February 2021 Chemo Starters


This thread is for anyone due to start chemotherapy this month.  I’m sure others will be here soon but please introduce yourself and you can all help one another through this phase of your treatment.  If you have any questions please post away on here and others in the community will watch over you whilst you are getting started.  Once you are into it you’ll be pretty good at helping each other.  You can also ask the nurses on this forum if you have any concerns.  In the meantime, the top tip is always to stay well hydrated throughout chemo, aiming for 2 litres of water per day and get a thermometer and check your temperature every day.

Here is the BCN guide on chemo:


Here are some apps which can help to keep you on track: 




I finished my chemo in October 2017 and doing very well again now.  Here is my story which has some chemo tips on how I coped which were collectively shared from others who had gone through the same from this forum:


If you decide to set up a private group its good to stay on here also during treatment as I know from experience there are some people who watch but don’t immediately pluck up the courage to join in.  Your conversations can be a real comfort to others.

If you’re new to the forum, here’s the “Getting Started” advice:


Hi everyone, I thought I’d join this forum as I start my chemo on 26/1. I am hormone Negative but HER2+ So will be having TCH on 3 weekly cycles and using cold cap, with Herceptin weekly. I’ve already had surgery, a therapeutic mammoplasty, where they removed a 3cm aggressive grade 3 but unfortunately they found DCIS in the margins so I will have a full mastectomy after my chemo. Happy to share my surgery experience and as I’ll prob be one cycle ahead of you lot, will share any tips on chemo. Loads of hugs everyone xx


Moving through the different topics - from recently diagnosed to having surgery and now here.

I went to my GP during England Lockdown 2.0 with an enlarged node so knew it was serious. Mx and ANC on 8 January. That’s going well - op was a breeze to be honest. Got a seroma (had problems with my drain so was still draining when it was taken out) but that has started to go down today - feel much comfier in the area. I was back at work yesterday after 2 weeks off. Any surgery type questions, do ask. 

Final results were: DCIS found as well as a 34mm grade 3, 31 out of 48 nodes infected, ER+ and Her-ve.

Got my plan this afternoon: 3 x EC and 3 Docetaxel with bisphosphonate intravenously. Fly in the ointment is that I had Hepatitis B 40 years ago and that could rear its head again. ? Consultant all over it though. Start in 2 weeks, exact date TBC.

By-passing the cold cap - looking forward to finally getting the platinum blonde rock chick hair that I strive for. My hair’s natural curly so one hint of fresh air and ping - so looking forward to that not happening. #EveryCloud Dreading other side effects. 

Then radiotherapy 15 lots I think (brain was full by then) with hormones for 10yrs and bisphosphonate tablets for 3 years. I’ve a bone scan on Thursday - should be OK as CT scan pre-op was clear. I also need to get to the dentist PDQ as my Christmas cake decided to take a bit of tooth out the other week.

We’ll do this. 


Hi all - so I’m 53 with bilateral NTS (ER+/PR+/Her2- and ER+/PR-/Her2+) and both tumors around 12mm but could be bigger once the MRI results in.  Onco’s external measuring for the Her2 one said around 3cm…eek!

I’ll be starting TCHP shortly (PICC line going in on Weds 3rd) - but still waiting to hear from chemo suite about exact start dates so assume will be a few days after PICC line

Going to be 6 cycles and after chemo will also have Herceptin jabs 3 weekly until Feb 2022.  First cycle going to be split over 2 days with the H&P first then the TC on day 2…afterwhich will be the full set for cycle 2 (although onco did say may drop the Perjeta).  He was also hopeful that as early stage the chemo ‘may’ shrink tumors considerably, and possibly even to microscopic levels (oh how I hope so!)

I will then have surgery (lumpectomies and mammoplasty) around 6 weeks post-chemo followed by rads 6-8 weeks after surgery.  So all being well, I’ll be done with active treatment around Aug/Sept 2021 (apart from the heceptin jabs and also going onto 5 years of Tamoxifen!)

Onco is aware of all my super-duper allergies as well as my asthma so guess I may also be getting antihistamines before each chemo session (as well as the dexamethasone, filgrastim injections for 7 days after each cycle and all the other side-effect meds!)…I’m going to be rattling!!

Had my Heart MRI yesterday so guess this is going to monitored quite a bit through treatment but don’t think I have any underlying heart issues, so fingers crossed.  Got the joys of a further breast MRI prior to last cycle too (could they have made the thing any more uncomfortable…my back ached for days afterwards and the contract dye nearly made me heave whilst in the bloody thing lol).

Anyway, I’m getting my head around it all and chemo for me is the most daunting bit…it’s all unknown as to how I’ll react to the treatments and other various drugs.  Surgery and rads I feel Ok about strangely.  Not sure about the Tamoxifen either as I’m nearly at menopause (currently peri) so guess they’ll switch it after a bit onto the postmenopause one (anastrozole??).

Trying to get everything prepared and ready before treatment starts and stocked up on a lot of personal care bits and pieces as well as notebook, diary, organiser for all the info and appt ltrs, etc.  So hoping I can get through the first phase of treatment with no serious complications…but not looking forward to the raft of side-effects I ‘may’ get.  Hoping they’ll be minimal but hope I’m prepared if they’re a bit more intense.

Take care all and hope your journey goes smoothly xx

Hi everyone,

After HER2+/ER+ diagnosis on 7th Jan following a call to my doctor a month earlier, I started six three weekly cycles of chemotherapy yesterday at Alnwick Infirmary in Northumberland. Surgery and radiotherapy likely to follow from June at Wansbeck General. Etc.

