January 2016 Chemo starters

Have got my first appointment with the oncologist next Tuesday, and I’m guessing chemo will start soon after in January assuming I’ve healed properly (left breast mastectomy and reconstruction Dec 7) I have found the other threads so helpful so I thought maybe I’d start this one for us January starters. I will also be checking out the December threads for support and advice too :slight_smile:

I will be a January starter too. Waiting to see onc prob 4th jan then starting as soon as poss after that. I had two ops long story but ended up with bilateral mx and lymph clearance on right side. Second op was 3rd Dec. I Had op results yesterday. Only the sentinel node affected on right. Other side clear but got to have chemo. I am absolutely dreading it but I know I have to do it to ensure my future. Hair loss is my biggest hang up but I will try the cold cap. Not looking forward to not being able to work for so long either. There are a few of us on the just diagnosed thread who will also be staring in Jan so I am sure we will all find our way over here. Let’s hope the mutual support will help us get through it. 

I am going to try to forget it over Christmas than face it again after that! 

Hugs Claire xxx

Thanks for your support Katy, have a great Christmas - I keep thinking 'this time next year…!
Claire, where on the IOW are you off to? I was brought up in Cowes, have no family there now but went back in the summer to meet up with a couple of school friends. I don’t blame you delaying your appointment, keeps Christmas going just that bit longer before the next stage of our journey - hope you have a great time!
I’m hoping to have my drain out tomorrow so I can walk round with more freedom!! So looking forward to having a shower!! Still sore from my operation but I guess it is only just over 2 weeks and I can get more comfortable in bed now.
I’m a teaching assistant and before my operation found that being with the kids (7-11yr olds) was the best thing for keeping my mind off things, so I know I’m going to hate being off for so long.
I keep reading the chemo threads, wondering how it’s going to affect me, will I lose my hair? Will I be sick? Should I try the cold cap? I guess I’ll know soon enough!
Have a really good Christmas xxx

Hi Kim - I start Friday 15th ( Wed 13th for bloods etc ) . Yes, think it will be very useful to exchange how we are all feeling - suppose will vary depending on drug regime .

Hello all, I’ll be starting chemo in January, 3xfec followed by 3xT and then 10yrs of tamoxifen. My dx was grade 3 invasive ducal with 6/13 nodes effected, though 2 were only microscopic, PET/CT scan clear for spread. I had a mx and anc on 05/11/15 which was a lot easier to recover from than I imagined it would be, had a Seroma which has only just stopped refilling. Have had my op with oncologist so I’m good to go, just waiting to hear from chemo nurses about a start date. My health authority is back logged though so they don’t think it’ll be until the first or second week of January. I’m not very prepared though I have been and chosen a wig! Sissy xx

First appointment with oncologist went well, she was lovely. Will be having 3xFEC then 3xFECT followed by 3weeks radiotherapy. They couldn’t fit me in for my pre-assessment until 18 Jan (Shropshire) and I was told that if the prescription has come through then my start date could be the next day. Was shown the ward where we’ll all be - little areas with comfy chairs for whoever has come along with you, looked very cosy and welcoming! I’m hoping I can get signed off work for those extra 2 weeks (I am a teaching assistant) so I can get the house back to normal from Christmas in my own time! I was told I will lose my hair, but I didn’t ask about the cold cap things cos I think I’ve already decided I’d hate them and I’m going to cut my hair and have a wig the same style. Just thinking about the grey roots coming through - I’d need a wig to cover them!! Going to book an appointment to get the hair sorted as soon as I can in Jan. I’ve lost loads of weight that I couldn’t afford to do despite Christmas - I’m 8 stone 11 and 5 foot 8!! So I’m going to be trying to gain weight while eating healthily!! Not going to be easy!
Good luck to you all! Xxx

I’m not cold capping as I suffer from migraines, which the cold cap can aggravate. Apparently the fec chemo can aggabavte migraines, can do without them on top of all the other possible SE’s! X

Yes, good luck to you all! May our side effects be few and hair loss be minimal!! Never thought I’d by writing that as a post on New Years Day!

Good luck for Tuesday Jan! Xx

Hi Everyone,


I am so glad to see this post for January chemo starters! I have done a lot of reading on this forum recently but this is my first post!

I was diagnosed in December with a 6mm mass which is grade 3 invasive ducal cancer, oestrogen positive and her2 positive, I have decided to have chemo before surgery to hopefully reduce the mass which might mean I’ll only need a lumpectomy instead of mastectomy. I am 43, I have a 6 year old boy and boy/girl twins that are 4, I am so worried about having the energy to look after the kids throughout chemo, my partner works away sometimes and I do have my mum close by and a good group of friends. Is there anyone else with young childrens?

I had my oncologist appointment yesterday so hopefully I am going to have my first chemo next week, I say hopefully like I am looking forward to it!!! I just want to get started but I am absolutely dreading it!! I went and tried on some wigs yesterday, which was actually not too bad, not sure how I am going to feel when the time comes to shave my hair off and wear it though.

Looking forward to chatting to and supporting each other throughout our not so pleasant journey.


Debbie x

Hi Debbie, pleased you’ve found us :slight_smile: My ‘children’ are grown up (24 and 21) but I work in a junior school as a teaching assistant and family support worker. Hopefully the school/nursery will be able to support all of you through this - my advise (when I’m working!!) is to always let them know any difficulties you are having from getting the PE kit together, getting to school on time, changes in behaviour or helping with homework.
We have a mum at our school going through the same thing with triplets. It was the same time as I was diagnosed so I’m not in touch with her at the moment though.
Good luck with your chemo, we’re all here to support you through that and your subsequent surgery. Plus anything you want to get off your chest!

