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Getting ready to start chemo and I am scared

SoftBallMom2
Posts: 55
Joined: Jul 2009

I was diagnosed with breast cancer a day after my 39th birthday in may. Not a great way to celebate. I have already had my surgery. I had a masectomy and reconstructive on same day. They used my stomach skin and tissue to form my breast. I will be starting chemo on July 23. Having a port put in day before and don't know what to expect. I have to have 8 treatments. 2 weeks apart. The first 4 are with Adriamycin and Cytoxan. the last four with Taxol with a Neulasta injection the day after each treatment. I don't have anyone who understands what I am going thru. My family tries butI would really like to talk to someone who truly does and that has been through this. Can anyone help me?

dyaneb123's picture
dyaneb123
Posts: 951
Joined: May 2009

Hey there SBMom
Welcome to our little group!
You are in the right place. Everyone here either has been or will be going through a similar experience as you, and all have wonderful insights and advice. I will have my 3rd chemo next week. I have a port too. It's a good thing. Makes hooking up the IV very easy. I can only give you my own chemo experience, I'm on TAC which is similar to what you are on plus Taxetere, and so far I havn't had any problems with nausea. The antinausea drugs they will give you really work, so don't fret too much about that. The nulasta shot might make your bones ache a little, but that is controlled with over counter meds like advil. Just stock up on some bland foods in case you don't feel like eating the normal stuff. I know it's a scary whirlwind, and the 1st chemo was the scariest part for me, not knowing what to expect...
But it will be ok. Ask any questions you have and I'm sure someone here will know the answer.
Good luck
Dee

Bev1969's picture
Bev1969
Posts: 48
Joined: Jul 2009

Hello,
I am having my second chemo treatment Monday. Mine is Cytoxan and Taxotere. My first one went very smoothly. I had no problems with nausea. The anti-nausea medicines are great!! Good luck with your treatments.

Bev

tommaseena's picture
tommaseena
Posts: 1771
Joined: Feb 2009

I had A/C 4 treatments two weeks apart with the Neulasta shot the day after these treatments to build up the WBC(White Blood Cell) count. Now I am on Taxol w/Herceptin and since I am having it each week the Neulasta shot is not given.

The port is wonderful--blood draws can be taken and you only get poked once.

You will be starting your chemo the day that I finish my chemo treatment and i hope your treatment goes as smoothly as mine has.

I will be on Herceptin for a year after I finish the Taxol cocktail.

Take the anti-nausea drugs as directed and make sure you understand how to take them.
Make sure you have plenty of plastic ware to use because when and if you get a metallic taste in your mouth you don't want to use silverware because it only makes it intensify.

You can ask any question any time on here. You will get honest answers. Usually there is someone on line 24/7.

Best of luck.
Hugs,
Margo

chickad52's picture
chickad52
Posts: 499
Joined: Jun 2009

Hi, Sorry about your dx. I too am on Adriamycin/Cytoxan. The same as you. I have not had my surgery yet. I will have that after treatment. Im stage 2a. No primary tumor in the breast , only lymph node.I will be on Taxol for 12 weeks and Herceptin for a year total.
I have only had side effects of being tired and some weakness. I also get palpitations but I get an EKG at each visit. I also had a echocardiogram done before treatment. I also have the Neulasta shot the day after. I get a little achy, but take tylenol for that. I take Kytril and Decadron for nausia and steriod. I wish you well and hope that I was of help. Diane

taleena's picture
taleena
Posts: 1612
Joined: May 2009

SBMom... Sorry for the reason your here.. but glad you found the group. I was dx in May as well.. however you are ahead of me on the treatment plan, I won't know mine until probably Monday... if not, then July 28th... The women here are amazing... you'll meet them from all walks of the journey.. beginning, middle and all the way through to the other side...

I don't have any imput on your meds, but I know plenty here do from personal experience. I just wanted to welcome you!

Gentle Hugs,

~T

tommaseena's picture
tommaseena
Posts: 1771
Joined: Feb 2009

Are you having the port put in by an interventional radiologist or by an anesthesiologist?
If you are having done by an radiologist it will be under conscious sedation and if by an anesthesiologist it will be done under general.

I had mine done under conscious sedation.

