So we are on day 6 and mum is feeling much better, which is such a relief. She has ordered some scarves etc in preparation for the hairloss and the hospital hairdresser has ordered in some wigs for her to try out next week. From what I've read day 15 seems to be when a lot of ladies start to lose their hair so I guess that is the next hurdle. Just so happy to see my mum feeling more like herself.
love to you all x x
Hi Gemma, I forgot to mention about keeping a diary. You may have already read about it in tips for chemo but thought I'd flag it up just in case. It's been invaluable for me not least because it helps me to remember when I took meds (chemo brain!), is an aide memoir for when I meet with my on oncologist and can identify patterns i.e. nausea, fatigue etc.
I did get your msg, I'm going to reply now. Take care, love to you and your mum x
Hi, as you know we all have varying degrees of some of the side effects (none of us have them all thank goodness) but I can share my experience and hope it is of some help. I'll try to do it in a logical order:
1) First few days tend to be the worst for nausea. Small meals often help to prevent it, and ginger biscuits help me when I feel nauseous. Take all anti-emetics prescribed and as these cause constipation, as well the obvious fresh fruit etc (liquorice is good ) I recommend Movicol and start taking them before the constipation starts (I learnt from experience!). If sickness is a problem she needs to contact the chemo pager number she will have been given (in Wales we have a Yellow Card that we need to carry with us at all times in the unlikely event we're taken ill whilst out).
2) Water, I can't stress enough how much this helps as others on here will testify. It will help if your mum can drink as much water as she can. It also helps with constipation.
3) The steroids can prevent sleep which is tough when feeling tired. I had to have mine reduced because they caused me to have a hot, red face (like sunburn) but not everyone gets this. I make sure I get up early to take my breakfast steroids so I can take the second dose no later than 12 / 1pm to prevent being awake half the night.
4) Indigestion can be a problem, my oncologist prescribed Omeprazole taken daily, another magic pill !
4) Mouth soreness and ulcers can be a problem but I've found using mouthwash 3/4 times a day really does help.
5) Re: chemo pager, don't be afraid of using it, I've been 'told off' for not calling! Your mum should have a list of things to look out for - high temperature etc. (the Yellow Card).
I'm sorry if the above sounds a bit clinical but I've included things that I wish I knew when I started chemo.
I remember feeling quite scared after my first chemo, not knowing what to expect and questioning any small change in my body but that got easier. In my experience the nurse is right, your mum should feel better - for me, I feel a bit yucky and 'spaced out' the first few days, less tired the second week and fine for the third week which is when I plan a treat (meal out, short trip etc). But tiredness and fatigue can come on us unexpectedly and we need to listen to our bodies and rest when we need to. Saying that, I've come across a lot of women on here who walk miles, one even run a half marathon between chemo cycles!
I also had problems with my veins and had a picc line fitted in time for my 3rd chemo yesterday and it was so much easier. Having it fitted didn't hurt at all, it was a simple procedure and apart from wearing a waterproof sleeve in the shower, I forget I have it.
I noticed on your earlier post that your mum isn't using the cold cap. I used it for 1st cycle but found it uncomfortable and haven't used it since and still have a fine (as in thin) covering of hair. I found a fabulous salon, selected a wig then had my shoulder length hair cut into the same style - friends couldn't tell the difference when I sent them photos! My sister and I made a day of it and had lunch in a 'posh' restaurant too. I know your mum says she's not sure about wearing a wig but, if she gets a good one she might feel more confident. I've also bought funky scarves so feel more prepared.
You are clearly a loving and supportive daughter to both your mum and dad. I understand why you might feel 'useless' but believe me your parents are fortunate to have you. Of course practical help is useful but just being there for them both, as you are, is everything. The support I've received from my family has kept my spirits up (as has humour!). I hope you have someone to lean on too. Please feel free to msg if you ever feel like a chat.
Take care of yourself, wishing your mum all the best x
Thanks Lucy and Annapanda.
mum has decided against using the coldcap her oncologist was saying it can cause discomfort and headaches etc so she just didn't feel it was worth it. I think she will be glad to just get started with the treatment on Thursday she will get to choose her wig that day but she is thinking she will mostly wear scarves. she is also getting her hair cut into a very short style as she felt that the hair loss might be less upsetting that way. Thanks for all your replies x
H Gem.. Sorry to hear about your mum xxx
ive only had one FEC-T so far,, my advise is take everyday as it comes, each day brings different things, some days sleep some days tears , being there and helping your mum with all of the effect will make it a lot better for her xxx
pis glammy worried about hair loss? Is such a big thing for most ladies.. I tried the cold cap.. Post chemo 9days it started falling and still falling.. My next one is on Monday.. No cold cap I'm just going to have deal with it xx sending you both love xx
Hi Emeraldrose and welcome to the BCC forums, it sounds like you and your Mum are a great support to,each other and I am sure you will find the extra help you need from your fellow forum users
We have a long running thread called 'Top tips for chemo' which may also help, you can read this here:
Our helpliners are also on hand for both of you with practical and emotional support so do feel free to call , lines are open 9-5 weekdays and 10-2 Saturdays on 0808 800 6000
You may also find some threads running in the family and friends area helpful as some are similar situations to yours:
Hi Gem. Sorry to hear that your Mum is on this journey, but it's great that you are there to support her. This forum is a fantastic source of support and advice. There are monthly threads in the 'going through treatment' section, under the 'Chemotherapy' subject. I don't think there's an August thread yet though. Do you know what chemo your Mum will be having? Lots of us are having/have had FEC-T, but there are quite a few other chemo regimes too. There is also a section of the forum called 'supporting someone with breast cancer', so it's worth having a look there too.
I had seromas after my surgery and they can be drained if they are really uncomfortable. The relief is instant, but they quite often come back so may need draining a few times. Sending very best wishes to your Mum, and a hug for you too xx
My mum is due to start her chemo next week and I just want to be able to offer her as much support and encouragement as possible, so looking for advice really. She is in her 60's and I am 35, she is a great mum and glamorous granny and has always been the one doing all the supporting so it's hard now the roles are reversed.
She had a bilateral mastectomy at the start of July, having been diagnosed with lobular, stage 2, HER-, Hormone positive. She has done brilliantly since her op but is currently having to put up with seromas which are very uncomfortable.
I feel so bad for her that she is having to start chemo on top of not feeling 100% recovered from surgery. I think it can be dificult for family members as we often feel a bit useless and just want to help as much as we can.
sending positive thoughts to everyone.
Gem x x