I cant face it!

Hi guys,

I dont think I can face it Wednesday(for those of you who dont know me Im due my first Chemo)…

Had a nightmare last night and woke up really upset. I have been putting on a positive front for work and my OH and I know she knows its a front I am sure but we keep laughing about becoming bald - trouble is I really cant hack it and I gues I have been laughing along thinking the time wouldnt come and oh how swiftly have we came round to Chemo time! I work in a big office and have a large team under me and I know there gonna be looking at me and not taking me seriously(im going for bandanas coz cant bear the thought of a wig, my hair is very short and spiky so people would know the difference) - oh anyhow, Im going on…

Ive got this far with ups and down and always pulled through it(granted from some lovely ladies on this site that keep me going) but I dont think I can face Wednesday, I just cant…I know once its inside me then its only a matter of time I have to think about the hair coming out and I just cant do it.

I want to hide, I dont want anyone to see me! yet I know they are giving me this to help me, I cant face the loss of hair. The hospital rang me and told me that cold caps work on 10% of ladies - it used to be higher percentage but becasue the higher doses(becasue they dont give FEC just EC) it only tends to work on 10% of ladies.
My OH asked if I wanted her there on my first day and Im not sure - I dont want her seeing me hooked up to an Ice Cap!!!

I just wanna get in the car and go! Had awful headache last few days and then you panic thinking is there something else wrong with me!!!

Struggling…

Lynne.x

Hi Lynne

I thought the same… but you can do it.

I had planned a night out the night before my first chemo.
My mum had the kids, I was having a bath and WHAM… it hit me, I couldn’t stop crying and cancelled my night out.

It was an exhausting, emotional day, and I was glad when it was over, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought…

My hubby was with me all the way, and it was a huge help someone being there.

You can do it, good luck

Take care

Angie
xx

Hi Lynne - your concerns are completely understandable. When I found out I had to have chemo, I planned to sit in my nice back garden all summer (I am a teacher so not working) and order my groceries on line and therefore, nobody would have to see me. However, with the wig being offered, I took along my trendy hairdressing friend and she helped pick out a really nice one. Prior to chemo I had my hair cut short and had stopped having it coloured. Consequently the wig was far nicer than my own hair. Yes, everyone knows it is a wig, but they all say how it has knocked years off me - I love it…However, it is a bit too hot, so I do wear scarves and went to the Headstrong ladies (details on this site). When the hair fell out, I continued as normal - which was definitely not part of my original plan…

I can honestly say Lynne, I have handled the loss of hair so much better than I ever dreamed…I meet up with others from the clinic, and we all wear our wigs out - and don’t look out of place at all…When I first started wearing it, my six year old announced to the whole playground that I had my wig on…it was a light-hearted moment, not the nightmare that you may think.

It is horrible when the hair comes out - but it is a sign that the chemo is doing exactly what it is supposed to…

The other thing I have found, is how quickly my chemo has been - I am due to finish at the end of August, yet feel that I have only just started…I am looking forward to my hair growing back, but can honestly say, the hair loss was not as bad as I had feared and my dealing with it has amazed me…

Hope you can get your head around it all…

Love and good luck
Heather
x

Hi Lynne -its natural to feel the way that you do at the moment.
It does tend to get better when you start treatment and when the first chemo is over.I panicked about losing my hair but it didn’t effect me as much as what I had expected it to so please keep an open mind if you can. I accepted the hair loss easier by thinking that the chemo was working as my side efects were much better that what I had expected
I don’t wear a wig often and just wear scarfs - I’ve only been stared at twice (that I have noticed) the first time it shocked me the second time I stared back until they turned away!!!
I would suggest taking your partner with you as you are both going to go through this together.
good luck for wednesday

Hi Lynne

I dreaded my first chemo - it is the unknown that is so scary. However it has not been as bad as expected and has gone very quickly. The second cycle was much easier than the first because I knew what to expect and could plan for it. I was advised to keep a diary - even if it was just a few words or drawing sad/smiley faces. It helps you to plan your time around the chemo and also reminds you that bad days pass and you do have a surprising number of good ones.

Hair loss - it isn’t so bad once it happens. I’m sure your OH will still think you are lovely whatever, thats love for you. I just go bald or wear scarves, I’ve had not problem with people when out, and it does grow back.

Keep posting whenever you need a lift.
cyber hug Swanie.

Hello Lynne

I felt exactly the same and between agreeing to have chemo and starting the following week I nearly phoned to cancel several times. But I went ahead and did it. I thought - well I’ve got to try everything so it the cancer should come back I shall have nothing to reproach myself with - and I accepted all the treatment offered.

The hair loss is not nice - but you will get through it. I hated losing my hair but have 2 lovely wigs, some pretty scarves and some fun hats. People have said how nice my wigs and other headgear is all the way through. Chemo goes surprisingly quickly. I coped with it alone as I have no partner but had the help of good friends and neighbours for lifts, shopping etc. The people in the hospital are lovely and very kind.

