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Fear of chemo! Heading for a breakdown!

20 REPLIES 20
Anniej
Community Champion

Re: Fear of chemo! Heading for a breakdown!

Hi Sandra, sending a big hug as you sound in a right state! I wonder where you have got your information from that you are so very frightened? Not from Google I hope ? Everyone is very very different re side effects. I am half way through my chemo, and if this gives me a chance to enjoy another ten years and see my grandchildren grow, then ok. The procedure itself is very painless , and the side effects for me are manageable with support from the medics and all the prescription stuff you get. Furthermore, you will not be asked to do anything your body can't cope with. I've just had my dosage reduced for the session this morning as I was extremely fatigued last time. No sickness or vomiting - I was given excellent medication. Apart from the fatigue, some headaches ( paracetamol ) and a few aches (ibroprufin) I'm just chugging along. I do have a wonderful OH, so have been well looked after re food, which you get a bit picky with. There are lots of ladies on here who live by themselves, also some disabled. Would it be worthwhile putting out a thread asking how singletons manage with side effects? Don't be terrified , be thankful that chemo is your friend eating up all the nasties and ensuring you live longer. The only thing to fear is fear itself! Stay strong . X

P.S I'm a not very slim, but quite active, 70 year old !

Ms Merton
Member

Re: Fear of chemo! Heading for a breakdown!

Hello Sandra - have you explained the level of your anxiety to your medical team?  They will routinely prescribe anti-anxiety and anti-depression medications to chemo patients as needed. I am quite hospital phobic and got really upset on the chemo unit so was prescribed Lorazepam (similar to Valium) to take if I needed it and sleeping pills for emergencies too (although I didn't take them). They also have a lot of medications which really control the side effects well for most people so make sure you are being given access to these, especially Emend (aprepitant) for nausea and Neulasta for white blood cell count.  For most people you just feel a bit under the weather (like jet lag or a hangover) but can carry on reasonably as normal.  Best of luck.  Xx

SandraSussex
Member

Re: Fear of chemo! Heading for a breakdown!

Thankyou Maggie, Mary and DBD!
The hardest thing for me is I have had to choose whether to have chemo...I know RT and tabs were the way forward!
I think there is a 4.7% benefit of chemo! I never wanted to choose!
I will of course get through it is the fear of the unknown! I normally get every SE on the tablet sheet!
I will panic I know! I am not a pink warrior a pink woose at the moment!

Sandra x
DPD
Member

Re: Fear of chemo! Heading for a breakdown!

Hi Sandra -have just seen your post and thought that was me when I was told chemo was required- I remember thinking no way!! I am single & need to work to pay the bills, how on earth can I do this! I made it into such a mountain . I am due my 5th chemo next week and can honestly say for me it was not as bad as I thought . First few days feel tired and did not have any nausea until the 4th one &I the tablets worked a treat. Week after I am back at work and feel normal -what ever that is . Will be thinking if you and YES you can &I will get through it. Not how we expected this year to go but bring on the New Year 😊
maryminder
Member

Re: Fear of chemo! Heading for a breakdown!

Hi Sandra,

I understand your fears and anxiety, I had 6 rounds of Chemo 3 weeks apart and finished in Feb, I found it was fear of the unknown itself that was worse, getting the first session out of the way helped ease the fear,  being honest it wasn't always easy but  it will finish.

Maggie is right, plan ahead and be prepared, be good to yourself and listen to your body, never be worried about ringing the nurses if you are concerned about anything, join the monthly chemo forum and speak to other ladies and always question anything you are unsure of.

Best wishes for your journey ahead, you are stronger than you know

Hugs

Mary x

 

maggie aitken
Member

Re: Fear of chemo! Heading for a breakdown!

I am so very sorry, especially as you feel so alone - which is different from being on your own. Round 3 of 4 comes up for me on Monday and I must say I am not looking forward to it one bit .. there's no doubt that it is awful, and nobody in their right mind would do this unless they had to.

 

I know that worse things happen, but because there's not a lot of choice, there cannot be consent - and that's a big thing for us as reasonable human beings. Plus the after effects - well there's a scary list and nobody can definitively say what you will experience. Well, nody actually knows though a good guess is usually possible.

