Panic setting in!

I’ve now had 6 weeks of weekly taxol and fortnightly Avastin and despite feeling strong and positive for the most part feel that my strength is ebbing away. I had a bad fainting experience with a cover nurse who had trouble with my veins in week 4 which I feel has shaken my confidence as she was visibly very worried as my blood pressure dropped dangerously low and I’m treated at home so there was no-one else to take over! I’d thought I got over it but had a mini-breakdown before my usual nurse arrived last week but managed to pull myself together and got through it ok. This week I felt stronger generally but not anything as strong as earlier weeks and suddenly got very upset and pulled the first cold cap off today and felt I couldn’t continue. My husband came and talked me round and I put it back on and all continued fine but I’m quite worried that I’m about to flip the next time chemo comes around. I’ve only got 2 more taxol before a fortnight off and a holiday so if I can just get myself through this low I feel I’ll hopefully have the strength to carry on for another 8 weeks after that. I guess I’m looking for any strategies to get my mind through the actual treatment while I’m lying there feeling so helpless. I’m largely ok when I’m distracted and working and doing my normal life which so far I’m managing fine but it’s getting through the actual 2 or 3 hours of treatment mentally as I find I can’t read or even chat as I’m so drowsy with the pre-med but the steroids prevent me from totally sleeping
Sorry to moan - I’m usually so strong but just can’t find it at the mo - I know I’ve been so “lucky” so far not to have too many problems with side-effects and still no symptoms with the mets in my lungs and lymphatic system but finding the thought of long-term treatment difficult.
I’m being treated privately which is great but am feeling a bit isolated from the hospital and the nursing agency don’t really seem to offer pastoral support. I’m supposed to be getting follow-up phone calls from the breat care nurse at the hospital but they have been infrequent. I’m wondering if I should try and get counselling or alternative therapies to get some sort of strategy for switching off my mind while the treatment is going on!!
Any ideas gratefully received!!

Hi Anne

As I said in the chat last week none of us are exactly lucky being in this situation … just some of us are luckier than others. I am amongst the luckier ones not to have had to go through chemo so I can’t offer any hints and tips specific to chemo sessions and how to get through them. I can only say that you are entitled to have the odd flaky moment. It’s all well and good us all being ‘usually so strong’ but at the end of the day at some point along this journey we all hit a period where we just feel that we can’t do this anymore. All I can advise is to take heart from the countless ladies on this site who have completed their chemo … you will soon be one of them, although I know at this point you probably can’t see and end in sight.

Sounds like you have a very supportive husband so in that resepct you are lucky.

I hope your future treatment goes smoothly with no more fainting issues. Every treatment is another kick in the whatsits for the cancer … keep fighting and just when you think you can’t give anymore to the fight get up and give it another good kicking.

Hi Anne,

I know how you feel about never ending treatments, or thats how they seem. I spent last summer having triweekly chemo,weekly herceptin and monthly biphos for bone mets. Compounded with a scary experience will just make it seem all the worse. I’d recommend Maggies Centres for more non medical cancer support if you have one near you. They offer counselling as well as other therapies to help ease your treatments.

I too spent my chemo days feeling very woozy because of premeds, the nurses found it easier to wait til I asked for a drink to talk to me :slight_smile:

I now ( 9 months later) find it weird going into hospital for anything other than clinic appointments and my breast care nurse had retired for three months before I got told, I spoke to her a grand total of 2 times, she even had to call me to see how I was.

Can your hubby or a friend be with you whilst you get your treatment? It may help ease you anxiety.

Remember it is not just fatigue you suffer with chemo but treatment fatigue too which is so much more tiring as you feel your life isnt your own and its like being a child again, being told you must be in a certain place at a certain time for something you get sick of doing.

But also remember it will stop and whats causing you problems now is going help you too.

Take Care

Kate xxx

Hi Anne

Our specialist nurses on the helpline will be happy to talk to you about ways to seek further support, counselling and therapies available to you to help you to manage the treatments you are undergoing. The helpline number is 0808 800 6000 and is open Mon-Fri 9am-5pm and Sat 9am-2pm.

Best wishes

Hi Anne,
Sorry to hear you’re struggling with your treatments. As Lilac says, it’s perfectly OK to go flaky, and especially if you’re holding it all together the rest of the time.
I hadn’t thought about the isolation of having your treatment at home - only the convenience I was missing! I suppose I did draw strength from being in a room full of people - we’d all grimace at each other over our veins etc, and it was a distraction, watching people come and go.
I nearly always had a friend with me, they’d just read while i was sleepy. At least they’d get you through the half hour before and the beginning of the treatment. What about music? I used to put my ipod on and drift away in a sleepy little world of my own. Other than that what about some exciting DVDs to distract you?
I’m sorry if these ideas sound trite, but they may be worth a try. If you can just distract yourself long enough to break out of the cycle it should help.
I really hope things improve for you
Jacquie x

Thanks so much for all your helpful comments! It helps so much just to come out and admit I’m not finding it easy as I seem to spend most of my time trying so hard to be positive and make it seem not to difficult to convince myself as much as anyone else!!

Feeling a bit calmer now and communication is getting better between me and my husband as we were shutting off a bit so as not to try and affect the other person but it doesn’t work!!

I do find this site a godsend and you just don’t feel so isolated which is great.

Hi AnneS

I have just read your post and was very sorry to read of your recent problems.

Would it be possible for you to have your treatment at Hospital? I think I would find it very isolating being treated at home as I know you have mentioned in previous postings. At least there if the nurse treating you has trouble with your veins as they very often do with me so I know exactly how you feel there are others on hand to help.

I know what you mean about admitting that you can’t cope with things at the moment. I think I’m going to have to ask for my check up due end of May to be brought forward as the pain in my hip is getting me down and I think I’m going to need some radiotherapy. It’s just upsetting me that the pain is getting worse and will have to have further treatment as can’t continue the way it is.

So you’re not the only one to have a moan!

Take care,

Denio x