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Chemo before surgery help

13 REPLIES 13
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery help

Hello Rosie, I am only 2 weeks into chemo and on the December thread - also having chemo first. An op had been planned and the morning before, I went to the hosp for pre op briefing and had my bag packed.

That afternoon I was called back to the hosp told my op was cancelled as my tumour was HER 2 positive and it would be better to have chemo first - so I had a bit of a shock.

Anyway, I can only speak for myself but having chemo, once the needle is in one's vein, is not difficult, unpleasant or painful. A nurse sat next to me the whole time, chatting and occasionally changing the syringe over. A trolley came round offering sandwiches etc and drinks were available. It was all very relaxed. My husband, the nurse and I did a crossword.

As the drugs were going in I wondered if I would immediately have a reaction, or wld I react in the car going home, or would I get my coat off and then 'things' would happen. Actually I had no reaction for 2 days, my husband thought it wasn't working and friends who phoned were surprised I said I felt completely normal.

So, don't feel anxious about the process itself of having chemo. I shall go to my next one much more relaxed.

Other people may have had other experiences, but be reassured by mine.

Join the January thread, others going through it all at the same time as you will be swapping stories and giving each other help and encouragement. You are not alone.

 

Member

Re: Chemo before surgery help

Hi Rosie , i also had chemo before surgery ihad a 5 1/2 cm tumor and also cancer i my lymph nodes . i was convinced surgery would come first  so i packed my hospital bag and was ready to go , the breast care team said the chemo first was to try and shrink the tumor as much as possible before surgery . it work my tumor shrank from 5 1/2cm to 3mm it was a great result but i still had to have a masectomy and full lymph node removel , they told me it was better to remove the whole breast so all the tissue the tumour had been in or near had all been removed so there was less chance of it returning .   Luckily it all worked out and ive now finished my treatment . Good luck with your treatment and stay strong its all doable you just have to take 1 day at a time and rest lots . Big hugs to you

Member

Re: Chemo before surgery help

Hey Rosie! Just spotted this thread. I too am on chemo before surgery - predominately to shrink the Tumour (mine was 5cm on the MRI) and then hopefully have less invasive surgery.
I am on my second round of TCHP chemo and I’m on the December thread if you want to pop over and see how we are doing 🙂
I won’t say it’s all fun and games but it’s do able - the thing I have found hardest is the emotional side effects. I’m not sure it’s been helped by the fact that It’s been Christmas and New Year and everyone seems to be out having fun!
Too would be to take the medication, try and eat and drink as much as you can - i found eating helps settle the stomach and alleviate any nausea. I requested anti acids first time around and that has really helped this time!!
Hope it all goes ok!!! 🙂 xx
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery help

You're so welcome and do get in touch if you have any questions about chemo before surgery as things go on.

 

Like Ali says, I joined the thread in the month I began (November), but also posted in the October thread when I knew chemo was about to begin and have benefitted hugely from the humour, wisdom and support of that team too. You'll also find that brilliant women who are a bit further on in their journey pop into the threads too and may point you to specific posts elsewhere. You won't be alone and we will walk alongside you. 

 

Happy Christmas and stay in touch. Sending all the good things your way and hugs too. xxx

Member

Re: Chemo before surgery help

Yes Rosie, if you are starting in January join that thread. It is also useful to look at other tbreads. At the beginning of the September tbread there isza great post from CK giving advice for starting FEC. I know lots of people go on themay thread too. I stick to sept and Oct and have had great support on both. They are like the best friends you dont see!!

Good luck Rosie. Withall the help, support and advice on here you will.be fine xxx
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery help

Thanks so much ladies these posts really really help...it’s a rotten disease and you feel so alone until you come on here. I truly feel so much better reading your stories.

Am I right that a new starter chemo thread begins each month?

Thank you again your words have pushed me back to feeling stronger again....xxx

 

Member

Re: Chemo before surgery help

Hi Rosie. I originally thought that i would be having surgery first but then it changed to chemo 1st as my cancer is her2+. In order to have the 2 targetted therapies for her2+ i had to have chemo.

The surgeon and onc explained that by having chemo first they can monitor how the cancer reacts and how effective the chemo is. If they remove the cancer first they cant see this.

I have had 3 fec and 1 docetaxol with herceptin and perjeta up to now. I have 3 more to go. I havent been in work but other people on the forum have. I have 3 almost teenage children and my mum.who has alzheimers lives with me and as far as possible, life goes on as normal!

I am also glad that i didnt have masectomy first as i would have had to recover from the op before starting chemo.