We are all scared going through the process but we take it one minute, one hour, one day at a time.

We are here for you.
Margo

dmc_emmy's picture
dmc_emmy
Posts: 549
Joined: May 2009

glad you found us. If I say so myself, there are some amazing folks here. All of us are here, not be choice, but have chosen to fight none-the-less and we will stand by you every step of the way.

I, too, had 4 C/A and 4 T treatments. The first four were rough for me, but for several of the women here they really were not so bad. The last four were a breeze in comparison. I was given the Neulasta after every treatment, Benedryl before/during treatment, and nausea meds were given days before and after. I still worked, though I did have some challenging days, but I made it happen. I had a friend take me to chemo on a Thursday so that I would have the week-end to recover before returning to work. My husband and daughter assumed all the household duties and friends and co-workers sent suppers home. Though I couldn't eat most of them, my family had some good meals. My daughter also cooked.

I ate popsicles to help stay hydrated and it helped to over-ride the metal taste in my mouth. I drank ice water during treatment to keep the mouth sores under control. I found that if I took precautions, the chemo was much more doable.

I made a picnic lunch for my friend and I and we made the best of what we could of a lousy situation. I was amongst friends there (many of us became friends because we often had chemo on the same schedule) and this gave me a sense of peace. I'm sure it was mutual.

I hope this helps. You'll get through this, in the expanse of time this part of your life really is a very small piece of it. Keep us posted and we will be with you every step of the way.
dmc

Christmas Girl's picture
Christmas Girl
Posts: 3644
Joined: Apr 2009

We're all here to support and encourage each other - so, again, welcome to the group. Only those who actually travel the journey can truly understand the experience. You are now surrounded by survivors.

Chemo can be frightening; yet, it is doable. You will get through it. We will be with you.

Visit often, any time you like or need to. Sending my best wishes...

cats_toy's picture
cats_toy
Posts: 1463
Joined: Feb 2009

I had the same cocktail you are getting. I only had the Neulasta shot once, it helps keep your white blood cell count up. So it's good they already have it scheduled for you. We all handle the chemo differently, but it is all doable, and you will come through it, no matter how scary it sounds. You will get lots of info from the wonderful people on this site, and please visit often.
Cat

slarned
Posts: 5
Joined: Jul 2009

don't know how much i can help - I was diagnosed not long ago - however, my circumstances are a bit different. I get to experience 3 months of chemo before I have my surgery and then another 6 months of chemotherapy. I've had one chemo treatment - mine are every 21 days - they're nothing nice. However, I haven't thrown up once - yeah. My first day I felt like I had the worst hangover I've had - ya know when your body tells you to EAT to absorb the poison you put into it the night before? Day two was the same basically.

By the third day I was feeling like the flu and my appetite started to go down - day four was fluish as well.

Day 5 I was feeling better - noticing some differences in my system - my teeth didn't feel like they were mine - my forehead felt thick as well - just kinda in a fog.

I'm getting ready for chemo #2 - my date with the flu and I hope this one goes a little better.

Had long hair - cut it on Monday - shaved it today. Wearing a bandana tonight - it was rough but history.

I hope this helps - chemo was not as bad as I had imagined it - it is doable - manageable - definitely uncomfortable but the reality is - I'm Alive.

Christmas Girl's picture
Christmas Girl
Posts: 3644
Joined: Apr 2009

Yes, chemo can be rough; yet, it's doable, we survive it - we do it in order to continue surviving. We're all here to support and encourage each other.

Again, warm welcome.

dmc_emmy's picture
dmc_emmy
Posts: 549
Joined: May 2009

You're right, after acceptance of bc comes, everything that follows soon becomes (as you called it) "history" and the bottom line is that you're here to talk about.

