The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Content within the patient forum is user-generated and has not been reviewed by medical professionals. Other sections of the Melanoma Research Foundation website include information that has been reviewed by medical professionals as appropriate. All medical decisions should be made in consultation with your doctor or other qualified medical professional.

Biochemo Anyone?

Forums General Melanoma Community Biochemo Anyone?

  • Post
    nicoli
    Participant

    Hi, looking for anyone using biochemo now or in the past. I am most likely going to start Interferon, IL-2, DTIC and a few other wonderful sounding chemos in the next month or so (University of Colorado recipe).  I'm stage 3 and hoping to stay here.

    I already know the common side effects and how difficult this will but am pretty sure I want to do this anyway. So I am looking for POSITIVE, HOPE -INSPIRING responses. Anyone with good experiences? (Funny stories about your biochemo experience especially appreciated!)

    Hi, looking for anyone using biochemo now or in the past. I am most likely going to start Interferon, IL-2, DTIC and a few other wonderful sounding chemos in the next month or so (University of Colorado recipe).  I'm stage 3 and hoping to stay here.

    I already know the common side effects and how difficult this will but am pretty sure I want to do this anyway. So I am looking for POSITIVE, HOPE -INSPIRING responses. Anyone with good experiences? (Funny stories about your biochemo experience especially appreciated!)

    Nicki, stage 3b, diagnosed 12/2009, remission 7 months, local recurrance 10/2010

    Loading spinner
Viewing 15 reply threads
  • Replies
      Rocklove
      Participant

      Hi Nicoli… I did my 6 round tour and 2 maintenance rounds. Tumors shrank overall about 70% but right before I was ready for round 3 of maintenance I had several new growth tumors that appeared in the liver.

      Just be prepared for 6 months of hell. Totally a brutal chemo treatment. 6  days in the hosp, 5 days home hydration with a health nurse. The third week you just about start feeling a little human and it is time to get slammed  again.

      Would I do it again? Yes with no questions asked… but they won't let me go more than 6 rounds because it is too hard on your body.

      I have heard it is also a great springboard for other treatments. I just started Ipi and hopefully it helps it.

      Get familiar with the side effects you may face and stay close to your doctors staff on questions and if anything is wrong like fever and too much diarrhea so they can get on it immediately.

      I can't really think of anything about it that was fun. I'm sorry to report that .  The first round was the worst for me because I was in fear and did not understand it all. The last couple rounds they will probably give you an extra weeks break so your body has time to build to the blood levels it needs to be at.

      Hopefully you will get through all the rounds problem free and become NED.

      We are praying for you and family.

      Rocky (Stage IV Liver Mets)

      Loading spinner
      Rocklove
      Participant

      Hi Nicoli… I did my 6 round tour and 2 maintenance rounds. Tumors shrank overall about 70% but right before I was ready for round 3 of maintenance I had several new growth tumors that appeared in the liver.

      Just be prepared for 6 months of hell. Totally a brutal chemo treatment. 6  days in the hosp, 5 days home hydration with a health nurse. The third week you just about start feeling a little human and it is time to get slammed  again.

      Would I do it again? Yes with no questions asked… but they won't let me go more than 6 rounds because it is too hard on your body.

      I have heard it is also a great springboard for other treatments. I just started Ipi and hopefully it helps it.

      Get familiar with the side effects you may face and stay close to your doctors staff on questions and if anything is wrong like fever and too much diarrhea so they can get on it immediately.

      I can't really think of anything about it that was fun. I'm sorry to report that .  The first round was the worst for me because I was in fear and did not understand it all. The last couple rounds they will probably give you an extra weeks break so your body has time to build to the blood levels it needs to be at.

      Hopefully you will get through all the rounds problem free and become NED.

      We are praying for you and family.

