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Worries about starting chemotherapy

11 REPLIES 11
jenidyson
Member

Re: Worries about starting chemotherapy

Hi there, I had chemotherapy 2009/10 FEC (no taxotere) and I asked about the cold cap and was told that it extends your time in the chemo suite by a couple of hours, I also asked if it helped in stopping your hair falling out and she said 'not really' so I decided it wasn't for me.  Also after a while I just wanted to get out as quick as possible and talking to your neighbour who might have a worse diagnosis didn't help.  So I would say don't worry about your hair it will grow back and there are some really funky wigs out there, I had great fun with them.  The anti-sickness and steroids worked welll for me and kept me going through the toxic experience, although towards the end of treatment I was very weak. Radiotherapy afterwards was a wheeze after chemo.  But hey, I'm still here.  I still have a numb arm from the node clearance and I'm battling side effects from Tamoxifen of aching limbs and feel about 90 but I'm pretty determined to keep going.  My biggest shock was when all the treatment ended and I broke down in floods of tears, I was so relieved to have made it out the other side.  I very much wish you all the best with your treament and hope it does the job! 

climbingrose
Member

Re: Worries about starting chemotherapy

Thanks EAM28 for your useful list of things I could get in beforehand - I feel a bit more prepared now for Wednesday when I have my first chemotherapy session. 

 

I have thought about getting my hair cut like you Hookiem, but think I will just wait and see how I feel when it starts to come out. I will probably get a wig for work and have already bought a nice sunhat and stretchy headcover, so at least I have something. Saw my oncologist yesterday and he said my hair might start growing back after the FEC sessions have finished - I have 3 sessions of those over the next 9 weeks followed by Taxol for the following 3 to 4 months. This unfortuntely means we have had to cancel our summer trip to Florida with our girls but the doctor has said he is happy for us to fit it in after the chemo and before the radiotherapy starts, giving my body a period of recovery. Something to look forward to in October! 

 

Thanks to all for your responses to my questions x

Hookiem
Member

Re: Worries about starting chemotherapy

Hi climbingrose. I am new to the forum and was very worried about losing my hair at first but like most I had my hair cut short beforehand, it was still a shock when it all started falling out after my first treatment. I ordered a wig from the hospital and it really suits my face. I have other hats to wear at home and I ordered a really nice going out hat from Subturban, it was expensive but very classy. I wear my wig to work so not to stand out too much, it just depends what you are comfortable with. Good luck with your treatments. I have just had my 4th chemo and now on the count down. Smiley Happy

EAM28
Member

Re: Worries about starting chemotherapy

Hi climbingrose,
Everyone has pretty much covered it here but just thought I'd add to get a few other things in preparation like anti bacterial gel,mouthwash,bonjela - prevention better than cure! Also it depends on the individual but I found I could only really eat things like crackers in the first week following chemo so maybe worth getting things in like that. The look good feel better courses (about hair & make up tips whilst on chemo) may help also. I'm hoping to go on one soon but its quite far away from me. My little girl hasn't batted an eye lid with me wearing hats & she doesn't normally miss a thing! She's 21 months so younger than yours I know. Hope all goes well for you xxx
climbingrose
Member

Re: Worries about starting chemotherapy

Thanks for responding Kess. I wasn't sure about wearing a wig but hadn't thought about what I would wear when I restart work as it might make me stand out more if I wore a hat in the office. 

climbingrose
Member

Re: Worries about starting chemotherapy

Hi SJB.

It's good to hear from someone who has completed their chemotherapy sessions and come out the other side. I'll get some baby shampoo for when I start my FEC but I'm not keen on the idea of the cold cap so have chosen not to go down that route. Thank you for responding.

climbingrose
Member

Re: Worries about starting chemotherapy

Thank you busyanne, I hadn't thought about losing any other body hair so your comments are useful to know. I have ordered some hats but will look at wigs too. Best wishes x

Kess
Member

Re: Worries about starting chemotherapy

I have had 3 EC so far and although I have lost my hair, I still have my eyebrows and eyelashes. I wear a wig for work, a hat out everywhere else and nothing at home unless it's cold! My son is a teenager but is happy to be seen out with me in a just my hats. If you are going to lose it you will - just be prepared and wear whatever you like best.
SJB
Member

Re: Worries about starting chemotherapy

Hi Climbingrose.

