First a virtual hug. Your head will be spinning from the diagnosis and I distinctly remember feeling totally numbed in my appointments as the news got worse each time. These times are different but normally you’d take a friend to act as PA, as mine did, taking notes and asking questions I was too past caring to think of! So, as the others say, never consider yourself stupid - the mind can only deal with so much at a time. It would be a good idea though to make a note of any question you want to ask on your phone. You can then ask to see a doctor during your chemo session when you are chilled and a bit bored and present her/him with your phone!
You got some excellent advice already but I wanted to add that I have emetophobia (obsessive fear of vomiting, not the best phobia for chemo - tho I never was or even felt sick), agoraphobia and panic disorder! So I was more than a bit apprehensive about chemo. I was completely honest about how I might react, how I was feeling etc. My GP prescribed a short course of sedative in the build-up period and my oncologist prescribed 2 lorazepam tablets To take just before chemo which made me just feel completely normal and I didn’t do a runner. So, if your fears are considerable, contact the hospital to tell them and ask if they can help. Tbh, the experience is not remotely scary, just an awful lot of waiting about.
When you are having chemo, it’s essential you ask advice before taking anything. Rescue Remedy probably won’t make any difference (I used it), but homoeopathic remedies might. I asked because I bruise easily and wanted to take arnica. The oncology pharmacist investigated and rang me to advise me not to use it as it may have a blood thinning effect (rather strange considering that the world of medicine denies homoeopathy can even work!! Equally strange was that no one appeared to have mentioned it before).
Your pink consent form should identify the treatments you are going to have. You can match these against the information sheets you’ve been given. They are obliged to list and explain the main side effects but most people don't get them. A lot of people sail through, others are wiped out. I was a zombie. You just don’t know till it happens I’m afraid. You’ll be under an adjuvant oncology nurse for side effects during treatment but try to maintain contact with your breast care nurse as she’ll be the one in the best position to advise you on things like emotional support, hair loss service (if relevant) and support services you can access for free.
It’s all manageable and it isn't forever - but it is for a good cause. All the best next week.
Hi Butler10, welcome to the forum but sorry you find yourself here. Don’t worry about remembering everything straight away. It’s a whole new world of terminology which can be quite exhausting to begin with. I’m sure you’ll soon get up to pace. During chemo it’s usually recommended that you don’t take any supplements. Some of the calming and sleep herbal remedies contain valerian which can interact with quite a few drugs so double check everything first with your oncologist. You could always try having some relaxing essential oils in a vapouriser and do some deep breathing and drink chamomile tea. That’s what I did anyway. Try not to worry about your appointment though as your lovely nurse will talk you through everything. Best wishes and I hope all goes well. X
Hi Butler10 - first of all I'm sending you a big hug. You have come to exactly the right place to get information, support and advice.
It's totally normal to feel as you do, so don't beat yourself up or feel "stupid" - you are not. It's almost impossible to take anything in, especially in the early days, I know I felt like I had been hit by a truck and was just stunned. I would come out of appointments and have no idea what was said, and would repeatedly ask the same question. Many people don't even want to know any information, that's their way of coping too. So don't worry about not taking anything in.
When you get to your chemo appointment the lovely nurses will guide you every step of the way. You should have been given the number of a Breast Care Nurse that you can call if you have any questions, or alternatively you can contact the helpline on here. I would definitely speak to your BCN, or even try the secretary of your oncologist who can get a message to your oncologist, to find out about herbal supplements and chemo. Your oncologist has to by law give you details of every side effect that could happen - and I stress "could", but that doesn't mean that all or any will happen to you. Everyone reacts differently to chemo. You will be given clear instructions to monitor your temperature - because chemo knocks out part of your immune system, and an increase in temperature could mean an infection that needs attention. So just be vigilant but don't panic and take your temperature every minute!
If you have any specific questions I or other ladies will be more than happy to chat with you. I would also recommend you join the monthly chemo threads on here where you will meet other people at the same stage as you.
Do come back and chat more and update us/ask questions. Til then my very best wishes to you as you start treatment. Evie xx
I start chem next week after finding a lump 4 weeks ago. I meet my oncology consultant Tuesday. But I came out with so much in my head but I really didnt or couldn't take any of it in. As so now I feel stupid going to my chemo appointment with not really understanding what treatment I'm having. I was given some literature to read but it different to what I thought I was having . Also because I'm stressing out is it ok to take my Rescue tablets before I go , there herbal but they do help me become less stressful. Sorry if this is a bit garbled.