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Chemo before surgery

48 REPLIES 48
Cas164
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery

Hi LollyMum,

Thank you for sharing your experience. I will make sure I push for a date for surgery now!
Good luck on the rest of your journey and hope you continue to make good progress.

Cas xxxx
LollyMum
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery

Hi ladies

I thought I'd just share a bit with you from "the other side" as it were - and also wish you all huge luck with all the treatment. 

I had chemo before surgery, first chemo was in mid-March.  I'm just on my second day at home after my DIEP flap operation which is a mastectomy and immediate reconstruction. I'm really sore but glad to be the other side of phase two. 

I had two rounds of FEC then as my very large tumour wasn't shrinking I switched early to Tax on which I had really good shrinkage.  I'm really pleased because my surgery has preserved quite a bit of my former breast skin which I didn't realise would happen. 

My reason for posting too is to make sure at the 3rd chemo session that you get your team cracking onto booking you in for your surgery. My hospital plastics team did not do the admin and in the end I had to have a seventh round of chemo to keep me safe until they could fit me in. It was a real blow and so don't be passive but do stay on top of the next phase as it were. 

Wishing you all the very best - LM x

Cas164
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery

Hi Everyone,

How's things? We'll I can honestly say that the tax truck has now hit! Been unable to raise my weary body to do the basic things I'm now on day 8 and really hoping to start feeling a little more energetic pretty soon.

My son managed to pick up a beautiful festival cold and cough and has been coughing and sneezing everywhere! I'm completely paranoid that I will end up with this as well ugh!

Anyway enough of my moaning . Onwards and upwards..... Casx
Cas164
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery

So far so good! Yesterday was herceptin which wasn't as bad as I thought , however, wasn't really sure what to expect.

I decided against the cold cap for today which made the whole thing more bearable. Apart from feeling really dizzy, hot and sicky straight afterward treatment I've come home and I'm now in bed. Ok I'm not running around as 'normal' and have handed over their reigns on household duties but on the whole not too bad, fingers crossed.

Hope everyone else is doing well

Cas x
Office_Angel
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery

Go for it

Keep kicking butt

OAx
Cas164
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery

Been inspired , did a bit of googling and decided I would get my juicer out of the garage. I've dusted it off and had my first juice in a while and it was GOOD! Lots of ideas on juice recipes.com!

OA looks like your fiancé did a good job on the healthy eating front. I hoping my bloods will be good tomorrow, maybe I'll squeeze in another juice this afternoon, excuse the pun!

Casx
Office_Angel
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery

Go for it Cas

Please let me know how you get on - I know if it was that simple we would all be happy and perky but nothing ventured nothing gained.

I've been off the alcohol too but the fruit cider is just sweet enough and refreshing that it just ticks that extra box (and it really does taken the edge of the nerves)

Good luck

OA x
Cas164
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery

I will have a go at the Epsom salts trick next week and let you know how I get on! I think I will enjoy that far more than the chemo!

I sometimes drink green tea I like the one with lemon although not regularly. I might just make sure I have a cuppa daily. You never know it might be the cure we all need. Oh if only it were that simple. I also like your addition of the fruit cider. I have been totally off alcohol, but a little fruit cider sounds just the job!

Thanks for the tips

Casx
Office_Angel
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery

Hiya
Epsom salt baths are very good for sore muscles (probably spelt that wrong) 8-) and for drawing out toxins (sort of like extrnal hangover cure). I used to use them after a longish run and so far them seem to be doing the trick. You can buy them by the kg on Amazon and mi usual mix them with a nice bubble bath just for a bit of a bubble.

I know what you mean about the hair - I still have enough to get off with a hat and I am fortunate that I started off with a whole load of thick hair but life is way to short to be miserable over something like a hair doo.

Ahh yes the healthy eating thing - basically my wonderful fiancé googled what I should be eating and while nothing specific was suggested a good mixture of veg and protein was recommended along with green tea (I had check with my once about eating soya btw) so I have a nice stir fry with beef, kale, peppers, poc choi and baby corn for my lunch (no rice or noddles - it didn't need the bulk and it was easy of my rather sluggish tummy) and followed that up with fahitas for my tea (I replaced the beef with quorn and used a couple of weight watcher wraps). Oh and I drank a couple of cups of green tea (gingerbread flavour or all things) and had a nice protein shake for breakfast about and hour before the bloods

Sounds like a lot of hard work and much as I would like to put it down to the small fruit cider I had the night before (it's the little things and it helps me relax/ sleep) I genuinely just thing I bombarded my system with so much healthy stuff it couldn't do anything but pump my bloods up

Hope this helps and keep on kicking ass

OAx
Cas164
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery

Horsey girl thanks for your wishes and feeling ready for the challenge of the next cycle. I will look out for the rapid brow / lash for the next stage :-)) casx
Cas164
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery

So glad to hear your doing OK Office angel. I've not heard of the Epsom salt bath trick , what is it aimed at?

