Q: Will I have any side effects?
A. Side effects vary from person to person, and different treatments have different side effects. Some of the most common side effects are alopecia (hair loss), low blood counts, nausea and/or vomiting, fatigue and mucositis (mouth sores or tenderness). If appropriate, supportive medications, therapies or integrative medicine will be suggested by your care team. FVHO has all of these capabilities on-site, so additional travel will rarely be required.
Q: Will I lose my hair? Will it grow back?
A. If you do experience hair loss or thinning, it may be noticeable as soon as the second or third week after your first treatment of chemotherapy. It may happen suddenly or slowly and in an uneven pattern. FVHO employs a licensed cosmetologist in our Happy Heads Salon, who specializes in hair loss and in options to maintain your lifestyle. In almost all cases of chemotherapy-induced hair loss, your hair will resume growth after your treatment is completed.
Q: How do I reach my doctor?
A. You may reach us by telephone 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling (920) 749-1171. If the office is closed, you will reach our answering service, who will contact the doctor on call. One of our FVHO doctors will return your call. Non-urgent calls can best be handled during office hours. We are open Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday and holidays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. If you are having a problem, please call as soon as possible so that, if necessary, we can schedule an appointment for you. If you feel this is an emergency, please call 911.
Q: Why do I need blood work drawn?
A. Low blood counts are a common side effect of most chemotherapy treatments. Your provider and nurse practitioner will want to assess your blood counts before giving you your chemotherapy. If your blood counts are too low, your provider may want to readjust the dosage of your chemotherapy or hold it until your blood counts recover.
Q: Can my family and friends come with me to treatment?
A. We encourage you to bring your support team with you to treatment. It is very helpful to have multiple people ask questions of our care team, and to take notes to review when you return home.
Q: Can I take my other medications while undergoing treatment?
A. Unless told otherwise by your doctor, continue to take any previously prescribed medications, and please inform your care team of these medications and of any dietary supplements. Many over the counter medications are safe to take during treatment, such as those for constipation, diarrhea and indigestion.
Q: Can I drive after treatment?
A. We recommend that you have someone drive you to your first and second treatments. From there you can assess your ability to drive after treatment.
Q: Are there any particular foods that will improve the effectiveness of my treatment or minimize side effects?
A. FVHO has dietitians on staff who are available to provide nutrition counseling. Some side effects are caused by certain treatments and may not be improved by eating various foods. Our dietitians stay up to date with the latest research and will provide advice on the best options for your care.
Q: What should I do if I’m having trouble coping with my diagnosis?
A. FVHO focuses on a holistic approach to care encompassing physical, spiritual and mental health. FVHO offers social workers and licensed counselors as a part of our care team to assist you with any help that is needed. Further, FVHO coordinates, sponsors and hosts many local and on-site support groups for our patients. Your Patient Navigator can assist you in connecting with the right support group.
Q: Can I go to the dentist or have my teeth cleaned?
A. Ask your doctor or nurse practitioner when the best time would be for you to see your dentist while undergoing treatment. The answer will vary from individual to individual.
Q: What can I do to preserve my fertility?
A. If this is a priority for you, please notify your care team before beginning treatment. There may be options available to you which can be explained by your care team.
Q: What will my treatment cost?
A. Our Financial Counselors will work closely with you to ensure that your insurance benefits are maximized. All insurance claims and charges will be handled by our business office. FVHO works with more than 18 non-profit foundations, as well as over 20 pharmaceutical patient assistance programs, to help provide support for costs not covered by your insurance carrier. We also offer in-house programs for patients, such as arranging economical payment plans.
Q: Whom does FVHO collaborate with?
A. The best part of obtaining your treatment with FVHO is that your care is provided close to home. However, that does not mean that you are sacrificing anything. Our providers maintain collaborative relationships with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and with Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin. Our physicians participate in research studies with these institutions, as well as participate in patient case study reviews. In some cases, your providers have graduated from these institutions and obtained their training there. Rest assured, that if your treatment plan is best served by collaboration of these specialists, their counsel will be obtained. If our providers do recommend that you be treated outside of the Fox Valley, you will know that it truly is your best option.
Q: Can I participate in a clinical research trial?
A. Studies conducted by FVHO typically involve the possibility of adding additional therapies to the existing “gold standard” treatment, and measuring for additional effectiveness. Fox Valley Hematology & Oncology offers clinical research opportunities to all of our patients who qualify. Our in-house research team will go through all the clinical trial requirements and allow you to make the final decision.
Q: Will I have any side effects?