Sounds like you are moving forward like a real trooper and I congratulate you. Welcome to the boards and post as often as you feel able and keep us informed of your progress. We love to hear survivor stories here.
dmc

brenda247's picture
brenda247
Posts: 124
Joined: Apr 2009

yeah been through all what you have. I welcome you and they are some great people here for support!! I am soon totake my 3rd treatment which was suppose to be yesterday but my white count was low had to take shot so that put everything til next week.. oh well that seems to be a habit lately.. My 1st treatment was tough my second went well guess it just depends on the person because i have heard differently and it affects each one differently.. but hang in there do what the doc tells you and ask any questions and tell them what problems you have and it will be ok.. they will give you things to help.. good luck!!! best wishes!!

tjhay's picture
tjhay
Posts: 655
Joined: Oct 2008

I did A/C and had some nausea but the meds controlled that for the most part. As far as being scared that is natural, this whole darn thing is scary, but you can do it! We are all here for you.
Good luck with your Treatment
Tjhay

SoftBallMom2
Posts: 55
Joined: Jul 2009

Thanks so much for all the encouragement and advice from everyone. How bad was it when u lost your hair? I feel like everyone elses life is moving forward and mine is standing still.

Marcia527's picture
Marcia527
Posts: 2731
Joined: Jul 2006

I didn't mind losing my hair because I could never do anything much with it anyway. It was one way to see what I'd look like with very short hair (after it started growing back). It was nice not to have to deal with it for awhile. Now it's back to normal. I was diagnosed in 2003.

TraciInLA's picture
TraciInLA
Posts: 1839
Joined: Jul 2009

"I feel like everyone else's life is moving forward, and mine is standing still."

SoftballMom, you've hit the nail on the head about how I feel, too, so please know you're not alone. I was diagnosed two months ago, and have had two biopsies (then waiting), BRCA testing (more waiting), a PET scan (more waiting), then lumpectomies (more waiting), and am now...yes, *waiting* again to start chemo.

I had to cancel my summer vacation trip, and say no to so many church activities and invitations from friends, because my answer to anything having to do with my schedule is "I don't know." I, too, feel like my life is just in a holding pattern right now, while I focus all my energies on staying healthy and staying sane and just trying to get through each day.

I don't have any advice for you (yet -- maybe I'll get wiser as this goes on?! :-), but I just wanted to you know that I share your feelings.

Traci

SoftBallMom2
Posts: 55
Joined: Jul 2009

We had to cancel vacations and plans too. My daughter is 12 and plays competitive softball. They go to alot of tournaments and I have already missed some. It is like you can't enjoy just everyday things because your sick. It has been hard to keep my spirits up, but I know I have too. I have two kids boy-17 girl- 12 and I want to be here with them, so I know I have to do these things to be able to do that. It is just hard. Keep alot of how I feel to myself. Hope everything goes well. Keep me updated and I will do the same.

mimivac's picture
mimivac
Posts: 2147
Joined: Dec 2008

Softballmom, it really does feel like a holding pattern. When I was diagnosed, my two best friends were pregnant with their first children and all my other friends were having great lives (or so it seemed to me). I felt isolated and supremely unlucky and angry that my life wasn't going as smoothly as I thought others' lives were. But you know, everyone has their challenges. One of my friends had to drop out of school, is unemployed and deeply in debt. Another friend is going through a bitter divorce. This is not to compare tragedies or to suggest that one is easier than the other, but to look at this mess in the context of your whole life. Although it may not feel like it now, chemo will end and you will recover. Right now, you are not in a holding pattern, though. You are moving forward toward health and recovery. It's very important work, difficult and rewarding.

I had AC (along with T) as well. Everyone has a different experience, but everyone makes it through. I did all right, although I can't say I want a repeat. You might want to check out www.youngsurvival.org, a group for cancer patients and survivors under 40. It's a very large group with lots of experience and perspectives. Let me know if you want to get on their bulletin board and I can help you navigate the site, if you want. Good luck to you.

Mimi

BunnyJane's picture
BunnyJane
Posts: 212
Joined: Jul 2009

Hi Softball Mom~

It looks like you and I are in the same boat as we both start chemo in less than 2 weeks (I start the 24th). I'm getting TC x 4. My summer vacations plans got cancelled too. My boyfriend and I had plans to hike the Grand Canyon in September. The Canyon will be there next year and hopefully we will hike it then. Keep me updated on your progress starting the 23rd. Jane

confused123's picture
confused123
Posts: 241
Joined: Jun 2009

Hi,
Sorry to hear of your diagnosos. I also had mastectomy but am still in process of reconstruction with expanders. I had all those chemo drugs too. You will be glad to have a port when you start the chemo. I got mine dury mastectomy surgery so I don't know how it is done but am glad to have it when I am there watching others get IV in their hands.