Go for it - you can do it and will be glad that you did.
Take very good care of yourself
Love Anthi

Dear Lynne

I know just what you are saying but you really can do it. If I can, anyone can. Hair loss is horrible but you do get used to it. It is tedious in the extreme but as others have said, it is a sign that treatment is working. The worst bit is when it starts to go. Once it starts to drive you nuts you take it off and it is a real relief. That said I am dying for mine to come back - it will be a real treat to spend time in the mornings with a hairdryer again!

Chemo is not as bad as it is cracked up to be (though no one in their right mind would volunteer unless it were necessary). But the nurses in my unit are brilliant, you make friends with others, and there is always someone worse off, which is a weird comfort. Take your partner with you if she can get the time. It does help. And will probably help her. My husband comes every time even though I have told him he doesn’t have to - and I do appreciate it.

Let us know how you get on tomorrow. Have a few glasses of wine this evening! I have number three on Thursday (of six) and the time does pass.

Lots of love and hugs

Dilys
xxxxx

Hi Lynne

The first one is mostly fear of the unknown. I felt cold and empty. No-one tells you befoehand that you probably feel like this, but haveing posted you’ll now get lots of messages saying that we’ve all felt the same. There is a lot of baggage that comes with chemo, varies from handbag to oversize suitcase.

I’m ranting. I’m going to work now so let them have my nutty afternoon. I’m on phased return after 8 FEC which finished in March.

Hubby came with me to everyone. He took a book and read.

Good luck

Marilyn x

Hi Lynne
I wish you deep peace in your soul to carry you through this stage. You’ll get through it.

and Swanie - what’s an OH please?

ruth

Hi Ruth

OH = other half/ partner/spouse whatever. funny how you slip into this sort of shorthand. I was foxed by LOL but I now think it means laugh out loud.

Take care - and Lynne hope the messages above will help you get to that first appointment you can do it.

Swanie

ahhhhh thank you Swanie - that isn’t an anacronym i have come across before. LOL is laughing out loud but i tend to do more ROFL - rolling on floor laughing!

ruth

hey chica.

The first one is always the hardest…the not knowing is the worst. Once you start on the chemo route…the time does pass by quickly…just doesnt seem like it…but as you go through it blink and your back again getting it done again.
You will do it because you have to…i know that sounds harsh…but the alternative just doesnt bear thinking about.
The chemo unit is always good for a laugh, not all doom and gloom, you will be fine chick…

Just to let you know I was a bit apprehensive about the hair loss but determined that whatever they throw at me to fight the cancer I would take. I was told by the breast care nurse even before my first oncology appointment that I would definitely lose my hair so I had plenty of time to address the problem. I went onto the internet and ordered some nice bandanas and scarves, I can’t remember which sites but it helped to pass the time. Also baker boy style caps are popular this year so there is a good variety available at reasonable prices from Matalan, Claires Accessories and apparently Primark, although I havent been there. I bought a leopardskin one from Claires which apparently looks really good. My hair disappeared in mid April, with a bit of help as my scalp got really sore. As soon as the epirubicin stage was finished and I started cmf I noticed a bit of regrowth in late May so the totally hairless bit didn’t last that long. I must admit I would like to have a little bit more than the quarter inch I’ve got at the moment and can’t wait till I can style it again but as my OH says its saving a fortune in hairdressing costs!

Look after youself and good luck with the chemo, it really doesn’t have to be as bad as you may think.

Ollie

Hi Lynne,

I just wanted to echo what everyone else had said really and wish you all the best for tomorrow. I don’t think that there is one person on here who wasn’t nervous as hell before their first chemo, and I defy anyone to say they weren’t petrified. Personally I was shi*ting myself!!! I was afraid of everything really: would they be able to get the cannula in ok, would I be sick immediately, would I pass out and so on. By the time I arrived at the chemo day centre I thought I was gonna faint!!

The first session was fairly lengthy compared to the others as there was a load of paperwork to go through. I was connected to a saline drip (cannula in first time!) and one of the IV anti-sickness meds was given whilst we were going through the reams of paperwork. When she was ready to start the chemo (I had Epi first, now am on CMF) I burst into tears!!! Just couldn’t stop myself. I was sooooooo scared. Thankfully the tears were short lived though and I soon settled down. Largely due to the awesome staff at the centre I go to and my amazing boyfriend. Before I knew it I had been given the 2nd lot of anti-sickness meds, the cannula had been removed and we were on our way home again!

The whole experience was nowhere near as terrifying as I had allowed myself to imagine it would be. I felt really ok and was able to cope with the side-effects without too many dramas at all. What I am trying to say is that you can face it, you will get though it and by tomorrow evening you’ll prob be wondering what all the fuss was about, AND you’ll be 1 down!!! You must take someone with you tomorrow, and who better than your lovely OH. My OH takes me to every chemo, I personally could never drive myself and I am always grateful for his hand to squeeze! Let your OH be there for you as I’m sure she wants to be.

I will be thinking of you tomorrow as I too am off for chemo. Mind you, even though I only started in May I feel like a bit of a veteran now! I have my second day 8 CMF tomorrow. You will be surprised at how quickly the time goes once you start chemo. I never believed it when everyone said it to me at the start but its sooo true!

