this maybe a silly question! But anyone sailed through chemo

Hi everyone,

I know this maybe a really silly question for most ladies here, but i was just wondering?

I am waiting to see the oncologist, to have chemo, then rads.

I have found the forum lots of help, but reading lots of the posts about chemo, i must admit i wish i hadnt read them.

I certainley wasn’t expecting chemo to be a joy! but i also really didn’t realise how horrible it can be.

Although part of me wishes i hadn’t read the posts about chemo, i also believe that i would rather know what to expect before hand.

Many of the ladies here are an inspiration to me, so many have been to hell and back, but still manage to support others along the way.

I do hope not to annoy anyone with, what seems a silly question!

Thanks Sandrae x x x

Hiya there - i don’t think its a silly question at all! but i do think it’ll be a difficult one for folks to guage - the trouble being , everything’s relative and everyone’s got different degrees of tolerance and discomfort etc etc. i’m sure you’ll gets lots of individual responses and folks can only speak for themselves and not on behalf of others or make generalisations. On that note - for me - its 3 down 1 to go - i wouldn’t say i’ve sailed through it but i would certainly have no hesitation in saying its not been as bad as i had feared from a pain and discomfort level but i’ve found the hairloss very distressing and hate being knack’d a lot of the time.

Good luck when it starts




With regards to chemo everyone is different and every chemo is different! You won’t get all the side effects and you may be lucky and get very few.

I was lucky in that I have had FEC and Taxotere and in both cases I pretty much led a normal life. The main side effects I had were taste changes ( both chemos) and nail changes taxotere. I didn’t feel or be sick, didn’t spend any time in bed, and I carried on with my hobbies (ice skating and horse riding) and travelled abroad too. On FEC I did have a couple of cycles delated due to low white cell counts but when this happened I was feeling fine - but it was annoying to have chemo put back a week each time!

I used the cold cap both times and kept most of my hair both times too!

Don’t go into chemo expecting to get all the side effects,but if you do get any remeber to tell your team and they will give you drugs/tips to help.

Best of luck


I have many different chemos and reacted differently most times. The very first time I was on MMM and kept very well throughout. Just as well cos next time round I wasnt anxious cos I thought it would be the same again. Unfortunately not! I was on ECF and had quite a few side effects, then Taxotere I found very difficult. Capecitabine had to be abandoned and then Navelbine wasn’t too bad. But on all but the first I had to have dose reductions. I was only hospitalised once with neutropenic fever. The days when I was on chemo the injections to keep up the white cell count weren’t on offer. As someone else has said we all differ in our reactions, and will differ in our reactions to different chemos as well. Hope you get on o.k.


Hi There,

I finished chemo the end of february, and had very few side effects, When I first started treatment I was expecting horrific SE’s, and was almost waiting for them to happen!!, the worst for me was an allergic reaction to taxotere, but I was changed to taxol which I then tolerated,

I use the cold cap throughout treatment and was even told how uncomfortable it could be but I tolerated it well, so much so, that I kept it on 5hrs at a time with taxol, and managed to save a fair covering of hair, but I have to say, for me losing a large percentage of my hair was the most devasating , in every way; I found it almost barbaric,

I think with me I am now going through a greiving process, so I guess now it’s effecting me more emotionally, and sometimes I have an almost anxiety attack ,while am trying to get my head round the emotional rollercoaster of it all,

Everyone is different and I do hope your treatment will be kind to you, radiotherapy is by far, much easier, I have just completed 20 sessions, and I have been taking tamoxifen for a month now,

best wishes ann x

Hi, I agree everyone is different. I started chemo at the end of November with 3 x FEC and then 3 x Tax finishing 19 March. Overall the process was manageable FEC was straight forward after the first treatment (I was sick the evening after) but then the sickness was controlled by Emend (anti sickness) thereafter. Taxotere was different again, SE’s were aches and pains caused by the injections to increase the white cells,tiredness from the steriod come-down and nasty taste in them mouth - but again manageable and were gone by day 10. Hair loss has caused a few tears, but managaged to hold onto eyelashes and eyebrows so once wig is in place know one knows! 4 weeks on I have good covering of fluff! Good luck. Carol

Thank you to everyone for your replies,

I must admit, i have always had a thing about my hair, fortunately it usually grows really quick, i have short hair and have to have a trim every 4 weeks as it starts to get on my nerves otherwise.

I was a hair model when i was in my teens, and always loved to change the colour and style to fit in with the era.

My main worry about having chemo is the hair loss thing, will just have to deal with it, if and when it happens.

To young for a headscarf, to old for a baseball cap, never been one for hats.

Will have to cross that bridge when it comes to it i suppose.

Thanks again ladies.

Sandrae x

I carried on working throughout, and went on holidays. I had 4x EC and 4 x taxol. Felt very sick initially on the EC (although wasn’t sick) but after a few days they adjusted my anti-sick meds and after that it didn’t happen again. Occasionally I felt a bit tired but quite honestly there was never anything more than what felt like a mild dose of flu, and nothing that would normally kept me off work for more than a day.