I found the hardest part to be keeping my kids on their schedule but had lots of family help with that. My kids are younger, 6,4 and 22 months. They did not like seeing me feel sick and it was harder on them when I lost my hair. I know missing vacations and games is awful but just think of all the ones you will get to see after the treatment because there is treatment for us. My kids did not like me in bed but were glad to know they could come watch a movie with me. I know your kids are older but maybe you could plan card games or movie nights with them.

Everyone has different side effects from the chemo. Make sure to tell the doctor and nurses how you are feeling and they can always give you ideas that can help you feel better.

My hair started falling out after the 2nd treatment and in big clumps so I had it buzzed off. It was ok but I am getting impatient while it grows in. It started growing back on the Taxol.

Good Luck with the treatment, your kids will be proud of you when it is over,

KIm

SoftBallMom2
Posts: 55
Joined: Jul 2009

BunnyJane I will be sure and let you know how it goes the first time. Let me know how you do.

Eil4186's picture
Eil4186
Posts: 967
Joined: Dec 2007

Sorry you have to go through this. You are very strong to have endured such a big surgery. I had a port and I was a bit sore for a few days after having it implanted but not too bad---cake compared to your surgery. The 4 AC treatments were a bit tough for me. I only ate applesauce, toast and bannanas for the first 2 days after each treatment and drank gatorade. Make sure you take your anti-nausea meds. I took 5 different kinds and alternated every 3 hours for 5 days.

The Taxol did not make me sick. Just tired and some bone pain for about a week or two after each treatment.

Its not a picnic, but it was definitely not as bad as I had feared. Its doable. The actual infusions were not too bad. They do blood work, you see your onc. and if your counts are reasonable they treat you. With a port, you don't have to suffer having a needle in your arm or hand each time which for me was huge! I have very small veins. For my second treatment my port did not work so they had to put the i.v. needle in my wrist and it was torture! My port worked after that and I was so, so happy!

The AC infusions took about 1 and 1/2 hours. The taxol infusions lasted about 4 hours with a half hour infusion of benadryl before hand.

Try not to be scared, it really is very doable. You will be ok. I always had either my husband or sister or both with me for every treatment and that really, really helped. Good luck, and keep us updated. Eil

SoftBallMom2
Posts: 55
Joined: Jul 2009

They have given me a patch to put on before treatments. You wear it for 5 days. They said they would give me meds for nausea before treatment. I have always had a weak stomach so I am really worried about being sick. Thanks for the suggestions on stuff to eat and for the encouragement.

missgogo
Posts: 58
Joined: May 2009

I will finish my radiation up on Mon. But I went thru the Chemo during the Holidays last year. And finish the Taxol on 5/14/09. Just take one day at a time.

survivorbc09
Posts: 4378
Joined: Jun 2009

Congrats early Missgogo on finishing rads Monday!

DianeBC's picture
DianeBC
Posts: 3888
Joined: Jun 2009

Sorry you are so scared. Hopefully someone can help ease your fears. Good luck to you!

bbrandy35
Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2009

I started chemo for breast cancer in May 2009, and I had no idea it would be this bad. I really do not know the best way to prepare you for chemo other than if you have a higher power that you believe in, then that is what is going to get you through. I believe that chemotherapy is the worst kind of human suffering anyone could endure. I hate to sound pessimistic, but I am being honest about it. I would also suggest meeeting with your doctors as much as you can and ask a lot of questions so that you can get a better understanding of what is going to happen, because your body is going to undergo many changes that are going to have a huge impact on you emotionally and physically. I would also suggest joining a support group, or if you have family members involved in your treatment, to keep them close by to confide in. Chemo takes a lot out of you, but with determination and support from others, you will make it. I wish you all the luck and just stay strong and I will keep you in my prayers.

Christmas Girl's picture
Christmas Girl
Posts: 3644
Joined: Apr 2009

We're all here to support and encourage each other. Am sorry you're having a difficult time with chemo - yes, it can be quite horrible. And those who have not endured it cannot possibly understand...

But remember that it is temporary, it does come to an end, and you will heal. Visit us often, whenever you'd like or need to.

Best wishes to you.