      Rocky (Stage IV Liver Mets)

      Loading spinner
      ShariC
      Participant

      Hi Nicki –

      I'm in the middle of the Bio-Chem with UCCC right now.  It was a very difficult choice to make – I had been to Mayo and had been recommended Leukine, but I wanted something more aggressive.  It certainly is that.  Just before I started I had a PET scan that showed a new tumor growth in my axillary lymph node region.  It was very IIIc because it was a local reoccurrence.  He recommended I continue with the bio chem and I did.

      Its brutal, I won't lie – more on that later.  But, between rounds 2 and 3 I had another PET scan before surgery to remove the tumor (left it in to see how it responded to the chemo).  The PET scan this time showed a complete metastatic respose to the chemo meaning the tumor was completely inactive and not uptaking any amount of FDG.  That was really GOOD news.  At least, I feel like the melanoma cells in my body (tumor and other) are being affected by this treatment.  I have hopes that it will give me added years to raise my son (I'm a single mom to an 8 year old son).  I will be back in Colorado Jan 8 for round 3 and back again Jan 22 for round 4.  Hope to recover during the month of feb.

      Here are the specifics of the treatment – at least in my case:  They will put a PIC line in your upper arm (and remove it after each 5 day round).  You then go to your room (my rooms have all had lovely views, not that I noticed after the first afternoon).  They'll start to hydrate you with saline through your PIC line for a couple of hours.  Next comes the anti-nausia drip for an hour..THEN they start with the DTIC.  You only get that the first day…but, its the one that makes you the most sick.  Over the next couple of hours, they start all the chemo meds – including IL-2 which, I think, is a constant drip over the next 5 days.  By evening I'm throwing up.  They come in and give me meds…but, I throw up most of the night.  Then…you're pretty much out of it.  Laying in bed trying to sleep or keep yourself from throwing up.  The days don't go fast…but, you can't DO anything either.  TV isn't possible because you can't concentrate.  Most visitors I remember being there…but, not any specifics of our conversation.  They come in EVERY hour to take your blood pressure.  Nurses are generally very nice.  I developed mouth sores (like a thrush) and this is very uncomfortable. 

      On the Friday – they release you.  I was sick all over again because then you change from the IV drugs to oral meds that are generally not as strong.  The first three days home is a blur.  You don't eat…just sick and trying to drink and get the mouth sores to go away.  The next week isn't great either…nausia, diareha, not eating much, very weak.  I've lost about 25 lbs so far.  Finally, about 10 days out…I start to feel OK again…but, its really not until 3 weeks out that your stomach is back on track. 

      I've lost most of my hair and am very weak.  But, it is something you can get through.  The worse part is going back.  I feel better that my tumor had responded and have some level of confidence that its helping and will be worth it.  We'll see. 

      Hope this helps.  Feel free to ask any questions you might have. 

      – Shari, IIIc.

      Loading spinner
      ShariC
      Participant

      Hi Nicki –

      I'm in the middle of the Bio-Chem with UCCC right now.  It was a very difficult choice to make – I had been to Mayo and had been recommended Leukine, but I wanted something more aggressive.  It certainly is that.  Just before I started I had a PET scan that showed a new tumor growth in my axillary lymph node region.  It was very IIIc because it was a local reoccurrence.  He recommended I continue with the bio chem and I did.

      Its brutal, I won't lie – more on that later.  But, between rounds 2 and 3 I had another PET scan before surgery to remove the tumor (left it in to see how it responded to the chemo).  The PET scan this time showed a complete metastatic respose to the chemo meaning the tumor was completely inactive and not uptaking any amount of FDG.  That was really GOOD news.  At least, I feel like the melanoma cells in my body (tumor and other) are being affected by this treatment.  I have hopes that it will give me added years to raise my son (I'm a single mom to an 8 year old son).  I will be back in Colorado Jan 8 for round 3 and back again Jan 22 for round 4.  Hope to recover during the month of feb.

