Starting chemo on Tuesday

Starting chemo on Tuesday

Starting chemo on Tuesday I haven’t posted much on this site so far but feel in need of some kind words and reassurance and I know that this is the place to get them!

I was diagnosed with a grade 3 invasive ductal tumour, ER positive, HER positive on 13th April and had a WLE on 21st April. I have had a delay in starting chemo (FEC) because a potential problem with my kidneys had to be investigated first. That’s ok, so now I am starting the chemo on Tuesday.

I feel really apprehensive, although relieved that the treatment can start after the delay. My family is great - my husband and daughters are very supportive but this is new to all of us, so if any of you can help to allay my fears a bit, it would be very much appreciated.

Thank you.

Anne

Hi Anne

I had my first chemo (FEC) a couple of weeks ago. Like you i was apprehensive. However I found the chemo nurses fantastic. Very kind, caring and understanding and had lots of help and advice.

I was offered ‘cold cap’ but it looks like that hasn’t worked for me as my hair has started to fall out, but hey I have a wig and bandanas on standby.

My side effects were very similar to being pregnant, feeling of sickness (which they give you anti - emetics for), strange taste in my mouth (have taken to lemon sherberts - yum) and extreme tiredness. Although these only lasted about a week. However everyone is different.

My nurse gave me some excellent advise, she said listen to your body. If you have any side effects that you can take a pill for do (no need to soldier on in pain) and carry on living your life.

Having the 2nd zap on Thursday and just counting down until it’s all over.

As with most things the fear of the unknown is always worse than the actual experience.

Its definitely do able. Good luck for Tuesday you WILL be fine.

Hugs
Jackie

Hi Jackie

Thank you for you quick reply. It is reassuring to hear from others going through the same experience (although I wish none of us had to!)

I have bought a fantastic wig and some scarves in preparation. I am going to try the cold cap but as I get a lot of migraines I may not be able to continue with it.

All the best for your next session.

Anne

good luck Hi Ann

If it’s any help I’ve just finished my 10th cycle of chemo. I too was very aprehensive in the beginning but the fear of the unknown is always worse than the reality.
Chemo is different for everyone. Somedays I felt that I could cope with it no problem and other days I just felt like giving up. The side effects vary from person to person as well as the different types of chemo. I was fine on Taxol with very few side effects and then started 6 lots of EC which was completely different. Lots of sickness, awful taste in my mouth and generally feeling pretty rough. I have managed to work full time through it though, so as much as sounds terrible life has carried on pretty much as normal.
I too have a great husband and three kids and they will help get you through it. You just have to keep remembering that the chemo is worth it and will hopefully have the desired effect.
Listen to your body and do what’s right for you.

Best of luck you will get through it!

Love
Chanel

Anne
Good luck with the chemo I am second week after second FEC and it has not been a major problem for me. I was lucky and only had a slight feeling of queasyness after the treatment. My hair has just about gone but it will come back. I am feeling more tired and cant be as active as I was.

I live in Kent and work in London and used to travel in by train. My onc didn’t want me to be on public transport but I am lucky and I am able to work from home by email and phone. It keeps my brain active and off thinking about bc. My company are great and if they really need me in the office send a car to take me both ways

I know everyone is different and react differently. But I do believe than thinking the chemo is doing you good ( really!) and staying positive helps you get through it.

Good luck and take care
Sharon x

Had my first chemo last Wedesday Hi Anne

I’ve just had my first chemo last week, having it wasn’t too bad the nurses were great but its still making me feel pretty crap. Nothing I can put my finger on specifically just generally feeling rough. Suffered from nausea the first couple of days and found it hard to find something that I fancied to eat. I can’t face meat and have been going veggie mostly and eating steamed fish. Its a bit like morning sckness ! but doesn’t go away as quick.

I have a few good spells in between when I feel quite well, but I think in my case as I don’t work it leaves you with more time to dwell on how you feel.

