Hi Shefgirl, so sorry to hear your breast cancer came back. I’m 53 with a 5 year old daughter. Hopefully we can all support one another and keep our spirits up as we start our chemotherapy journey together.
Take care, Tracy
Sorry for not replying sooner. I had a cracked tooth removed under general anaesthetic at my local hospital on Thursday 13th February. I’m a nervous patient so need sedation or general anaesthetic to get any dental work done apart from a check up. I’ll lucky that the dental team pulled out all the stops to get the treatment done as soon as possible so that there’s time for it to heal before my chemotherapy starts on 3rd March.
I was diagnosed on the 17th October 2019 and had to put a smile on my face at my daughter’s 5th birthday party on the 25th October. Christmas was also tough because I knew I had the lumpectomy on the 2nd January and I was terrified of the surgery. I was worried in case I didn’t wake up from the general anaesthetic and even went so far as to buy my daughter a heart bracelet to remember me and also chose the music and readings for my funeral. I smile when I think back on it now but at the time it gave me the reassurance that if the worst happened my husband knew what I wanted. It must have been a really tough Christmas for you being diagnosed just beforehand.
My daughter was conceived naturally and if I’m honest she was a lovely surprise as she wasn’t planned but we were both over the moon when she came along. I got a few looks being a first time mum at 47! I bought the Mummy’s lump book but adapted it and put it into my own words rather than read the actual book to her. I told her that Mummy had a naughty lump that needed to be removed otherwise it would make Mummy really sick and she’d need to be careful just to hug me on my ‘good’ side as the other side would be sore after the doctor operated on it. I told the school early on about my diagnosis and they’ve been really supportive and are keeping an eye on her. I haven’t felt up to announcing my breast cancer diagnosis in the school mums WhatsApp group although I’ve told a couple of the mums whose children are good friends with my daughter. I’ve got my wig consultation appointment on the 7th March and am taking my daughter along so she’s involved in choosing a wig so hopefully it won’t seem as daunting to her. I’ve also bought a night time beanie to wear in bed once I start treatment so that any hair will come off in the cap and hopefully won’t be as upsetting as seeing it on my pillow when I wake up. I’ve decided I’ll probably wear a wig to do the school run as I don’t want her classmates to ask what happened to my hair and why I’m wearing a hat or headscarf. I like the fact you’ve already started wearing something on your head to get other people used to seeing it like that though.
I’ve got my chemo pre assessment the day after yours on 26th February and it would be nice to share any questions. I’ve made a start but have got some more information leaflets from Macmillan and Breast Care Now to read through before my appointment.
My oncologist didn’t mention the menopause so that’s something I’ll be asking about at my assessment meeting. Part of me thinks ‘great’ menopause symptoms as if cancer treatment side effects aren’t bad enough!
I hadn’t thought about getting the flu jab so I’m pleased you mentioned it.
My op site doesn’t seem to be as sore after the 2nd lumpectomy although I did have a PICO dressing after the last operation. I’ve still got 3 paper stitches that need to be soaked off in water though. I’ve got a full range of movement back after the sentinel lymph node biopsy. No blue skin but I did have an allergic reaction to the blue dye so they might have tried to flush it out of my system to ease the symptoms. It’s just over a month now since my operation.
I enjoy bullet journaling (think mix of to do list and traditional diary/journal) and have started a separate cancer journal to capture my thoughts and experiences along the way. I’m finding it quite therapeutic and it’ll be interesting to look back on in years to come. I’ve also set up a private blog on Caringbridge website/app so that I only post once to update all my friends and family as sometimes even now I struggle to remember who I have and haven’t updated. One less thing to worry about once treatment starts in earnest.
I hope you enjoy your half term holiday and look forward to sharing questions with you when you get back.
Take care, Tracy
Wildspur ❤️ Everyone will pop on and try and help you all through ❤️ It’s the beauty of the threads ❤️ And all the March chemo starters will 👭😂🤣😂get each other through ❤️ Please just keep safe during chemo, ring your unit and the rapid response number, don’t think I’ll give it an hour and see how I feel, always ring, being on chemo is not like normal you need to keep safe ❤️ Don’t ever think you are being a pain or nuisance to your unit, they want you through safely and will be pleased you are being vigilant ❤️To you and all March starters 💪💪💕💕✨✨Shi xx
Just saying hello back Shefgirl
I hope your appointment goes well tomorrow, let us know how you get on please.
Did you just have radiotherapy the first time round? I am so sorry it has returned. Belt and braces chemo for me too as far as I am concerned! I will do anything I think to up the chances of it not returning.