 

I have just finished chemotherapy. I had 3 x FEC and 3 x T (Taxotere/Docetaxol).  My hair had fallen from my head wihin 2 weeks of having my first chemo session. I had it cut short beforehand to make it easier, but when it happened, it was coming out so fast that I got my husband to shave what was left off. It sounds like your daughters will take care of that for you. I used baby shampoo as soon as I started chemo as my scalp was very sensitive. I#'d recommend that. The only way to try and stop hair loss is to ask for the cold cap, but I didn't bother as it can be quite uncomfortable. There is more info about that on the forum too.

 

As said above, think about what you will wear on your head when your hair has gone. I had a wig from the hospital, but chose only to wear it occasionally. Most of the time, I have worn bandanas or hats.

 

My hair has started growing back now - it started about a week before my final dose of taxotere, which I had 2 weeks ago. It is now about 5mm long, white and fluffy. It wasn't white before (I'm only 48) but I really don't mind. I'll just be glad to have hair again! No hair anywhere else yet though.

 

There is a lot of info here on the forum about chemotherapy. You should join the appropriate monthly thread when you have a start date, as this will prove invaluable. I am a December Angel and could not have got through it without the other Angels.

 

It sounds worse than it is, but take all the advice you are given. Don't push yourself too hard and stay away from anyone with any kind of infection or sniffles etc. Check your temperature daily and tell the nurses or call your doctor if you suffer from any side effects so they can prescribe something for it. Don't suffer in silence.

 

Good luck. It's all worth it in the end.

Lucy_BCC
Member

Re: Worries about starting chemotherapy

Hi Climbingrose, welcome to the BCC forums

In addition to the support here , our helpliners are on hand with practical amd emotional support so please do call to talk any concerns over, lines are open weekdays 9-5 and Saturday 10-2 on 0808 800 6000

Here's a link to the treatments section of the site where you will find information and support around hair loss and other side effects you may be concerned about:

http://www.breastcancercare.org.uk/treatment

Take care
Lucy BCC

busyanne
Member

Re: Worries about starting chemotherapy

Hi Climbingrose, I had chemotherapy last year and lost all my body hair.  I dont think there is any shampoo you can use which will prevent this.  Make sure you get your wig ordered so that you have it on hand when you hair starts to fall out.  Mine fell out one week after the first chemo session.  When my eyebrows disappeared I used eyebrow pencil which was okay.  Losing my lashes was the worst for me as I felt it left my face very bare.  However I started to you false eyelashes, the fine short ones.  I did not use mascara on them but did use eye shaddow.  You can be very creative.  You do get used to it but its great when you feel your hair growing back in.  This generally starts once the fec session is over.  It does take time.  I used fast shampoo and conditioner which I found help to encourage growth and I know others have used the shampoo too.  Your daughters will get used to seeing you without hair and when in the family home you will feel comfortable.  Some women I know used scarves but I preferred my wig which I thought look quite good really.  I have three grandchildren and they accepted my bald head without any reservation.  Its going to be a tough year for you but you will get through it.  Look after yourself and keep away from infection, you know people with coughs and sniffles.  Cheers. x

climbingrose
Member

Worries about starting chemotherapy

 

Hi all,

I had a lump and some lymph nodes removed two weeks ago and thankfully don't need any further surgery at the moment. My arm is sore and I am doing my physio exercises 3 times a day to keep it moving. I am due to start chemotherapy sessions in two weeks and have been given loads of information which I am wading through. I have been told the drugs I'm due to have will cause hair loss and wondered if anyone can recommend shampoo/conditioners to use during this time? We have two girls age 10 and 6 and have been very open and honest with them about what's happening to me and I explained about the expected hair loss to them yesterday and they laughed! They and my lovely hubbie are helping me through this but it is good to know there are others I can talk to.