I wore sun hats and a wig for work, but my favorite were buffs which are soft and comfortable, and come in loads of patterns and colours


I didn’t have chemotherapy but happened to be speaking the other day to a friend of a friend who has just had the last of a series of six FEC treatments. She’s worked throughout and felt fine. Her hair has thinned a bit but she used the cold cap and even she admits that only she probably notices the difference in her hair. Forum postings probably aren’t that representative when it comes to side-effects - people who aren’t having problems probably don’t use them as much. Hope it all goes well for you.

If you are really worried about your hair, ask about having the cold cap. As you have short hair anyway, it may work well for you. It seems to be different for everybody, but I kept nearly all my hair through 3 x FEC - has thinned more with Doxetaxol, but still have a decent covering - in fact it only really shed after one session where they got the timings wrong and I didn’t have the cap on for long enough.

Thank you all for the reassurance,

I feel better already, i know everyone is different, but at least now i know that its not always as bad as it seems.

I may feel better when i have actually seen someone from the oncology dept, i am waiting for an appointment.
I have read the leaflets on chemo and rads on the forum, i think until i have been to the oncology unit i will, like anyone, be apprehensive.

I nearly never came to the bcc website for fear, more than anything, of what i might read, that i wished i hadnt.
But i am glad i did now , as i have read things that have worried me, i have also had support from complete strangers in the same boat as me.

Thanks again ladies.
Sandrae x

I did 6x FEC and while I wouldn’t say I sailed through, I coped. I think I was one of the luckier ones and no really dreadful side effects exept nausea and extreme tiredness. It is such an individual thing but there is a good guide on here to coping with chemo.My advice -take each day as it comes, Keep a thermomiter to hand and ring the hospital if you get a feaver, drink lots of water and don’t push yourself too much. The cold cap worked for me and is worth a try if keeping your hair is important to you.
good luck

wouldn’t say it was a bundle of joy, but not half as bad as i thought it would be! Mananged to work through it (twice) but had time off if i needed it. Had no infections (though oh and son both had flu) and apart from a few days after each treatment when the se’s were worst got out and about and generally carried on with my life. I would say trust your own body - it will tell you what you can and can’t do,
Good luck

i had epi-cmf and it was pretty OK really… wouldnt say it was a breeze, but it was a breeze compared to what i was imagining.

but like the others have said we are all different… i didnt give two hoots about losing my hair and used to go shopping in asda as a total baldy… the hair thing wasnt an issue for me at all really.

i dont think anybody goes through chemo completely side effect free, but if your well informed then you will know what to expect, so hopefully that would help you manage your symptoms… i was continually being told at hosp that the cmf was really easy compared to the epi but i found the opposite… only a couple of days feeling pretty rubbish after treatment with epi but then picked back up but felt a little bit rubbish on the cmf but it was constant.

like Mo i had no infections and my OH and son also both had flu too but i managed to avoid it even though it was before i had the flu jab.

worst thing for me i think was the vein damage, its a right pain in the ar…m!

good luck with it


Its not a silly question. But unlikely anyone will really say they sailed through but it can be easier for some than others. The important thing is to make the best of good days which may be a lot or a few. I found I seemed to “sail” as you say at the beginning but by the end was really ready to finish. It will depend on your reactions, one thing that helped me was to remove as much stress from my life outside of the cancer as I could this meant I did not get sick on top of the chemo. This meant no delays and I coped better than others that got sick. Just follow instructions and if you are at all concerned about any side effects ask the hospital, do not hesitate, thats what they are there for.

Good luck.

Hi all.

I had 8 epi/cmf chemo, I wouldnt say I sailed through it but looking back I coped very well. I did have some side effects cold sores, sore eyes, sore arm, constipation, bladder irritation but was supported well and given any meds I needed. I was sick twice and had some nausea but the onc unit tweaked my sickness meds. I went out and about with my hats and scarf on. Went to a couple of concerts and generally ‘lived’ as normal as I could. I didnt have any colds, flu etc which some of my family had. I look back with pride at how I coped.

Love and best wishes


hi - it’s natural to be nervous - you don’t say what kind of chemo you are going to get but I totally agree with the others - everyone is different - my mum and me both had chemo at the same time - she pretty much did sail through yes (some issues with constipation and other annoying things but generally she was great) I on the other hand had a torrid time so we all react differently to the different drugs.

Best advice is to keep calm, take each day as it comes, discuss any side effects you do get with your care team and make sure that they help you sort it out quickly.

Good luck and remember what is on here is the stuff that is really really an issue for that individual and the help from others is tremendous. Will be thinking about you xx

hi ,ive had my 2nd chemo a week on thursday there and feel as if im sailing through it ,i actually went back to work 2 weeks ago to do 3hrs 4 days a week ,rather than start at 11am ive been going in at 9am till 2pm ,feel good ,as long as i rest when i get home ,just slower your pace down ,even skipped out the steriods,as there was no way i was putting on 2 stone ,at 13 st just now i couldnt afford to ,but im a very possitive person and this isnt going to beat me ,i would say the hardest thing for me was losing my hair ,it took me a couple of days to get over it but i love when everyone says oh you had your hair done its lovely haha,so hope this helps you and just remember to stay strong and good luck x

I pretty much sailed thru FEC and managed to continue working. However, Tax was hell and had to admit defeat and go off sick. Just finished rads and I breezed that too.

Julia xx

Yes, my experience was much like Julia’s:
I thought it was my own coping mechanisms that made FEC quite ‘doable’ - but how smug can you get? I was felled by Tax…but OK with rads.