Holiday after chemo

Hi all, I’d like some advice please…


I’m currently on FEC-T chemo: 6 cycles at 3-weekly intervals (well that’s the plan).  I had my third dose of FEC a week ago so I have the three docetaxol cycles left; if none of the treatments are delayed then my last one will be in early August.


My SO wants to plan a family holiday - we usually go away at the end of August for a couple of weeks (we have a teenager so are tied to school holidays).  I can understand his reasoning - it gives us something to look forward to, and he needs a break too (his job can be stressful) - but I’m a bit reluctant to book anything at the moment becuae I feel that there are too many unknowns.


For one thing I am conscious of the fact that a cycle can be delayed for clinical reasons - blood counts too low, or whatever.  It hasn’t happened to me yet, but I’m only halfway through.  Also, I don’t know how the docetaxol is going to affect me.  So far, there has been a pattern to the side-effects from FEC and how they change as the days go on, and it’s true that by week 3 I’m usually feeling quite a lot better, but I don’t know if people have different side-effects when they go on to docetaxol.


I also don’t know what happens in the few weeks after the last treatment - review with the oncologist?  Plus I have a PICC line, so presumably that will need to be removed.


To make it more complicated, it’s not just a week in a cottage in the UK he’s thinking of - it’s 2 weeks abroad, the first week in a big city and the second in a slighty less busy one.  We’re not a beach holiday family; whether we’re in the UK or abraod we generally like to get out and about sight-seeing. The latest we could go is 2 weeks after my final treatment.


I’m really worried about committing to something, especially a big expensive holiday like that.  If my treatments are delayed, we could end up having to cancel the holiday.


My other worry is that even if the chemo does go to plan, I’ll still be feeling the side-effects won’t be well enough to make the most of the holiday, and will end up flaked out in a hotel room rather than going out to see the sights.


This has proved to be a somewhat contentious issue; my SO thinks I am being very negative about the whole idea, and that my judgement is coloured by the fact that I feel rubbish this week.  I could really do with some advice from people who have been through this!

Hi there

I finished chemo (TCH) at the end of December and then started radiotherapy only two weeks later.  I will have the last Herceptin in early October.  I completely understand how you feel.  My husband and children were desperate for me to go on holiday as they thought it would be a lovely treat after all the bad months and I also think that they thought it would be a sign that everything ‘was getting back to normal’.  I had to stick to my guns and politely decline the offer!  I felt too exhausted and also couldn’t drum up any enthusiasm for a holiday, I felt I had to spend some time recuperating and coming to terms with what had happened.  Once the treatment starts you are on a roller coaster and you don’t really have time to think until it’s over!  (That’s my thought anyway!)


I did go for a night away in March and I enjoyed that but I feel I have to build up gradually.  Perhaps you could suggest something similar as you don’t know how you will feel by the end of it.  I think I have learned that we have to think of ourselves and although families and friends can be well meaning,don’t feel pushed into something you aren’t ready for.


Good luck with the negotiations and also with the rest of your treatment.  You can do it!!!



I had my last chemo in October - then rads from early November til December and we went away for a week the week before Christmas and I was fine. We wanted to be away for Christmas but left it too late to book anything.


Your PICC line will come out the day of your last chemo and you don’t feel a thing. I only had TCH which is all docetaxel (plus carboplatin and herceptin) so cannot compare it to FEC but fatiques was my worst side effect.

Hi Ellie, I can understand your family wanting you to have a holiday,however,I think this is about you and what you want and how you feel. If you book a holiday and treatments are delayed where does that leave you? With a guilty conscious and even more pressure when you are fatigued. That’s a big no no for me. I feel you need to get through your treatment so that you fully enjoy your holiday with all your loved ones. Is your medical team happy about the plan? What would they advise? Hope you come to an amicable decision. X

Hi Ellie

I think what you’re saying makes total sense. You’re treatment may have delays and you will need time to recover. However well meaning your partner may seem, personally I would wait. Do you have rads as well to come? Because you only get a months break between chemo and rads. Why not plan something after that?

Hope things go well for you xx 

Apologies to your husband for saying this, but in my view it would be deeply foolish to book a holiday abroad for 2 weeks after you finish chemo.  You will have a seriously suppressed immune system for at least 4-6 weeks afterwards. You need to be able to get to A&E immediately if necessary should you be unlucky enough to get an infection in the first few weeks following your last chemo treatment.  Plus you will be really tired and wiped out by that point. I would have thought 2 weeks in a lovely cottage in the UK somewhere near enough to a hospital just in case would be ideal.  So much less stressful for you. However, if your husband doesn’t understand the issue, maybe the oncologist or BCN could explain to him why a big foreign holiday is a very bad idea. Why not book to go to the Carribean or somewhere similar at Christmas instead if that is affordable for you?  Best wishes for the rest of your treatment. Xxx

Maybe you should let your husband read this thread Ellie…there seems to be some consensus here!

I agree it’s too close after treatment to commit to something in August. May be book a break in half term to look forward to. Plan something uk and low key for August. Or suggest that you wait and do a last - or they go away on their own to give you some peace and quiet!

We did a week in Cornwall a few days after I finished rads. When hubby booked it I made it clear that I may not be able to go with them. He then unbeknown to me booked a week abroad for the week after we returned from Cornwall. Again I was really concerned, on top of which my passport had expired so have a new one with post chemo hair!!

Whatever you do take a good first aid kit, antibiotics and documentation about your treatment in case you need to seek medical care.