Hi Pop78, I haven’t any funding towards my wig as I earn too much money, also I’m getting my wig from someone who isn’t the hospitals normal provider. I considered getting human hair, though after discussing it with my wig lady I decided against it as it takes more maintenance and apparently the synthetic ones are very good nowadays.  The one I’ve chosen is around £250, I could get it cheaper online, however the lady I’m getting it through offers other extras such as a cutting and fitting service. I felt a little tearful at first when trying on the wigs, but it was quite fun to try on some styles i wouldn’t normally have! The one I’ve chosen is from natural image wigs and is called fantasy. Sissy xx

Hi everyone,


Hope you don’t mind me joining you. So pleased there is a group for January starters as the support on the forums has really helped over the past few weeks. Thank you Kim for starting the thread. 


I had a bilateral masectomy with expander reconstruction 7 weeks ago and recovering pretty well. My chemo starts on Tuesday 5th, am a little apprehensive about the unknown as I’m having weekly paclitaxel for 12 weeks and can’t find a great deal about how weekly cycles effects indviduals and what I have read up on conflicts with what my oncologist said. One thing is he thinks I will only suffer hair thinning rather than hair loss but all information I have seen says otherwise, oh well I will have to wait and see. I’m also HER2+ so will also be having Herceptin for a year then after that hormone therapy for about 10 years. Is anyone else having similar treatment plans? 


I’m a teacher/SENCo too and I’m missing school so much as I love my job, the children just make everything ok and before my surgery working is what helped me feel normal. Oncologist has said not allowed back during chemo so will have to try and keep my hand in by doing bits at home if I can but not quite the same. 



Although I know the next few months are going to be tough I hope 2016 brings us all health, happiness and laughter x


Does anyone have any tips for surviving chemo that they have read from other posts?

I read that drinking 2 litres of water the day before, the day of and the day after chemo really helps.

Also soft toothbrushes help. Is there a type of toothpaste you should use too?

Ginger products for nausea.

Once your hair comes out what is best to use to wash your scalp? Shampoo, shower gel or facial wash?

It would be good if we could collect a list of tips to help us cope the best we can!!

Debbie x

Sounds like a good plan! I read about the drinking water too and although I’m not starting chemo for probably 3 weeks have already started upping my water as I have dodgy kidneys anyway!
Booked my hair/wig appointment today for Friday - they are recommended for cancer patients, so any tips they give me, I’ll pass on!

Hi Windchime Sorry to hear about your diagnosis. I’m from August, so nearly at the end of this long road.  Just wanted to say I’m on 9th weekly Paclitaxel & have not found it too bad at all. If chemo is day 1, I have been fine days 2&3, a bit more tired in the evening/horrible mouth days 4&5 & ok again days 6&7. Your nose gets a bit dry/can bleed & they recommend putting Vaseline in it with a cotton bud (weird but works). Also whover suggested the 2litres of water day before, day of & day after chemo is spot on. I would invest in some onicolife drops or dada oil for your nails (mine are still fine so far) & get some Imodium in in case of the tax trots (a lot of us have suffered with this on tax). We are all different, so it’s not a guarantee of how you’ll feel, but another lady did weeklies in August & she was fine too. All the best to all you ladies. xx


Hi everyone, I’m from October and have done 3 x FEC and 1 X Docetaxel so far. I second Bibi’s recommendation of the Onico Life drops. Apart from a little light bruising on the nail bed of one big toe nail, mine are all okay so far. Also the water recommendation is key I think. I spend a lot of time on the loo. :smileyhappy:


I must have eaten my body weight in pineapple since I started in October and boosted the economy of Costa Rica no end but I find just having fresh pineapple chopped up and accessible in the fridge to nibble on is really refreshing. It cuts through the bad taste, gives you lots of vitamins and, so I’ve read, contains an enzyme that helps prevent oral thrush which is common on chemo. I’ve not suffered from this yet so maybe it’s true. I suspect I won’t go near pineapple again for a long time once chemo is over but I’ve found it hugely helpful.


And make sure you have meds and eat lots of fibre to avoid constipation. Oh the glamour.


Good luck everyone. It’s not always fun but it is doable (well it has been for me so far!). Just be kind to yourself and accept you must rest when you feel tired.


Ruth xx




Hi again Windchime Good & bad news on that front . . . I did 3xFEC before the Paclitaxel & was fine until the third one, which decimated my hair, but since then I haven’t lost much at all. I am still doing the cold cap (doesn’t bother me much & allegedly speeds hair regrowth by a month or two) & seem to have had the worst outcome, 3 other ladies who I have treatment with look pretty ok to me, though they say theirs has thinned, you wouldn’t know. One of the ladies in Aug did Pac only & her hair was fine. She also worked throughout. If you’re cold capping, book a machine if they have one & take some painkillers an hour before. All the best ladies xx

Ps I am also having Herceptin & haven’t found that too bad either.  The first dose I got a runny nose for a couple of days, but not much else.  Subsequent doses, no real SEs at all. You’ll be fine. My next one’s tomorrow & I see you are Tues, so will be thinking of you. xx

Hi everyone. I start my chemo on 12th Jan and glad I have found this group. I am a teacher from Kent but working in a charity-run nursery (no sick pay!) so I hope to be doing admin from home whenever possible! Really good to read alll your comments.