New to Chemo - First FEC today - any advice?

Hi - I have been a member since my secondary diagnosis 6 years ago but don’t post very often although I keep in contact. Have had bone only mets until now that for the last 5 years have been under control with Bondronat & Faslodex.
However after increase in pain and scan in Jan now have enlarged lymph gland in right lung so have today started chemo. This is the first of 6 planned sessions on FEC - it all seems a bit surreal waking up as normal this morning and then having the treatment and feeling ok whilst it was all happening - now just feel a bit spacey and heavy legged and a bit anxious as to what is to come.
Any advice/tips from you chemo veterans would be appreciated!
Many thanks

Hi Smartie, it’s good news that the hormones kept the uggers at bay for so long but sorry you are now having chemo :frowning:
I had my bone nets dx just about 4 years from now and had FEC like you. There is a thread on here called top tips to help with chemotherapy that is worth a look as there’s a whole host of useful advice from many, many ladies. It’s in the chemotherapy part of the forum under treatments.
For me FEC did the following:
Made me feel nauseous for up to five days after treatment, even taking all the meds, however on day 5 I seemed to bounce back and feel fairly normal.
My sense of smell heightened for these days as well, see the current thread on that! Taste buds also affected during this time.
Hair started falling out just before FEC No 2 so I had it cut very short, wore wigs or soft cloth beanie type hats. Other hair all went as well over the course of the treatment.
Generally though I tolerated it OK and definitely had more good days than bad. One tip which I found useful was to take your afternoon steroid as early as possible, 2 - 4 pm as any later you will be up all night, not easy or possible on your treatment day though. Also rest or sleep whenever you need to, don’t overdo it, your body is telling you to slow down. And save up some special treats for the days and weekends when you feel at your best, it’s nice to have something to look forward to :slight_smile:
As I said, have a look at the top tips thread and do ask me any other questions if you’d like to. Hope you don’t feel too rough after this 1st chemo.
Nicky x

Dear Smartie,

Here is the link to the top tips section which Nicky mentioned:

I hope you find it helpful

Very best wishes

BCC Facilitator

Thanks for your quick reply I will have a look at the thread tomorrow - feeling a bit tom dick as I write. x

Hi Smartie

My exerience was similar to Nicky’s. I used to throw up about 6 hours after chemo then felt nauseous for the next few days. Taste and smell were off. Hair started to come out on day 18 and I ended up shaving it off when it started to fall in my dinner!

Re: steroids. I used to take them all as soon as I woke up, rather than taking them in 2 divided doses. I wouldn’t take them after midday - you’ll never get any sleep! Sometimes I think the stroids were worse than the chemo…

Have you got something like ondansetron for the nausea? I used to get enough for 2 days afterwards. You can also take Domperidone in between.

Hope the SE’s are minimal.

Laurie x

Hi Smartie,

Sorry you’re hear that you had to have I chemo its never easy. I had FEC about two and half years ago. I felt sick but domeperidome kept it at bay.

I felt fine the day I had the chemo but by the evening it started to kick in and the fatigue was dreadful - I also had to ake fGS five days after the chemo to encourge the white blood cell which extended the feeling of ill for me.

My hair fell out after eleven days and I thought losing your hair meant not having to remove the dreaded leg hair but I had to carry on having my legs waxed.

I Started feeling relatively normally about 10 days when I could go out for lunch or do something to make me feel normal again.

The best thing is to pace yourself I spent a lot of the ten days in bed and got into the habit of having a nap or just reading a book.

I really hope this chemo is kind to you and the tips are really good. I used pineapple for my mouth and someone suggest freezing it to get rid of the horrible taste.

I also took my steriods in the morning with a glass of milk, but still had a few problem sleeping and my gp prescribed a mild sleeping tab. You wouldn’t believe I need one after all the sleep in the day, but its a different sort of sleep.

I hope the se are kind to you, let us know how you get on.
Take good care of yourself.
Chris xxx

Thanks for the comments - feeling a bit better this afternoon but still feeling sick even with the meds. Taking your advice and catching up on some reading to take my mind off things.
Nicky/Steris - can I ask how succesful the FEC was for your mets? Like to think there is some light at the end of the tunnel!
Smartie x

Hi Smartie
I had FEC a couple of years ago and it did amazing things to my tumours and shrunk them down to nothing.
I used to feel really yuk for the first few days and things would improve. My sense of taste went right of the window, but did improve as time went on.
My hair fell out on day 11 of the first cycle and started growing back inbetween cycle 4 and 5.
On of the worst side effects for me was a sore mouth and any minty toothpaste felt like it was burning my mouth, so I used to use a brand called Punch and Judy which is for children and is strawberry flavour.
If your anti sickness tablets arent doing the job, ask to get them changed. Domperidone doesnt do anything for me, but am fine with Ondansetron. Try and eat little and often and just what you fancy.
With hind sight, all I can say is do what your body tells you, dont try and carry on regardless. I used to feel guilty about not doing housework etc etc. I’ve just last week started chemo again, and I am listening to my body, the house is like a tip, but I dont care any more.
Love Jane

Hi Smartie,

I had 3 fec and 3 tax - which is a different combo to your. But had god result from the first fec I had a large thickening on my right breast that I was told was scar tissue but unfortunately turn out to be cancerous.
That completley disappeared - I had Arimdex for a year and the Aromasin for a year had two years of relatively good health. Unfortuantely I had some progression on Aromasin and started Capectibine last December which had reduced the fluid in my lung.

