February 2024 chemo starters

How is everyone doing in here? I can’t believe we’re almost in June already. It feels like we were just in March and everyone had just started chemo. I’m SO ready for it to be June 21st (well, realistically speaking - the 26th because that’s when I’m likely to start feeling better after the FINAL round of chemo).

I just was in to see my oncologist today. Had an ultrasound last week and the woman doing the ultrasound told me there was no change, which sent me into a bit of a tailspin. The doctor asked me if I had been told about my results and I was like, yeah, no change and she looked at me like, what? That’s not what it shows on your ultrasound at all. There’s a reduction in size of the tumour and there’s much less inflammation around the tumour which are all positive signs.

I’m cleared for chemo number 6 tomorrow, even though my liver levels are pretty elevated - they’re still within range for my dose of docetaxel, so that’s good.

Hopefully you all are doing well and getting to see the light at the end of the tunnel!

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Hi @kartoffel , hi everyone

Agreed, it’s nuts that it’s June. Although it feels interminable, on the other hand, we all started chemo in February and now here we are just a few weeks off finishing it. Personally, the wading through mud feeling ended once I had been told that the cancer hadn’t spread and was therefore primary cancer. Which coincided with me switching to Royal Marsden and after that, time sped up to its usual speed again. We have got a long weekend booked in West Wittering in 2 weeks time and then I’ve got a Classic Ibiza show booked for mid-July that my friend organises. I figured that it will be in the open air so I shouldn’t catch any bugs and I will have finished chemo by then so the plan is to go and dance the night away. (Knowing that it’s only a 20 minute drive home if I’m buggered by 9:30pm!) But my point is that I now have two events booked to carry me through this last month and then it’s a bit of recovery time before the mastectomy.

That must have been horrible hearing the ultrasound woman saying there was no change @kartoffel . I do feel quite strongly about medical staff dashing hopes to the rocks. Hope is all we have at some points in this journey and to have people repeatedly dash it while others restore it, has made me realise how important it is to do the latter. I will never destroy any cancer sufferers hope for as long as I live. It is essential to keep hope alive. As it turns out, she shouldn’t have even said it at all as she was ill-informed and incorrect.

My liver levels are also elevated but not sufficient for chemo not to go ahead. Let us plough on. Liver recovers. Mine has certainly taken a thrashing over the years. This is nothing on some of the tequila sessions I used to put it through!

Love to all,

xx

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Congrats on finishing chemo hope the final one went as well as it could @kartoffel

It does seem to have gone over a lot quicker than I was expecting despite all of the side effects and hospital visits and ups and downs we have shared it’s great that we are almost there and having everyone on our monthly thread sharing experiences and support has been invaluable :grin:.

Bloods for me tomorrow and final chemo Wednesday if my liver levels are ok :crossed_fingers:t2:.

@salbert sounds like you have some lovely events planned over the next few weeks.

I’m hoping to have a catch up with our ‘couples’ friends mid July - it’ll be the first time I’ve seen them since I started chemo so I am really looking forward to that and I’ve also got an afternoon tea planned with my school friends (I refer to them as school friends even though we’re all in our forties :joy:) so again that should be a great catch up.

It feels good to be looking that bit further forward and planning on getting out with friends and having just a bit of normality :smile:.

Hope this coming week is a good one for everyone Xx.

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@kitty77 I wish I was done with chemo, still got one to go on the 21st! I think chemo brain is impacting my communication skills… :crazy_face:

@salbert It was pretty upsetting, but luckily I got ahold of one of the breast care nurses straight away who explained that not getting bigger is also a good outcome. I was ok with that until I got the liver results and then was like, SHIT - not only is it not getting any smaller but also thinking treatment is going to be delayed because of the elevated ALT levels. Sounds nice that you’ve got a few things in the calendar to look forward to and good planning to have an easy trip home in case of exhaustion.

I’m still trying to think what I want to plan for my break in between chemo & surgery. I booked a few things for the end of the year - our usual trip to Christmas at Kew Gardens and a concert for one of my favourite bands. Haven’t seen them in about 20 years so that should be a fun blast from the past.