I'm not intending to use the cold cap next time I stuck it out last FEC but it was NOT nice and my hair is yuck so I won't be too upset when it all goes.

Please. Share more on your health diet tips , where did you get info from. I'm open to try anything that make a difference .

Keep strong you sound as if you are kicking ass!

Casx
Office_Angel
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery

Good morning Ladies

I hope everyone is doing as well as they can? I had my first tax yesterday and I know it's early days but I promised to check in to let you know I'm doing ok. Touch wood but I'm not feeling sick (fairly impressive heart burn mind you) - no major aches and pains yet but I'm sticking with my Epsom salts baths so we will see if that works.

Only other thing is my hair is now coming out in handfuls - I gave up on the cold cap half way through my last FEC as the pain was making me dizzy - well it will grow back.

Oh and one more random thing - like every other cycle I have had to have my bloods taken again as my neuphs were so low but this time instead of going up to just over 1 they went all the way up to 5.2 - even higher than my first pre chemo bloods - don't know how I managed that but I will be repeating the disgustingly healthy diet (kale, poc choi, peppers, green tea) before my next load of tests - anything to avoid extra needle sticks

Take it it easy ladies

OA x
Horseygirl
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery

Hi Cas164

Good luck with the Taxol. You may be lucky and sail through it. I didn't get any nausea with the Taxol and apart from the aches and pains I had no other side effects. I have just brought some Rapidlash and Rapidbrow to see if I can get my brows and lashes to grow back more quickly as without any make up on I look like a frog!!!! Good luck with your treatment. Taxol worked really well for me and both my tumours have virtually disappeared now.
Cas164
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery

Horseygirl sorry to hear you are not back to where you want to be. I'm sure you will get there. It's fantastic that you are now through the chemo stage. A big hurdle out of the way.

I'm due to have my first herceptin on Tuesday followed by taxol on Wednesday . I know it's going to be different from fec and just hoping the SE will be bearable. However, I know my nasty tumour is shrinking and the tax will blast it again so bring it on ! Each step is a step closer to beating the evil breast cancer !

Stay strong everyone.

Casx
Horseygirl
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery

Hello Ladies

 

I have finished all my chemo now and after more scans and biopsies am having lumpectomy and axillary clearance next week followed by radiotherapy and reconstruction next year. 

 

Does anyone have problems following Taxol?  I'm over a month after finishing Taxol.... I expected to feel better by now I am so achy and my bones/joints are painful.  Knees, ankles and hips.  I keep getting shooting pains/twinges in my legs and I feel like a 90 year old with arthritis. The soles of my feet are achy and sore and I can hardly stand when getting up from sitting.  I just want to get back to normal.   And now to add insult to injury my eyelashes have just fallen out!!!!

 

Best wishes to all. x

Plant1979
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery

Hi ladies,

I hope everyone is as well as can be. I was meant to go to hospital to have a scan for markers but they have decided that they cannot get clear margins from the MRI I had done so it is looking like I may have to have a mastectomy even if the tumor shrinks significantly. this is mainly because there are a few smaller bits apart from the main tumor which started at 10cm so it may be that the amount of tissue they wud have to remove even for a lumpectomy wud be a big, haven't had any final decisions yet tho. At last checkup, which was just before my 2nd FEC the tumor appeared to have shrunk slightly and Dr couldn't feel anything under my armpit anymore so am hopeful that the chemo is doing it's job. Think the plan is to repeat he MRI Scan at the end of chemo and then make a final decision RE surgery

Had a minor disaster with my hair yesterday wen I attempted to wash it, ended up with one massive matted dreadlock at the back 😞 my hubby managed to 'save' some but eventually the 'dreadlock' just came apart from the rest so hairdresser has just cut what's left really short today. Am off wig shopping tomorrow so hopefully will find a nice one, have got some headscarves etc at the ready tho, I now seem to have gained a love of neck and head scarfs and appear to have started collecting them.

