Morning Helen, good to hear from you that everything went ok with your chemo and you're managing ok.
Yes, I thought I wouldn't be able to cope with the cold cap, but once I got through the first 10mins it was managable. I had icicles on my head afterwards! I was recommended to use Simple conditioner. (Plus Simple products for showering etc)
I had a PICC line and it was fine and didn't catch. My hospital let my ED come in with me whilst it was being fitted-I'd got the impression from the literature given that she wouldn't be allowed, but they were fine about her staying. Might be worth checking if your husband can if you'd prefer someone with you. It didn't hurt, but it was nice to have my daughter chatting to me so that I wasn't thinking about it.
I just had hospital bandages covering my arm, but it might have been better to have bought a cover as I found the bandages were either a bit too looose or tight.
Definitely a good idea to buy the plastic sleeves for the shower-I got mine from Boots, it was about £5.
It was a bit of a pain to have to go the hospital to have it flushed every 7-10 days, but on the plus side I found it quite reassuring to see someone on the chemo unit regularly. (When I had a bad urine infection it was the chemo nurse who realised that both the onc and my GP had given me the wrong antibiotics, which was the reason I wasn't getting any better!)
I had some funny food cravings whilst I was on chemo-might have been a need to for carbs. After I'd had my PICC line flushed I often fancied a McDonalds-I hardly ate them prior to chemo and haven't had one since! The nurses said it was fine, I think the main thing was that I was eating. xx
late one here... first EC on 08.01 have 3 more to go then 4 pac. Spending time moistursing my nails with jennifer young definate beauty nail oil as read good things about it online. I cold capped - used large for better coverage even tho' I'm average wig cap size- and tied a pair of woollen tights around my head to keep it on - felt very heavy and my neck ached like hell and my face was all squashed I had it on so tight. Let's see what happens. FWIW, I'm using vit d oil on my scalp at night and minoxidyl in mornings - if you read about this online there are mixed results so I am aware NONE of it guarantees anything! I bought waterans shamppo and conditioner and planning to wash gently 3 times a week or i think my hair follicles will get clogged. I don't suit short hair so figured i have to throw everything at it and then i know i gave it my best shot whatever happens. I had nausea which disppaeared after taking EMEND anti -sickness but then it came back later in the days following my initial chemo. By day 5 it went completely. 2 days constipation from steroids and i got prunes in and drank a fibre solution - macrogol - which come in sachets and that sorted it. Nothing else to report so far - so lovely to read everyone else's journey too xx They told me at the hospital i can't eat live yoghurt while I'm on chemo and I am now convinced I'll get thrush (((
Hi , I had picc line put in on 3rd January prior to my first treatment. I requested it as have dreadful veins and didn't want the additional stress of them not being found a vein. It's ok, procedure wasn't as bad as I was expecting, it was a little uncomfortable for a few days but is well dressed and taped down and the the nurses supply a loose sleeve so it doesn't catch in anything. It's surprising what you get used to in all this. Definitely buy the limbo picc line waterproof cover to make showering so much easier it's well worth it. Some hospitals supply foc, mine did but only had super slim size. Hope that has helped you.
due to have second taxol this week , can anyone tell me how the side effects are do they get worse. Last week was ok and bearable but anxouis re this week,
Hi all, steroid blues is a definite... I always had a ciup!e of really teary emotional days once they had finished.... Famiky got to know when to tread carefully.... On the T part the steroid regime is different and i dont think i got so weepy. It helps to know its a nirmal thing
Sunnydaze and stuck at 14, I'm a teacher too! What ages do you teach? I job-share a Year 2 Class. I went back in September after having 11mths off! Returning was a bit of a shock and I was worn out by playtime the first week! My stamina is gradually increasing now, but I've cut down the hours I work xx
Hi all, just a quick thought about nail polish! I painted my nails with dark nail polish from teh start of Fec until the end of T... its supposed to help prevent damage from UV light I think. My chemo nurses told me to paint them with clear when I went to chemo just so they could have a check on them. It usually is the T part of chemo that affects the nails I think... mine have lots of ridges on them (you kind of get one each chemo I found) and then white bits at the top eventually became very dry and brittle. Only the last couple of weeks (3 months after finsihing chemo) the white ends have all snapped off quite low, not sore at all just very short nails, so hopefully now they will begin to grow again. Some ladies do lose nails towards the end of chemo (toes or fingers) but have all said they aren't sore once they are gone and there is always nail growing underneath. Nail polish will help to keep them in place and a bit more sturdy.
Have to say you all made me smile with your tales of all the things you took into chemo for your first one... I did exactly the same... laden down with things and only ended up using my water bottle and sucking a few sweets. Though I did take a friend or hubby to chat to. If you come to have T (docetaxol) its really useful to suck ice lollies whilst its being administered (its usually by a drip) as this stops it burning in your mouth.. I used to take a box of lollies and get through about 3 or 4 a session but the hopsital also had some. Might help with the FEC too if it makes you feel nauseous?