 

No wonder you are terrified - that's the logical response. I know I am. But having others around doesnt really help. Even with company you are on your own with this. But you are ging to be fine - not at once, not for a while probably, but you are going to be fine. 

 

You can do this. And, in terms of after and side effects, talk to friends, online forums, macmillan's talk line (free) which is really good. Tell people how you are feeling. Dont wait - get this out into the open and you will get past it and reclaim your life. 

 

In practical terms, better safe than sorry, nobody will disrespect you for being careful. Have the emergency plan ready to go, if needed. This is serious stuff, we dont take chances or let anxiety dictate what we do.

But, take a good book, you may well be hanging about for ages, I know I was.You dont have to be  brave for anyone. I am certainly not. 

 

Be good to yourself, respect yuur feelings because they are yours, and because there is a reason for them.

If anxiety is damaging you, please please talk to someone.  The MacMillan line is free and they are marvellous. They can also find sources of support, I have used these and been able to move forward.

 

Fear is the killer. You have Cancer to deal with -  the worst has already taken place. This is the fightback, even though you are not in control.  But the treatment and care reflect the value placed on you. You matter. Soon, next year maybe, you will sit in the sunshine and reflect on a fight well fought, and a victory achieved despite it all. Promise. 

 

I send best wishes, and respect for an independant and brave individual. Let's do this.

 

Maggie x 

 

SandraSussex
Member

Re: Fear of chemo! Heading for a breakdown!

Hi Sue!

Thankyou you are very re-assuring! I was thinking I might defer my chemo until the end of July then I could be about for my grandsons birth...enjoy my birthday and where I work in a school gain some extra support as it will be the summer holidays!
I will make a final decision tomorrow when I see my BCN!

Sandra xx
Sue C
Community Champion

Re: Fear of chemo! Heading for a breakdown!

Hi Sandra

Don't forget the ladies who post on here are the ones having problems...... there are many who don't!

My daughter was 16 when I went through it, and was very supportive. You may find that she just wants to help. I was not ill at all with chemo, just bad fatigue. So some days just stayed on the couch, happily watching TV with my daughter bringing me cups of tea! With the hair loss, I wore scarves and made sure no one saw me without one. To be honest, I couldn't look in the mirror. Just buried my head in the sand with that one! However 4 months after, I threw that scarf away! 

My daughter was diagnosed with anorexia at the same time, so we explained that just as food was her medicine, chemo was mine, and we both muddled through together.

Just remember, it will not be as bad as you think xx

SandraSussex
Member

Re: Fear of chemo! Heading for a breakdown!

Thankyou Sue!

I have had the chemo fear from the beginning so gradually reached an anxiety peak..My treatment plan changed! I have read too much about the horrible side effects and only have my 14 year old daughter to look after me....she is terrified! I know I will get good days but she has told me she doesn't want to see me ill or bald!

Sandra xx
Sue C
Community Champion

Re: Fear of chemo! Heading for a breakdown!

No problem x

I'm not brave or particularly strong, and suffer from worries and anxieties like anyone else, but i knew that chemo ( and rads)  were giving me the best chance to beat this horrible disease.

Best wishes xx

AliOG
Member

Re: Fear of chemo! Heading for a breakdown!

Thanks, Sue. It is so important to hear voices like yours when our heads are full of fears, doubts and worries. Thank you for taking the time to respond. Sandra and I need people like you to encourage us! x

Sue C
Community Champion

Re: Fear of chemo! Heading for a breakdown!

Hi Ladies

Sorry to interrupt your conversation, just wanted to reassure about chemo from someone who has been through it. I had 4 cycles, every 3 weeks. The first week is the difficult bit, because that's when the fatigue sets in. The nurses will give you all the meds you need, like sickness tablets, which are brilliant and I wasn't sick at all. The following weeks are fine and you will be able to carry on as normal. So my advice for you would be to prepare for that week. Make sure your cupboards are stocked with food, all the washing is done and meds are within easy reach. If anyone offers to help ,then let them. You may just want someone to make you cup of tea!

Just remember....

It won't be as bad as you think,

It is just a short period of your life,

It's getting rid of any stray cells that may be in your body, so you can move on and live a long and happy life.

You CAN do this xx

AliOG
Member

Re: Fear of chemo! Heading for a breakdown!