Hope everyone continues to stay positive and get good results from treatment, thinking of u all

Xxx
Hazelb27
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery

Hi ladies. I saw the title of the thread and thought I would stop by to say hello. I also had chemo first (FECT) to shrink a large 5cm+ tumour that was attached to my pectoral muscle and was able to get a lumpectomy instead of a mastectomy two weeks ago. My SNB had 3/4 affected nodes so all my nodes were removed too. I got my results today. Tumour had shrunk to 13mm and a further 3 nodes were affected but chemo had killed off the cancer so they were clear. Surgeon got clear margins so no more surgery needed. The chemo isn't very pleasant but it does the job.

Good luck and lots of love to you all.

Hazel x
Cas164
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery

Hi All,

How is everyone doing?

OA let me know how you get on with your first T . I do like the sound of your nice Panama hat. I went for the pirate Banda look today which was very comfy in this warm weather.

Plant I hope you have success with your wig shopping? I hope you find something nice and you are pleased with the results. I haven't taken my wig out much but I'm sure I will once the weather cools a bit.

I have to say my head is very tender and my hairdresser is coming on Monday to do my sons hair so I might go for a trim of what's left. I don't think I will even consider the cold cap next time as it was very uncomfortable last time. I think the cold cap gave me an extra few weeks of hair which is slowly but surely going.

Have a good weekend everyone.

Cas x

Office_Angel
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery

Good evening Ladies

I hope you are all doing OK? I've finished my 3 rd FEC and will be having my first T next Friday. I used the cold cap for the first 2 sessions but had to take it off for No3 (I was thinning on top and the lack of insulation made it just too painful)

I have fairly good coverage on the back and sides (and the front to be honest - I had a one length bob) but the top of my head is now rather bald (looks a lot like Friar Tuck 🙂

I did think about having it cut off but have decided to keep what I have. I have a lovely wig and I am taking it to be "thinned" on Monday. My hair does look terrible at the moment but with all this hot weather I think if I wore a wig all the time I would drive myself slowly mad.

Hence the fact I am keeping my options open and rocking a rather nice Panama hat when I go out

Sorry if this isn't much help

OA XXX
Plant1979
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery

Hi Cas, I have an appointment this Saturday to go and choose a wig, I still a bit of hair but it is really thinning out now and I daren't wash it much so it's just greasy and horrid, and coming out thick and fast.

not sure if I'll get it all cut off or just leave it either, am tempted to think the more that is there when it starts growing back the better but I may change my mind if I can get a nice wig?

Xxx
Cas164
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery

Hi All,

Hope everyone is ok and enjoying the sunshine! Phew it has been hot.

Ok what do you reckon after 3 fec my hair is yuck do I cut it, even shorter or leave it to keep falling out? Hmm what did everyone else do?

Pllant did you managed to get a wig? If so hope you got one you liked.

Cas x
Plant1979
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery

Thanks Casx, my mum wants to come but I think she'll be too nice about everything I try on so may take my sister too cos she will be honest if something doesn't look right. Just need to find out where I need to go, am sure I have a leaflet about it somewhere in big pile of information I was given.

U must be feeling better if u feel up to housework. I managed to go to the gym 2 days before cycle 2, only once in 3 weeks but better than nothing I guess

Xxx
Cas164
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery

Hi Plant,
I went and got a wig to give me a choice and I have to say it's really good. To be honest I've only worn it a couple of times. My hair is really thin, balding on top and the nurse reckoned the cold cap wasn't on close enough at the top of my head. I can get away with a. Baseball cap though. This cycle the cold cap was not nice I went down a size but I stuck it out and I will see what hair I have left by the tine cycle 4 comes round.

Feeling bit brighter this morning, ready to get stuck in to the pile of washing that has built up. I must be feeling better!!!!

Have fun checking out the wigs, I would take someone with you that will be brutally honest in their opinion so long as you trust it that is!

Casx
Plant1979
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery

Hi Casx,

I had my 2nd FEC today, feeling tired and was a bit dizzy earlier but so far anti-sickness drugs seem to be doing their job. My hair has started to come out now, it seems a lot to me but I think people would prob not know to look at me as it's quite an even spread. Am thinking of booking in to look at wigs tho so if we do go out I can have some nice hair.

Sorry to hear ur feeling a bit rubbish, hope the effects wear off quickly xx
Cas164
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery

HI All

How's everyone doing ?

I've just had my 3 FEC feeling bit rubbish but on the other hand it's half way through chemo, which is awesome! Onwards and upwards!

