August 2016 Starters

Hi all,


I thought it might be an idea to start a thread for anyone starting their chemo in August as we’re rapidly approaching the end of July.  I’m sure there are already some who know they are starting soon and others will no doubt be joining before the month is out.


I’m part of the June contingent and am just about to have my 3rd FEC.  Please take a look at the other threads  as we’re only a few steps ahead of you and everyone is very happy to help.  Having a group go through at roughly the same time you are is really helpful.


All the best,

Belle x

Hi , im starting 4th August fec-t and herceptin to follow be good to share experiences and worries  with others x

Hello all, ?
I have not got a start date yet, but will be early August.
I have had a MX no reconstruction.
I will be having 6 rounds 3 weeks apart and herceptin then hormonal treatment and possibly radiotherapy.

V x

Hi ladies,


Great to see you here already. This is a very long post, sorry - but I hope it is of help to you.

The information has come from an old and long thread but it is still a useful list as you are approaching your treatment. This list was started by Princess, reposted in 2008 and most recently updated by Sue H-S who is often around and part of the May 2016 group.  A big huge thanks to all the contributors who have added their tips over time.

For the Gums: 

Ensure you see your dentist before commencement of treatment to get everything sorted, including Hygienist. It will ensure your mouth is in a healthy state and may help to reduce some side effects.

  • Bonjela
  • Corsodyl daily for x 3 and Corsodyl normal for 1 (dentist recommended), mouthwash should not contain alcohol
  • ultra soft bristle brush/baby toothpaste
  • Aloe Vera based toothpaste, Beverley Hills gum strengthening toothpaste

For the mouth: 

  • Gelclair, salt water wash, Oraldene, tonic water, Difflam mouthwash
  • Aloe dent lip balm with lysine (good for cold sores also),Nivea Lip butter – try to ensure the lip balm is paraben free, especially if you have a hormone receptor positive diagnosis.

Bad taste: 

  • pineapple (fresh/chunks/drinks/lollies) - Haribo (not Tangtastic) - celery, mints, fresh fruit, pear drops, cola cubes, sherbet lemons

Water tasting odd: 

  • flavoured/sparkling water, fruit squash, fruit infusers



  • Ginger (Rochester Ginger drinks (Holland & Barrett, Tesco Nurticentre and on-line stores) ginger beer, biscuits, sweets, fresh ginger)
  • smaller, regular meals
  • V8 vegetable juice
  • Manuka honey with hot water and peppermint oil
  • Slippery elm powder mixed into natural yoghurt
  • Banana for early morning with the anti-sickness tablet
  • Flavoured/green tea if can’t face milk or dairy products in tea (dairy – if you can go organic should you have hormone receptive diagnosis)

Light bites suggestions

  • cream cheese and bread sticks
  • Nothing spicy
  • Flat lemonade
  • Plain biscuits
  • Banana/peanut butter sandwiches
  • Travel bands/anti sickness bands (Poundland cheaper than Boots) - be careful with arm that’s had lymph nodes removed if using these, they may be too tight.

General Wellbeing/During Chemo: 

  • Carry your card and thermometer with you all the time and keep bag packed
  • Get a medical alert bracelet or neckless if you had a sentinel node biopsy or node clearance stating no BP/IV (either RT arm or LT arm depending on which side the procedure was done) Lymphedema Risk
  • Chemo Caddy  – see below
  • Pin up emergency numbers where everyone can see them – who to contact and when
  • Check with your consultant who to phone at evenings and weekends
  • Store emergency numbers in your phone
  • Digital thermometer if not given one by hospital (Poundland cheaper than Boots)
  • Drink LOTS of fluid before and after chemo - Lucozade for energy - Light meal before chemo
  • If having CMF and nose issues when Chemo being administered then sweets or lolly , ice lolly to suck during (small cool bag also recommended to keep lollies frozen)
  • Bath pillow (helps prevent cold bald head on cold bath)
  • Don’t take steroid dose after 2pm (awake/energised at wrong times), best time is in the morning
  • Eat fruit when you need to eat whilst/before taking tablets
  • Avoid alcohol for 2/3 days after chemo
  • Keep out of direct sunlight, ensure you have paraben free suntan lotion with SPF50 zinc oxide based and BB cream or make up with SPF
  • To avoid risk of infection – try to avoid un-pasteurised dairy products, wash veggies, meat properly cooked
  • Accept help wherever offered!
  • Prepare/buy nice food in advance for bad days

Sleep when you can

  • Fresh air - Exercise - Laughter - Ask for help if really sick! Talk to you GP for additional drugs!
  • Runny nose through loss of nose hair – tissues!
  • V-pillow
  • Check and see if GP can refer you to local leisure centre for cheaper use of fitness suite and swimming pool.
  • Constipation - breakfast of high fibre cereal/fruit smoothie/prune juice/Senna tablets
  • Sore Eyes
  • Boots hay fever relief drops
  • Cooling/chill eye mask
  • General eye mask to block light if affected