Yes, it is all VERY surreal isn't it. Life changing in a way.
Take care for now. Helen
Saying hello from Derbyshire.
I am starting chemo either the last week of Feb or 1st week of March. Meeting the nurse on Monday who will give me my appointments.
My first time with chemo but sadly second lot of BC as diagnosed in 2017 in one side and Nov 2019 in the other!
Feeling well after a lumpectomy and re-excision before Xmas but it was a nasty 3.5cm tumour Grade 3 so the chemo is a belt and braces approach to stop a return.
All feels a bit surreal to be honest!
Look forward to chatting with you on here as we take the road together. I am 53 with daughters aged 17 and 19.
I hope you are ok today. Yes, a few tears for me too, but generally I am trying to keep busy as to not think about it. Especially when I feel well. I am sure that will all change once the chemo kicks in! When were you diagnosed? I was told on 20th December, so it was a strange Christmas, especially having a young son.
Can I ask if your daughter was conceived naturally? My son was IVF. I think it is difficult being an 'older' mum and having all this to deal with as well. Its draining!
I am glad your lump was found early, mine too, although 17mm. When it was removed it had grown to 22mm! Scary stuff. I am just so glad it hadn't spread. As far as I am concerned I am 'cancer free' and the chemo is just preventative (touch wood/fingers crossed!)
I am not sure what my treatment plan is yet as I have signed up for a clinical trial (I will try and find a link). I do know that it will be every Tuesday at 10am for 12 weeks!, Then every other week for 8 weeks. Then 3 weeks of radiotherapy. If I get accepted on the clinical trial it will be a further 6 months of immunotherapy.
I don't understand 'cycles'. This is one of my questions to ask at my pre-chemo assessment.
I will definitely try the cold cap, and I too have had my hair cut - to a bob at the moment, but will go shorter. Did you get the 'Mummy's Lump' book? I read it to my son, and his only concern was about me losing my hair! I think they are a bit young to fully understand what's going on. I just say to him, mummy has a poorly boob and I will need some very strong medicine to make it better. Glad you are embracing your short hair, I do actually fancy being a bit drastic and doing the same. I have started wearing headbands, and have bought a hat which I wear on the school run, to get people used to seeing me with it on. Have you told the school mums? I will look into the Look Good, Feel Better workshop
I think because I am having treatment every week, they have advised a PICC or Central Line. I assume with a cannula, you will have it taken out after every treatment and a new one put in before each treatment?
I have been told that having chemo will bring on the menopause. Today I am having my coil removed. Eek. Plus a smear. Plus a flu jab!
My pre-chemo assessment is on 25th Feb and I have started to write some questions down. Let me know if you want to see my list...maybe I show you mine and you show me yours! Haha. That is when I have my PICC fitted too.
We are going skiing next week as it is half term. I am not sure whether I will be able to ski as my arm is still a bit sore. How are you healing. I am getting feeling back slowly but surely. A bit of a burning sensation still. There is a bit of pulling on my scar so I am trying to move it more. But a lot better than it was! Do you still have a blue boob from the sentinel lymph node biopsy?
Anyway. Sorry for rambling, there's plenty more where that came from! I am sure we will be a great support throughout, even though our 'journey' will be different.
Take care for now. Helen.
I’m also due to start FEC-T chemo on 3rd March.
I’m 52, married with a 5 year old daughter. I live in Cockermouth, Cumbria. I’m having treatment at West Cumberland Hospital, Cumbria.
Originally diagnosed with DCIS (Ductal carsinoma in situ - early stage non invasive breast cancer)
2 lumpectomies and a sentinel lymph node biopsy later I’ve been diagnosed with HER2 positive (oestrogen negative) invasive breast cancer. Only 5mm. Caught early and it hasn’t spread.
Treatment will involve 6 cycles FEC-T chemotherapy, Herceptin injections for a year and radiotherapy after the chemotherapy.
I’ve decided against using the cold cap. My personal choice. My oncologist told me it works for 1 in 3 ladies and involves having a freezing cold cap on my head (minus 4-6 degrees) for quite a few hours. I’ve had my hair cut short instead (previously quite a bit below my shoulders) as I thought it would be more upsetting losing my hair if I had long clumps coming out of my head. Ironically everyone tells me it makes me look younger!
My breast care nurse also told me that I’ll get an NHS wig voucher and was able to advise me on NHS stockists they recommend locally. I’m going to wear a scarf or beanie around the house and really want a wig for school runs etc so my daughter doesn’t get asked what happened to mummy’s hair.
