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Chemo prep

Hi everyone,

I’m here looking for some resources for my mum. She just completed her debulking surgery and the doctor is recommending her to start chemo about 1 week after surgery (so in a few days). 

It feels all this has happened quite quickly and although she’s very brave she’s feeling quite nervous about the effects of chemotherapy. Btw it is IV carbotaxol. 

We are specifically concerned about the platelets (because she has low amounts naturally) and we understand that it is really tough on the immune system.

Any advice regarding preparations for chemo or what foods to eat to boost her immune during or after would be much appreciated !  

Thanks so much everyone for the group, reading through the stories and comments really calms me down and makes us feel so supported , especially during the tough days. 


  • Fearless_Moderator
    Your mom is so lucky to have you to support her. Like most caregivers her diagnosis came as as much of a shock to you as her and we've found that the needs of caregivers terribly overlooked so please reach out if you have questions.

    First of all, if you haven't already, order the OCC booklet By Your Side,  It's an excellent tool to guide both through her journey from diagnosis to end of chemo.  You can order it hard or soft copy on the OCC website

    Also, spend some time perusing the OCC website. It's an excellent source of information from videos on key topics to shared survivor stories and updates on new treatments and trials.  

    Thursdays I host a live chat at 1PM EST and welcome you to join us when able.  It's  a great opportunity to get real time feedback from members of our community.   You need only sign in to OVdialogue and click on the the Discussion topic TEAL join us.

    I noticed on another of your posts that your mother is Stage 2 in which case she's very lucky to have had the cancer diagnosed before it reached the advanced stage.  I was diagnosed in 2017 with High Grade Serous ovarian cancer, stage 3C (advanced stage) and given a prognosis of 3 years if primary treatment wasn't 100% successful.  Well here I am today and unfortunately after the first year and a half my cancer recurred, and recurred again and again. I'm now in my sixth year of treatment and thankfully learning to live quite well with this disease. That said, I have several friends in my own community who were diagnosed at the same time as me, had the same treatment and are now celebrating their fifth year of survival.  So there's lots of hope to hang on to.  

    As for Immunity issues you will find your mother's blood work will be monitored closely. Generally at a minimum before the beginning of each cycle of treatment they'll do a full blood work up and she'll meet with her oncologist.  If they see anything out of normal range and of concern it's dealt with.  Today if the white cell (neutrofils) count drops the practice is generally to postpone the treatment and allow another week or even two to let the white cells to naturally rebuitd. That said many are now using Lapelga, a shot given during the cycle that encourages production of those cells  and avoids delays in treatment.  The other common issues that come up relate to hydration where your mother's creatinine level will be watched (hydration is really important to successful treatment and general wellbeing), Levels of potassium, & magnesium are common to see drop and usually boosted during treatment with an IV drip if not managed by diet.  
    All of this leads to your questions about diet.  Google these and you'll see which foods are high in those categories. Rule of thumb, just about anything green and leafy.  Be cautious about anything recommended that is unusual to your normal diet.  But ,most cancer centres have a nutritionist on staff who can guide you in diet for your mom. I used ours and found out the the high protein that part of many of the recommended diets today was not compatible with my system and once I switched over to a low to medium protein diet all my dietary issues disappeared.  

    And finally, prep for chemo is pretty standard. The first thing I'll say is that what she is receiving is the tried and true standard of care. So nothing unique or unusual.  If she has some anxiety about treatment because she's heard stories that scare her, first off we all differ in how we respond to treatment during and after.  What might be awful for one person might be a breeze for another.  I'm one of the breeze people.  So far I've had carboplatin, cisplatin, gemcitabine, olaparib on a two year trial, and now caelyx and avastin and worst I've had is some pretty heavy fatigue but otherwise chemo is a breeze for me.  But this is why the nurses in the chemo room watch you very closely. Their job is to help the administration of the drug go as smoothly as possible and they do a great job of it.  But hopefully your cancer centre does a preview and tour for you. 

    I hope this helps. Tell your mom we're all here to help support her.  Any new questions please don't hesitate to reach out.  In the meantime we'll be thinking of your mom and wishing her the best <3
  • Thank you so much for this message - I can’t even find the words to express how grateful I am for you and this group, it has been a source of inspiration , strength and support in a truly difficult time.

    I admire all you ladies so much and will definitely revert all this information to my mom.

    She will be doing her first cycle of chemo this Monday which is just 1 week after her surgery however the doctor seemed to advise this. She just came back from the hospital yesterday and was feeling a bit fatigued which I suppose is normal.

    Unfortunately during the surgery, she had to get an Ileostomy , which hinders her ability to eat many dark leafy greens which she is used to taking a lot of.