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Chemo before mastectomy. Anyone else this way round??

29 REPLIES 29
lisajane7878
Member

Re: Chemo before mastectomy. Anyone else this way round??

La la that's exactly what I'm going to do. I'm having chemo now and have decided it's not the best time not to eat dairy and meat so for now have switched to organic. I have although cut out sausage and bacon ham etc. I have given up coffee and alcohol during chemo. It is giving me quite a sweet tooth so am prob eating more than I would like. But once I'm finished treatment I intend on being about 80% vegan. The new Jamie Oliver everyday superfood is fab as he's saying similar about us all benefitting from a few vegan days. It also says we should be aiming for 8 portions of fruit and veg a day not 5 xxx
La-La
Member

Re: Chemo before mastectomy. Anyone else this way round??

I am investigating non dairy options 🙂
Lots of nondairy ice creams on the markets... And Jamie Oliver has a recipe online I am yet to try...inhreduents look ok 🙂
2 vanilla pods
1 teaspoon vanilla-bean paste
1 x 400g tin of light coconut milk
300ml unsweetened organic soya milk
165g agave syrup

bazza7676
Member

Re: Chemo before mastectomy. Anyone else this way round??

No ice-cream or cakes ever again. That would be tough for most.

La-La
Member

Re: Chemo before mastectomy. Anyone else this way round??

PS: i did not cut out dairy during chemo... that is for life afterwards.. eat whatever you can... alkali food will help fend off nausea though.
La-La
Member

Re: Chemo before mastectomy. Anyone else this way round??

I think she'll recommend I cut dairy out entirely from what others have said; but I think even reducing intake would help if you can't face going dairy free (I can cope with soy/almond milk. Not keen on zero cheese, but cutting back would be better than nothing)
Same goes for red meat.
I'm not an expert though.
You shoukd ask your care team about seeing a nutritionist for advice on diet.
bazza7676
Member

Re: Chemo before mastectomy. Anyone else this way round??

Niki, when you say cut back on dairy (how much is ok to consume?) x

 

Barry

La-La
Member

Re: Chemo before mastectomy. Anyone else this way round??

As if by magic!
This site is wonderful:)

https://www.breastcancercare.org.uk/glossary
La-La
Member

Re: Chemo before mastectomy. Anyone else this way round??

I think I may have a glossary somewhere I saved with all the terms too.. can send it by pm (can't include links to other sites on here... not sure if this site has a glossary...
La-La
Member

Re: Chemo before mastectomy. Anyone else this way round??

Hey Paula
I put together a document to take in with me to all these different appointments with spaces to literally fill in the gaps with the answers.
Makes a huge difference.

Without this I kinda go into 'nod mode' (where I sit and listen and nod my head and think I understand, but don't ask follow up questions and kick myself when I get home! The magic questions are:
- 'So what does that mean?'
- 'Why is that option best for me'
It does help to know a little more.

Everyone is different but I like to know all the angles, it calms me and makes me feel slightly more in control. I do have a medical background though, so have been able to understand and simplify the vast amount of info from various websites (this one, MacMillans and a US one are my favourites)

If you want, pm me and I can email the Q&A doc to you. (I can update it to make it relevant to your diagnosis)

PS: You will get an info document for whatever Chemo your are going to be on. Comes with a long list of possible Side Effects (SEs)... don't be scared by this, out of a group of 18 of us none of us got all if these. One older very thin lady suffered but she had existing longstanding issue with IBS that added to her challenge.

Diet makes ALL the difference with reducing side effects.
Look up 'alkali diets' , lots if brassicas (broccoli/cabbage/kale), advocados are my go to food, pineapples etc.
Fish is great (OMG, simple salmon with lemon oil and black pepper roasted in some foil)
It does feel like when I was pregnant. I have gone off red meat and crave fish and advocados.
I do also crave cake and crisps though I pay for it with acid and weight gain when I get these munchies! (and I am conscious that cancer lives sugar, so I have cut down on sugar)

Speaking to a nutritionist about longer term diet to prevent recurrence and it looks like dairy may have to go :(. (or at least cut right back), but I have got onto Alpro Almond milk and am a happy convert.