The team is wonderful - the care at my pre-assessment in Alnwick on Friday was excellent and I felt well looked after yesterday in the four seat unit. Thank you Barbara, in particular.

I am awake early due to the second of three days of steroid tablets. Waiting to see which side effects will appear first over the coming days and weeks.

Work (my part-time paid, current secondment, and voluntary trustee work) are all being very supportive. We’re experimenting with a rest week followed by a light working fortnight with good cover. Probably easier while working from home remains the norm, and during the first few cycles.

Cold cap has been withdrawn here recently due to the pandemic, but the ‘Lovely Locks’ team squeezed me in for a wig fitting on Saturday.

I hope to add more later today.

Thank you @CrazyCatLady  and @Gelbel  for your messages of support and welcome, and to all other Feb21 Chemo Starters for sharing your initial steps,

I am starting with six three-weekly cycles of Perjeta, Herceptin and Taxotere. These were given by cannula on Tuesday, with an anti-sickness drug. I started taking DulcoEase yesterday afternoon.

I am managing to drink 2 litres of water a day and walk between the kitchen and sofa for a few minutes each hour. My appetite has been OK so far.

I had my last steroid tablet for this cycle yesterday evening, so am hoping for a little more sleep tonight … but bracing myself for side effects over Friday and the weekend.

I haven’t decided whether to cut my hair ahead of time (above shoulder bob at the moment). I have a few hats, caps and headscarves gathered together for later in the month. I suspect that I will only wear my wig for a few key zoom meetings, but it is comforting to know that the two I selected during my consultation can both be picked up on Friday by my husband so that I can make a final decision here over the weekend.

I am 53, born and brought up in North Yorkshire, followed by c30 years in London, before moving to coastal Northumberland. I work in the charity sector - specialising in the overlap between climate change and investment. My trustee work often takes me to Scotland in more normal times.

Very best wishes to you all and especially those starting chemo today/tomorrow.

Morning all,

Best wishes for today @Gelbel  and thanks for all the research @CrazyCatLady  

I have found Sara’s book and website very useful: tickingoffbreastcancer.com

I read “Helen’s Melons” shortly after my diagnosis was confirmed, and have a copy of The Complete Guide to Breast Cancer by two doctors/survivors.

I have slept more now that the Mon-Weds steroids have worn off - a good nap yesterday afternoon and a much less disturbed night.

I’ll add more later in the day.

With love to you all as we face Friday’s challenges as the Feb2021 team,


Starting chemo on the 13th at the Christie in Manchester (x3 EC and X3 Docetaxol once every 3 weeks) with cold cap. No idea what to expect, as my oncologist (whom I have never spoken to!) got her colleague to do a telephone appointment that felt rushed and so unpersonal. However from what I understand the tumour has been removed, lympth nodes are all clear and the chemo is to prevent it coming back in the future and to zap any stray cells that have escaped undetected. 
So ladies, please feel free to let me know any tips and tricks that you have picked up after your first rounds. 
Hope everybody’s treatments are going as well as can be :slightly_smiling_face: xx

Hi there

Starting FECT treatment for 6 cycles on 12/2 so off to get my bloods and Covid vaccination on Monday. I am post surgery,

Cold-capping with shoulder length fine loop hair and considering fasting 36 hours Pre and 12 hours post treatment to reduce side effects.

anyone else exploring fasting regimes?

good luck all

Hi everyone

I am new to the site and one of the lovely ladies who replied to my post on the general chemotherapy forum suggested I come onto this one as I started chemo on 4th February.

I had a mastectomy in December and until my oncotype dx test was led to believe that radiotherapy was the most likely option for me.  I had this in my head with an end date in sight and was then devastated to hear that I would be getting chemo.  I have been told my the medics that this is my insurance policy as my cancer has been removed and this is to mop up any stray cells which may have escaped and they want to avoid them setting up home somewhere else.  I was hormone positive, HER2 negative and not in my lymph.

Had the first EC on 4 February.  I have to get 3 doses of this over 9 weeks and then 9 weekly doses of Paclitaxel.  I managed to tolerate the cold cap but it remains to be seen if this will help me keep any hair in the long run.  Wig and head coverings bought anyway.

Have felt very lacking in energy post treatment.  Appetite gone so am eating purely for fuel at the moment not because I am enjoying it.  Had a particularly rough couple of days during my low cell days (7-10) post treatment.  Dizziness, spasms of pain and heart going quickly.  Hopefully now though my cells will be starting to build up again.  Had to really psyche myself up to do the daily injections.

Anyway it’s lovely to be part of the group and thanks for all the advice so far.

Hi Ladies,

I started my Chemo in Feb but have only just come across this forum! I’m looking forward to chatting to you! It can be a very lonely place can’t it? 


Thank you for the lovely welcome,

It has been great to read all your posts, as terrible as it is that we are all going through this, selfishly, it is heartening to know we are not alone! my family have been so amazing but nobody can really understand until they have experienced the overwhelming nature of our situation. My poor husband keeps telling me it doesn’t bother him that I’m losing my hair, I have to take deep breaths to stop myself screaming “But it bothers me!!!”. At the moment I resemble something like a cross between Gollum and a Gremlin! In the beginning I envisaged my self, looking really cool, rocking the scarves and turban look…the reality is so different! I am actually considering a wig now!

I had my third cycle of EC last week and agree with a lot of you that the side effects are cumulative. I have one more this month and then on to the weekly one, (forget what its called) which I am really hoping is kinder!

All your positivity and endurance is inspiring!