Casx
Sakura1
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery

Hi ladies
Just popping in from last years July thread. I got some wigs online from wiwigs.co.uk starting at £20. They are excellent for the price and I wear them all the time even though my hair is growing back 🙂
Someone on here recommended them to me so thought I'd pass it on 🙂
Good luck with your treatments xx
Cas164
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery

Or maybe I should take the wig for another outing!!
Cas164
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery

Sorry girls just have to post this tx I got through on my phone.... Made me chuckle!!!!
"Summer offer.....(at my local hairdresser) be frizz free with our long lasting keratin Brazilian blowdry"
Lol bit impossible for me at the moment !!! Casx
Office_Angel
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery

Yay

Vey chuffed for your new hair

Hope everyone is doing well

OAx
Plant1979
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery

That's fab, am glad ur so pleased with ur new hair 🙂 xx
Cas164
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery

Whoopee I have some hair!!! I'm impressed at what an easy and painless experience it was. It looks just like me again with the benefit of it being so easy to look after! I'm looking forward to taking my new hair out!

Hope everyone else is doing well ! 🙂 cas x
Plant1979
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery

Hi ladies, i haven't really thought much about the surgery yet, I will see what options they give me at the time I think. Am only 4 days into 1st FEC but so far not really had many side effects, tiny bit of nausea and just starting to feel a bit tired. I used the cold cap, as yet haven't lost any hair but guess it may be a bit early to presume that will continue, not 100% sure wen it usually starts coming out. Fingers r tightly crossed for next step, MRI results tomorrow.

Xxx
Cas164
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery

Hi All,

Yes 1 step at a time. That is exactly what my husband keeps telling me!

I'm starting to feel as if I'm coming out of the fog of chemo 2. Going to book in to check out wigs this week as although I still have hair is is falling thick and fast. My onc did say to persevere with the cold cap as it preserves the hair follicles and one lady in the unit where I go has has some regrowth on T. So I will see what happens!

Hope everyone is feeling ok and treatment is being kind.

Casx
Office_Angel
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery

Good evening Ladies

In all honesty I'm not sure where I stand in the surgery side of things (not that I'm avoiding the subject but I'm just concentrating on fighting one thing at a time). I'm just hitting week 2 of cycle 2 of the FEC so in celebrating the small victories.

I'm really not sure where I stand with the cold cap. I seem to be having some success with it I pretty much have a head of hair but I am rapidly developing a bald patch. Going to persevere though

OAx
Cas164
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery

Hi Plant,

Sounds like we are pretty much on the same roller coaster! I went to my dr s on May 16 th and had first chemo on June 11 th so it all happened so quickly!

I think I have just about got my head round it all but it's just really good to being treated so quickly and being able to get on and sort it out. Like you ct scan good. I have got lymph nodes involved but as we speak the tumour is shrinking... I'm hopeful!

Fingers crossed Casx
Cas164
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery

 
Plant1979
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery

Hi., yeah I had a CT scan too, am grateful that came back ok. The hospital have been so fantastic with me, it's only been 4 weeks and a couple of days for finding the lump at home to starting my chemo and have had loads of tests completed in that time. Like u say, the waiting for results is really tough xx
Cas164
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery

Hi Plant,

I had bone scan, MRI and ct scan pre chemo. Waiting for the results is tough but at least it shows that they are being thorough and can treat you accordingly .
Fingers crossed for good results.
Casx
Plant1979
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery

Hi Cas164, I had my first of 3 FEC on thurs and so far have just had a little nausea on thurs night, still early days tho. I too am using the cold cap and took a couple of paracetamol about an hour before, I didn't find it too unbearable especially after the first 10-15 mins so like u am gonna keep trying it as long as poss.

I haven't had much discussion about surgery yet, only been told that if surgery had been done first there would be no choice but a mastectomy.

I am still awaiting some test results from an MRI on my arm which was requested following my bone scan so that is playing on my mind a lot at the minute xx
Cas164
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery

Hi all,

I'm another chemo before surgery! Just had my second FEC , having 3 fec , 3 T .

Hair is falling 😞 have used the cold cap but will keep going with it as long as possible. I have a couple of paracetamol before I go in and I'm sure it helps.

I have put my gym membership on hold. Initially I thought I would be able to do some Pilates but haven't even felt up to that. I really just want to get through this process as quickly and painlessly as possible.

Is anyone having the debate between single and double mx?