PS G - you didn't recently come off dexamethasone/decadron did you? I was in a pit of despair for a couple of days after that
I've become the most apathetic creature in existence. It's not a lack of physical energy (I can go for a 1 hour walk without difficulty), but all the oomph has been stripped out of me. I never used be be someone who could sit and stare blankly at nothing for an hour, I was always Go! Go! Go! Although I do keep just falling asleep on the lounge, so tiredness must be a part. I'm beginning to really wonder who/what I am.
I take my hat off to those of you who are working through this. I'm on 3 weeks sick leave at the moment and really debating what to do after that. I've been at the same workplace for 18 years and have accumulated a LOT of sick leave - so it wouldn't be a problem to take a break until I'm done, at least with the horrible AC part. Plenty of people have told me to just take sick leave and focus on getting better. But I'm not focusing on getting better, I'm focusing on a blank spot about 30cm in front of my face. At the same time I'm not sure I'd be any use at any kind of work except maybe licking envelopes - which is about as far from my normal job as you can get (I'm a project manager).
What is everyone else doing about work?
Thanks so much for all the information, it has been invaluable and to meet you all as well.
I hope the Nurses can tweak my meds slightly so I am not as sick the next time.
Kip, thanks for the info on the T. I will be getting Docetaxel.
I have had such a sore tummy, unfortunately it is normally very sensitive and I try to avoid tablets at the best of time but now I am like a walking chemist 😂😂😂😂. Needless to say it has certainly taken a beating so the Oncologist put me on a 2 week course of Omeprazole in the hope that it will calm down the stomach and acid reflux. Oh the joys of having chemo!!!
With regards to the bag packing for getting my first chemo.......it was hilarious. I also took everything but the kitchen sink. Pillow, blanket, sandwiches, iPad, phone, slippers the lot and I have to say I was so disappointed when I didn’t use one thing apart from the water bottle I took in. The nurses were in stitches. I was only in for an hour and back out again. I am known to carry quite a lot of extra luggage when I go places.
I have my wig appointment on Friday, I am taking my Mum and some friends just to lighten it up a bit. Let’s hope one catches my eye. I am in Scotland so I do get a wig on the NHS, no idea what they are like mind you.
OK, so I think I may have prattled on quite enough now and I should really go to sleep.
I hope you are all doing well (as well as can be expected). I do really appreciate the cyber chats albeit that I might not be on all the time.
Take care and lots of love xxxxx
Hi debs, first chemo session done, was there all day but better than I expected. Really comfortable and excellent nurses explains all the drugs. I also cold capped and due to the great effect of piriton dozed for most of the time. Have had some nausea and joint pains but bearable with paracetamol and anti nausea pills. Went out or a walk today, 1 down , 11 to go. Good luck to you and all our fellow battlers we will get there.
I also meant to say, that I was fine after I'd had chemo and went home and ate dinner! (I didn't have anything too heavy to eat) I was also ok the next day, just a little tired. I found with me that it was day 3 before I lacked energy and needed to sleep x
Helen, when I went for my first chemo session, I think I took everything barr the kitchen sink, but I didn't really use that much!
On my unit there were volunteers who came round with hot drinks regularly. I took snacks with me as well.
I painted my nails a dark colour before I went, but I think it could be T that affects them,not FEC.
I was told to use Simple products on the hair and to wash with.
As others have already said, when you have FEC, you'll have a chemo nurse with you most of the time whilst it's being administered and to chat to, so if anything is worrying you.you'll be able to ask them.
I used the cold cap for my first 3 sessions-you have it on before and after the chemo,so it adds quite a bit of extra time to your chemo session. It is very cold, but once you get through the first 10mins, you don't notice it so much. The nurses put a towel round my neck and gave me a blanket. I also took a fleece with me. You'll need to take some Simple conditioner with you and a headband if you've got one.
Don't eat or drink grapefruit, it can interfere with the chemo, I'm not sure how though.
What time have you got to be there tomorrow? xx
Thank you Sunnydaze, that's very kind. I've finished chemo, I hope you get on well with your 2nd FEC.
I've told my family that I need to do more cooking, they didn't look too thrilled! xx
Just a quick reply Helen, will reply properly after lunch Have you thought of using sea sickness/travel bands whilst you have chemo? You can buy them from the chemist and I wore them whilst I had the chemo and for a few days afterwards. I wasn't sick once during chemo and didn't feel very nauseous either. I don't know if the bands really did help, but they're worth a try xx
Hi there - like DiKat I'm a December starter but just started FEC on 20 Dec so I hope you don't mind me popping onto this thread too.
HelenBumblebee - I think FEC for everyone is administered by the nurse rather than by being hooked up to a drip so you tend to have someone sitting with you for a lot of the time. I took a book and some music but didn't end up doing anything with either as I couldn't really concentrate on anything. I also think (?) that they tend to keep an eye on you for the first session in particular so you're not really left alone that much?
I would suggest taking some "entertainment" with you in case you need it and some snacks and a water bottle. Oh - and a pen and paper so you can take notes about the bag of drugs they send you home with. I haven't cold capped but I'm sure someone else will provide some advice on that - I've heard that it is worth taking a blanket.