We’ve also been looking at puppies lately because I’m missing having a little dog around. I think this time we’re going to have to avoid a rescue pup because I can’t go through what we went through with Oscar again. It’s so hard finding good, responsible breeders though! We know we’re not ready to get one now, looking at getting one towards the end of this year or early next year depending on when we can find one but its hard to find info about breeders that might have litters then! Anyone know any good terrier/dachshund breeders in the SE England? :blush:

Oh sorry @kartoffel I thought that was you done, I’m also definitely suffering from chemo brain!!

I think I’m a chemo ahead of everyone now as I missed one of my 3EC’s because of the reaction I had so only having five of the six recommended. My champagne is chilling in the fridge although I’ll be waiting a few weeks after the last docetaxal to open it to make sure I can enjoy the taste :joy::champagne:

Xx

@kitty77 yeah, definitely want to enjoy that champagne! It’d be such a waste to have anything that tastes nice while the docetaxel is killing your taste buds. Probably also for me, it would be a good idea to let the liver recover a little bit as well after finishing chemo… :joy: Roll on July!

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Isn’t it great to be able to think about plans to see friends again. We’d better all go easy on the alcohol. After all this time without it, we’ll probably all be sloshed after a couple of glasses and I for one, do not trust myself where a wig and alcohol are concerned!

@kitty77 Let us know if you get to finish on Wednesday so we can celebrate with you. I’ve got 5 left, hoping to finish on 4th July if my liver allows it and I can tell you that it is 31 days away. Not that I’m counting or anything.

@kartoffel We have actually been looking for a rescue dog over the last couple of weekends!! You have given me a reminder that you do need to be very careful when doing it. My main problem is my 18 year old cat. We are both hankering after another dog after losing our old boy in February, despite what we said about giving ourselves time before getting another. It’s strange to be without one if you’ve always had one.

My leg stubble has sprouted and stopped, by the way. Still, it’s encouraging.

Happy Monday, all.

x

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@salbert I’ll probably only need a sip before I’m hanging from the rafters, swinging my wig about… :joy: Apparently there’s enough alcohol in the docetaxel to make it so you should’ve be driving after treatment, but I don’t think that will have done much to help my alcoholic tolerance. I have been trying a lot of non-alcoholic alternatives, some of which are quite nice so I’m not even sure I’ll still have a taste for the real deal.

Maybe you can bring a dog home for a trial with your cat? It’s hard when you’ve already got an animal at home (especially an 18 year old that’s probably a bit set it in its ways) to find a new one that gels with it. I’m sure there’s a perfect pup out there for you, you just need to find it.

My head hair has started growing back a little bit after the last docetaxel - I noticed that the parts that had been shiny and bald behind my ears now have a little bit of downy stubble. I’m hoping at least some of that will stick around. :crossed_fingers:

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Why not plan a meet up for when you are all done (do it on a private WhatsApp group) not on here tho. Our Oct 17 gang had a weekend in London together :heart:gave us all something else to look forward to :heart::two_hearts::two_hearts::sparkles::sparkles:Shi xx

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Funny you should mention the non-alcoholic alternatives @kartoffel . I started a non-alcoholic Pinot Grigio in my sunny garden yesterday. It was bloody awful! The J20 Strawberry and Orange Blossom Mojito mocktail was certainly a lot more palatable, just a bit pointless. You can probably tell that I have always had a great relationship with alcohol and I think we are missing each other.

That is super encouraging to hear that you have started to grow some head hair back. I cannot wait to see that happen. Although I don’t think I will be ditching the wigs and hairpieces anytime soon. I love them too much. :smile:

@Shi I wondered whether anyone did that. I’d be up for it. It would be great to meet everyone and celebrate getting through this time together.

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Oh yes lots of the threads have, us Oct17 still speak everyday and we did the pink ribbon walk together too, hire big houses and get together a few times a year too​:+1::two_hearts::two_hearts::sparkles::sparkles:Shi xx

@Shi That’s great that you are all still in touch. I love that you have forged such a bond through this experience.

Did everyone see this yesterday? I think it is good news. Breast cancer: New blood test can predict return, researchers say - BBC News

Even more chance of zapping these little mutant ******* if they rear their ugly heads again.

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I’m up for it as well :+1:

I can set up a WhatsApp group if people want to DM their numbers.

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I’ve yet to find a good non alcoholic wine, the ones I’ve tried taste more like weird juice. There was one of the Wednesday wines bubbles that tasted ok, but I don’t think I’d buy it again. Non alcoholic beer is much more palatable and similar to the real deal and I’ve found some nice non alcoholic shandy/radler type drinks that are very refreshing on a warm summer day.

