Weekly Paclitaxel and herceptin started today

I began my chemo journey today. An exhausting and long day - 8.5 hours in hospital for picc line, chemo and herceptin. I feel absolutely exhausted. I fasted for 24 hours before treatment and will until midday tomorrow, making it 48 hours. Not sure when side effects will kick in? I’m worried about the cold cap as nurse said hair only needs to be damp on top… and that seems to be wrong. She got a bit impatient and I felt like a nuisance as the ward was busy. Im also drinking 3 litres of water a day. I hope everyone else is doing ok?

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Can I ask why you’re fasting??
I’m expecting to start chemo in a few weeks time.

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Hi Sara. I’m sorry to hear that you had an exhausting day. The first session is always the worst so try not to worry as I’m sure it will get a little easier. I had 18 weeks of Paclitaxel and had the cold cap. I know what you mean about the nurses being a little bit impatient as they are busy but do not let that put you off. I used to wet my own hair with a spray and used Faith in Nature conditioner. In fact I took my own spray into do it - it is best to make the whole of your hair wet. If you read the booklet that they give you, it should tell you that, also do make sure that you put the cap on over the top really tightly. Ask the nurse or HCA to help but even then give the cap a good tug to pull it on. I also felt a nuisance but it was my head and my hair I was thinking about. You get used to the cold and the routine and I managed to keep 75% of my hair and although it thinned, most people would not notice. It is very important to keep cold cap on for recommended time before and after treatment for it to be effective. As it takes so long I took big headphones in and listened to audio books (mostly I fell asleep but that helped while away the time) I know it all seems very daunting right now but once you have finished chemo you will start to feel a lot better. I send you warm wishes for a good recovery :mending_heart:

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You have my sympathy but I cannot understand why you are making yourself weak in advance by fasting?

As for the cold cap, I have never yet met anyone for whom it worked that well and by using it you are adding yet another layer of difficulty to your treatment. I lost my hair but it grew back really quickly and is now thicker and glossier than pre-chemo. If you find you stand up to chemo well then I can understand your use of cold cap but if you are already finding the treatment heavy going, I would lose the hair.

My best to you.

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There has been a lot written about fasting during chemo. The main benfits are to protect your healthy cells as they go into shut down mode to protect themselves. Any cancer cells are more vulnerable. Fasting is also said to reduce side effects. 24 hours on, I have had no side effects whatsoever and feel well. I did my daily brisk hour walk today as normal and some yoga. Impossible to know if fasting has done this but thought worth a try… 72 hours is better but as I’m on a weekly treatment, seems impossible! I will be keeping a careful eye on my weight and a symptoms diary. Good luck on your journey :heart:

That’s good advice to take in your own spray. I will do that next week and take control. I hope my chance of keeping most of my hair hasn’t been blown. And yes, knowing what to expect is half the battle. I have 12 weekly Paclitaxel treatments. 11 now! Worried about side effects getting worse but so far… not a single side effect! How were you on it?

Thank you. I guess it’s a personal thing. There are a lot of benefits to short term fasts and it was actually really easy. Fasting during chemo can be particularly beneficial by protecting healthy cells, making unhealthy cells more vulnerable and reducing side effects. I currently feel great with no side effects whatsoever! And I didnt feel any weakness before… I was sure to rest and drink at least 2 litres of water.

I have heard a lot of success stories with the cold cap. It can also boost regrowth. My hair is really thick which seems to have a better success rate and also the regimen I am on (without a cold cap) is a fairly good one for retaining most of your hair. I have a wig on standby if I need which I like but wanted to try the cold cap first :blush:

Hi Sarah, I am glad you are not suffering too much from side effects. I was not too bad just felt tired and a bit out of sorts. You seem to be doing all the right things to look after yourself so keep it up. I did feel a bit worse toward the end but at the end I was so relived it was over that I felt emotionally so much better. Same with Radio Therapty, not too many issues just the inconvenience of daily commute to treatment centre. Just about to start Abimaciclib, so that;’s another hurdle to get over. Health and healing to you :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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Thank you Denido :heart: It’s good to hear a success story! I have read that weekly Paclitaxol is well tolerated - I’m on a dose of 132mg but no idea if that is high or low?? So much to know!

Good luck to you going forward. How many weeks do you have left? I can’t wait to finish treatment but then I guess I’ll start worrying that it will come back.

Take care xx

Thanks Sarah, I finished my Chemo (18 weeks) end Sept then had 15 daily sessions of RT so almost back to normal now. I had my ovaries and FTs removed on Thursday as my cancer was genetic so this was a precaution. It is normal to worry that it will come back but as time goes by, you will worry less and be able to get on with your life. Just see this time as a pot hole in the road and soon that pot hole will be filled in and you can start to enjoy life again. Best of luck Sarah, our NHS is wonderful and they will look after you :smiling_face_with_three_hearts::bouquet:

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