Sorry, just realised I have probably bombarded you with info which is not what you need :0
If you would like the Q&A doc pm me xxxx


You can ALWAYS call this websites helpline, they are AMAZING!

Jobey68
Member

Re: Chemo before mastectomy. Anyone else this way round??

 Are you Her2 + as well? This is a protein that encourages growth as well so the two together can make things grow quicker ,  If so you will be offered chemo as you will need Herceptin and they don't give this without chemo, you will see your oncologist who will go through your results with you and discuss what treatment plan they have set up, ask everything you need to and don't be afraid by it all, it's over whelming but they know what they are doing and will have devised the Best course for you. I didn't have chemo, my treatment was lumpectomy followed by Radiotheraphy and now I'm taking Tamoxifen for 5 years as I'm hormone positive , I was HER2 negative , it's all ok and I'm 4 months post treatment and doing great now, once you know for sure what will be happening you will feel so much better Xx Jo 

October15
Member

Re: Chemo before mastectomy. Anyone else this way round??

Thanks Jo x I think I understand the tumour is stimulated by the hormones which is what its rapid growing it is treatable and can be responsive to chemo because of the HER........I feel it's all I focused on initially.....

i read the treatment post and feel ill informed......when you have the "chemo chat" is this when you find out all about Meds and things xxx Paula 🎀

Jobey68
Member

Re: Chemo before mastectomy. Anyone else this way round??

Hi Paula, it's all like a foreign language to begin with but never be afraid to ask your team to explain when you don't understand, my hubby did most of the listening for me as I was struggling to take it in but then I would come home and go over and over it all until I understood, knowledge is key to making some sense of it all! 

I'm not sure was proliferation means but it may be your 80% hormone positive, mine is 8/8 so 100% .

just try to focus on one step at a time and not the bigger picture, once treatment gets underway things will seem a lot clearer, we all found ourselves in a daze in the beginning so your not alone, it takes a while for the shock to settle but once you start to understand what is happening it does get easier! Xx Jo 

October15
Member

Re: Chemo before mastectomy. Anyone else this way round??

Hi All

wow my head is mashed.....I feel I have no idea what anything means...please help....what does all the abbreviation mean....I have either not taken anything in or haven't been told. Diagnosed just over a week ago. Told 3cm hormone recep positive 80% proliferation!!!!!!!   what on earth.....

have to have chemo so suggested stating that....if shrinkage then lumpectomy if not then mastectomy followed by radio and drugs........

chemo to start nor week and I really don't feel I have a handle on this.......can anyone advise x huge hugs Paula 

Doglover2
Member

Re: Chemo before mastectomy. Anyone else this way round??

Gilly....your diagnosis is similar to mine back in feb. 4.5 tumour shrunk with chemo then lumpectomy with clear margins. Now on radio but all good. Good luck just don't jump into mastectomy!
La-La
Member

Re: Chemo before mastectomy. Anyone else this way round??

Hi ladies... just wanted to add how amazing FEC is! This is 20 year old treatment but like Lisa my lumps noticeably shrank within 2 weeks of my first chemo!

After 3 treatments they had withered like raisins! SO positive.

You will probably feel really tired on day 5/6 after treatment. This may extend as treatment hoes on but please try not to dwell on it, I have had worse hangovers for sure, and it IS only tiredness.

Staying positive is really key. There are times you will feel low, but see it for what it is... saving your life.

If SEs are overwhelming though please speak to your Oncologist as there are points at which they can lower dosage or change treatment (a few of my friends changed from Docetaxel 3 weekly to Paclitaxel weekly as the SEs were bad for them.

