Nervous about starting TAX

Hi everyone,

I’ve been so lucky so far and gone through 3 x FEC without too many problems.

know I should be thanking my lucky stars that I’ve got through this relatively easily, but instead I find I’m getting myself all worked up about the TAX. I’m absolutely dreading it and worried that I’m going to be ill for the next 3 months.

From experience, is there any correlation between how we cope with FEC and TAX?

Has anyone gone through TAX without too much trouble? Please, I’d rather know what to expect, I need to prepare myself for this.


Have you seen the other thread on tax. Looks like there is good news and bad news about tax. I have not had it yet and feel nervous. Fec seems bad enough to me. Dx

I was scheduled for 3 FEC and 3 Tax. FEC made me queasy, constipated, tired, but I coped reasonably. My Tax experience was shadowed by having septicemia, which meant I got wheeled into the chemo unit both times in a wheelchair - I couldn’t stand or walk - and had the stuff poured into me. Fatigue - real fatigue - no strength to lift my head off the pillow and having to be carried to the loo and lifted off - not fun. Have a severe allergy to hospitals so only spent 10 days in due to the sepsis, and escaped on oral antibiotics rather than the IV they preferred cos I couldn’t cope there anymore. I remember really struggling with the thought of the 5th one and took a bit of self persuasion to actually do it, and I must admit to not being unhappy when I was told the benefits of the 6th cycle were probably less than the risk to my health, so I didn’t have it.

So not the best of experiences. BUT I was told by my BCN some people struggle with FEC and sail thru Tax.

And looking back, in the scale of things, it is ‘only’ 6 weeks - even if it’s hell at the time, it’s worth it when you look at the ifference in survival rates with and without chemo.

Someone gave me some good advice - ‘expect anything and plan nothing’. That way you won’t be surprised or disappointed.

I referred to my tumour and nodes as my ‘alien’. I therefore, in my mind, had alienettes spawned by the tumour floating round my system. Every time I felt bad, I tried to think of the agonies my alienettes were going thru - somehow to think of them suffering more than me sometimes brought a smile to my face - maybe I’m just warped…

Thanks Midge, I had a quick search but couldn’t find that thread, I’ll have another look.

Broomsticklady - warped is good I think! I’m going to work on warpedness (just made that word up of course)

Planning - I think that’s part of the problem and why I’m struggling with the idea of TAX. Before all of this started we’d already booked a week away, just a Haven break for the little one, which is due 10 days after my last scheduled TAX.

I was talking to the chemo nurse today and she sort of filled me with gloom. It seems like this crappy little holiday is the only thing I’ve had to look forward to and now it seems doomed. I just thought it would be nice for my son to have a lovely time with Mammy and Daddy to make up for the rubbish he’s had to deal with these last few months and it’s suddenly dawning on me that I might let him down all over again.

Once the first one is out of the way I suppose I’ll have a better idea, I’ve got to try to stop getting ahead of myself.


I had 3 Fec then 3 Tax and have to say I ‘preferred’ if that’s the word!!! Tax. I found Fec made me really nauseaus (sp) and spaced out. It took me days to get over the infusion whereas with the Tax I didn’t have one day in bed. With the Tax I had NO nausea, just felt quite achey. Temperature tended to go up regularly with the Tax but I had no probs with infections. There are several threads on here with ladie’s experiences and they’re all so different. As broomsticklady (love that name) says, ‘expect anything and plan nothing.’ I found the time went reasonably quickly and, knowing I’d had the Gold Standard treatment helped me through. Also, all the great ladies on here who never tire of giving support and helpful advice throughout treatment and beyond.

Lots of luck, I’m sure you’ll be fine. x

Hi Wubbly

I had 6 tax in 2008 (18 weeks) Mine was for secondaries (bone) and I had a choice of wether to have it or not. Having it meant I could go back on Herceptin. I’d heard about tax from an american website when I had my primary in Jan 06. I’d heard how good it was as a chemo - sounds daft but I really liked the sound of the name. I told my myself it was the gold standard for use with Herceptin and I believed it would work really well for me. I was quite excited to be getting it.(I know I’m a bit strange!)

My first one wasnt very good, I was very sick (vomiting)and didnt feel well but then I remembered that I wasnt very well on my first epi. I told myself that maybe my body just gets a shock with the first treatment. After that things got a lot better, on day 3 I would spend most of the day in bed and feel a bit flu like. I would keep warm especially my neck, after that I would still feel tired but not too bad.
I did keep a diary every day which helped with the next cycle knowing what to expect. On cycle 4 week 2 I went on holiday to Wales for a week, I don’t see why you wouldnt be able to go on holiday as long as you are gentle with yourself. On cycle 2 I had a friend ringing me all the time with her problems and I noticed it made me more tired. On cycle 3 she was out of the country and I really noticed a difference.
So I would advise being gentle and looking after yourself. On my last 6th cycle I had a really exciting opportunity to do some filming with someone I admired so loads of adrenaline was fired into my body that night and I paid for it with tirdness for 10 days after but it was worth it.