I am sure once you know your plan and get that 1st chemo done you will feel better and more in control.
You can do it chick xx
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery help

Hello Rosie, I too am a chemo before surgery person. I was diagnosed at the end of October and began accelerated EC-T on 7 November. I had cycle 3 (of 8 - 4 EC and 4 Paclitaxel) yesterday.

 

I know it is hard when you first hear this is the way round. I really hate seeing my breast (the changes were sudden, significant and visible - I call it Frankenstein's Boob) and the thought of it 'still being there' was tough psychologically. However, I knew it was the right way for me. There is good evidence for it being the best way with some types of BC and also it would lead to better surgical results given my presentation. I was also reassured that the team will be keeping an eye on it throughout to check it wasn't growing or progressing. I have scans scheduled every second cycle and had the first one last Tuesday. There is a positive response to chemo so far and I can see positive change externally too. 

 

I would absolutely vote for joining the monthly thread (and visiting some of the earlier starter threads too perhaps). The November chemo starters thread has been a brilliant source of information, support and humour for me. We are all different, of course, and everyone has a personal reaction to the chemo/treatment experience, but being part of a team and knowing that whatever happens you have the company of women who 'get it' is invaluable for me.

 

I am a real coward and worrier, but chemo has been okay on the whole. Not what anyone would choose, of course, but for me the apprehension has never been matched by the realities. I have managed to keep working (I am a medical academic though, so fortunate I can do much of my research at home) and I feel pretty well for most of the days of a single cycle. The side-effects are met with hefty drug options and I take them all! When I have had a trickier time, I have spoken to my oncologist who has always been responsive and added to the cocktail to see if we can get things back into line. 

 

I am sending you all the good wishes and warmth in the world. You will get through this and we will all be cheering you on. x

Community Champion

Re: Chemo before surgery help

Yes RosieH - a long journey but I made it to the end! I have to say, I'm not denying some days are dark, miserable and very uncomfortable they are indeed doable - my best advice is to remain positive and give yourself a date when you want active treatment to be over - a goal! I really wished mine would be over by Christmas and by the skin of my teeth I managed it!

Once you start treatment, you'll be fine - it's all the waiting that plays havoc with your mind.

I also want to add that after chemo and I was on targetted therapy too - that when the operation was done my body had had an excellent response to the chemo and all cancer had actually gone - so for me doing it in the order I did was of great benefit.

Good luck x
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery help

Hi Rosie I had a 6cm tumour and I had chemo before surgery to shrink it! After 2
Chemo sessions it had dramatically shrunk!
Several ladies do have chemo before surgery so don't worry trust the experts!

Definately join the chemo thread for January 18, if that's when you are starting, you will get all the support and encouragement from her ero help you through the journey.

Member

Re: Chemo before surgery help

Thank you Jay and Cassie...

I’m not sure which one yet, I’ve got a senital node biopsy on 4th Jan and they said they will start as soon as that’s done. I’m so weary of it, I just hate not knowing what to expect. I think as soon as I got the plan and it started with Chemo the whole things become really real. 

Jay it’s amazing that you’ve finished it all, have things gone well?

Cassie how are you managing are you going to work still? Xxx

Community Champion

Re: Chemo before surgery help

Hi Rosie - sorry you find yourself here but welcome and I'm sure you'll soon find there's many of us who do the journey in the same order as you!

I started chemo in May - had surgery (MX and complete node removal) in September and finally rads 29 Nov and finished on Tuesday!! I'm now out of active treatment apart from 3 weekly injections of Herceptin until June.

Do you know what chemo you're having?

I would recommend you join the chemo monthly group for when you begin.

One other thing I would recommend is listen to your body - we're all so different when it comes to treatment and although there will be common links we are all slightly different - so never panic that you'll react in the same way as others!!

Good luck with everything and please do find me in May 2017 chemo forum if you want to ask any questions. xx
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery help

Hi Rosie. I am also chemo before surgery. I have finished 4 out of 6 FEC-T. it's chemo itself is probably not as bad as you think it might be. It's not a walk in the park but it's totally doable with a bit of preparation and time looking after yourself. Do you know what chemo regime you will be on?
Cassie x
Member

Chemo before surgery help

Hello ladies..

ive just been diagnosed with a 7com Lobular tumour. I went for my plan on Wednesday and was shocked to find I need Chemo before surgery. It’s my own fault a had it in my head that it would be surgery then chemo then maybe radiotherapy so when the surgeon said chemo first and also the tumour wasn’t 3.5 but 7 cm  it threw me completely.

im trying to mentally prepare but I think I need some help. 

Any top tips to make this journey better please xxx