just finished chemo treatments..what to exect now?

Hi Gals,

I just finished my last treatment…what now? What can I expect? Your input is helpful. How long before I start feeling better? When will my hair grow back? Nails? Gawd can you all say a prayer that the hair on my legs and arm pits do not grow back?

I am 46 premenopausal,the biggest tumor 2cm Invasive Ductal Carcinoma , with a 20% invasive componet, grade 2, in situ component DCIS, and positive for estrogen and progesterone. Both tested high. None of the ten lymp nodes showed any involvement. Oncotype testing showed intermediate risk. I had a mastectomy due to 2 tumors early stage.

Chemo was AC Taxol. 4 rounds every 3 weeks (1st round is cyclophosphamide (Brand name is Adriamycin) and doxorubicin (Brand name is Cytoxan) (AC is derived from the brand names), 2nd round was Paclitaxel (brand name Taxol)

Your input is appreciated.

Forgot to mention I start Tamoxifen in 3 weeks…yucky

Hi, glad your treatment is over, bet you can’t wait to get back to ‘normal.’ Problem is, I can’t remember what normal is! I finished 6 chemos in April (3xFEC and 3XTAX) and then had 15 rads, now on Tamoxifen. My hair started growing back on the Taxotere, although eyebrows/lashes did fall out while on it. Just coming back now. Hair from everywhere is starting to return, I got sooooo excited earlier when I realised my nose hair had returned!!! I had a problem with my nails b4 chemo so not sure about that one. My energy levels aren’t too bad, but still feel bit sluggish, rads can make you feel very tired so guessing it’s something to do with it. I think physically, I’m almost there - skin has broke due to rads so little prob with that - it’s the psychological side that is more tricky for me. I feel relieved that treatment is finished yet feel quite anxious all the time. Want to get back to work - maybe in a couple of weeks and maybe that will help. Hot flushes and sweats are a nuisance but bearable, I think Tamox is responsible for those lovely SE! Sure you’ll get some more input. Good luck, Pat x

Hi I finished chemo in March so not too far along but hope this helps

In my experience - nothing happens now from the treatment angle
. I saw the Onc a couple of weeks before i finished chemo and got a script for Tamox and am not due to again till i have finished 6 months of the stuff, when i think that is the final visit untless more cancer pops up. I will get a mammogram on the anniversary of diagnosis and see the surgeon foir a last time and that i think is it. No-one has said that there is anything else in sight, I last heard from the BCN around the time i started chemo; she mentioned follow up appts which I think vary in frequency from hospital to hospital, no idea what the policy is here.

From the personal angle lots happens - everyone thinks that you are well and back to normal and should be over it…so no pressure there! In a way it is back to normal as nothing has changed, I’m at work as usual - i have to undress or check my nails,or look in the mirror sometimes to realise it all did happen. People tell me I look really well but emotionally i am not well at all, although I did the positive plucky thing all through the treatment i feel s*** now.

Hair is slowly growing back,a horrible shade of grey and Tamox is making me fat, sleepless, tired, hot and miserable (I think).

Otherwise it’s all nothing happening. xx

Hi Cass, Jane

How long after did you start back to work? I am off till I have reconstructive surgery. I’m not going back to work looking like this. No hair, no eyelashes or brows and no boobie…lol And I want to work out any tamoxifen side effects to decide what I plan on doing. If my side effects are unmanageable I plan on a B course of action. I never gained weight with chemo and don’t plan on accepting any with tamoxifen. Also the other side effects concern me with this drug. But I will cross bridges if and when I get there…thats my motto.

Hi all: Not sure my history will help but here we go: Dx in Feb 08, WLE for DCIS Grade 3 and lymph removal (24/ 1 cancerous) March, Chemo from end May until end Nov – E-CMF – lost all hair in June 08, now fully back – so that took a whole bloody year! Apart from that no sickness, mouth ulcers, skin breakouts – was very lucky. Had 15 rads in January –no probs – started Arimidex end Jan so am now starting month five. Had follow up mammogram on Tuesday last, awaiting results. Had bone scan in May – bones perfect – just got to see what the Arimidex does to that – will have another one next year.

I have worked all the way thru – full time until July 08 – I was doing maternity cover and when Mum came back she does three days and I now do two. I think this has really helped me to stay at least halfway normal, but as I say above I was so lucky with virtually no side effects.

Ah – I forgot the one stone weight gain!! That is really hard to shift but have lost about 4lbs since April but will have to intensify the effort.

I am at University Hospital in Coventry with the great Professor Bob Grieve – this man is one step down from God! I have a check up with surgeon end of June, see Prof end of Oct and then see each of them every six months for first year then once each year thereafter. Don’t have any contact with the BCN now – she has signed me off as “You no longer have cancer, we just have to make sure it doesn’t come back!” – which was good to hear.

