Hi Robin J and Mooney
here is to hoping your first session will go well.
Tip re wigs - wash them with the appropriate shampoo, before you start to wear them. It softens them and they will look more natural.
You may also try and wear them out and about - with your real hair underneath - it helps to give you confidence, when the time comes that you start chosing to wear them, as you hair is going/gone.
That sounds like a good plan, Mooney. I have my wig ready to go too! I shall think of you on 3rd when I am having my blood test done, ready for 4th. To be honest, I just want to get on with it. You probably feel the same. Take care. R
Welcome - yes, you have come to the January 2017 starters thread.
I think it is aways good to keep being involved in a couple of threads, to get varying opinions. Also sometimes questions come up on one, but not on the other.
You may want to scroll down a bit on this thread - there are some useful links for prearation, unless you have already explored them.
HOping all will be well and wishing you very few side effects.
Is this the thread for January 2017 starters? I was meant to be starting Dec 14th but got postponed and I'm starting January 4th. I've been reading the December starters thread every day and finding it very helpful but I probably 'belong' on this one! Although I'll probably keep reading both.
Yes claritin does help with the Tax, I found this ages ago and put it up every so often:
I am on my second T cycle and did take antihistamines. I asked my chemo team and they said there was no restriction as these 2nd generation antihistamines have few side effects - but of course check with your team. There are some clinical trials with loratidine just ending, so clearly it has possibilities.
I take antihistamines for hay fever and I find cetirizine better than loratidine for me so I took that. I started the
day after chemo because sometimes they give you an infusion of antihistamines before the T. This varies locally, so you could ask about that. I continued until a couple of days after the Filgrastim injections ended. Can't say if it helped because I don't know how I would have felt without them!
The worst I have found with the T is fatigue and apathy - I'm pretty useless! Also, taste disturbance is far worse than with FEC and did not improve before I got zapped again which is a bit depressing.
On on my first T cycle I did have bad bone pain from the injections. Rather than up the type of painkillers, my onc decided to reduce the number of injections and this has done the trick. I just hope my cells are holding up.....
The actual T infusion is faster than FEC and you get less extra fluids infused so less trips to the loo at the unit, dragging your stand. As Sue H-S says though you do need to drink as much as possible once back home to flush through.
Hope this has been some help. Good luck with your T.
Sue O X
Hi again Mooney,
yes, I have read a lot about it, too - and it does seem to help many. Claritin is an antihistamine, which contains the active ingredient of Loratadine. So you could also get a lower cost generic one with this active ingredient from Tesco, for example. Please let your chemo team know, when the time comes, that you are going to take it. There may be restrictions of when to take it on the relevant treatment day.
For those, where Loratadine does not seem to have an effect, you may wish to try an antihistamine, which contains Cetirizine as an active ingredient instead. I hope it will help you, too - as and when you get to the T part of your chemo.
Perhaps someone else, who has gone through the T part already, might be able to post their tips and advice on here to help you all a little more. I did not have the T, hence cannot share that experience.
Your anxiety is due to fear and there really is nothing to be afraid of. Sue has outlined the procedure and your first concern is really going to be the side effects. Some people suffer more than others but please make sure you have a supply of things for upset tummy, heartburn etc. Those things are dreadful if you have no relief but soon gone if you do!
I can give you a couple of pointers regarding breathing and stress relief. Sit quietly and turn your attention to your breathing. Then without trying to control it, just observe it and pay particular attention to your in breath. Try to establish a count for a comfortable in-breath - it does not matter in the slightest what your count is. Just observe your in breath and your count until it is regular, say a count of 6 is your "normal".
When you are comfortable with watching your in breath and having established your personal "normal" turn your attention to your out breath. Whatever in breath count you have found, I want you to make the out breath a second or two longer.
Simple as that - it is is guided meditation (an elementary one) but it gives your mind something to do and while it is doing that it is not able to worry you!
You breathing will slow down, your heart rate will slow down and then your mind will follow - it has to it has no choice and the end result is relaxation for you.
Do that for about 5 minutes twice a day.
Anxiety is a hard thing to combat and we all may have different ways to manage it, if we can.
Here is a link, which may be of some help
It is good to know you have already had your port installed - it has time to settle and will make things much easier on your veins.
The actual administration of the chemo tends to be quite trouble free and uneventful. I'll talk you through it - although, I have to say, it can vary from authority to authority. Please also let your chemo nurses know that you tend to be very anxious, so they can support you accordingly.
The nurses in the chemo unit are usually very friendly, helpful and compassionate. They do everything they can to make your treatment as comfortable as possible. It is likely that you may be in the unit for 90 minutes or 2 hours. Try and drink 2 litres of water before your treatment - it will make things easier on your body.