Don't worry! I understood it perfectly. Yes, having radiotherapy and Tamoxifen after this bit. If your BCN is good I'm sure that will help and now you've made the decision I'm pretty sure things will get easier. Give it a day or two. If anything I'm keen to get started now and I really didn't feel like that a couple of days ago. I was ready to run a mile!! Xx
SandraSussex
Member

Re: Fear of chemo! Heading for a breakdown!

Lol! The support bit doesn't make sense! Heads not with it! xx
SandraSussex
Member

Re: Fear of chemo! Heading for a breakdown!

Hi Ali!

I will grab any support I can get...my BCN is aware of my anxiety so I will grab any support I can!
I suppose this all gives us a kick up the bum and we have to enjoy everyday!
We will be having our first mammograms around the same time too!
Are you having radiotherapy and tablets too!

Sandra xx
AliOG
Member

Re: Fear of chemo! Heading for a breakdown!

Hi Sandra,

 

So it'll be in July so I'll be about a week or two ahead of you. We can PM each other and compare notes.

 

I know what you mean about the timing. It sucks! I got promoted in July, married in August, moved house in November, my husband retired (sort of) in January and then "bam!" diagnosis in Feb. It's rubbish and it makes me angry as well as scared.

 

I'm sure everything will work out by hook or by crook and your family will rally round, even if it has to be remotely or electronically. Macmillan will be able to help if you're on your own. Why don't you give them a call to discuss it? Xx

SandraSussex
Member

Re: Fear of chemo! Heading for a breakdown!

HI Ali!

I have a tour and picc line fitting on the 4th July but will have to work out dates as want to have my 3rd week well for seeing boyfriend!
My second grandchild is due anytime as well...I was on holiday in Spain when my daughter gave birth 6 weeks prematurely 4 years ago and I really wanted to be about for this one! She has a husband but I just wanted to be on call!
Cancer sucks! This year was going to be the best!

Sandra xx
AliOG
Member

Re: Fear of chemo! Heading for a breakdown!

Hi Sandra,

 

It is such a difficult decision to make but, honestly, if the docs are advising it then I would really listen to them. No one who loves you will want to see you go through it but equally they will support you through it and step up to the plate if they have to. 

 

Im more than happy to stay in touch with you and let you know how I'm getting on. I'm on the June monthly starters thread too which you might find useful to read as those ladies have already had one or two sessions. Have they given you a date for starting yet? 

 

Xx

SandraSussex
Member

Re: Fear of chemo! Heading for a breakdown!

Hi Ali!
Actually no one who loves me wants me to have it .....but it has been advised!
I just want to go through or feel like this ever again!
I haven't got anyone to stay with me and that is the scary bit and has been all the way through!
I am not living at the moment just crawling through each day trying to be brave with everyone! I dread the nights! Stomach pains and lack of sleep....I wake up gasping all anxiety I believe!
I hope things go well for you I'm sure all will go very quickly!
Can we keep in touch as you are a little ahead of me and tell me how you are feeling?
I am going to see my Macmillan BCN tomorrow!

Sandra xx
AliOG
Member

Re: Fear of chemo! Heading for a breakdown!

Hi Sandra,

 

Sorry to hear you're feeling like this. Has something happened to make you change your mind about having chemo?

 

i completely understand your fear. Yesterday I thought I was going crazy with it so went to see the GP. Just talking to a health professional helped even though she didn't prescribe me anything. Yesterday afternoon I had a long walk in the sun which also helped and then this morning I had a major meltdown over something trivial that happened before my daughter went off to school - cue major guilt trip. I'm definitely suffering anxiety but I'm beginning to accept that it would be strange if I wasn't. 

 

Lots of other women on here who are currently going through it will tell you that it is doable and I'm clinging onto that. Have you got anyone close to you who could come and stay for those few days immediately after each session, at least for the first one, to see how you are with side effects? It might not be nearly as bad as you imagine. The other thing my consultant said to me was that at any point I can back out and stop treatment. I probably won't but it's a useful get out clause that has helped alleviate the fear a bit.

 

I'm sure you'll get support on here but know that I'm with you every step of the way! Xx

SandraSussex
Member

Fear of chemo! Heading for a breakdown!

Hi All!
I can't cope anymore...I need to have chemo but am terrified beyond words! My anxiety is affecting my daily life!
I can't face the side effects living on my own!

Sandra xx