  • gel pads (stick on kind used for infants/migraine)

Dry skin/rashes/spots from Taxol

  • gentle moisturiser for hands and feet (Paraben free)
  • drink lots of juice and water but leave spots on face alone as skin sensitive

Hair loss/head coverings 

  • buffs
  • baseball cap
  • sleep caps, scarves, bangs, eyebrows, eyelashes, wigs etc
  • don’t wash it too often, use baby shampoo
  • Eylure great for brow stencils and brow pencils, false lashes, etc.
  • Amazon for real hair stick on ‘brow wigs’
  • Chemo bag  Keep a bag packed in case of emergency hospital visit and to take on chemo days. Pyjamas, warm socks, clean knickers, wash bag with spare toothpaste and brush, face wipes, mirror, tissues, bag of pineapple pieces, anti-bacterial hand gel, book, ear plugs.
  • A basket with a handle (previously from delivery of pot plants) with everything needed in it so that you can have it by the bed upstairs or carry it down to crash in front of TV.

Chemo Caddy 

  • A basket with a handle (previously from delivery of pot plants) with everything needed in it so that you can have it by the bed upstairs or carry it down to crash in front of TV. (A bum bag has been suggested as keeps both hands free and no restrictions on your shoulders and particularly Snugpak Response Pak (online) as “tested in war, never beaten” and big enough to take a tool kit/chemo caddy or chemo bag).


  • Edibles – ginger biscuits, minty chewing gum, root ginger to nibble.
  • Treats – nice hand cream, chocolate, octopus shaped back massager, nail cream, buffer.
  • Essentials – tissues, glasses, lip salve, bottle of water, straw (in case can’t lift head from pillow), little bell (to summon family to fetch/make tea)

Once again, all credits to the ladies who have added to this making it an invaluable reference tool and thanks to Princess for starting it!


Hope this helps :slight_smile:

B x



Thank you Bell
I had came across this list a few weeks ago but never saved it. I have been searching for it the last few days! So fantastic you must have read my mind. Very helpfull x

I’m starting early August (no date as yet). 4 rounds of TC with herceptin followed by tamoxifen. I’ve had lumpectomy and SNB with nodes clear. It’s all a bit scary more so due to the fact we don’t know what to expect I suppose. This will be really helpful to speak to others going through the same xx


my first post,but lots of looking around…


I don’t have a date yet but I go tomorrow for my pre assessment for a walk around the oncology and meet the team and discuss my treatment plan. I know I will be having 6 sessions over 4months 3weeks apart followed by daily sessions of radiotherapy for 3 weeks. I’m 4 weeks post op from lumpectomy and feeling OK,  however I am so scared of going through chemo. I was hoping not to but cancer has spread to lymph nodes.


I have found so much support on this forum and thank you all for your encouragement and kindness.


Julie xx

Hi Arnie,
I hope your seroma settles down soon. I had my MX on the 16th June . I had a hematoma and then infection. So if it is red or getting any more painfull let your nurse know soon as . I went back in to hospital for another few days to get iv antibiotics. I also have had a large seroma like you. I have had it drained 3 times but at last seems to have settled. Just a bit puffy now. ?
Take care get lots of rest. Vx

Hi can i join you?started my first chemo last monday and a bit all over the place physically and mentally.good day yesterday but had to cancel my what would have been strenuous holiday today so not so good today x

Good luck to all you ladies.  I was standing in your shoes this time last year.  Just wanted to reassure you that chemo is usually not as bad as you think, although it can have its moments of course, it’s more an endurance test in feeling a bit rubbish in many small ways, rather than one big awful scary thing.  The things most people get are mainly individually manageable & you won’t get them all at the same time.  Most of us did have good weeks where we felt perfectly OK & managed to live life pretty much as normal, albeit not with our hairstyle of choice!  I was on FEC-T & the first few days were challenging, but after that most people see a gradual improvement from day 4 or 5.  Please don’t be scared of the actual chemo being administered (we all were nervous the night before), once the cannula is in, it’s pretty straightforward & a nurse sits with you chatting the whole time.  Mine told me all about her online dating exploits & had moved in with the fella by my last one! You feel a bit spacey after, so if you can get a lift home, that would be useful.  Then you just gave to sit & wait for something to happen.  Everyone’s different, but most had morning sickness (feed with carbs/ask for aprepitant from the outset if at all travel/anaesthetic sick), constipation (take Senna on the day to stop it), indigestion (gaviscon), headaches (invest in some soluble ones that go under your tongue in case you are feeling sickly), chemo brain (watch out when you’re driving/cooking as we are easily distracted on steroids), sore mouth (difflam/boots dry mouth mouthwash/swill with soluable aspirin) & bad taste (elderflower).  A few got neutropenia (take temp regularly/call the helpline if at all worried/carry antibacterial gel), but that was the minority.  Put onicolife drops or horses hoof on your nails 3 times a day right from the start. Final word of advice: drink for England day before, day of & day after chemo.  It makes all the difference to SEs. Huge hugs & best of luck with it all. xx