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I will let you’s know if I’m on for final chemo - all depends on the liver bloods again. I have a call with oncologist on Wednesday morning so will find out then.

I’m definitely up for having a WhatsApp group to keep in touch once we’re all through chemo and treatment - great idea :grin:.

@salbert, 18 is a really good age for a cat - we had two ragdoll cats that got to 16 and 17 we got Max (our dog) when we still had both cats and they tolerated him quite well even though he harassed them when he was a pup!! They were really laid back cats though.

@kartoffel my hair has started to grow back too which I was quite surprised about, I thought the Docetaxal would be as harsh on it as the EC was!! My husband likened my scalp to a tennis ball, you know when they get a bit fluffy :joy: it’s quite a good description of how it looks at the moment I’m just hoping it continues to grow :blush:.

Xx

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@kitty77 haha it does look a bit like a new tennis ball. Fingers crossed it just keeps growing! How are your brows/lashes doing? Those have been the biggest casualty of docetaxel for me. My brows are getting thin and it’s starting to cause trouble with the facial recognition on my phone… :joy:

@kartoffel my brows have almost gone now they are super thin - i look like I’m stuck in the 90’s trying to recreate the thin brow trend :laughing: the tattoo stickers I got are great though, just take a bit of practice to get straight but I’m managing with them!!

My eyelashes are fading fast too, I was more upset about those than my hair as I had really long thick lashes :confused: but hopefully they will come back eventually. I do have false lashes but haven’t tried this yet - I’m a walking charade with my wig and eyebrows as it is!!!

I’m struggling with my wig in the warm weather too - it makes my head sweat really bad, does anyone else have this issue? I can manage for a couple of hours but then have to take it off!!

Xx

Hello everyone!

I‘ve been down with a chest infection but it looks like my body has managed to recover and off we go, chemo number 6! Time indeed flies by, can’t believe it’s June. I still need to fix the date for my surgery in September but the end is indeed approaching. My tumor is now down to 1cm x 1cm and I hope for a full response by the end of 8 cycles.

Congratulations @kitty77 on finishing chemo! Well done everyone for hanging in there.

On the non-alcoholic drinks, I have been into non-alcoholic beer. Sometimes my husband and I just go to a nearby pub and get one. It feels almost back to normal. We have also been cold brewing green tea infused with flavour (like peach or lemon), it is delightful when it gets warmer. My husband and I are really into wine (did wine courses, visited wineries, all that) and hopefully we can start doing it again when I get better. We don’t drink much but I do miss a bottle of nice wine.

I’ve planned a trip to my uni town to an alumni event which is nice but I’m a bit concerned now, because none of my uni friends know that I’ve got BC (we’re not that close). They may not notice my wig but it does get awkward sometimes. I’m still looking forward to the trip though.

I think I’ve mentioned previously that I haven’t told my parents about the BC. I’ve got the BRCA1 mutation and it looks like I’ve inherited it from my father, as my mum has been healthy but my father had kidney cancer at the age of 55 (all was good, he now enjoys life with one kidney). He is now 70 and it looks like his prostate may have an issue, which is common for men with the BRCA1 gene (but he doesn’t know he has it). My dad is having a biopsy today and I’m really worried. Fingers crossed all is well.

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I’ve not drunk any alcohol since starting chemotherapy I couldn’t stand the taste of my favourite red wine or g&t.

I’ve tried many awful non alcoholic wines. I do like a bit of nozecco from Tesco or Kylie does a lovely sparkling rose. I haven’t found red I like yet!

As far as gin alternatives, I love Everleaf and can make mocktails. I’ve tried Whitley Neill Rhubarb and Ginger is was nice, I found the flavoured versions better to taste.

I even went old school and bought a Sodastream.

I have also tried Mother Root which contains apple cider vinegar, I find it quite strong so only have one. https://www.motherroot.london/

This is supposed to be a good alternative but also give you the buzz that alcohol does with out the side effects. I’ve not tried it yet but it’s on my list next.

I have no affiliation with any of these companies and have purchased myself (except sentia).

I found these make you feel like you’re having a drink/joining in instead of having lemonade or coke.

You are all doing amazing.

Hope it helps :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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