Take care of yourself. I won’t tell you not to worry cause I know you will, but do be sure to let us know how you are doing asap,

Kelly
-x-

Hi Lynne

I too had incredibly short hair - often taken for a bloke from behind. I swore I wouldn’t have a wig as all the ones I’d seen were full of hair!! I was going to have scarves by the hundred!! I now have one chemo to go and guess what - I either wear nothing at all, as I don’t see what I look like OR I wear a wig which I got from the charity wigbank (www.wigbank.co.uk). They send you several to try and you can return them if they’re no good - reconditioned ones are £15! I had explained my hair was very short and then sent me a wig from Hairraisers, Model Trend Chic. I have lost count of the number of times the chemo nurses have said to me something to the effect that, “You’ve kept your hair well” and even my oncologist said last time … “You know, you will lose your hair!!!” It’s always nice to turn round and say, Yes - I lost it about 18 weeks ago. Friends who don’t know I’ve had bc have all remarked how wonderful my new hair style is and how much it suits me. All I want to say is just because your hair is very short it doesn’t mean you can’t get a very good, very short wig.

Chemotherapy is doable. Look at all of us who have had it and we all probably felt like you. I have found the chemo nurses and staff to be fantastic, nothing is too much trouble and yes, you do have some very rough days but if you pretend they are a well deserved hangover, you’ll get through it OK. A lot of the time I felt really well. I started my chemo in April and have 3 weeks to go - time has flown by!

Good luck, keep smiling, you’ll get through it.

Sharon

think thats the easiest way…a seriously bad hangover lol…mind you now finished chemo and allowed to drink again…dont get hangovers anymore…hmmm methinks the chemo might have toughened up my system…pah a too much stella hangover…no such thing…after chemo lol

HI LYNNE
I know how you are feeling
the day i went for my first chemo was the day that before hand they told me that I had secondary bone cancer. The ONC gave me the diagnose then expected me to walk onto the ward and get on with my treatment as if nothing else was wrong. Both me and hubby were in floods of tears
Yet somehow i did manage to scrape up my courage and walk into the ward and have my treatment. The nurses were wonderful as was my OH -i cannot recommend high enough taking someone with you to support you -even just to hold your hand whilst the canula goes in
I have had four lots of chemos -none of them pleasant but the sense of friendship when i go for treatment from all the other ladies is wonderful -theres always 6 of us on the ward -different ladies every time and we always have a good laugh, swap stories and gossip
I chose to wear bandanna and hats. I did get two wigs but have worn them both once. My son objected to me wearing them so do not bother. I get most of my scarves from accessorise or a website called girly shop. H & M are good for caps as are next
Sending you all my love and support
Jools

Hi Lynn

I was very much bring on the chemo to wipe out any little escapee cells, but the thought of loosing my hair really upset me the most, as far as I was concerned it didn’t have cancer. Perhaps its worth trying the cold cap if its 10% succesfull, I used one through 4 FEX and 4 Taxotere and yes I was one of the lucky ones who did not have to wear a scarf, wig or hat through any of my treatments, my hair had thinned towards the end but I managed to hide the extent by wearing in a ponytail and the nurses were impressed.

My onc had warned me that I would probably loose it on the taxotere but I stuck with it and it worked.

Only allowed my OH to come to the first chemo as he fell asleep while I was sitting with the cold cap on so he was only allowed to drop off and pick up after that episode, it then allowed me to sit and chat with nurses or with other patients.

Good luck

Debbie

C’mon Lynne…you can do it.
I was terrified, but just done #2. Feel a bit rubbish today, but it is passing already.

I was not too happy about anyone seeing me with my ice cap on my head and b’cos i was the youngest person on the chemo unit, not many other people were wearing them, but you soon realise they are all too caught up in their own treatment to worry about you…and I understand you don’t want you partner to see you like that but I’m sure it will be fine, it sounds like she has been supportive through this for you - I was even apprehensive about my husband seeing me (and we have been married 12 years) - but actually we had a laugh about it believe it or not! he took a photo and sent it to my best friend and oddly that helped. The nurses were just fab and it is over quite quickly.

I’m still hanging on to my hair (it is shedding a bit) - now 3.5 weeks after 1st dose and they reckon that’s really good and I should persevere with the cap thing.

You are not alone hun - and we really know how you feel, but it will be better once you start.
Good luck and let us know how it goes.
Ali
x

Yes you can do it !! I am not going to say it’s not too bad but you will cope. I was just the opposite if they had had it there when I was diagnosed I would have swigged a bucketful I was so frightened I wanted everything immediately NOW !!! Hair loss, that seemed irrelevant to the fear I felt at having bc. It is as the chemo finished that I really wanted hair NOW I have been so impatient with this illness. I am sure once the first one is over you will start to feel better it is the unknown that is frightening and I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t hate to go bald. Friends and family all try to make you feel good by saying gormless things like. well you have a nice shaped head or you really suit it. Bless 'em you have to go along with them when inside you think your head is like a potato and even beautiful people women look weird bald. Hopefully al this will go quickly for you. I will be thinking of you tomorrow. Take care love Eileen