I was dreading my first session but the actual session itself was OK. I felt OK immediately afterwards - just had a foggy head but then I slumped quite a lot during the afternoon/evening afterwards and felt very nauseous and out of it. I was then really tired and off my food for a week or so and then have been generally up and down for the next 2 weeks with no real pattern as to "good" and bad days.
The main problem for me has been not knowing what to expect by way of side effects and wondering whether the slightest sniffle is about to turn into something I need to phone the hospital about. I've also been taking my temperature probably WAY too regularly - it's all enough to turn you into a paranoid wreck!!!
Glad to be of help to you, I gained all my info from ladies who had gone through this previously too.
I totally get the scanxiety too.. the waiting around has to be the worst thing ever!!
Just had another thought... not sure if any of you are members of Benenden Health cover? I am, and whilst they don't cover cancer treatments they are really good at supporting financially. They allocated me £1,500 for a year to pay for any new underwear or special clothing, head cover (a wig etc), travel to and from hospital appts, car parking and also pay for up to 4 nights away for you +1 as recouperation. Really helped, after my Masectomy I brought loads of new underwear and they paid and they also funded my wig and have just booked a 2 night stay away in Feb for me and hubby as a treat and they are paying too!! So might be worth checking if you have any private health insurance that they may help you out. Got to be some perks somewhere in all of this!!
I'm from the December thread but keep popping in on this one as well as only had first cycle in December and having 2nd today so not very far in front of everyone.
Kip, it's really useful to hear from people like you who have experienced all of this. I ended up being hospitalised for 5 days, 8 days after my 1st cycle with neutropenic sepsis and I didn't act quickly enough on my mouth issues, thrush, mucositis, ulcers etc. So feel this probably contributed. Your mouth care info is great and I intend to take much better care this time and shout as soon as something is wrong.
Thank you and love & hugs to everyone
Hi ladies, good going, you are all doing really well!!
Sunnydaze - the hips pains... are you having to have the self administered injections to help with the white blood cells, if so these cause bone pains for a few days or sometimes just a few hours. But the FEC chemo does affect some people in this way, speak to your chemo hotline if you are worried, they will put your mind at rest. Sounds like you are finding ways to get through the sickness, if the tablets help then just check with your hotline that its ok to take them for longer periods, I would have thought that if they give them to you they must be ok, my chemo nurse used to call mine the "as and when" tablets and to take them as and when I needed. Just double check but if they help then take them, don't suffer unnecessarily.
Many of you have asked about the T part of chemo regimes. I had 3 x FEC and 3 x T (mine was Docetaxol). As with all of this stuff everyone reacts differently. I met a lady at chemo who was awful on the FEC and sailed through on the T, some have the opposite. T didn't seem to come with sickness/nausea feeling for me, and a lot of others said the same. I personally found that on T, the SEs didn't kick in quite so quickly, about day 5-6 and the worst bit was the "lardy carpet mouth"... thick white coating on my tongue and everything tasted slimy. During my first T I got really bad oral thrush and ulcers but it was my own fault I didn't call the hotline on the first day it started and let it get really bad before I did anything. Once I had been prescribed flucozonale tablets it sorted it out and for chemos 5 and 6 they gave me these tablets with my bag of goodies and I took them as soon as I felt a little twinge in my mouth and the thrush and ulcers never reappeared. i did still get the nasty lardy mouth but not as bad. Keep on top of things, ring that hotline if anything starts happening and nip it in the bud!! I also used to make up a bottle of cooled boiled water with salt in it and regularly gargle with that, it helped cutting through the lardiness and also kept the ulcers at bay! Unfortunatley by the time you get to the second part of your chemo you tend to already be a bit more tired to begig with, but again there are ladies on here who have sailed through and found the T much better. I still managed to work during my T treatments (at home though). ... good news was my hair started growing back on T (which my nurse said is quite common)!
And weight gain.... I gained lots of weight over the year, but just decided to deal with that after everything was finished. You need to eat what you can when you can, the steroids don't help either, they make you hungry too. Better to have a bit of weight in reserve to help you fight I reckon (thats my excuse anyway)
Hi Helen, I'm thinking of you too. This diagnosis sucks so badly for anyone, let alone if you're young and it screws up all your family/baby plans. I also know what you mean about chemo being far scarier than surgery. I was blase about losing a boob, but I really wanted to run away before chemo, and even more so afterwards, I swore there was no way anyone could drag me back. They're such long days when you're feeling sick. But one by one they go, and bit by bit you feel better. Today I'm on day 6, and we actually went out shopping so my daughter could buy some old secondhand t-shirts to cut up and re-sew, and I feel pretty normal. So I've survived one round! Much as I wish I'd never got the diagnosis and never had to do chemo again - I did - and I will - to beat this bloody cancer and get my life back. We all will.
I hope you have some support from friends and family even if they can't possibly understand what you're going through. Take care xx
Helen, I just wanted to let you know that I was thinking about you and understand how you're feeling x I'm from the Oct '17 thread and finished chemo last March. I didn't think I'd be able to cope with having chemo, (I still sometimes think did I really go through that!) but it's doable. I didn't always feel great, tiredness mostly, but it was ok. If there's anything I can help you with please ask xx