Hi, We are all different as to how the chemo affects us.I had FEC-T (finished November 2013) and found the 3 cycles of Taxotere the most debilitating. I felt like I had been run over by a 10 ton truck lol. However, I got through it and live to tell the tale!
I was passing out, the bone pain was horrendous, and had problems breathing. I also had problems with my hands and feet. Fingernails were so painful which I can describe felt like someone hitting them with a hammer. Paint your nails with black nail varnish as this helps. I didn't lose any of my nails, but they ended up looking bruised and discoloured. With regards to the soles of my feet, it felt like I was walking on hot coals! The skin peeled from under the heels. Oncologist prescribed pyridoxine (vitamin b6) and Aveeno cream........these both helped enormously.
Even after all this time, my feet are still not back to normal and I still have problems with fingertips when fastening buttons.
You may be lucky and not get all the symptoms, but will get through it. Drink plenty of water, and I found eating little and often worked best. Sleep, sleep and more sleep.
On yes you do Karen. I am horrified that they have said this. If you are happy with the result so far keep going. Have not heard anyone having been given this advice.
I used it all through Taxotere and am happy with the result 12 weeks after finishing and have all of my hair now. However during treatment I did loose quite a lot each session and it did thin a little which proves that you do need it. This seems to have been the experience of all the other ladies.
Please do not let them stop your cold cap tomorrow and phone and tell them you want it so that it is set up and ready for you tomorrow. If they say it is not needed let them argue the point over the following 3 weeks and speak with your oncologist.
The website cancerhaircare.com gives you lots of reliable advice about scalp cooling.
Please let us know how you get on. Marli xx
Hi , I am day 7 after first docetaxel. I found days 4 and 5 the hardest. No sleep, contipation and stomache pains being the worst symptoms for me. I am now feeling much better and like my old self again. Rest and fluids are the key for me but have also found that very gentle walking made me feel so much better when I was able to do this. I have been very tearful and emotional at times and I think its ok to be like this and it doesnt mean you are not being positive. I am only one cycle in but its good to know that there will be good days as well as bad during each cycle and knowing this will help me cope.
Thank you all for your hints and tips. I will definitely take all your advice. I hope to be as prepared as possible but it sounds like we are all different and side effects vary in severity for each one of us.
I will make sure I ask for anti-sickness meds and painkillers. The nausea and bone pain worry me most of all so I will feel better if I know I have meds ready.
Having picc line fitted on Monday and start chemo Thursday, not long now.
Best wishes to you all
Hi Sandra - yes Rachel's tip on keeping a SE's diary is the most useful thing. Just a cheap £1 shop one and list all your symptoms because they do seem to follow a definite pattern and are also useful to report back to your Onc. Note every little thing including any unusual pains etc.
Good luck, hope you are keeping well. Marli xx
Hi Sandra, I had FEC-T over a year ago. My best tip for the T part would be to keep a detailed diary as the side effects will probably be the same after each chemo and you can plan in advance e.g I realised that with Taxotere day 1- 3 I felt okay, day 4-5 I felt awful and my temperature went up (so I knew not to panic when it went up to 38° each time), day 8 I got the runs (so I would take Immodium the night before to prevent this), day 7-10 was the low immunity period so I would avoid crowded places, food tasted foul days 4- 15 so I really looked forward to day 16 and would cross off the days!!
I hope this helps. I must say Taxotere really affected my neutrophils badly but for me the worst side effects was the terrible tasting food - it was so hard to find anything that tasted nice,. For me lemon, balsamic vinegar and watercress with tuna were lifesavers and fizzy water with squash.
The other main problem I had was lack of sleep because of the steroids but my GP was great and prescribed sleeping pills (Temazepam) which I took 7 days after each chemo and it made a huge difference to have a good night's sleep every night.
Good luck with everything Sandra and I hope that you breeze through with very few side effects.
I'm 38 and had my first Tax on 10th July and I was fine for the following two days due to the anti sickness drugs and steriods prescribed but then the side effects of the Zarsio kicked in (had to have platelet inducing injections for 5x days after). Unfortunately I suffered from severe bone pain and sore feet for 8x days so my suggestion to you will be to have warm baths to ease bone pain - my onc has not allowed me paracetemol/ibrobufen as these can mask a temperature so took codine left over from MX to help me sleep. I also invested the princley sum of £2.70 on a cheap collapsable walking stick to help me get around the flat during the bone pain phase (this is a godsend!!!).
The feet pain apparently is a rarish side effect (tax/Zarsio plays havoc with yout nerve endings) so hopefully you won't suffer this but if you do, invest in a tube of Diprobase asap as I was only told about this by Chemo nurses after 5 days of agony and has helped clear it up quite quickly since starting using it...I am even hoping to put a pair of shoes on tomorrow and go for a walk for the first time since last Monday - woohoo!!!
Other than that I've had no other side effects so hoping to go back to work at end of the week, I managed to work part time during the FEC so hoping to do the same during the rest of my 'T' now I know what to expect and how to manage it.
Lots of luck... 🙂
Sandra - I finished 6 x taxotere in April. I am 61 and this was a recurrence of my BC (initially dx 2009).
The chemo is not pleasant but very do-able.You have already been given loads of great advice from the other ladies.
