Had surgery now chemo!

Hi everyone, I had my surgery nearly 5 weeks ago, after the calcified fibroid I thought had grown annoying, proved the least of my problems. It was discovered 7 years ago & my gynae said leave until it becomes symptomatic, which I did.  Mid December got lower pelvic discomfort & pressure when lying on my side. A GP and a gynaecologist both examined me and yes....a big fibroid ready to come out. In the ensuing weeks, my urine output became erratic and I could feel a much larger swelling. Fortunately I asked the specialist to make sure it wasn't something sinister, so he ordered a pelvic ultrasound and blood tests..............bingo, my world changed forever.  Massive left ovarian complex cyst and CA125 of 1300, so a simple hysterectomy became hysterectomy, removal of tumour and both tubes & ovaries, debulking and resection of my sigmoid (because the tumour was touching/sticking to it, which has left me with a temporary loop ileostomy as well. 3 weeks in hospital and I am home, with chemo starting next week. Luckily they are giving me a cold cap, so I wont lose my hair, probably the only positive thing so far.

Have any of you had the same surgery as myself.  As nearly 5 weeks in I am still really sore and have a bit of trouble moving around. My scar is vertical, yet my pain is horizontal in 2 areas.  I also have a numb left thigh after the epidural. Waiting on MRI result to see if this is due to nerve damage.  I know I've had two huge ops at once (I am a healthy professional), but I was hoping to feel physically more able, before chemo starts. Sorry for the long post, but hopefully someone can give some info on their experience


  • Hi Sheila, I haven’t had the exact same surgery, I do have a vertical incision it has been 5 weeks since my operation only I had only 1 ovary to remove (had a hysterectomy in 2001) and they removed some of my omentum( not sure on the spelling) I do still have discomfort especially when it comes to my bowels. Wind can be very uncomfortable. I’m sure as the weeks go on things will improve. I try and move around as much as possible as they say it helps with healing. I just got back to doing chemo today so here’s  hoping side effects aren’t to bad this time around. I’m keep telling myself they won’t be. If the doctors didn’t think you could handle chemo then they would put it off.  Your right it is major surgery so don’t rush the healing your body will do the healing you just have to Take care of it. I hope that made sense.

    Take care Dionne

  • P.S I have know idea what all that jibberish is at the start of the post.

  • Hi Quilty,   I have had extensive surgery like you, it will take you a while to feel better, especially with having the resection on the sigmoid.  I had to have further surgery for a bowel obstruction and I found that took a bit longer to heal than my initial ovarian cancer surgery.  My surgery was done under a general anesthetic, rather than a epidural.  Walking certainly helped me, even if it was just a short walk around the block.  Loose bowels certainly set me back a bit at first, however that is better now, though chemo can upset that area.  I had about 6 weeks off after the operations before I started chemo.  It is good that you are having some time off as well.  Be gentle with your self, as you have had major surgery. Let us know how the chemo goes.  Take care  Helen

  • Thank you Dee Dee & Helen for your responses.  It is now 7 weeks since my surgery and I am still pretty store from the suture line, but I am sure it will improve.  At least I can drive now, so have some independence back, but am careful to not over stretch myself.

    My first chemo session of Taxol and Carboplatin, followed by an iron infusion was last week. My hospital offers the cooling cap as well, which had got my scalp down to zero degress (not pleasant), when the Taxol was commenced.  Unfortunately for me, I had a severe reaction to it after only 2ml infused, causing excrutiating back pain, sky high blood pressure and violent trembling. They abandoned the rest of the session after eventually getting the pain under control.. The oncologist has scheduled a desensitizing program for the Taxol tomorrow, where I get given the Carboplatin first, followed by a much more dilute Taxol dose, which they will increase as tolerated. Have had steroids daily for two days in preparation.  Not looking forward to it, as I have no desire for a repeat of last week. Being on the other side of a MedCall was pretty scary.

    Doctor did mention instead of 3 weekly chemo cycles, I might have to have Taxol weekly. Would like thoughts on how 3 weekly vs weekly chemo regimes compare.  Also has anyone had reactions to the two drugs I have been prescribed? As my cancer is now graded 2C, because of the extensive surgery, both doctors think the chemo is likely to result in giving me  a clean bill of health, so I guess it's essential.