The chairs are nice and comfy and are adjustable, too - so you can spend the time 'chilling' out. Perhaps take some music with you, which you can listen to through some headphones, a puzzle book or novel to read. It may help to distract your mind.
You are likely to be given a strong antisickness drug and then 'hooked up' with saline fluid being given to you - again it is to hydrate your body and 'open' up your veins. then an IV steroid tends to be administered. This sometimes is done by hand with the nurse accessing your port or, in other cases, a bag with it is hooked up to you. Some women have the experience of prickling in their nether regions, when this happens. It passes quite quickly. Not really unpleasant, but very werid, lol. These steroids tend to be given to avoid a strong allergic reaction to the chemo drugs. Then, the chemo drugs will be administered - either by a nurse in person, sitting with you and chatting, whilst she/he injects the drug into the line of your port. Sometimes additional saline is administered with them to lessen the effect on the veins. It does not hurt at all. In some areas they will be administered via a drip. Again, it does not hurt. You may feel the need to go to the toilet, not because of the drugs, but because of the saline and water you have drunk previously. Just let a nurse know - you can take your drip stand with you - so there should be no issues at all.
Once the chemo drugs have been administered they may give you some more saline. And then all is done. You are likely to get a bag of accompanying medications, which will probably be some steroids in tablet form, some anti sickness tablets. Please read the accompanying leaflets and take religiously as prescribed.
When you leave the unit you may have a fuzzy feeling in you head or slightly achey,mussy - like a bad hangover. That should pass, once you have had a good nights sleep.
Please remember to drink your 2 litres of fluids every day, especially the first 4 days post chemo treatment. It will help to flush the drugs through and ensure they do not have a strong adverse effect on your liver, kidneys and urinary tract.
The actual administration of chemo tends to be a 'non event' considering our anxiety and fears.
so great star, that you have already started the January thread - so many are likely to start.
Here are some tips and links for you and those who will be joining the thread in preparation for chemo.
It covers all sorts of areas - and is general, rather than specific to individual chemo treatments.
I hope it is of some help...
Please do not be too worried - you will all get through this. For some it may be harder than others, as side effects tend to differ from person to person, even if on the same regime. Sharing your experiences will help others, even if you never see them posting. It is also a great place to share your frustrations, ask questions, laugh, cry, rant and rave. I finished my chemotherapy and radiotherapy on 26th October 2016 and shall be 'lurking' to support you , where it may be relevant.
Any side effects you do get please note them down for your treatment team. If they become too challenging and you advise them accordingly, they usually tend to adjust the accomanying medication to make your journey easier. Most side effects experienced in the first cycle are likely to be the same throughout, as long as you are on the same regime.
Here are some helpful links for you to prepare and support you.
Chemo preparation -
If you do not have a PICC or similar port installed and you are on FEC throughout - you may wish to ask for one to be installed. FEC is quite tough on your veins. This thread may be of help though for all of you - https://forum.breastcancercare.org.uk/t5/Top-tips-and-practical-support/Vein-Care/m-p/1036347#U10363...
And this one covers everything from food to make up and wigs - you may have to explore in more depth to find something specific you are looking for -
Well done Wtp! Great news- you did really well - I'm so greatful for all the info from all these wonderful strong ladies
warmest love Star xxxm
Thats great info I will definitely follow what you did . Wonderful that you were able to keep your hair
hope I'm as lucky as you 😊Wishing you a lovely Christmas love Star x
thank you for such a lovely message. It's my first time on this site & speaking to wonderful ladies like you gives me confidence for my future & not to feel so alone.So pleased your feeling great.
Wishing you a wonderful Christmas love Star xx
I forgot to say that it does shed - and you might think you are losing it but don't worry. In fact it still sheds for a few weeks after chemo has finished before it starts to thicken up.
Your hair will look shabby because you cannot use anything on it so you always look like you have just got out of the shower. No mousse, no straightners, no spray, nothing. That is important beacuse the roots are very fragile and the more you pull on them or mess about with your hair the more you lose. I left mine a month before I started to treat it as normal. Plus I started using Boots Hair, Skin and Nails capsules as soon as my chemo was over.
I used the cold cap and kept a full head of hair. This is me
after all my chemo. I had a regime call TCH. Everyone says mine is the best they have seen.
You must take care of it as follows.
Limited washing - once a week. I did not use any special shampoo just what I already had.
No hair dryer, heated rollers etc.
You can only wash it it cool water, rinse and apply conditioner then comb with a wide tooth comb. Pat it dry, no rubbing. You cannot go under a shower.
The cold cap can be spiteful so take a Neurofen an hour before you get it put on.
My hair has thinned all through but I don't need a wig. I do use "toppers" now if I am going anywhere special see here:
It is not a wig - more like a wide clip in hair extention.
Anything else just ask xxx