Dreading first chemo

So, I was diagnosed with the triple negative inflammatory breast cancer three weeks ago and I am trying to stay positive not just for me but for my husband and my 18 months old little boy. I was planning on keep working during the treatment even just to keep my head occupied. But my oncologist advised that it would be best for me to stay out of work and somehow this is now making me anxious and fear the first chemo. I know each people is different, etc etc but is there anything I could eat before the first chemo or bring with me on the first session that can help me get through it? Due to COVID I cannot bring anyone with me and I usually feel cold. Should I bring a blanket? Food? Drinks? Books? Anything that helped you guys feel “more prepared” to the first battle?

Thanks a lot!

I had 6 chemos last year - triple negative - 2 with buddies then 4 without as covid hit.

Be comfy and take layers in case - comfy blanket, fleece etc

A good book, a charged mobile - i had a virtual buddy for the last 4, water/drink and snacks.

I worked throughout as mentally it helped - it could be with a small child she is suggesting not to work so you arent doing too much and you can rest.

if your employer is supportive, perhaps see how you feel, adjust your hours etc.

Keep us posted



Hi Lori

So sorry you and your family have to go through this. Your oncologists was perhaps suggesting you wait and see. Your employer has already had to register you as disabled under the. Equalities Act 2010 (plus updates) so you have additional protection in the workplace. However, as you’ll se if you trawl the forums, we all react differently and there’s no predicting. Me (a LOT older), I was wiped out by EC and paclitaxel. I could never have done my job. But radiotherapy barely affected me. You’ll find others have different experiences so just wait and see what happens. After a few sessions, you’ll have some idea of whether your head is up to doing some work from home and if you’re fit to drive. But remember your immunity will be low and mixing at work is risky, very risky.

The chemo comprises about 30 minutes prep with antiemetic, antihistamine and steroid (be prepared for a whoosh when that goes in) plus saline. Then the chemo which you probably won’t feel. Then a saline flush of your system. On a good day, it takes about 2 hours? If you feel the cold, you can ask them for a heated blanket but it’s only small. Alternatively you could invest in a single Dreamland intelliheat blanket. I didn’t have one when I had chemo but it’s beyond bliss for comfort and taking off the chills. Dress in your most comfy clothes, like joggers, cosy socks, I’ve seen some people take their slippers! Joggers because if you need a pee, you have to take the whole IV system with you and you can’t be doing with zips and buttons. Make sure your non-affected side has sleeves that will roll up if necessary but usually they cannulate your hand. This means it’s hard to do anything like knitting, I found turning book pages hard so resorted to the kindle and scrapped the puzzle book.

You need water, some take ice but my bc nurse said unless the whole mouth was frozen, it was wasted effort. Sugar free sweets can help if you get a dry mouth. Dry biscuits if you have a dodgy tummy. Tea is served, as are sandwiches if you’re timed with mealtimes. It was nothing as I expected and was so manageable. I was so scared, my oncologist arranged a visit to the chemo suites and prescribed a sedative for my first few sessions. After the first, I had no fear.

There are loads of meditations and ‘hypnotherapy’ videos on YouTube which you can tune into with earphones or just listen to music or podcasts The hospital will have an internet you can log into. You can try sleeping but it’s hard because the machines keep bleeping if they’re close to finishing or there’s a blip. Not just yours, everyone’s in the suite. It can get quite lively.

Once you get home, you need to rest so make arrangements for childcare. It takes an emotional as well as a physical toll and you have to listen to your body.  The hospital will give you a goody bag of essentials - take the antiemetic and then you’ll feel more confident about eating a good meal. Small and often is recommended. Don’t get like I did and start losing weight. 

Wishing it all goes well for you and you are one of the lucky ones xx