      Here are the specifics of the treatment – at least in my case:  They will put a PIC line in your upper arm (and remove it after each 5 day round).  You then go to your room (my rooms have all had lovely views, not that I noticed after the first afternoon).  They'll start to hydrate you with saline through your PIC line for a couple of hours.  Next comes the anti-nausia drip for an hour..THEN they start with the DTIC.  You only get that the first day…but, its the one that makes you the most sick.  Over the next couple of hours, they start all the chemo meds – including IL-2 which, I think, is a constant drip over the next 5 days.  By evening I'm throwing up.  They come in and give me meds…but, I throw up most of the night.  Then…you're pretty much out of it.  Laying in bed trying to sleep or keep yourself from throwing up.  The days don't go fast…but, you can't DO anything either.  TV isn't possible because you can't concentrate.  Most visitors I remember being there…but, not any specifics of our conversation.  They come in EVERY hour to take your blood pressure.  Nurses are generally very nice.  I developed mouth sores (like a thrush) and this is very uncomfortable. 

      On the Friday – they release you.  I was sick all over again because then you change from the IV drugs to oral meds that are generally not as strong.  The first three days home is a blur.  You don't eat…just sick and trying to drink and get the mouth sores to go away.  The next week isn't great either…nausia, diareha, not eating much, very weak.  I've lost about 25 lbs so far.  Finally, about 10 days out…I start to feel OK again…but, its really not until 3 weeks out that your stomach is back on track. 

      I've lost most of my hair and am very weak.  But, it is something you can get through.  The worse part is going back.  I feel better that my tumor had responded and have some level of confidence that its helping and will be worth it.  We'll see. 

      Hope this helps.  Feel free to ask any questions you might have. 

      – Shari, IIIc.

      Loading spinner
      EmilyandMike
      Participant

      Hi Nikki – my friend Christina just finished 6 rounds in San Francisco – all tumors are gone now except one (which appears to be dead and shrinking).  She is a great resource for info on biochemo and you can contact her through her blog.  http://strongenough-christina.blogspot.com/

      She went from 3B to Stage 4 in just a few months and biochemo was her first treatment,

       

      All my best to you

      Emily (wife of Mike Stage 3a)

      Loading spinner
      EmilyandMike
      Participant

      Hi Nikki – my friend Christina just finished 6 rounds in San Francisco – all tumors are gone now except one (which appears to be dead and shrinking).  She is a great resource for info on biochemo and you can contact her through her blog.  http://strongenough-christina.blogspot.com/

      She went from 3B to Stage 4 in just a few months and biochemo was her first treatment,

       

      All my best to you

      Emily (wife of Mike Stage 3a)

      Loading spinner
      nicoli
      Participant

      Shari and Emily, thank you so much for your input. You have been very encouraging!  This stuff really poisons melanoma cells and  I will visualize that as I lay puking. If you can do it, I can do it.

      Loading spinner
      nicoli
      Participant

      Shari and Emily, thank you so much for your input. You have been very encouraging!  This stuff really poisons melanoma cells and  I will visualize that as I lay puking. If you can do it, I can do it.

      Loading spinner
        ShariC
        Participant

        No problem Nicki!  I don't know when you're starting, but I will be at UCCC Jan 3 (Monday) and Jan 22 (Monday).  On those two afternoons I would have time to meet and visit.  Maybe you're coming in the same week.  Of  course, after Monday, my ability to visit is pretty diminished. 

        Don't plan on doing ANYTHING for 3 or 4 months.  Sometimes I don't have the energy to even clean house.  My Mom comes and helps a ful WEEK to 10 days after I get home from the hospital.  She brings water and makes me drink it and small amounts of food.  Make sure you have somebody at home to take care of you when you get out.  Very necessary for that first week.  I have an amazing set of friends here that organized and bring food (mostly for my Mom and son) several times a week.  Others come and clean or just keep me company. 

