Reaction to docetaxal


Its my first time posting so I’ll give a history. Sorry it’s a bit long!

Nov 20 found breast lump whilst in shower - just before my 38th birthday.

Dec 20 seen by bcn and had ultrasound. Was told it was most likely an old bruise and to come back in 3 months if it hadn’t gone for another ultrasound and biopsy.

March 21 biopsy confirmed grade 2 bc, her2+, er+, not spread to lymphnodes. Titanium marker put on tumour.

Full body CT scan confirmed no cancer spread.

Never been 100% sold on chemo but was told the lump was 5cm x 2.5cm x 1.8cm so surgery first wasn’t advisable.

Apr 21 3 x EC chemo started. Side effects ok. Increased acid reflux, Filgrastim issues so cut those out and white blood cells returned to normal on their own. Numbness in head and fingers and lots of pain in arms (veins) from chemo. Palpitations, racing heart rate, hot all of the time. On the whole though, 10 bad days, 10 good days.

May 21 told it had spread to on nearby lymph.

June 21 went forward ultrasound and titanium marker on lymphnode. I’d had 2 x EC at this point. Radiographer couldn’t find any cancer on any lymphnodes and tumour had shrunk by 50%.

Finished 3 x EC and yesterday went for my first Docetaxal and new herceptin and perjeta injection. Injection was fine but very quickly reacted to the docetaxal. Sensation in my shoulder, moved to my chest, tight chest, hot flushed face, difficult to breath, hot chest and back, white spots in front of eyes. All happened very quickly. Nurses and doctor were great, chemo stopped and pumped full of drugs. Oxygen was low so was monitored and put on oxygen and had a flush. They said they usual wait for the episode to pass then restart slowly after 10-30 mins, but they said there’s no way they’d restart and booked me in to try again next week. I was already on a reduced dose.

Obviously I’m VERY reluctant to try again. I was already considering not having anymore chemo, so this has virtually made my mind up. I’m more than happy to move on to surgery now then radiotherapy. They said that if I stop chemo I can still continue with the herceptin and perjeta injections and I’m more than happy with that!

Any experiences of reactions similar to mine or of peoplestopping chemo would be really greatly received. It’s such a hard decision when it’s your life you’re having to make these decisions about and there really is no room for error!

Hi @silly_woman57  - I wanted to start by welcoming you to this lovely forum, and hope you will find support and answers as you go through treatment. I am so sorry you had a bad reaction to the Docetaxal, and have seen that you’ve started chatting on another similar thread. You might also want to do a search across the forum - the search box is just above this chat, but make sure you change the default grey box to search the whole forum, not just this board.

As Shi advised on the other chat, it’s important that you talk this through with your team. I wasn’t so bad with Docetaxel but really struggled with FEC, so they had to reduce my doses. Everyone’s chemo is slightly adjusted to make it personal to them, so talk through the options. It really is very hard, but they will guide you to making the best choice for you.

I wish you all the very best as you go forward. Evie xx

Hello silly_woman57,

So sorry to hear about your lump, it’s just the worst thing to find but you’re in good company here and will find lots of helpful tips.

I started on docetaxyl to shrink down my tumour.  The first dose I went hot and red to purple, couldn’t breathe- I’d had a reaction to the platinum in the chemo.  I had to have oxygen and antihistimine injections each time.  My Docetaxyl had to be reduced it gave such ulcers in my mouth and digestive system.  This led to a kind of panic disorder that I still struggle with.  The many scans didn’t help.  However I got through the 3 x Docetaxyl then 3 x FEC and although utterly awful for that whole year, managed to cope with it and came out the other end.  The final two FECs were so hard and I did think of stopping. 

That was 10 years ago, I was given a remission diagnosis after my year of chemo, mastectomy, radiotherapy. Just last week I came off Anastrozole (4 years) after Tamoxifen for 6 years.  Finally, no drugs.

You’re on the start of this journey so I can only say listen to what your body tells you - we are all different.  Have patience and put your life on hold while you allow your body and mind to deal with the constant invasions.  If your family and friends can help you though this and give you complete rest, that will help enormously. 

I had to actually tell myself to relax each session as these toxic drugs were helping me and it calmed me down!  All stressful things in my life were jettisoned.  I’m not sure if this will help you.  I took everything because I had a ‘heavy burden’ of cancer in my lymph nodes - had 17 removed so not much left to deal with infection in my right arm.  To date, I’ve looked after myself and not needed antibiotics.  My lump was 4 cm x 2 cm, which had shrunk down after the first Docetaxyl then plateaued. 

Sillywoman Sorry you have had reaction to docetaxol, it has happened to lots of us over the years. It is and your natural reaction is I don’t want another one. Others have been switched to abraxane and been ok with that and personally after I had reaction to 2nd docetaxol (they restarted mine and I just wanted to leg it ) I then went back onto fec for my 6th chemo, so had 3 fec, 2 docetaxol then another fec (I was TNBC) The choice is always yours on treatments, but wanted to mention to you in case you do want to explore alternatives with your onc and team. Sending big :two_hearts: :two_hearts: :sparkles: :sparkles: Shi xx