Starting chemo on Thursday and teffified!

Hi. Its taken me a while to get the courage to go live on this site. I’ve never done any kind of internet ‘chat line’ before so was a bit wary however I’ve been reading other people’s comments and realsied that there are others like me. I am 48 years old and was diagnosed on 7th October with a Grade 3 ductal carcinoma. It was originally thought to be around 2cm with another smaller lump nearby. However on 23rd October I had a lumpectomy which showed that the tumour was actually 47mm ie huge. I don’t seem to hear of anyone else having one that big! Fortunately it did not appear to have gone to my lymph glands which at the time was a big relief. However I have now been told by my oncologist that they can’t really tell if its spread or not and are going full out to make sure everything is killed off. I am due to start 6 sessions of FEC-T on Thursday and then 3 weeks of radiotherapy to my breast followed by 3 days further under the armpit and then Tamoxifen. I am terrified. I had a Picc line inserted last Thursday and something isn’t right. It is very painful and there is blood which I am told is not meant to happen. I have been through every emotion possible since my diagnosis and am now just filled with dread and a huge feeling of a big heavy lead weight in my stomach. I absolutely hate this feeling that any control has been taken away from me. The list of side effects seems to be endless and I keep thinking I’m not going to be able to get through this emotionally. Anyway I could go on forever but won’t as I’m not sure this will work (being a complete technophobe!). 

Hi Tazzles,

Great name :slight_smile: Sorry you find yourself here but you’ve come to the right place for support and advice.

I was diagnosed in September 2012 and underwent chemo first, before surgery and radiotherapy. The word “chemotherapy” made my blood run cold - I had so many negative images in my mind and as the first session drew closer I built it up into this huge ordeal. I remember arriving on the chemo ward and sitting physically trembling - I was afraid of needles, being sick, losing my hair… the list went on and on!

I honestly thought that the second the drip started I would throw up and begin to feel horrendously ill. I sat there throughout the 2 hour treatment, waiting… and waiting. But it didn’t happen, all the things I’d feared didn’t happen.

The nurse was so lovely and told me that I shouldn’t be sick and, if I was, they would change my sickness medication and I wouldn’t be again. She was right, I wasn’t sick once. Don’t get me wrong, chemo isn’t a walk in the park, but it was nowhere near as bad as my fears had led me to believe.

I kept a diary everyday throughout chemo - it was a great way of keeping track of why’s tablets I’d taken and was also a great reference to look back on after each treatment - i.e. “Day 5 feeling much better”.

Sorry I’ve waffled on quite a lot there, just wanted you to know that chemo really is not as bad as you think it will be.

Let me know if you have any questions, I’d be more than happy to answer them if I can.

Take care and good luck with the start oh treatment. Deep breath, you’ll be fine :slight_smile:

K xx

Hi.  Sorry to hear that you are terrified, I was definitely very apprehensive before my chemo started.  I have to say it hasn’t been as bad as I was expecting. I have had 4 out of 6 sessions and the effects get a bit worse each time and last a bit longer but if you rest and take your anti sickness medicine it is bearable.  I have been given Emend for anti sickness, I take the first one before leaving home on my chemo day and although I’ve felt queasy I’ve not actually been sick.  Regarding hair loss - have you been offered the ‘cold cap’?  I was recommended to try it and my lovely chemo nurse (who had tried it herself) said if I could stand it for the first 10 minutes (it is very cold) then it would feel OK and she was right.  It does make the treatment last longer as you have it on for  30 min before the drugs are given, during the drugs and then for 2 hours afterwards. I had my shoulder length hair cut short before my treatment and it has thinned a bit, probably lost about 20 - 30%, but it is not too bad.  If you have the chance I would recommend you try it. Have you had your Picc line checked? I have a power port which I think is similar and it was very tender for about a week after it was fitted but since then its been OK. …and finally, they have to warn you of all the possible side effects but it doesn’t mean you will get all (or even any!) of them. If you read the bumpf in a pack of paracetamol or aspirin there are loads of side effects!  I wish you all the very best, stay strong and join the rest of us who are kicking cancer’s a**e!!!xxx

Good luck for tomorrow Tazzles, I start my treatment on Friday and share your fears. As mentioned below why don’t you join the November Newbies or December angles chemo threads. There’s a few of us on the November thread starting chemo this week. Take care. Tracy XXX

Hi A,

Like Tara I’ve been suffering with nausea and sickness over the past few days, cold cap was doable. When you see your oncologist ask for Emend, apparently it’s one of the best sickness drugs however they don’t usually offer this unless you need it. Boy I need it and my oncologist will know about it!

Take care and good luck with the picc.

Love to you all

Tracy XXX

Hi This is my 2nd post. I have an appt on 10th at chemo ward which I think is just took look round. I’m not sure when I’ll start but am getting v nervous and can’t think of much else at the moment. I’m wondering how it’ll all fit in with Christmas and how I’ll cope. Also the risk of infection is also bothering me. Reading your posts as you ve just started out is interesting and encouraging. I’ve decided I don’t think I can deal with the cold cap, I have my apply application for my wig ready but can’t imagine it all. I have nothing planned this week after 3 visits to hospital last week which was tiring, I know I should m make the most of this week but can’t stop thinking about what’s to come. I will be having E-CMF is anyone else having this? I haven’t seen it mentioned so far?
Very best wishes to you all on this roller coaster journey.

Lots of great advice, support and personal experiences given here…just want to add another dimension to assist one through any of the hard times of such…I went to every chemo session, with the thought of some very special present I would get myself…I wish I had done a lot more of having massages, aromatherapy, relaxation, meditations, etc. etc. whatever is safe to have and makes you feel good…give yourself as many rewards as you can think of (as a Mother would do for her ill child)!  Spoil yourself, you deserve all and everything wonderful that you can possibly give to yourself…there will never be a better time (or excuse) ever!!!  

By the way I only just noticed in the ‘subject’ bar I wrote ‘Teffified’ instead of ‘Terrified’. Chemo-brain setting in already!!

Mazbee your post has really made me laugh- thank you

Tracy XXX

Thanks Jonamo I’ll have a look at m&s sometime. I get a free 1st bra from the hospital which is good but because they didn’t have my size I haven’t tried it properly with my new breast form. Hopefully I’ll get fixed up next week. I have my chemo pre assessment (eek!) on Thurs.
Maz x