I didnt like the steriods I had take before tax and I didnt like changes to taste that I had with all chemo’s but I still like the name tax…lol. Bone mets still stable after 2 years

It’s a very good chemo, it will make you tired but it will do it job for you.

With love

Sue x

Sorry I posted to Midge but should have posted to Wubbly.

I’ve edited it-just learnt how to do it!

Wubbly - my sympathy on your holiday situation. When first dx, I cancelled 2 holidays due to the fact I’d be in chemo and then rads, so booked myself anothe rfor in between chemo and rads - a cruise taking in Leptis Magna in Libya which I’ve always wanted to see. Unfortunately my septicemia triggered an abcess (something did and thats the most likely culprit) on my gall bladder, which exploded and left me screaming in agony and hospitalised, and once I escaped from that - still looking forward to my holiday - I managed to go down with a series of infections which had me throwing up uncontrollably - worse than FEC!! FRiday before we were sposed to go on th eSunday I was still in hospital and they’d not let me out so that one was cancelled too! My insurance company loved me - not!! All I can say is when you do get to go on holiday it’s great!! I was nowhere near 100% when I went to India in March (only just out of wheelchair on walking stick and delicate) tiger hunting (with camera) and it was among the best holidays I’ve had, primarily due to the anticipation!!

Cass - my name is easy! Due to a loving friend who told me I look like a witch!! I race my car for a hobby, and have a driazabone coat and hat for wet weather events. coat is ankle length, and many years ago someone decided I looked like a witch. Since then my car has been known as Broomstick, and I have to be Broomsticklady - complete with 7 familairs these days!! My car incidentally flew into a tyre barrier a couple of weeks back and lost a rear corner so needs a respray - it’s getting one in breast cancer care colours of mauvey purple and having a pink ribbon on it!!

Wubbly - warped is good!! Means you laugh more than cry!! Makes you feel better and those around you I find.

Hi Wubby - my trials with EC and TAX are well noted, in an infamous but detailed manner on my blog:

Hi Wubbly

Just thought I would let you know that I had the same chemo regime and like you I didn’t have too bad a time on FEC. I was dreading TAX but was must better than I expected – was prepared for the worst! TAX for me was easier than FEC. My hair started to grow back – bonus! As everyone says you just have to listen to your body - don’t push yourself and get plenty rest. I found that hard as a very active person but try to let yourself rest when you need it and don’t overdo it when you feel good.

I did find the usual taste distortion and horrid steroid highs – watched lots of boring TV lat night TV which I never do. I made frozen pineapple chunks in the freezer which I sucked and think they helped a lot to prevent mouth soreness. I was very lucky that my side effects were not too bad - I do hope you are the same.

Lots of love Anne x x

Hi Wubbly, Like my lovely friend Anne (above) I have had Tax and didn’t find it too bad apart from not sleeping too well and watching late night TV or sitting on here in the early hours. The first time I had it I was sick once about 4 days later, but that was because they hadn’t given me any anti-sickness tablets (Why not???) After that, it was fine, haven’t lost my hair, just scrappy eyelashes.

Do hope you will be well, take care of yourself. lots of love to everyone, hope you are all feeling well today. Dianne x x x

Hi Wubbly, i had three fec then three tax and i must say i sailed through the fec, only symptom was severe heartburn. Tax was a different story i ached all over, sore mouth, blisters on my tongue no taste buds (even yet, had my last tax on friday ) worst for me was the terrible bone pain, but i dont know if this was due to the neulasta inj or the actual chemo. Good thing is when you start it does go in quick and i hope to be feeling a bit back to “normal” by the end of this week… Hopes this helps you

best wishes

Anne x

Hi Wubbly
I had 4 of each and much preferred the Tax. In fact I felt fine throughout, just a bit tired sometimes, and I had low blood cell counts. I met a few women who didn’t even bother with anti-sick meds on Tax, but I didn’t risk it!

Thank you everyone for sharing your experiences. I do feel a bit more positive. It really is good to know that there’s at least a chance I might do okay on TAX. The possiblity of my hair growing back would be a massive bonus! I’d be happy just to keep my last few eyelashes.

I think I can probably cope with the tiredness and the bone pain, so long as it’s just for a few days. I’m not looking forward to taking a whole load of steroids, they’re horrible things but I guess they’ve a job to do.

My main worry is low bloods/infections. Thinking about it, school breaks up soon so I should be less exposed to all those coughs and colds little ones bring home week after week. I just hope my Mum is still up to taking care of my little boy so that I can get some rest.

I found with 1 and 3 that I recovered much more quickly when I took time out to rest well in the first few days, so maybe that is the key for me?

I’m going to try to think positive. Once this one is out of the way, only 2 more to go!