        You'll get through it!  Don't be scared!  And please keep in touch!  – Shari

        Loading spinner
        ShariC
        Participant

        No problem Nicki!  I don't know when you're starting, but I will be at UCCC Jan 3 (Monday) and Jan 22 (Monday).  On those two afternoons I would have time to meet and visit.  Maybe you're coming in the same week.  Of  course, after Monday, my ability to visit is pretty diminished. 

        Don't plan on doing ANYTHING for 3 or 4 months.  Sometimes I don't have the energy to even clean house.  My Mom comes and helps a ful WEEK to 10 days after I get home from the hospital.  She brings water and makes me drink it and small amounts of food.  Make sure you have somebody at home to take care of you when you get out.  Very necessary for that first week.  I have an amazing set of friends here that organized and bring food (mostly for my Mom and son) several times a week.  Others come and clean or just keep me company. 

        You'll get through it!  Don't be scared!  And please keep in touch!  – Shari

        Loading spinner
      KevinM
      Participant

      Hi Nicki,

      I did 3 rounds of bio-chemo in the fall of 2006 and remain NED! The treatment was rough but you'll get through it. I missed about 4 months of work but haven't missed a day due to illness since I went back to work. It takes a a while to feel good again….it is a process!

      I've been able to return to doing the thingsI love and sometime go days withouty thinking about melanoma. I love to run and have run 5 marathons since completing bio-chemo. In fact, I have to cut this short to meet friends for a 10 mile run :)

      please email me if you have any questions or just want to "talk"

      All my best!

      Kevin

      Loading spinner
      KevinM
      Participant

      Hi Nicki,

      I did 3 rounds of bio-chemo in the fall of 2006 and remain NED! The treatment was rough but you'll get through it. I missed about 4 months of work but haven't missed a day due to illness since I went back to work. It takes a a while to feel good again….it is a process!

      I've been able to return to doing the thingsI love and sometime go days withouty thinking about melanoma. I love to run and have run 5 marathons since completing bio-chemo. In fact, I have to cut this short to meet friends for a 10 mile run :)

      please email me if you have any questions or just want to "talk"

      All my best!

      Kevin

      Loading spinner
      SuzannefromCA
      Participant

      Hi Nicoli,

      I went through Biochemotherapy for 18 months in November of 2006 when I went to stage IV. I did 6 months of IL-2 with Cisplatin, Vinblastine, Carboplatin and Temodar. The remaining 12 months were high dose IL-2. I also had to self inject in between hospitalizations with IL-2 and Leukine.

       

      It was not easy in the least. All the side effects my oncologist mentioned, I got.

      One kind of funny thing was that my doctor said that the average patient loses 20 pounds, and I was determined that I would not be the average patient. When I was home and feeling hungry, I had serious cravings for Taco Bell and Chipotle, and I maybe lost 5 pounds.

      I finished treatment in March of 2008, during the treatment I lost my mom to cancer. But here it is in 2010, the Biochemotherapy completely shrunk my tumor away. I know I am one of the lucky ones. I just celebrated my 50th birthday in August, and I would do this over again in a heartbeat.

      I was lucky to meet Christina. We have the same doctor and I hope that she experiences the progress that I have. Please keep us posted. There is hope!

      Suzanne from California

      Loading spinner
      SuzannefromCA
      Participant

      Hi Nicoli,

      I went through Biochemotherapy for 18 months in November of 2006 when I went to stage IV. I did 6 months of IL-2 with Cisplatin, Vinblastine, Carboplatin and Temodar. The remaining 12 months were high dose IL-2. I also had to self inject in between hospitalizations with IL-2 and Leukine.

       

      It was not easy in the least. All the side effects my oncologist mentioned, I got.

      One kind of funny thing was that my doctor said that the average patient loses 20 pounds, and I was determined that I would not be the average patient. When I was home and feeling hungry, I had serious cravings for Taco Bell and Chipotle, and I maybe lost 5 pounds.