I’ve also booked on a Look Good, Feel Better workshop facilitated by Macmillan at my local hospital. It’s a 2 hour workshop for people living with cancer and focuses on practical tips such as how to look after your skin and how to plot and draw back eyebrows if these have been lost. There’s also a gift bag of full size products which are given at the end of the workshop. The chemo nurse recommended it when I was having bloods taken after meeting my oncologist.
I’ve been told that I’m having my chemo administered via a cannula. Maybe this is an option for you?
I’m also peri menopausal but forgot to ask if the chemo would bring on the menopause when I met with the oncologist.
I‘ve been contacted by my local chemo unit and I’ll have a pre chemo assessment meeting about a week before my chemo starts and have been advised to write down any questions as and when I think of them beforehand. Have you got something similar before you start yours?
I was told not to use Dr Google just this website and Macmillan.
I’m feeling mostly positive right now about the journey that lies ahead although also a bit scared. There’s been quite a few tears along the way though. You’re right there’s such a lot of stuff to take in. It’s good to be able to share the journey with others going through the same thing.
Hi wildspur, sorry you find yourself on here. Please discuss ASAP with your onc team all supplements you are on or any turmeric or anything, they need to advise you do there is no interaction with your chemo. Get your teeth seen at docs before starting they will fit you in when you tell them you are starting chemo. Get a thermometer you need to keep track of your temp during chemo. Are you only being given option of pic or port? Has Canular been discussed? It’s what you feel comfortable having do what’s right for you. Again with the cold cap or not that’s your decision, there are plenty of people who get on fine with the cold cap, it’s again up to you. You will be given rapid response card and even if you have no temp and your wee burns it’ll need immediate antibiotics no supping a cranberry juice like normal. Drink lots of water it helps flush things through. Treat chemo with respect, ring your team about anything, they won’t mind they want to get you through safe. Glad you are keeping off dr google. Lots of 👭on here just ask away, use the ask the nurse and the someone like me on here too. Bit more for shopping list, anosol (the steroids) can give you botty block 😳 a soft toothbrush and some difflam. You’ll do fine you are 💪💪💕💕✨✨Shi xx
So. I start chemo on 3rd March.
I am 49, married, with a six year old son. I live in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire and having my treatment at Huddersfield HRI.
Diagnosed with triple negative - stage 1 just before Christmas, so caught early thank god. Lump removed plus 3 lymph nodes on 14th January. Luckily not spread.
I have signed up to a clinical trial and if successful I will start this alongside chemo - every week for 12 weeks...then every other week for 8 weeks, then radiotherapy for 3 weeks. I think! I am so bamboozled with all the information I have been told. I am going to concentrate on the first 12 weeks!
The main things I keep thinking about at the moment...
Having a PICC or a central line - what is the best option for me.
Cold cap - yey or neigh?
Menopause - I am 49 so I am sure I am peri menopausal. But I have a mirena coil so haven’t had a period for years. I have been told to have this taken out (appointment next week). Am dreading it if I start having periods again on top of what I will be going through in the coming months. I take Menopace supplements but am confused whether to take or not as it has isoflavones (linked to breast cancer).
I have tried not to read too much, defo no google! Just this website and Macmillan. So far I have felt really positive about the ‘journey’ I am about to take, but it’s all becoming a bit real now. It will be good to have support from others going through the same thing!
This thread is for anyone due to start chemotherapy in March 2020. I’m sure others will be here soon but please introduce yourself and you can all help one another through this phase of your treatment. If you have any questions please post away on here and others in the community will watch over you whilst you are getting started. Once you are into it you'll be pretty good at helping each other. You can also ask the nurses on this forum if you have any concerns. In the meantime, the top tip is always to stay well hydrated throughout chemo, aiming for 2 litres of water per day.
Here is the BCC guide on chemo:
Here’s an excellent article for anyone concerned about hairloss. That’s pretty much everyone starting chemo: https://pinklotus.com/powerup/breastcancer101/chemo-hair-loss-and-menopause-hair-too/
I finished my chemo over a year ago and doing very well again now. Here is my story which has some chemo tips on how I coped which were collectively shared from others who had gone through the same from this forum:http://lifeafterlola.blogspot.com/p/chemotherapy.html
If you decide to set up a private group its good to stay on here also during treatment as I know from experience there are some people who watch but don't immediately pluck up the courage to join in. Your conversations can be a real comfort to others.
Best wishes xx