Anyway, good luck, take care of yourself.

I’m off to see the wig lady today, will report back on that !

Diane x

Thank you Dear Chanel, Sharon and Diane

Thank you for your reassuring replies. I am feeling less apprehensive now and will also use some imagery I have learnt to visualise the chemo doing its job! The fact that some of you have been able to keep on working gives me hope that it won’t be as bad as I feared.

Sharon - I see from your profile that we both have similar jobs but I work in the NHS. I have been working between the operation and the chemo but for my own job, it would be very difficult to work mainly from home and they really need to get a temporary replacement. So far, working has helped to keep my mind on other things.

However I have plenty of books and work journals to catch up on and people have lent me DVDs etc so I hope to avoid the need to resort to daytime TV! I also hope to enjoy the garden - from under a sunshade of course - when Summer finally arrives.

Thanks very much for all the support. This really is a great site.

All the best to everyone for your own treatment.

Anne

Hello Anne,

I was pretty much afraid of chemo too, even thought of refusing to have it, but I have now had my first FEC and have been OK.

Unlike the others, I suffered no sickness, the anti-emetics worked fine for me, although they did make my eyes, mouth and bowels dry out a bit for a couple of days…a bit like if you take anti-histamines. I was also tired for a couple of days, and had slight heartburn, but other than that, and the hair starting to fall out on the 12th day after, I have been fine.

I hope that my next FEC will be just as manageable, and I wish the same for you too!

Good luck

Dee
x

Thank you Dee. I hope I will be as lucky as you!

I also felt like refusing it as I had a delay after surgery and that extra time has meant that I feel so much better than I did at the time I was due to start the chemo. It was tempting to think that I was actually completely well and didn’t need any more treatment. But I kept a note of the statistics that the oncologist gave me and I know that because it was grade 3, and strongly positive for ER and HER, I must have all the proposed treatments to give myself the best possible outcome.

Good luck. I hope that you continue to have few side effects.

Anne

Best wishes for tomorrow Hi Anne,

just wanted to wish you well for your first chemo session tomorrow. I started chemo last month (I’m on a different one to you, E-CMF) and I remember it well! Have now had 3 and the time is just flying, thank goodness!

I was totally petrified when I went for my 1st chemo session, and I swear I must’ve had ‘new patient’ written on my forehead cause my fear was obvious for all to see! I really needn’t have worried at all though. All the staff at the chemo day centre where I go were just lovely. Plying me and OH with an abundance of hot drinks and sarnies (although I declined the tasty sarnies as food was far from my mind!). The 1st session took a while as we had a load of paperwork to get though. The sessions after this have been much quicker.

Anyway, as I said, it really wasn’t a bad experience at all. I did shed a little tear for a second or 2 when the nurse started putting the epi in but I soon stopped blubbing. Everyone was so lovely and I’m sure the staff where you go will be too. I was worried also about how I would feel when I got home. They sent me off with so many anti-sickness meds that again I needn’t have worried about this. I did get myself some ‘travel bands’ from boots and they complimented my anti-sickness meds nicely. Had 3 chemo so far and have never been sick, only felt a little nauseous at times.

I’ve no doubt you’ll be mega nervous as you head off tomorrow but I guarantee you that you’ll be wondering what all the fuss was about once you’re back home! I will be thinking of you, and please be sure to let us know how you get on,

Take care,

Kelly
-x-

Thanks Kelly.

I must remember to get my daughter’s seabands from her tomorrow. I have been told to expect that the session tomorrow will be longer than future ones because of all the paperwork.

I have been out spending lots of money today, preparing for the worst e.g. browzings for my eyebrows, a stand for my wig etc and got talked into other makeup that “would make my skin look less pale during the treatment”. It has just occurred to me that I don’t want my face to look too glowing if my bald head is extremely pale in comparison!

I will let you know how it goes, but I am feeling much better about it all after the replies from everyone.

