starting chemo on 28th oct.

Hi, I’m 36 with two children aged 7 & 4. Have no family history of bc, had lumpectomy 4 weeks ago and got the all clear, but was grade 3 so because of that and my age am starting fec x6 in two weeks. Up till now I have felt very positive but now I have the date to start chemo i’m a bit scared. I had my hair cut from quite long into a bob the day I decided to go for chemo and am not too worried about losing it but am willing to give the cold cap a go. My only worry is how I will cope with the kids and side affects. Any advice or tips please? Also the nurse told me today that i’m having a picc line fitted the day before chemo when i’d previously been told I would have a choice, so if anyone can share their experiences with picc lines i would be greatful.

Thanks

Hi

Am glad your operation went well and hope you are recovered. Starting chemo is daunting, but there are lots of people here to give you advice. I have just had my last chemo on Tuesday and am taking up my parents offer of looking after the kids fit the weekend ( they are 5 and 3). There is a good thread on here called top tips to get you through chemotherapy. Everyone is very different so it is hard to plan too far in advance but accept all help with your children and remember there will be days when you feel fine, so enjoy them. Once you get started the time passes quickly. Take care. Dx

Hi
i was borderline for having a picc line and decided to try without as I thought it would be a pain having the line flushed once a week and didn’t know how would I cope with it “there” all the time. After 2 lots of chemo and problems finding veins, pains in my hand and bruises from the pressure applied to try and get blood I gave in and had a picc line put in. I wish i had done this from the beginning. It is so much easier, taking blood is no problem and it only takes about 20mins to have each chemo instead of an hour and a half and as I live very close to the hospital I get my line flushed weekly at the unit, which gives me a chance to discuss any little queries I have. Last week I was breathless so they took blood to check for aneamia which if needed I could have had this week so my next FEC would not have been delayed. As for the line, I no longer notice it, it is covered by a tubigrip and I was given a plastic cover to wear while in the shower so it doesn’t get wet.
As for side effects if you’ve read other posts you will see that most of us have copable se’s and say although it is not great having chemo, it is doable. I find I have 3 yukky days each cycle (usually days 4-7 after chemo, counting day of chemo as day 1) and the rest of the time is ok, with the week before next chemo being good week.
I have kept a chemo diary which helps as I saw the onc. consultant yesterday so was able to chat about each se’s I had had and for how long. It also helps when suffering a se to look back at last cycle and see that by day after tomorrow last cycle that se was gone.
Two bits of advice I can give is to rest when tired and drinks lots of water. I am halfway through with number4 of 6 next week and feel the time has passed very quickly.
Take care
Hugs
Ali.

Hi Shellymae, I had my first dose of FEC on the 4th October. I think the most important thing I’ve learned is to listen to your body and if you develop any side effects, and are having difficulty, get in touch with your chemo nurse/unit. There is usually something that they can give you to give relief or prevent it getting worse. I’ve been back twice since the 4th. They gave me a mouth wash Difflam which helped a sore/dry mouth. I had oral thrush which they gave me Nystatin for and Omeprazole for an acid stomache, which worked almost instantly.
The process of the chemo was not as bad as I’d thought.It was good to be able to cross one off! It’s not a great time, but it is doable one day at a time. Everyone’s experience is different and it seems like most cycles can be different too, so don’t think you’ll have all the nasty side effects. Hope it goes well for you hun. xx

Thanks all for your comments, it has put my mind at ease a bit. I have good family and friends around and a wonderful fiance so hopefully I’ll cope better than I was expecting too! I will give the picc line a go as I have had problems with my veins previously and also I live close to the hospital so thats a plus. I have started a diary already as someone else I know said that helped through the cycles. Did any of you try the cold cap or have hair loss?

Shelly

Hi
I start my chemo next Thursday and am really scared. Had my visit to the unit yesterday and the nurse was lovely but came away very anxious after he had gone through all the side effects that i could experience.It will be good to have other people to chat to and share experiences.I too am going to keep a diary so it will be good to look back on and know that there will be good days so i can try to plan treats and outings with family and friends.All tips and advice will be greatly received.

hi roytonian, good luck for next thursday, let me know how you get on. I’ve got my visit to the unit a week monday, I hate all this waiting arrgghh!!

Take Care x

Just wanted to add that I started FECx6 at the end of August and have just had number 3. I agree with what others have said about the side effects - they’re doable if not exactly pleasant! I had a 2-hour session with a chemo nurse before I started in which he went through all the possible side-effects - I guess they have to do that - it does make it seem rather daunting but from my own experience and from what I’ve heard from others it seems that whilst most people will get some side-effects they may not be that bad or not that bad all of the time! It’s a very individual thing. I had sickness after the first one but the next time the hospital gave me an extra anti-sickness drug which has got it under control and I’ve only had a bit of nausea since then. My energy levels tend to go down around days 5-8 of each cycle but otherwise are not too bad. Yes, I have lost my hair (I decided not to go with the cold cap as it seemed like one more thing to have to cope with) but then again I have a nice wig that is giving me a whole new image!
So, it’s not great, but it could be worse. I think the waiting to start can be the worst part. Definitely take whatever support is on offer and listen to your body, rest when you need to etc.
All good wishes,
Amanda

Hello
I am starting 6FEC-T next Weds…just in time for half term! Have had hair cut short, am booked to see wig person…and when treatment starts will ask for as many things as they can throw at me to not vomit as once I start I just do not stop!..cannot even cope with kids being sick! Othyerwise SEs sound copeable with! Am self employed so will have to keep working…any other self employed people here?

