Hi Sue and Swampy,
Thank you both for the really useful advice. I will definitely need to start a list of all the things to plan - which I love as I like to be in control and doing practical things. It's also hearteneing to know that other women have succesfully been through this too.
Will check with my bcn about support groups, a really good idea.
Thank you x
Hi cartwheels ( great name by the way)
You'll probably find the first week the hardest, days 2 to 7, when the fatigue sets in. That's when you may need some help. I prepared in advance by making sure the food cupboards were stocked up, and the washing was all done. Make sure you have all the medication you might need. If friends and family are keen to help, then see if they can cook your evening meal as you may not feel up to it. Hopefully the rest of the time you will feel fine and can carry on as normal.
Sue (gymnastics coach! )
Welcome to the club that no-one really wants to join - but be assured that you will find lots of friendly ears to offer advice and listen when you need to be heard.
I have just completed my FEC-T and have come across from the October starters to offer whatever suggestions I can. You will find some of the advice offered from everyone will have no use and others just what you need so feel free to use whatever helps.
Presuming you start with the FEC part - this is the one which is most likely to make you feel nauseous or actually be sick but your chemo unit will give you plenty of anti-emetics. But if they are not helping then go back for alternatives. Just because chemo makes you feel nauseous does not mean you have to feel that way - it's all matter of finding what works for you.
There are numerous side effects that can affect you - hair loss (are you cold capping?) your oncologist should arrange for a wig session (if your area does it for free then go along and get a wig - you can always buy another one later) Taste buds will change temporarily, sore mouth,heartburn, constipation, diarrhea - you can be prescribed a mouth wash but get some senna/immodium or whatever you normally use to keep in the medicine store along with plenty of painkillers. If you suffer pain from gcsf injections then Clarityn helps but ask your GP for stronger painkillers if Ibuprofen and Paracetemol are not strong enough.
As for someone staying with you - because you don't know how you will be affected - personally I would have a friend or family member stay over with you from Day 1. You may be fine or you may feel really poorly but it makes such difference to know you can call on someone in the next room if needs be - they can fetch and carry for you or do whatever will make your life more comfortable.
Keep a diary too of how you feel and what medicines you take - useful for you to look back and work out possibly which days will be worse/better on future cycles and also so you can tell your oncologist how you got on. Bear in mind that all this changes when you move on to the T part.
Wishing you lots of luck and encouragement - this site has been a godsend!!!
P.s Forgot to add - ask your BCN or oncologist if they can refer to your nearest hospice/macmillan etc unit. My local Hospice has a group for ladies like me and you - which meets once a month and also offers complementary therapies as well as someone to offload onto when things get too much.
I met my oncologist this week and she has arranged for me to start chemotherapy early March (I will join the March monthly thread here)
Current plan is 6 cycles, 3 of FEC and then 3 of T.
What I would like to plan is the support I may need. I'm hopeful of mild side effects but know I need to plan for feeling pretty rubbish during treatment. I have 3 or 4 weeks to plan, so thought I'd start my research!
I'm 47, live alone (except for my cat), and have done very happily for many years. I'm super independent but recognise I will need help. I have supportive friends and family who want to know what to do, which is great.
I'd really welcome advice from anyone who has been through FEC-T and when they most needed support, and what sorts of things. eg shouid I arrange for friends to stayover on certain days?
Thanks in advance.