I'm having 10th of 12 taxol's on Thursday... blimey it starts to go fast once you are past the halfway mark!! Only 3 more weeks then that is it for me and my Friend Chemo.
Chemo is not your enemy, girls, cancer is. Chemo totally saved my life!
Crap 6 mths for sure but I am very very grateful.

Get any counselling you can girls... women do the 'strong' act to protect loved ones... but you need to offload and bawl occasionally.

Some of us set ip our own Facebook private group for ones starting chemo at same time. BEST thing we did, totally got us all through it, I recommend you do that ladies. Helps to have someone to share this experience with.
Definitely helped through some dark times, plus we also spend a lot of time laughing.

Lots of love and vritual hugs. Niki xxxx

lisajane7878
Member

Re: Chemo before mastectomy. Anyone else this way round??

Hi Mich33 what a lovely positive message. I'm now two weeks into first chemo. I'm finding it all fine actually. Lump already seems smaller to me after one go so that's making me really hopeful. I didn't find the first FEC too bad at all. Certainly not worried about the next one. I used the cold cap but hair is just starting to thin a bit today. My hair is very thick so up to now it's not noticeable. Keep in touch xxxx
Mich33
Member

Re: Chemo before mastectomy. Anyone else this way round??

Sorry, there seems to be predictive text on this thing! Lol! Armpit clearance not armour clearance! Lol x
Mich33
Member

Re: Chemo before mastectomy. Anyone else this way round??

Also to say. There were no traces of cancer when I had my mastectomy. They did a full armour clearance as well! The chemo zapped it all or what was left after the lumpectomy 🙂 x
Mich33
Member

Re: Chemo before mastectomy. Anyone else this way round??

Hi, lisajane7878. I have just finished all my treatment bar herceptin. I had a lumpectomy, chemo 6 x FEC-T, mastectomy and implant recon, 2 CT scans, herceptin and 15 rounds of radiotherapy! I was diagnosed in February and had a lumpectomy where they couldn't get clear margins and then I had chemo before my mastectomy. I had quite a large Tumor 4.8cm which turned out to be two tumours. The two sentinel nodes they took out at the lumpectomy were positive for cancer. They then decided to stick me onto chemo before I had the mastectomy and chemo. It all happened really fast (which I'm pleased about) 7.5 months on from my diagnosis I am now out the other end and from my experience it flew by! The worst part for me was waiting for the CT results (I had 2). You will get through this, it's bloody hard but be strong. My thought process was to keep going and remain positive as my medical team are working towards a cure for me. Keep focused that they have a plan for you and you will deal with whatever is thrown at you. The emotional effects of my diagnosis hit me bad as well so I decided to have some counselling and that really helped and its nothing to be embarrassed about. Take advantage of everything that is on offer. I've been lucky I haven't been that bad through my treatment, chemo was kind to me. Losing my hair was difficult but ok, it's started to grow back now. I used to have lovely long thick brown hair with amazing eyelashes and eyebrows! It will all grow back though! Im only 33 with no history of cancer in my family so my diagnosis was like a lightening bolt! Be strong, you can do this. Virtual hugs! Xx
Loubie_1977
Member

Re: Chemo before mastectomy. Anyone else this way round??

Hi Lisa, this has also been suggested to me. Only got the news today so I might not be the best source of info but interested to hear what other people think.
Gillyteacher
Member

Re: Chemo before mastectomy. Anyone else this way round??

Just been diagnosed a week ago. Terrified and feeling apprehensive to say the least. My doctor and nurse indicated that I would have chemo to shrink the tumour ( 4cm! ) then mastectomy. I will keep you posted asi I find out for certain on Friday. All the best❤️

Mum40
Member

Re: Chemo before mastectomy. Anyone else this way round??