I think follow up treatment varies enormously – one girl on here has blood tests, etc, each time she sees her onc, others have scans, etc. Just ask lots of questions, do your research on the web and keep going. It is hard when you hear of others where their cancer has returned, but you must never assume the same is going to happen to you. It is like survival stats – they are history and based on other people, not you.

When your hair comes back, get it coloured and cut, go get your face done by a sympathetic professional – the Dior girl at House of Fraser in Leamington did mine at lunchtime yesterday and I will probably buy some of her goodies in due course. Does your hospital do the Look Good, Feel Better service?

Sorry, I have rabbited on here, but chin up, you will feel better.

Hope you all have a good weekend even if it rains.

LOL
Julia

PS: this pic is Carrieann my dog – not me!!

Hi everyone,
I was diagnosed last April/May and following surgery had 6 months of chemo half wy through my chemo when I changed drugs from the Epirubicin to CMF my hair stared to grow which was about xmas time its growing very slow and is about 3 inches long but fairly thick. I have been taking a hair/ nail supplement, which a hairdresser recommended (she had BC 2 years ago) and I think it helps.
I am on Arimidex now which I started taking in March that like tamoifen has its side effects, joint pain, hot flushes. I started Arimidex 2 weeks before my 23 sessions of rads, but now taking glucosamine to help with the stiffness and joint pain.

Gijane - I think it depends on what type of chemo you have as to when your hair grows back. My chemo nurse told me mine would grow after the Epirubicin which was quite a strong drug compared to CMF.
Hope this helps, let us know how you get on.
Keep well.
Jane x

Hi GIJ,

WELL DONE!! Congrats on finishing chemo, it’s a bug*er, isn’t it?!

I’m about 4 months ahead of you, I finished mine at the end of Jan, then had radio, now on Tx (taking Nolvadex which is fine apart from leg cramps).

My hair has come back grey and thick, but, heh, I have hair! My body hair came back pretty quickly, and sadly, all over, which isn’t fair!

I too look in the mirror amd think, “Good grief” followed by “Thank God” (i’m still here).

I feel almost back to normal, but do get quite tired very quickly. My advice would be to take small steps, do as much as you feel like to retain your sanity, but get plenty of rest. For instance, I’ve only gone back to teh gym for the first time today, and I only did 40 minutes, but the point is, I went, and I didn’t completely knacker myself.

There’s some great advice looking and feeling better on the Breast Cancer Haven DVD, called Haven at Home, which is available to order (free) from their website. Google for details.

Best wishes,

Bella xx

Carrieann

Hi Carrieann - I too am under the great Prof Grieve and agree totally with you - he is my new best friend and an amazing man. I am in Warwick and am being treated privately (chemo at home) so am not in contact with anyone on the outside going through this. Maybe we could get in touch? No pressure if you’d rather not.

I am off to see Take That at the Ricoh tonight - we have a friend performing with them (the RingMaster!) so we have hospitality and front row seats! I’m so excited. He’ll spot me no doubt - as I’ll be wearing my lovely scarf! Can’t risk the wig due to impending heavy rainshowers and don’t want to look like a drowned rat!!

I’m due to have 3rd FEC next Tuesday. Had WLE & SNB on 8 April - nodes clear, so this is “belt and braces” treatment as the Prof calls it! Doing well so far, hope you are too.

Sue

Carrieann, just realised, I’m talking to your dog. Sorry Julia - I blame the chemo. My nickname here is after my dog too - Elsa (Ellie)!

Ellie - I’m going to see TT next week in Cardiff - soooo excited. Let me know how it goes…

Sorry to butt in, but had to tell you I saw TT on Friday at Sunderland they were brill. You’re in for a treat, wished I could go again.

Enjoy x

Hi Girls, TT were fabulous and the rain held off! James Morrison supported last night so that was fab too. All in all a real treat of a night, tired this morning though… and I’ve lost my car keys and we don’t have a spare. I’m putting it down to chemo brain! The concert was a spectacular event and I’d love to be able to go again. The crowd around me were great too. Enjoy Cardiff - it’s an amazing experience!

Hi Ellie,so pleased you had a great time and hope those keys turn up!
Take Care
Jackie x

Ellie: Don’t worry about talking to the dog - you probably would get more sensible answers! Yes it would be nice to meet up - don’t know how we can organise that. Haven’t worked out how to send private messages - do you know? Or if moderator is reading - help! I’m happy to put e-mail address on here but it may not be allowed. Let’s see what happens.

Julia
XX

Hi Julia

To send a private message just click on the users name you are sending it to and a new page will open with this option on for you.

Kind regards
Lucy