docetaxol chemo & herceptin question...confused

Hi all. im currently having chemo to shrink my lump to try & enable a lumpectomy. ive had 3 fec so far. was meant to be 4 but was so ill they stopped it & started the T docetaxol. had 1 T & been very ill again. after seeing consultant after 3rd bad fecs she suggested stopping chemo & going in for mastectomy (this is assuming lump not shrunk much to enable lumpectomy) but then realised ive got to have herceptin as im her2+ so would need chemo after surgery as apparantly herceptin has to be started off with a chemo. so decided on trying the T chemo so can start herceptin (havent yet, awaiting muga scan) as it may shrink lump in meantime to enable lumpectomy. well like i say had 1 T & been v ill. the herceptin is meant to start on my next round of T but if i dont have it can i start herceptin anyway as only had T 3 wks ago?! Or does it have to be given within days of each other? Other question is do you have a drain fitted for a lumpectomy with no node involvement?? Do drains hurt to remove should i need a mastectomy? They petrify me!! Sorry long winded but hope someone can help x

Hi helenstevo,

I can’t answer the question on herceptin, but I can answer the question on drains. I, like you, was terrified (I mean REALLY terrified) of the thought of a drain prior to surgery. I knew I was having a mastectomy with full node clearance - at every appointment with my surgeon prior to the op I would ask him about drains and if they were really necessary. He was very non committal and say “sometimes we use them sometimes we don’t”.

Well the upshot is I woke up in recovery with 2 drains - one for the mastectomy site and one for the lymph node site (which you wouldn’t need if your nodes are clear). To be totally honest, they weren’t a problem at all. They weren’t painful, they were just a bit annoying to have to carry if I was getting out of bed.

I stayed in hospital one night and was discharged the following morning. They said that one of the could come out before I left - well that set me off into panic at how much it was going to hurt! Again, to my surprise, no pain! I don’t know what I was bracing myself for, but the nurse told me to take a deep breath and then slowly breath it - as I shut my eyes and did so, dreading the pain, she said “it’s out”. I actually then laughed at myself for building the whole thing up in my head - the reality of it was nothing like I’d imagined. I went home with 1 drain in and then popped back the following day to have it removed - much less anxious the second time! :slight_smile:

Anyway, I’ve waffled on, but just wanted you to know of someone who had a real phobia of drains and actually found out they’re not too bad at all.

Good luck with the rest of your treatment, hope you get your chemo sorted.

K x

Thank you for the reassurance. i panicked as a girl whos just had it removed said ut was painful so they removed it slowly for her. does anybody know if you have a drain with a lumpectomy?x



I had 6 doses of Tax and Carboplatin (no FEC) and started my Herceptin with the first dose. After the 6 doses I continued on Herceptin only. Some people with secondaries have Herceptin for life. It cannot be given at the same time as FEC but can be given at the same time as Tax. I really don’t know how many doses of Tax you have to have before you can have it on its own. Your oncologist will tell you this.


I had a lumpectomy and sentinal nodes removed (she took 4 nodes) and had no drain. I did ask her beforehand if I would have a drain. She said it was unlikely, but occasionally it is necessary.


Hope this helps, and good luck with whatever you end up having. xxx

Hi ,i have to start fec-t too in 3weeks and am also her2pos. Im not quite up with it all and still learning at the moment but i was told my herceptin would start in the middle of my chemo 3rd one in ,im having 6 rounds!!He said i would be in for the day when they first give it to observe me. I had a mastectomy and the drain was no problem at all,didnt hurt and i never felt it when they took it out. I had it in one night only.Soz to hear you have been so unwell with the chemo,all the best and really try not to worry if you need a drain .x

Quick answer to Jill, yes, feeling cold and shivery is quite common after Herceptin. I’m finding it gets less as you go on (10 out of 18 done). A friend gave me a wheat bag with a Mr Fox cover, so he goes in and out of the microwave for the first couple of days. Very comforting!

Hi I can’t help with herceptin but I had drain after 2nd op to remove lymphs and I promise you it was not bother apart from having to carry it! Also, I didn’t feel a thing when nurse removed it.
It’s interesting how fec and tax affect different people, I hated fec with a passion as made me feel weak but I liked tax as was able to drive every day whereas was too weak to drive for 7 days after fec!
Best if luck with operation etc. it’s a great feeling when you wake up from op and realise cancer has been removed! Xx