I was never sick and only had anti-sickness meds on the day of treatment. Did have diarrhea so I suggest you stock up on suitable medication.
Lost my sense of taste so appetite was affected each time but adjusted diet each round of treatment. Drink plenty of fluids, it is trial and error what you find palatable although ginger cordial was great.
Got very tired esp about day 3-4 but just rest/sleep as needed.
I never needed any injections to boost white cells and it would appear that it is them that cause a lot of bone pain.
Take steroids before mid-day of you too will be up doing house work at 4.30. lol
But as said before Stay Positive. Sister on chemo ward told me that in 2009 and it was the best advice I received. Build in little treat each round too.
Hope all goes well. Marli x
Thank you for all your advice, it really helps me to know what i might need to cope with. Like you I am a positive person and I am usually very healthy. If I can be prepared for the side effects and know that others have suffered or coped in the same circumstances then I know it will help me to stay focused and take one day at a time.
I am 49 and my two girls are 20 and 23 so I dont have the school run to think about and they have been a great help to me. I think you are amazing to be back doing the school run by day 7!! I am lucky that I am not working during chemo because I work at my local gp surgery and the oncologist didnt think that was an ideal enviroment to be in when I am at risk of infection due to the chemo.
Hope you continue to feel well, let me know how your 2nd treatment goes
Thank you Emma,
Sounds like is wasnt too awful for you, I hope my experience will be similar. Which anti-sick tablets were you prescribed? There seem to be so many so would be nice to know which ones worked for you. I understand it may be different for me. I will make sure I have some anti-diarrhoea tabs incase i need them.
Really appreciate your advice, I hope you are now well post treatment.
I had my first round of chemo on the 7th July and started with FEC.
The night I came home I felt sick in the night and became very cold and clammy, but never vomited. The next three days I felt a little sick, a bit like morning sickness or a bad hangover, but I took the anti sickness tablets so managed it ok. I also ate like a horse and food I don't normally eat, ie lots of carbs.
Day 4 post chemo I started having a dull ache in the sole of my right foot. It was tender to walk on, but not that bad.
Day 5 post chemo (steroids now out of the body) I slept all day and most of the night. By the way the steroids are crazy. I was up every morning at 4.30am and felt the need to clean the house (very strange). Just watch out for the comedown off the steroids. Rest well in first few days as you will need to store up some energy for days 7 - 10 when your immunity is at its lowest.
Day 6 post chemo, my hips, groin and lower back hurt a lot with a dull throb and shooting pains. I went to see my onc and he told me to take ibruprofen and paracetamol as per the guidelines on the packet. This eased the pain and I managed it ok. He told me the pains are from the immunity injection, which you will have 24 hrs after chemo. It's basically the bone marrow trying to repair itself. He has suggested I take these pills a good 24hrs in advance of day 4 on the second round of chemo.
Days 7/8/9/10/11 have been fine - no pains, sickness or tiredness. I'm back on the school run, bathing the kids, supermarket shopping etc. Around 7/8pm I do get more tired than I normally would be, but apart from that everything seems ok.
My main advice is to stay positive as a positive and determined mind really does help get you through this challenging time. Also don't worry about calling your nurse or onc unit if you have any concerns. They are there to help.
I'm 39 and consider myself a fit and healthy person, but I can honestly say I underestimated the power of chemotheraphy. For a good three days my body didn't feel like my own, however I now feel quite normal and I'm on day 11 post chemo.
Sorry if I have rambled on, but I wish I had asked the question like you did.
Stay positive and healthy (eat lots of healthy food and drink lots and lots of water) and you will be just fine. Oh use lots of antibacterial gel too when you are out and about. I even use the antibacterial wipes to wipe down cutlery and glasses if I'm eating out.
Good luck and keep us posted on how you are.
I did 6 rounds of docetaxol last year- I didn't have fec so can't comment on that one but there are lots of ladies on here who did.
I didn't find it as bad as I thought I would, I didn't have any sickness but I did take the anti sickness meds religiously the chemo nurses advised me to and it was a great piece of advice! The fatigue was quite hard for a few days but it did only last for a few days and in between my levels of energy were the same as before, I know some women have had flu like pains but I didn't so hopefully you won't either- and even if you do don't be afraid to speak to your onc there is so much help with side effects.
I did find eating little and often was a good thing my appetite did go for a few days but I needed to try and eat as I felt pretty weak if I didn't.
I used to also get a little bit of diarrhoea on about the 4th day after chemo but I took some diarease from boots and that always did the trick.
Good luck and best wishes Emma xx
Thank you Janet,
I will take a look at the publication and the thread you suggested.
I've attached a link to our publication on Taxotere which I thought may be helpful:
It might also be helpful to join one of the Chemo monthly threads begun by members starting their chemo in the same month. I've attached the link for the July thread, but you may want to start one for August 2015 and I'm sure others would soon come along and join you.
I hope you get some replies soon
Very best wishes
Starting chemo on 30th July, 3 x course of Docetaxel (Taxotere) and then 3 x course of FEC. They mention so many side effects but hopefully I wont get them all. Any initial advice re starting Docetaxel so I can be prepared and have remedies to hand if needed...
Thank you ladies