Jeanne D's picture
Jeanne D
Posts: 1867
Joined: Mar 2009

Hi bbrandy35! Just want to welcome you also to the site. I am sorry that chemo is hard on you. But, it is another weapon to fight the beast. And, it will end.

Keeping good thoughts and prayers for you!

Hugs, Jeanne

Alexis F's picture
Alexis F
Posts: 3604
Joined: May 2009

Hi bbrandy! I am so sorry that your chemo is so horrid. I didn't have to take it and I am very thankful for that. I wish you all the best and welcome to the site!

Hugs, Lex

BunnyJane's picture
BunnyJane
Posts: 212
Joined: Jul 2009

Hi SoftBallMom:

I know that tomorrow is a big day for you. Wishing you all the best!

Jane

Kylez's picture
Kylez
Posts: 3765
Joined: May 2009

Good luck today SoftballMom with your chemo! Thinking and praying for you!

kiley40's picture
kiley40
Posts: 17
Joined: Jun 2009

I found out after my first mammo at 40yrs old... That was in August 2008. Biopsies and lumpectomy in January 2009. May was the mastectomy and reconstruction. Then lymphnodectomy and my port placed... The port is good thing. They don't have to search for veins and I heard that it is more painful if they use hands for IV.
Family support is good. I have 3 boys ages 15,14,10. My husband is awesome.
The first chemo felt like a bad pregnancy. I took my meds. It did help. But I felt sick for 5 days. I get my second chemo tomorrow. EEEEEK! Then I felt just weak and tired. I am doing some physical therapy with my arm due to lymphnodectomy. Some people can work through there ordeal. I have to tell ya I am not one of them. But I do want to go back to college in the fall but I don't know if I'll have the energy.
God Bless ya with your experience!

Kylez's picture
Kylez
Posts: 3765
Joined: May 2009

Good luck tomorrow! Post and let us know how you do with your chemo!

leticia13
Posts: 6
Joined: Jul 2009

hi, i too was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 39. I had total mastectomy, and 3 out of 9 lymph nodes were malignant. I was not a candidate for reconstruction at the same time. i did 18 weeks of chemo. Having a Port placed is definitly the way to go. If they haven't already given u a prescription, you may want to request EMLA cream it numbs the port site so you won't feel the stick.

Yes, I understand about the whole support thing, my mom was by my side every minute and my husband was great, but its very difficult when they have no idea what u are going through.

The only thing i can say is...... no matter what, you have to believe with your whole heart and soul that you are going to be ok and you will be. The hurry up and wait part is difficult.

I am new to this site but, I wish you the best and will be glad to answer any questions, or even just listen,

Sincerely,

Leticia

Akiss4me's picture
Akiss4me
Posts: 2192
Joined: May 2009

I hope you can find comfort and understanding here among us. Many have been through so many different situations that I'm sure someone will be able to help you. I will keep you in my prayers that all goes well for you. :) Pammy

elm3544's picture
elm3544
Posts: 745
Joined: Jul 2009

thinking of you and hoping it goes well!

tommaseena's picture
tommaseena
Posts: 1771
Joined: Feb 2009

You will be starting your chemo the same day I have my last chemo treatment. I will be thinking of you and others who are having their treatment. Hope everyone's chemo treatments get better and there is less nausea.

Hugs,
Margo

luana56
Posts: 6
Joined: Jul 2009

Hi,

I do understand how you feel. Today is your new begining. We are lucky, we can be treated by the most advanced methods available. We are on the road to a full recovery.
I am in a similar situation and starting my treatment early next week with the same regimen. Catheter and treatment starts the same day. I am very scared myself but I know I will be OK. Nothing ever came easy to me but I am a fighter and never gave up. All this is only temporary for a permament cure. Please keep your spirits up, you WILL BE OK.
Please let me know how did it go today.

Best Regards,

Alexis F's picture
Alexis F
Posts: 3604
Joined: May 2009

Just wishing you good luck luana56 for next week! And yes, you are on the road to recovery!

Kylez's picture
Kylez
Posts: 3765
Joined: May 2009

Hope your chemo went ok! Let us know when you feel like it.

susie09's picture
susie09
Posts: 2933
Joined: Jul 2009

Softballmom, I read where you were getting your chemo yesterday. Everyone is wondering how you are doing. Please post when you feel like it!