      I finished treatment in March of 2008, during the treatment I lost my mom to cancer. But here it is in 2010, the Biochemotherapy completely shrunk my tumor away. I know I am one of the lucky ones. I just celebrated my 50th birthday in August, and I would do this over again in a heartbeat.

      I was lucky to meet Christina. We have the same doctor and I hope that she experiences the progress that I have. Please keep us posted. There is hope!

      Suzanne from California

      Loading spinner
      SuzannefromCA
      Participant

      Hi Nicoli,

      I went through Biochemotherapy for 18 months in November of 2006 when I went to stage IV. I did 6 months of IL-2 with Cisplatin, Vinblastine, Carboplatin and Temodar. The remaining 12 months were high dose IL-2. I also had to self inject in between hospitalizations with IL-2 and Leukine.

       

      It was not easy in the least. All the side effects my oncologist mentioned, I got.

      One kind of funny thing was that my doctor said that the average patient loses 20 pounds, and I was determined that I would not be the average patient. When I was home and feeling hungry, I had serious cravings for Taco Bell and Chipotle, and I maybe lost 5 pounds.

      I finished treatment in March of 2008, during the treatment I lost my mom to cancer. But here it is in 2010, the Biochemotherapy completely shrunk my tumor away. I know I am one of the lucky ones. I just celebrated my 50th birthday in August, and I would do this over again in a heartbeat.

      I was lucky to meet Christina. We have the same doctor and I hope that she experiences the progress that I have. Please keep us posted. There is hope!

      Suzanne from California

      Loading spinner
      SuzannefromCA
      Participant

      Hi Nicoli,

      I went through Biochemotherapy for 18 months in November of 2006 when I went to stage IV. I did 6 months of IL-2 with Cisplatin, Vinblastine, Carboplatin and Temodar. The remaining 12 months were high dose IL-2. I also had to self inject in between hospitalizations with IL-2 and Leukine.

       

      It was not easy in the least. All the side effects my oncologist mentioned, I got.

      One kind of funny thing was that my doctor said that the average patient loses 20 pounds, and I was determined that I would not be the average patient. When I was home and feeling hungry, I had serious cravings for Taco Bell and Chipotle, and I maybe lost 5 pounds.

      I finished treatment in March of 2008, during the treatment I lost my mom to cancer. But here it is in 2010, the Biochemotherapy completely shrunk my tumor away. I know I am one of the lucky ones. I just celebrated my 50th birthday in August, and I would do this over again in a heartbeat.

      I was lucky to meet Christina. We have the same doctor and I hope that she experiences the progress that I have. Please keep us posted. There is hope!

      Suzanne from California

      Loading spinner
      Erica A
      Participant

      My husband was Stage IV when he did bio-chemo (details are in my profile).  I am not going to lie, it was a brutal treatment – but Ken is now NED 5.5 years and he would do it again in a heartbeat.  The good part is that due to Ativan my husband hardly remembers any of it.  Set your mind to it and you can do this if you feel it is the best treatment option for you. 

      Erica & Ken

      Loading spinner
      Erica A
      Participant

      My husband was Stage IV when he did bio-chemo (details are in my profile).  I am not going to lie, it was a brutal treatment – but Ken is now NED 5.5 years and he would do it again in a heartbeat.  The good part is that due to Ativan my husband hardly remembers any of it.  Set your mind to it and you can do this if you feel it is the best treatment option for you. 

      Erica & Ken

      Loading spinner
Viewing 15 reply threads
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
About the MRF Patient Forum

The MRF Patient Forum is the oldest and largest online community of people affected by melanoma. It is designed to provide peer support and information to caregivers, patients, family and friends. There is no better place to discuss different parts of your journey with this cancer and find the friends and support resources to make that journey more bearable.

The information on the forum is open and accessible to everyone. To add a new topic or to post a reply, you must be a registered user. Please note that you will be able to post both topics and replies anonymously even though you are logged in. All posts must abide by MRF posting policies.