  • Hi Quilty,

    I’m sorry you had a reaction. But I have read (I have studied everything since I was diagnosed) that with help it can be reversed, so hang in. I have same chemo drugs with taxol weekly. So I start with a double of carbo and taxol, then the following 2 weeks I have just taxol then a double again. I have read that weekly is good as you can get less side effects. But some doctors prefer weekly. I’m going to my oncologist today (seeing as it’s 1 am in the morning and I had chemo today with that wonderful steroid injection so I’m awake)  so I’ll ask him as see what he says. Some doctor’s prefer weekly as they find it more effective. As they have studied everyone women is different and will respond differently. They will find what works for you. Let us know how you go and as soon as I can I’ll put my dr’s respond up. On another note last week before and after chemo I ask for not to many side effects from the powers at be above. I said I can the aching bones and that but not the nausea and I usually have nausea which I hate. And I didn’t have have any, didn’t have to take those horrible constipating anti-nausea drugs thank god. Which I did thanked him, a lot. Just wanted to throw in some good fun news. It was nice to eat and boy did I. Hears hoping for the same this Easter weekend. I hope you and Helen have a wonderful weekend.

    Take care. Talk soon. Dionne.

  • Hi Quilty,

    I ask my dr today about the difference between 3 weekly dose to weekly. Well weekly means you’ll get a low dose than one big dose. So less side effects with weekly (supposedly). I’ve done some research on it and there is thought that it prevents the cells from rejuvenating. They don’t get the chance too. But that is just a theory and they are still running test and trials on it. I think if I had to choose I would definitely do weekly. It will knock you around at first but you do adapt.. and like everyone has said in this wonderful support group, mental status has a lot to do with it. I suffered quite A lot with side effects at first, but now I’m pretty good.

    I hope that has helped. Take care and have a wonderful Easter weekend.

    let us know how you go with you next round of chemo.


  • Hi Quilty,

    What a pest, that you had a reaction to the taxol.  I had a reaction, only the once to the carboplatin, however I didn't experience back pain, I just went very red in the face, felt shivery and nauseous.  The nurses quickly stoped the infusion and gave me some drugs to stop the reaction.  The next time I went to have my chemo, they put it in more slowly, plus I took clarentyne for a few days before I went in.  That worked and I haven't had a reaction since.  Your oncolgist will be able to sort out how to avoid the reaction.  I have had two regimes of taxol and I have always had it on a weekly basis.  I hope everything goes better next time for you.

  • Dee Dee and Quilty - I had a radical hysterectomy, ooestomy, debulk, removal of 4" bowel (where it had grabbed on) this time last year. After about a month, I was started on weekly infusions of Paclitaxel and Carboplatin, for about 6 months.  I did have various infections, and a face rash, but no nausea or fatigue.  Then I was started on Bevakizumab (Avastin) and have only 2 more to go - but 3 weeks apart. To date this has all worked.  I did notice that the Avastin seems to dry out my whole body, from my nose to the gut/bowel, so now I am trying to look after repairing all the gut damage by starting to gently and slowly take glyconutrients (food supplements, no chemicals).  I feel much more comfortable already, so am cautiously optimistic and planning a holiday in June/July.   So persevere, girls!  You'll get there in the end.



  • Thanks girls for all the responses.

    I had another trial of the Taxol with extremely low dose, but unfortunately I reacted to that too.  So next time they are trying me on Docetaxol, which I am not looking forward too.  My oncologist seems to prefer the 3 weekly cycle. I asked what happens if I can't take the next drug and he said they will just leave me on Carboplatin.  As after my surgery, I was downgraded to 2C from 3C. Because I have the cooling cap on during the therapy, I am hopefully not going to lose my hair. Its a shame this facility isn't available at all chemo units. Luckily I have private cover and my chemo is at a private hospital. But apparently it is becoming more popular, so please ask at your chemo unit, if they have the cooling cap machine.

  • Hi Quilty

    I am home from 2 nd debulking last night my surgery was Friday 13th. I am very sore today . My proticole is 3 x chemo over 9 weeks Carbo Taxol Avatin . My Ca 125 was 1500 now it’s 21  & the plan was More  surgery witch I just had . then another 3x chemo . So far so good . Yes this is a frightening journey but all we can do is educate ourselves & listen to our Drs . If your on fb there is another Australian support group that is very good  . “Ovarian cancer Australia Aussie  support group “

    Take Care

    susan X

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