Thanks!

Susie

jojo elizapest's picture
jojo elizapest
Posts: 122
Joined: Mar 2009

Hope all went well. I was dx in Feb. and did have the same cocktail at the beginning. I have now had 7 chemo sessions, 3 weeks apart, and have found that by tracking how I am feeling I can still plan and look forward to enjoying the day to day stuff that at the beginning went by the wayside. Watch for and relish the good days...they will be there. I have also learned that it is better to take the electronic cart at Walmart and be able to shop than to 'wait until I am strong enough to walk around', better to shave the head and prepare with a couple of trusty hats and scarves than to wait to wake up with a furry pillow.

This site is a tremendous resource on what to expect and dealing with side effects, ONCs and well meaning friends and family....Welcome!!

faithandprayer's picture
faithandprayer
Posts: 177
Joined: Jul 2009

Softballmom, I've been looking for this post!
Yes, I'm with jojo - I hope your first round went okay and that you are not suffering to greatly - when you are up to it, please let us know how you are.

Thinking of you & sending comfort hugs -
KC

aztec45's picture
aztec45
Posts: 757
Joined: Jul 2009

I am new to this site but I already feel that I am in good company.

To those who are starting chemo...I was so scared during my first chemo session my hands would not stop sweating. But once we got started, it wasn't that bad. The port is awesome. My veins tend to roll so it is quite difficult to draw blood or start an IV for me. The port makes drawing blood and administering the chemo drugs easy. The needle stick hurts a bit but the pain passes quickly. They can give you some cream to numb the site.

Let the nurses know if you experience any funny sensations or start feeling sick or anything during your chemo session. The nurses will take care of it immediately. One of my chemo drugs burned my nose so they had to slow it down and feed me mints.

Take your nausea meds as prescribed and let them know if they don't work. They may try something different. Drink plenty of water and force yourself to eat. The water flushes the poison out of your body and eating helps keep your strength up as well as build your white blood cells back.

Just know that you will get through this. It may be hard at times and it disrupts your life beyond belief but this will all pass and you will be healthy, well, and back to normal.

As for hair loss....my hair is falling out as I am sitting here typing this note. It started earlier this week. The onc nurse warned me I would lose my hair around my second treatment. I had long hair and cut it short. I donated it to Locks for Love. I figured if I was going to lose it, at least someone could get some use out of it. Donating it helped me deal with losing it. It is still a shock and I feel like a big cat shedding my hair everywhere, but I am not quite ready to shave it just yet. I plan to wear some beanie caps vs. a wig. My work environment is too hot for a wig. Winter may bring about a change but we'll see.

I am very partial to my hair but it will grow back. I would rather have my hair grow back than another tumor.

Try to keep your chin up. You will get through this. Best of luck to all.

P

Kristin N's picture
Kristin N
Posts: 1969
Joined: Mar 2009

Softballmom, looks like we are all getting worried about you. Please post if you can and let us know how you are doing!

Hugs,

Kristin

SoftBallMom2
Posts: 55
Joined: Jul 2009

Hey Guys! Today is the first day that I have felt like getting on here. I had an allergic reaction to the nausea medicine I received. On sat. my jaw got all twisted up and I could not swallow. My jaws hurt so bad. Couldn't talk. I was really scared. My husband had to take me to the emergency room. They gave me a bunch of benadryl and lots of fluids. I was so sick. Today is the first day I have been out of bed. I told my husband if this is how it is going to be that I know I am not going to make it. Hopefully, next time will be better. I have had diarrhea for 2 days. But today I am finally starting to bounce back. Just really weak. I want to thank everybody who wrote and was worried about me. It really means alot to me that you all care. I will keep you updated. Is the first time usually the worst?

outdoorgirl's picture
outdoorgirl
Posts: 1569
Joined: Apr 2009

sorry that you got such bad reactions to your first chemo! Let your onc know if you havn't already,and hopefully he/she can do something for you so your next round isn't so rough. Don't give up the ship yet!!

DianeBC's picture
DianeBC
Posts: 3888
Joined: Jun 2009

Sorry that you had a bad reaction to chemo. I will pray that it will get easier for you.

Let us know how you are doing!

Hugs, Diane

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