TN and to start chemo tomorrow

Aged 40, non smoker, breastfeed x2 beautiful girls and no family history… Such a shock to find out I have stage 3 invasive lobular bc and TN.  This was a curve ball and a half!

 

Start chemo tomorrow and although ready to put on my battle armour, in all honesty I am worried.  Since noticing lump, from referral to now (6-7 weeks) it has grown massive. ONC talking about 3.5cms on mammogram/ultra scan but to feel believe nearer 5-6cms and confirmed in lymph.  MRI yesterday will confirm size but in reality it is loads bigger as gap in bra no longer there and it feels/looks like I am full of milk ready to breast feed!

 

What a mess and starting to feel a bit wobbly and could burst into tears at any moment ? been pretty much keeping it together until today but the harsh reality of it all has today hit me like a brick wall 

 

Just wondered what people have been doing to keep them sane?

 

Any recommendations on what to take along to their chemo treatment?  

 

How quickly did side effects come on?

 

Thank you

 

Hi Tanz, so sorry you’ve had to join this exclusive club. I was older than you on diagnosis (43) but with a 4 year old daughter, who I had breast fed, no family history, never smoked, it’s so random. My diagnosis was different to yours as I was 100% oestrogen positive and was a relatively small tumour at 19mm, I had a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy which confirmed one node affected so I then had a full clearance, I then had chemo and radiotherapy. For me, the fear of chemo was far worse than the reality, i was very sick after my first dose but my onc changed my anti sickness meds and I was fine after that, I continued to work right through to my last chemo whilst running a home and looking after my daughter with very little help. I had a few days of feeling tired and a bit rubbish but on the whole I carried on as normal, went straight back to work after each chemo session and took my daughter to school every day and collected her. I’m not saying it was easy, it wasn’t, but the side effects for me were manageable, I realise not everyone is so lucky. I believe chemo is very effective for TN, it will be shrinking the critter in no time! I would recommend joining the October monthly chemo thread, I found this support invaluable and also highly recommend the helpline, they’re just fab. Take care, CC x

Hi Tanz and welcome to the BCC forums where I am sure the support will continue

In addition, please call our helpliners for practical and emotional support on 0808 800 6000 weekdays 9-5 and Sat 10-2

You may find the thread ‘Top tips for chemo’ which has been written by users over the last few years helpful, here’s the link:

forum.breastcancercare.org.uk/t5/Chemotherapy/Top-tips-to-help-get-you-through-Chemotherapy/td-p/304687

BCC can offer you further support and information and you can access this here:

breastcancercare.org.uk/younger-women

Take care
Lucy BCC

Hi Tanz - just to follow on from what you say about being a planner and organiser. There’s lots you can plan, and it’s a good thing to be very organised. I made a chart of chemo dates and what drugs to have around those dates (which is good for crossing them off as you’ve done them and then you can see you’re making progress), and I made a spreadsheet of what tablets and injections were to be taken/done and when so that I could tick those off (otherwise it’s easy to lose track).

 

I had company for my three FEC and the first docetaxel, then drove myself for the last two, once I realised the effects didn’t kick in for a couple of days. I didn’t try the cold cap because I don’t like being cold and I started chemo in the December. I lost all my hair, but a friend tried the cold cap this year and she hardly lost any hair. I think I’d probably consider it if I was faced with losing my hair again.

 

When I was having chemo around lunchtime they gave me a sandwich and crisps. A friend had mentioned about people taking crisps to eat. I don’t know the significance but I just enjoyed them. Make sure you have plenty to drink (non alcoholic, obviously!).

 

I wasn’t one for sitting around doing nothing prior to diagnosis - my neighbour always said, “Do you never stop!” This may sound strange, but I sort of enjoyed chemo day. I just sat there relaxing, chatting with patients and nurses and having a cup of tea and a biscuit, kindly brought around by the volunteer ladies. It was never a day I dreaded. Just view it as an opportunity to put your feet up for an hour or two rather than running around after everyone.

 

Best of luck tomorrow.

 

Flo

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