All the best

Anne

Just a quick post to say Good Luck for Tomorrow, as you begin your chemo journey I finish mine, last one Tomorrow!!

I have been very fortunate and haven’t been sick at all. I have had a few minor side effects - indigestion, joint pains, tingling flushes etc, but nothing has kept me down or stopped me doing what i want to do! I know that everybody is different, but you may be one of the lucky ones too! Here’s hoping that you are!!!

The night before my first chemo I was very apprehensive, but nothing has been as bad as I was expecting…even my eyelashes and brows are holding on …just about!

Take care Nicky xx

Hi Anne ,what are browzings please?I have no eyebrows and would love a suggestion to make my face less bare.Thanks Val

Hi Val,

BrowZings is a little pallette of brow colour and wax sold under the Benefits brand of cosmetics at around £20.

The idea is you put the colour on to your brows (or where your brows were), and seal it by brushing on the wax.

I bought mine in a large branch of Boots, but the Department store cosmetic counters may stock Benefits stuff too).

I don’t know if it works OK, because I still have my brows, but other ladies on here have recommended it, so I bought some in readiness!

Dee
x

Good Luck Hi Anne,

Seems that you and are are having similar treatment (although I am getting Taxotere after the FEC) and are almost the same age. I too had a mastectomy and will be getting Rads, Herceptin and Arimidex.

Like you, I have had trouble accepting that the chemo was a necessity, as I felt so well, and only had one lymph gland involved, but my oncologist convinced me that it was the best course of action. He said he wanted me to live to be 100!!!

Anyway, good luck for tomorrow, will be thinking of you!

Dee
x

Thank you so much to all of you who responded.

I didn’t find the chemo too bad, but the worst bit was the cold caps which were quite unpleasant. I probably will persevere with them unless my hair starts to fall out before the next session.

My head feels a bit strange but I’m not sure if it is the chemo or the cold caps.

No nausea yet but maybe I am speaking too soon?

All the best to everyone

Anne

Hi Ann Hi Ann

I’m so glad you got through today ok and it wasn’t as bad as you thought it might be. Fingers crossed for very few side effects.

I did the cold cap for 10 cycles. I had really long thick hair before I started and when it started falling out in clumps I often wondered whether or not it was worth persevering with the cold cap because at times it was very uncomfrtable and i’m not good with cold tempertaures at the best of times. I did keep on with it though, despite the headaches etc and still have a full covering of hair albeit it’s very thin and I wear my wigs for work etc. For me it felt better to keep some of my hair and not have to wait as long for it to start growing long again. Everyone is different though and I know a lot of people feel a sense of relief when they shave the lot off. I also used Nioxin twice a day religiously which I’m convinced helped.

When is your next cycle due?

Take care
Love
Chanel

Hi

My partner gave up on the cold caps after the 3rd cycle. I hope your not having any nausea like she did as for the head thing do you feel like your not on this planet?

I hope your next cycle goes okay, when is it?

God bless
Love
Little1

Hi Anne I had my last chemo today! no kidding it isn’t a cake walk, you don’t need me to tell you that. But, I’ve got through it so I know you will too. The best advice I was given was to listen to my body, I have to admit that I didn’t at first and thought I was super human and could carry on as normal. But your body needs energy to fight off the chemicals and it will if you give it the best chance possible.

Let your family help you out whenever possible, take nice relaxing baths,have a lie in and eat your favourite chocolate (not to much though.)

The nurses at the hospital will be great, they understand that you feel frightened and once you get into a routine you will feel that you can take control. I think that was the worst bit for me, until I found breast cancer care and I got myself a peer suport volunteer. She has been wonderful and I can ask her anything and because she was matched to my circumstances she answered my questions from personal experience, I found that very reassuring.

I’ve now got a well earned break for 5 weeks before I start Rads.

Good luck chuck

You are not alone!

Adrienne