Hi, I too am 36 shelleymae. I started my fex x6 in sep and am due my third this fri. I have been really lucky so far and have little se. Bit of nausea first few days and mild headache in second week but nothing too difficult to deal with and my anti sick drugs work for me. I have done the cold cap and I lost a bit of hair in third week which has caused my hair to be thinner. It has slowed now. No one has noticed, my photo is me a day after second fec. I still have as much hair, so fingers crossed it has worked and will continue to do so. Everyone is different but as a lot of the ladies say it is very doable. I have continued to work, exercise and socialise so far. Good luck x

Hi, I used the cold cap too and so far so good. Day 13 at the mo, so we’ll see what happens this week. I’ve been feeling really well for the last three days, so looking forward to a great week before the next one on the 25th!
To those starting this week hope it all goes well for you. xx

Thanks for sharing your experience Amanda, is the wig comfortable?

Good luck on wednesday lostinfrance let me know how you get on. I’m not self employed and luckily my employers have been very good and told me not to bother coming back in at all. I really hope the se’s don’t affect you too bad so you can continue to work.

Wow bells28 you look really well, i’m glad you’ve not had too many se’s lets just keep fingers crossed that i’m as lucky!!!

Glad your feeling well blueygirl, good luck for next week. xx

Hi Shellymae I am just finishing all my treatment and although at times it seems like its been a long year it has also flown by. I started chemo in april. I also had a PICC line fitted and found it well worth while. I was dreading the thought of finding a vein every time. It is uncomfortable for the first week so don’t panic as time passes you forget its there! I found a piece of the thin tubafast to cover it made it more comfortable and less likely to catch when getting dressed. I hope your experience of chemo is ‘doable’ and don’t suffer with any side effects always mention them to onc or nurses they normally have something to help.
Big Hugs (the waiting is the worst part)
Sarah x

Thanks Sarah, I’m an impatient person as it is lol only 8 more days to go!!

Hello All

Can I jump on the thread, I’m starting on chemo next wed 27th Oct (6 x Abraxane) this is my 2nd time round so I guess I’m an old hand?! I’m 35 and was originally dx June 09.

I’m speaking to the Onc tomorrow re having a PICC line put in as my veins are wrecked from the last regime of chemo and I don’t fancy playing hunt the vein every 3 weeks!! No doubt it will be strange having a permanent tube in my chest but I’ll get used to it, any of us in this situation are adaptable it has to be said.

My only advice is to listen to your body and try to keep a positive attitude, of course we all have bad days but there are plenty of good days too. Where possible I try and live a ‘normal’ life, if you can regain some control it can be very empowering.

Good luck to anyone who is starting chemo soon, if you would like PM each other to share experiences let me know.

Claire x

Hi shellymae
Had my first chemo today and its true what they say that your more frightened of the unknown.
It took 8 attempts for the needle to stay in but once it was in i had no problems apart from the c part of the fec gave me a pins and needles feeling for a couple of mins. Feeling ok up to now will keep you posted and good luck when its your turn.

thanks Claire and roytonian, keep me posted at how you get on. 1 Week to go now for me!!

Hi folks

got started on Weds and asked for Emend as I am allergic to anasthetics and get v sicky so that was arranged on top of all the others…feel like a walking drug cabinet!
So far so good, feel woozy…bit like cross between mild morning sickness and late hangover! Have been out for long walk with dogs as usual as I think excercise is good for the digestive tract and the heart as well as the mind and soul! So long as it stays like this I think I can cope. Am dreading the 3 tax that I have to do next as some threads here seem to conclude its terrible compared to FEC…and I have my first along with 1st Herceptin on 23rd Dec…going to be a jolly old Christmas!!!
To all those starting in next few days good luck, the wait is worse than reality and keep drinking loads as it seems to help…I even take a bottle of water and gingersnaps to bed LOL

Hi LIF

So agree the walking helps - even when you really, really don’t feel like it. Even if it’s just to get out of the house. I started my chemo on Dec 23rd last year - but if you have tax then you might just get through to after Boxing Day before the se’s kick in - its a bit later with tax, 4 - 5 days for me. Happy Xmas!!

finty x

Finty and lostinfrance I too wholeheartedly agree that exercise is great. It gets everything going and even though for some it may seem hard at first the benefits are there for sure.

When I was having fec no 3 on Friday past my nurse and i were also discussing having a positive attitude and she said that she sees it all the time that those with it seem to get on a lot better. Its like anything in life if you focus on the negative it becomes that way.

Good luck to all those starting, the thought of it really is worse than the actual event. Get the first one down and you are on road to recovery and a step closer to getting your life back to normality.
x