensive so you can always borrow one from a friend before the chemo), then you can take his temperature should he feel off colour and be reassured about what’s going on. 

I’d urge you to call Macmillan advice line as you have legal rights to request flexible working from your employer, so you might be able to take some time off and pay the hours back later. You wouldn’t end up using your precious annual leave (after all this he may crave a holiday or some quality family time) or losing pay if you can arrange the flexible working. 

I hope it goes really well for him and for you. 


If you look hard enough, there’s something positive in every day.  

Posted by

Hi fluffymum,

If you can find out which drugs he is going to be given it will give you an indication of which side effects might occur. You can look it up on this website, very useful.

Unfortunately they are hard to predict and each individual will react differently so from a carers perspective you have to remain reactive but you can plan for a few things:

- water botte constantly full and at hand. He might not want to drink but it's crucial.

- foot massage during chemo itself, it helps with my partner to distract and relax her.

- Macmillan help line number at hand and contact numbers for your local hospital and oncology department.

- digiral thermometer, as mentioned above it's not cheap but a very important piece of kit that will  enable you to objectively assess wether you need to take him to hospital or not, please ensure you read up on what the warning signs are, but a drastic change in temperature is not to be ignored.

Sorry I can't be more specific but I hope this helps, wishing you all the best to you both.