Hope I post this properly! I'm recently diagnosed 6/8 very large tumor with lymph involvement, plan is 4x ec, then 4x docetaxol, mastectomy, radiotherapy and drug treatment - from what I've gathered so far seems pretty common to have chemo first especially if some shrinkage needed. Have had one lot of chemo and seems bearable so far- I'm not working through as have young family and work long days- good luck with your treatment x
proudprestonian
Member

Re: Chemo before mastectomy. Anyone else this way round??

I was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer on 7 August. This needs chemo first, then surgery, then radiotherapy. I have had my first chemo and am feeling well. The aim is to shrink the tumour first before the mastectomy.
SuzyEB
Member

Re: Chemo before mastectomy. Anyone else this way round??

Hi Emerald, The waiting between appointments is awful but my oncologist was so kind and gentle. The FEC has not been awful. Definitely not pleasant but bearable. Ask lots of questions even write them down and take the list with you. They will give you all the time you need. I pray it goes well for you. xx
Emerald1959
Member

Re: Chemo before mastectomy. Anyone else this way round??

I to will have chemo first as the tumour has invaded chest wall, had a CT last week and go to see the oncologist this Wednesday where I hope we can discuss a plan fingers crossed

lisajane7878
Member

Re: Chemo before mastectomy. Anyone else this way round??

Hi thanks so much for response la la it's all just so much to take in!! I'm having meeting Thursday with oncologist to discuss chemo then hoping to start the week after. I have decided not to work through the chemo as I'm a really busy hairdresser. I work 3x 10 hour days and it's none stop on my feet. There maybe days when I feel up to working but with my appointment system I felt it's better for them to just not book me anyone in then I'm not letting people down last min! I feel ok about all the treatment but I'm more scared of it coming back than anything. I hope the fear fades!! Xxx
La-La
Member

Re: Chemo before mastectomy. Anyone else this way round??

PS: The chemo really did shrink my lumps to almost nothing... does make lumpectomy option easier. Enables removal with clear margins without doing too much collateral damage.

La-La
Member

Re: Chemo before mastectomy. Anyone else this way round??

Hi - I had this too, it is really common, don't worry.

 

I have lumps both sides. One is HER2 . No lymph involvement though. 

Think the Her2 drives the decision to do chemo first as it is a bit more aggressive and they want to blitz any stray cells before they camp elsewhere.

 

I am almost through chemo now, finished the 4 x EC chemos, now onto 12 weekly Paclitaxel infusions (and Herceptin 3 weekly for a year... plus 10 years Tamoxifen) (I have to work through my chemo hence on a more gentle regime, doing Taxol over 12 weekly infusions gives you no side effects. If you can get this ask for it, it is great, though it does stretch out chemo, I get no metal mouth taste/ nausea/ tiredness etc. Worth asking. Also worth asking if you can have just EC, not FEC. Ask your oncologist the differences and reasons why she advises one over the other. )can be budget I'm afraid 😞 )

(My onc would give everyone the 4 x EC then 12 x Paclitaxel if she could. Really reduces SEs)

 (you may have 4 or 6 sessions of FEC, then Taxol after, they mix it up)

 

I finish chemo on 22/10 so expect op in Nov.

I'm opting for double mastectomy and recon (lumps both sides)

 

Happy to chat

 

SuzyEB
Member

Re: Chemo before mastectomy. Anyone else this way round??

I was diagnosed 3 weeks ago and was told that I would have Chemo and then a mastectomy. It took a little while to accept that it needed to be this way to reduce the tumour prior to surgery. I am also Her2 + so am having FEC T with Herceptin prior to the mastectomy. Friends who have had mastectomy have all had surgery first and then chemo so it did feel like I was the only one going through it this way. I know there are bound to be other women out there going this way round and like you would find it helpful to hear how they deal with it.

 

 

lisajane7878
Member

Chemo before mastectomy. Anyone else this way round??

So my consultant has decided today that he wants to give me chemo first to try shrink the area before just going in straight away and doing a mastectomy. Anyone else having this course of treatment??