As you say Office Angel it's one step ate a time

Casx
Office_Angel
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery

Good morning Ladies

Just keep going - one step at a time, Plant - do ask about the gym but listen to your body. I asked if it would be ok to swim and was given the go ahead (not weeks 1 or 2 as you are at risk of infection) but I have to say I neither had the physical or the mental will. There was a point when I would have fancied the pretty muddy myself but maybe that's one for next year 🙂

One step at a time, listen to your body and enjoy the park

Xx
ria2056
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery

Hi Plant

I would definitly try the cold cap. I had chemo 15 days ago and have not lost any hair yet, I thought I would have as I have really thick hair and felt the cap did not get close enough to my skin. So it rally worth trying as the other girls have said the first 10 minutes are the worse 

good luck

Plant1979
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery

Hi office_angel, I will def be trying to get out for some walks etc, my 2 yr old loves the park and luckily we have one just a 5 min walk away so that will prob be good for short trips out. Am seeing my Dr this afternoon so will ask about the gym (do think I may be being a bit ambitious with that tho)! Am I also doing 3FEC 3T, my friends r doing race for life pretty muddy at clumber park in a couple of months so am hoping that will be a nice afternoon out with the kids too to go and support then. Like u say tho will just take it one step at a time xx
Office_Angel
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery

Hiya

I am in the same boat as you ladies. I had my second round of FEC on Friday just past (I'm doing 3 FEC, 3 T) and doing the cold cap thing. Do persevere with it, I won't tell you it's loads of fun but once you have it on for 10 minutes the discomfort will pass. Oh and while I would love to say I have made it to the gym ..... Well not so much but if you are up to get out and go for a walk. Only you knows what's right for you but one step at a time and you will get there

OA XXX
Plant1979
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery

Thanks for all the tips, they all sound like fab advice! I have bought some eyebrow pencils etc in preparation and am intending on giving the cold cap a go. It sounds like u r coping really well with everything
, I hope ur surgery goes well. I was hoping to keep up with going to the gym occasionally while on chemo but not sure if this is a bit unrealistic! Xx
Horseygirl
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery

I have my last Taxol this Wednesday ( 4 FEC and 12 Taxol).  Hurrah....it's been a long journey. My surgeon wanted to shrink the breast and axillary tumours before surgery. Healthy cells surrounding the tumours need to be removed too in order to get clear margins and make sure all parts of the tumour have been taken out.  The smaller the tumour, the less of your own flesh has to be removed. My axillary tumour now has pretty much disappeared and my breast tumour is tiny.  I may get away with a lumpectomy rather than mastectomy now.  Chemo has worked really well for me prior to surgery.

 

A few tips. Try and persevere with the cold cap if you want to prevent hair loss.  With me it fell out with the FEC but some hair started to regrow with the taxoI, but I wore the cap with both.  I found that the hair loss was on the part of my head that the cap was not in close contact with.  I still have most of my hair and everyone says how well I look!!!!   Benefit do a 'Brow Kit' which allows you create your own brows if your own fall out.  The Taxol made my legs very achy and painful so you will probably not be as mobile as you were and get easily tired.  I put on weight from over eating and lack of excercise... so be warned.  The FEC will probably make you sick so dont skimp on the antisickness tablets before and after.  I found that the horrible nausea and metallic taste in my mouth disappeared when the FEC was over.

 

Best of luck and I hope it all goes well 

Plant1979
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery

Thanks for the reply, sounds same as my situation, I have 2 large lumps in one breast and also spread to my lymph nodes! Have been told that they r hoping it will reduce enough to avoid a mastectomy and like u say kill off the cancer before surgery! Will then be having radiotherapy afterwards. Have got an app with my Dr tomorrow then booked in for my first chemo treatment on the 3rd, trying to prepare the best I can but obviously still very anxious for the first one to be done to get a feel for what it's going to be like for the next few months xx
ria2056
Member

Re: Chemo before surgery

Yes  I am having my chemo before surgery 3 FEC and then 3 T had my first chemo 2 weeks ago and have not been to bad due my 2 nd lot on the 7th July. My oncologist said it was shrink the tumour and kill the cancer in my lymph nodes first 

Plant1979
Member

Chemo before surgery

Hi everyone, I am due to start my chemo on 3rs July. I am have FEC-T (6 sessions) have been getting some good tips off the forum to try and help with the side effects. I have noticed that most people seem to have had their chemo after surgery but I am having mine before! Has anyone else had it this way round? Xx