Chemo Side Effects

Hi everyone,
I have just had my last chemo on NYE so am now 3 weeks post 3 x FEC and the 3 x taxotere. Yippee!
My legs have been very achy over the past few weeks and felt as if i have lead in my feet, going upstairs is now quite a task. My main concern is that i have to stop to rest half way up or at the top of the stairs as i become fairly breathless. I am fine whilst walking around, my chest is clear and i have no cough or other worrying symtoms. I had a chest x-ray a couple of months ago and all was clear.
I was wondering if anyone else has any suggestions as to what could be causing this, I am aware that anaemia could be the cause of this but then again i have also read that anaemia whilst having chemo increases your chances of re-occurance.
Hugs to all you brave women.
Stella

hi stellam,
i went to see a physio as part of a study i’m taking part in to do with diet and exercise - she expained to me that it takes your body 120 days to re-make a red blood cell, so this could explain the breathlessness as its these ones that carry the oxygen around as i understand it! Also if you were nuetropenic at all this would make it even worse.
I didn’t have tax but i’ve heard from others who are still suffering achey legs weeks after finishing.
Not sure about the risk of re-occurance with aneamia tho - thats a new one to me!
x

Yes - it just takes a long while to get the poison out of your body and for your ‘good’ cells to recover. I felt weak and got out of breath on the smallest slope- but gradually got better over the months - and I’m sure that taking as much exercise as you can manage( in my case just walking biking and swimming) certainly helped.

i agree topsymo, i was advised to start exercise really gently doing only warm up and cool down activities for first 4-6 weeks as joints and muscles are obviously a lot stiffer than pre-chemo and if we do too much too soon we will just ‘crash’ again…that puts paid to my plans of a cycling marathon in july!! just gonna be wii-fitting it in the meantime. The physio said swimming was the best form of exercise but to leave it about 6-8wks post chemo. (although rads might interfere with it too)

Hello I finished my chemo 4 AC/ 4Tax back in March 09 and it took me until end of Aug to get rid of the breathlessness. Swimming and aqua aerobics i found the best for the aching limbs. Though i still ache like buggery even now. My onc says the aching is also due to the lack of oestrogen , because chemo pushed me into the menopause. I have recently been in touch with a cancer charity and they encourage Tai chi i haven’t tried it yet but intend to give it a go. Another thing i found help loans was massage, some cancer centres offer complimentary massages and the whole process of relaxation seems to help the body cope and heal…and it feels bl**dy good xx
Pixielox…how you finding the Wii fit, I’m thinking of getting one
rhian xx

cancercounselling.org.uk/northsouth/extra4.nsf/WebResHarvey?OpenView&ExpandAll&Count=500

this has been posted before and is well worth reading

rx

Hi Stella

Good to hear you’ve finished your chemo. I finished mine in October and getting fitness and strength back has been a slow and gradual process for me. I go for a short walk every day and each day it gets a bit better.

3 weeks is no time at all and your blood counts will probably still be quite a bit lower than they were before starting any treatment. Also you’ve probably been less active over the past months whilst having chemo so you lose a bit of fitness too. You may also not have been eating so well etc

I’ve never heard that about anaemia and recurrance and it makes no logical sense at all. After all the purpose of chemo is to knock cells back and unfortunately the good ones get knocked back with the bad - I really wouldn’t worry about that.

Take care and please don’t be too hard on yourself
Elinda x

Hi Stella,

This is one of the things that no-one tells you when you’re having treatment, ie that some side effects can last a very long time after treatment stops. I now know that Taxotere is infamous for causing swollen, stiff and sore joints post chemo after I posted here with the same symptoms.

My Tax finished in August 09. Afterwards I had surgery and rads so recovery has been delayed by these but I still have very stiff joints, especially hands and feet. I exercise by walking my dog a bit further every day and although I’m still stiff the pain has eased over time. I also find that keeping warm and never allowing myself to get cold helps enormously. I’m hoping Spring will make things easier.

Take it slowly. Jan xxx

Hello ladies
Thank you everyone for helping to reassure me with this.
S

I finished chemo in July 2008 and started Tamoxifen immediately after. I felt like an 80 year old in the body of a 45 year old. My onc (who also happens to have breast cancer)suggested Glucosamine for joints aches last March.
It takes 6 weeks to take full effect and I am happy to say that after almost a year taking it, my joints do feel normal. (I don’t dare stopping it)
If you go that route, take the 1000mg once day rather than smaller dosis which you will have to take 2 or 3 times a day.

Hi Vercors
Did you have radiotherapy, if so did you take Tamoxifen at the same time or straight after it finished?
Please could you tell where i can buy Glucosamine?
Thanks
S

Hi there,
I was taking Tamoxifen while going through radiotherapy. I only saw recently some posts about whether one should stop Tamoxifen while doing rads. As I had no side effects from rad, I believe it was not an issue; but as always we are all unique aren’t we?

You can buy glucosamine in Boots or Holland and Barrat (spelling?).
I have been using Holland and Barrat’s, each box has four months worth of tablets. At about £19.00 a box, I look out for special offers 2 for the price of one and stock up.
I recently found their website, which seems cheaper than the shops. (I haven’t checked the price of package and posting though).