There are ladies on here that have good responses to Fec and I hope you have the same.Its amazing how you manage the ups and down of se and feeling the same. It a great feeling when you have your last infusion. I ended up with a picc line but it was all worth for that precious time with my family and friends.

Take care of yourself and Jane absolutely right do what your body tells you and don’t feel guilty for not doing what you think you should.
Chris xxx

Thanks Jane/Chris - Glad to hear FEC worked for you both at the time. Am feeling a bit more human today helped by the sun shining!
Hope this latest chemo goes ok for you Jane.
Take care
Smartie x

Hi Smartie
I had 6 FEC in 2008. CT scan after 3 showed improvement in my (bone) mets and considerable shrinkage in recurrence (about 60%) - so at least I knew it was working! After the final 3 I also had a CT scan and breast ultrasound - recurrence had shrunk so much it wasn’t visible, partly being in scar tissue, mets improving/hardening. I had a great response to this chemo as at my last CT scan in November last year (3.5 years since dx) showed NED in recurrence and mets just as stable as the previous CT scan some 2 years before. Really hoping that you get a great response as well. It makes the onslaught of chemo so much more bearable if you know its working. BTW I took all the anti-emetic meds mentioned above and was never actually sick, just nauseous , similar to morning sickness. I didn’t lose my appetite but found I preferred certain flavours and foods to normal. On my ‘good’ days I enjoyed pretty much all foods, and the odd glass of wine, although my diet was restricted by avoiding certain foods as recommended by my BC unit.
Hoping you come out of the black hole soon and feel much better.
Nicky xx

Hi all, first time poster so apologies if i seem rude jumping in!!:slight_smile:
I started FEC 7 days ago and so far, so good. I do not feel any side effects. Wee early morn nausea, but have had worse after a glass of wine!! lol I have had nausea and gastric problems for a few years & am peri menopausal so I can’t tell the difference:)
What I have noticed is for the first time in years I actually feel hungry. I have always been a poor eater. Never dieted, exercised etc but since diagnosis in Jan I have lost a lot of weight and am self concious about it, so maybe there’s some semi-psycological thing going on…need to build up to take on this battle!

hi Luluspice

I have lost quite a bit of weight too & feeling sick the first few days didn’t help but I have felt hungrier since then (I see from others that steroids can increase hunger) - I am having whatever I fancy including “non healthy” foods like cakes & croissants!!
Hope all continues to go well with your side effects. I am due my second juicing on Tuesday next week so making the most of this weekend with my sister coming to stay.
Smartie x

Hi Smartie,
Well you know the saying ‘A little bit of what you fancy does you good’ So you go girl! I’ve always been a poor eater, digestive problems for years, and was dreading Chemo making it all worse! You seem to be Juicing around same time as me, my next one is Thursday this week.I saw Oncologist today & lymph nodes have almost halved in size already!(It was because of lump in armpit I went to GP in first place) I had very little nausea and told her so, but she said the would adjust meds on Thursday so I won’t have any at all! They gave me anti sicknes by IV along with chemo, 5 days Domperidone 3 days steroids home with me. Hair has started to go now, dead on 14th day as I was told! Hairy pillows are a nightmare! lol
hope your juicing goes well this time too.

Hi Luluspice
I got delayed by low blood count so second juicing was a week ago - it went pretty much as the first despite them changing my anti sickness meds but due to see the once before the next one so hopefully they can change again and I can get rid of nausea.
My onc says as my cancer is slow growing (or has been!) he doesn’t want to scan me until the end of the 6 x FEC as we are unlikely to see rapid improvement. Just keeping fingers crossed for this.
My hair started to drop out day 14 too and I had it cut really short - grade 1 - still hasn’t completely gone so my house looks like a hairdressers floor - its fluufy now like a chick! - attractive - not!!
Hope all goes well for you this week.

Hi Ladies
I had my first fec yesterday and other than a bit of queasiness feel ok, BUT my my face and neck area is like a raddish sooo red like a hot flush, anyone else suffered/heard of this ?

Love to you all Janice x

Hi yes this is a common symptom a few days after chemo i used to call it my turkeycock flush if you have a look at page 2 on starting the pink road of chemo oct 15th theres a list of tips that helped lots of us through our chemo days x good luck with yours xx,-15th-nov-t28539s12.html

Hi Lottie

The steroids can do that to you - it’s v common.