Bibi44, thanks for that really positive post. I had 1st chemo last Tuesday, and since yesterday have started to feel so much better. Not up to full par, but awful nausea and retching and flu-like feelings all gone. So hopefully as you state, once you get the first 4-5 worse days over you, things start to improve. Before you start chemo, you cannot even begin to imagine what it would be like. I was actually thinking I would be ill the 3 weeks until the next session.
Just a query about the Onicolife drops you mention. Can you use them and then put nail polish on. Or did you not wear nail polish. I like my nails painted.
I hope you are doing well now X

Hi Alex Well done on getting your first one done & glad you’re beginning to feel a bit better. I think it’s important to know it will go away, because we can all put up with something if it’s just a few days.  You can put nail varnish over the top, but obviously you have to do your nails yourself, because you need to take off at the end of the day to put some more on overnight.  I found some really nice non toxic nail varnish/remover by Benecos & it was just as good as my usual stuff.  Onicolife is from Mosaic on line & is quite expensive c.£15, but one small pot lasts a while (some places give it to you like a chemo take home prescription, but not the Marsden where I am).  If that’s out of your budget, Horses Hoof is about £6 for a big pot or Dada oil about £4. People’s nails get awfully dry & start cracking or lift (vile right?), but I was a bit freaked out by the idea of that, so my BCN recommended what I have told you & mine have been normal throughout, although now have a few more vertical ridges than before.  Not sure if they will go eventually.  Hope so! FEC didn’t seem too bad for nails but the T is.  She also said keep nails a bit shorter than usual if you can on the T & keep your hands as dry as poss, so use rubber gloves in the kitchen.  Sorry for another long post xx

Hello girls - I would like to join in. I have no start date as yet because I am having a CT scan before I begin  but my regime is TCH x 6 and then Herceptin injected into the thigh every 3 weeks for a year. The bit that scares me the most is having to inject myself with something to help the blood count. Nobody is more squeamish than I am but they say I will be fine because they will show me exactly what to do. I forget the name of it but 2 to 3 days after chemo I have to inject myself in the belly every day for 7 days.


I have ordered some of the expensive nail drops someone mentioned.

Hello ladies, I initially joined the July thread as I was due to start my chemo on 7 July, but this was delayed due to an infection.  I see on this thread that some ladies have had seroma’s.  I too had a seroma under my arm, which was extremely uncomfortable.  I had it drained three/four times, which did help initially.  I then got a nasty infection and I was on very strong antibiotics for two weeks.  Eventually things settled down have finished antibiotics last week  - I now have an appointment with Oncologist tomorrow and if he ok with everything am due to start Chemo.  Am extremely nervous as I am sure all you ladies are.  Although I find all the information on here helpful, no one knows really what to expect.  I have tried to gather as much information as possible, but I didnt know about Onicolife!  Now concerned that maybe I should buy some as my nails are dry before start treatment!!! Have any other ladies tried this on nails, I have purchased some Cuticle serum from M&S, should this be used in conjunctionwith Onicolife - can anyone advise?? 


Big hugs to all you ladies going through this journey



some brilliant tips already i have my list ready for shopping saturday , thanks ladies xx

Hi Blueash I put a bit of Emla cream on my leg an hour before Herceptin & you can’t feel the needle going in.  Might be worth a try for your bone marrow injections into your stomach, as you will probably more willing to stick a needle in yourself if it doesn’t hurt. I got it from Boots.  The other option to to get your practice nurse to do it, which I did. x

Hi everyone 


Found out I start FECT chemotherapy on the 11th August with pre assessment on the 8th August… thank you all who have gone through this, going through this and for posting and sharing your tips and experiences to help others like me…it’s so helpful and supportive… :slight_smile:


The appointment yesterday was a lot to take in but I came away with lots of information for support. 

I was told that I have to take my temperature regularly and that if I get a temperature it could be life threatening… scary stuff, I was also informed I have to inject myself with something at home after chemo but just can’t remember what she said now. I’m sure I will get the hang of it like we all do eventually…


Warm wishes to you all xx




Had my first Chemo , today feeling tried now , had it at 130 , had a light tea and drinking lots of water  ,  just having a hot flush , as l write , this.   Was really scared , but to be honest , had worse things  having other treatments , over the years , won’t be scared next time ,   Having six lots  , every three weeks  part that scares me is the , waiting for the side , effects , if and when they come , going to shave my hair of in a few days , didn’t want the cold cap , been reading things on here tips , ect which l will try ,  will share my journey on here with everyone , lots of love leexxxxxxxxx

Hi Charley and Madhatter,


Congratulations on having your first chemo! It gets the horrible anticipation feeling out of the way now you’ve got one under your belt.


Hope you both sleep well and have no or minimal side effects.


Hazel. x

Hi Charley and Madhatter hope you are both feeling well and not too many side-effects im also having fec-t 6 sessions and herceptin on 4th cycle …counting down to next thursday xx