Stellam - i went for my rads planning last week and was told to start the Tamox after i finish rads, yet a lot of people on here seem to have it during rads…i guess its individual preference of oncs!
Pix

Hi all,
My biggest concern is that I have read somewhere that taking Tamoxifen whilst having rads scars your lung tissue… !!! Why doesn’t someone have some definate answers?
Hugs and thanks to all.
X

I started tamoxifen before I had rads and didnt have any problems at all, I wasnt aware of any advice at the time not to have it whilst being zapped. The tamoxifen did cause bad aches and pains (agree totally with vercors about having the body of an 80 year old in your 40’s!, getting out of bed in the morning was hard going!), but for me they did get better as the time went on, without any other treatment. It took me about 2 1/2years after rads had finished to get back to my pre-diagnosis fitness levels, but I did get back, and thats what we have to cling on to.
As with all this treatment we’re all going through, we have to remember that hopefully the healing and the benefits outweigh the side effects.
Good luck everyone!

K x

Hi

Another thing that might be worth checking out if you do not improve in a few weeks (and give yourself time) is getting a blood test for thyroid function, I was exhausted after Chemo and RADS and felt so ill, I came off Tamoxifen, (and was advised to start it after RADS),

I then went onto Arimidex even more pain and stiffness, but in between all this they discovered I had an under active thyroid. I am now on Aromasin, which I have been on for nearly a year. I too crawl around like a 80 year old, although I have noticed my legs are getting a bit better I finished RADS and Chemo in July 2008. It does take a long time, so be patient and nurture yourself.

X

katie - thanks for your insight there…i’ve been thinking i’ll never get back to where i was before but that has really encouraged me.

Stellam - my onc actually told me that my lungs could be scarred just as a result of the rads, but that it wouldnt be anything to really worry about, just that it would show up on xrays in the future.
x

I’ve started having physio as my ongoing back problem worsened during chemo. My physio has recommended taking the maximum dose of glucosamine with chondroitin. It’s not cheap but if it helps…

I started tamoxifen a few weeks before starting rads and there was no mention of any problems with scarring - this was at Brighton.
It is difficult though that there isn’t one set of advice and we’re getting told different things.

Stella hope you’re beginning to feel better and that the rads goes well.

Sarssquatty - I’ve been suffering with severe fatigue since finishing treatment on 18 December. What made them decide to check thyroid? I keep getting told that this fatigue is to be expected.

Elinda x

I have just finished 4 EC and now had the first Taxotere - this is something to make you smile. I put it together when I was struggling with the EC side effects, but I might have to review it for the Taxotere delights :wink:

On the first day of chemo these delights came to me

The most scary, bright pink pee!

On the second day of chemo these delights came to me

Total exhaustion and some more scary bright pink pee

On the third day of chemo, these delights came to me

A very queasy tum, total exhaustion, but no more funny pink pee

On the fourth day of chemo, these delights came to me

Very fuzzy head, one queasy tum, total exhaustion, but no more funny pink pee

On the fifth day of chemo, these delights came to me

A foul tasting mouth, very fuzzy head, queasy tum, total exhaustion,

but no more funny pink pee

On the sixth day of chemo, these delights came to me

Dreadful constipation, foul tasting mouth

very fuzzy head, queasy tum, total exhaustion, but no more funny pink pee

On the seventh day of chemo, these delights came to me

Clumps of hair a falling, dreadful constipation, foul tasting mouth

very fuzzy head, queasy tum, total exhaustion, but no more funny pink pee

On the eighth day of chemo, these delights came to me

Skin nerves a jangling, clumps of hair a falling, dreadful

constipation, foul tasting mouth

very fuzzy head, queasy tum, total exhaustion, but no more funny pink pee

On the ninth day of chemo, these delights came to me

Needless tears a falling, skin nerves a jangling, clumps of hair a

falling, dreadful constipation, foul tasting mouth, very fuzzy head,

queasy tum, total exhaustion, but no more funny pink pee

On the tenth day of chemo, these delights came to me

Clumsiness and stumbling, needless tears a falling, skin nerves a

jangling, clumps of hair a falling, dreadful constipation, foul

tasting mouth, very fuzzy head, queasy tum, total exhaustion, but no

more funny pink pee

On the eleventh day of chemo, these delights came to me

Grumpy bad temper, clumsiness and stumbling, needless tears a falling,

skin nerves a jangling, clumps of hair a falling, dreadful

constipation, foul tasting mouth, very fuzzy head, queasy tum, total

exhaustion, but no more funny pink pee

On the twelfth day of chemo, these delights came to me

Blood counts a dropping, grumpy bad temper, clumsiness and stumbling,

needless tears a falling, skin nerves a jangling, clumps of hair a

falling, dreadful constipation, foul tasting mouth, very fuzzy head,

queasy tum, total exhaustion, but no more funny pink pee!

feistybluegeckofightsback.wordpress.com/

FBG - that is just fantastic! Ohhhh, how we can all relate to that!
Very funny, well done :slight_smile:

K x