Started Chemo


I am new to all this so here goes.

Was diagnosed with breast cancer in November and had a mastectomy in December.

Started chemo on 4 February and finding it all a bit overwhelming.

Was a fit and healthy person until all this so am not used to feeling unwell.  Finding it all quite scary as don’t know how my body will be from one day to the next.  Currently in the 7-10 day spell post treatment where I am advised cells are at lowest and when I will feel my worst (they were not kidding!).

Finding my heart beating quicker than normal but not sure if it’s anxiety or should be expected as my body tries to work harder to get back on an even keel.  Couldn’t sleep last night as a result which adds to anxiety.

Anyone else felt like this going through treatment?

Thank you

Hi Kaz

Welcome to our forums. My first thought was that you’d do well to join the February Chemo Starters as I’m sure you’ll gets loads of support there. I think the easiest way to find it is to type February 2021 chemo in the search box above- it took me straight there. However, there’s also plenty of support here - you have found the right place.

You didn’t specify what treatment you had but I’ll take a stab at EC, which is a 3-weekly cycle. The problem is, the leaflets they give you can’t cover the reality of how it’s going to feel if you don’t react well. There are so many factors at work that no one knows if they are going to be part of the enviable cohort who seem to sail through treatment or if they are going to be knocked for six. I was part of the latter group.

The problem is, it’s cumulative (maybe that’s why generally they give three treatments and then change to a weekly treatment that’s meant to be kinder on the body). Make sure you report all your side effects (write a list) as your dosage may be adjusted according to your symptoms. Also they have a treatment for everything so you may come away with a huge goody bag from the pharmacy after your next treatment.

Notice I’m avoiding telling you my experience - try not to make comparisons with others. This is your experience. But if you feel sh**, don’t beat yourself up for it. Chemotherapy is a huge assault on the body and, unfortunately, it’s not just cancer cells it destroys. Yes, your blood count will be at its lowest by now so you may experience a faster heart beat BUT pretty soon, your blood cells are going to perk up and you will too. You may not have the energy you had before but it’s better than this. Try not to think about what you should be doing - if you can’t, you can’t. There were days when the fact that I could get to the bathroom for a pee was my boost to remembering I once was a human being rather than a zombie!

And that’s how you get through. Counting till the day when you can expect to feel a bit better. Counting to the end of the 3-weekly treatments. That should be halfway through if your treatment is the same as mine. Then counting each of the weekly treatments as one week closer to the end of treatment. It does come and you generally pick up pretty quickly after that. It is all doable and manageable and definitely worth it.

Steer clear of Google. Make sure your temperature is steady and respond IMMEDIATELY if it rises to whatever warning figure you’ve been given. It can make the difference between some antibiotics to take at home and long days in hospital! And, from what you wrote, be proactive about your emotional health. Prolonged anxiety is painful. Consider using an app like Calm or Headspace, both used by the NHS, or do what I did and explore YouTube. I swear that Progressive Hypnosis’s Manifest Healing got me through the lot (and still does) and there are loads to aid sleep. I wont say go for a run but do anything you can to feel you are still YOU, even if you haven’t the energy for some things. Just applying some lovely hand cream so there’s a pleasant aroma around you can lift your spirits.

Eat as well as you can (and make a real effort if it’s hard - voice of experience here lol). Exercise what you can even if you are flopped on the sofa or are in bed, you can flex your heels, maybe stretch your fingers and build on it daily. Use that walk to the bathroom as an excuse to walk a little more, even if it’s just round and round the room, or sitting and standing. You need to keep mobile and well-nourished.

I hope you react better to your next treatment but remember, if you don’t, its over the halfway mark for the first stint. Another hurdle crossed. All the best,


Hi @Kaz11  , sorry you have found yourself in this club that none of us wanted to join,  but welcome anyway. You may find it helpful to look on the chemo monthly threads section and join the February 21 group. I started chemo at the end of December so am a few rounds ahead of you. I have had the fast heartbeat thing too, it is quite disconcerting isn’t it… I rang the advice line and, because I have a cardiac history,  I went to my GP for an ecg, which was fine. I think it may be a mix of anxiety and the chemo putting everything under strain. Always worth getting advice, I think.

Take care and hope you can rest up xx

Hi Kaz11,

I know exactly how you feel - it’s just bizarre how much chemo slows you right down, and shocking how rough you feel when you’re usually fit, healthy and never ill! I’m about to have my third chemo now (also post op, adjuvant chemo) and it’s getting easier to cope with compared to the first time. I’ve learnt to completely give in to it for the first few days, then build up to feeling fairly normal for the last week and a half before the next one. My op was in October and chemo is much easier to deal with when you have full movement back and the scar numbness gets better. Hope you feel better soon xx

Hi there… I’ve just read your post and I’m on day 10 of my first post chemo and not feeling great I didn’t realise this was why. I’m same as you and get anxious about all these weird feelings. I was seeing flashes of light last night when I closed my eyes… then felt all hot and had pain in upper stomach… which makes me more anxious so you are not alone xx