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Poison or Medicine?

aysemari's picture
aysemari
Posts: 1586
Joined: Dec 2009

Hello everybody,

I can not tell you what a HARD, hard time I am having coming to terms with chemo. The more research
I do, the more unsettled I become. I already have my port and everything and I am supposed to be ready
to got but instead every cell in my body is still rebelling.
Did you actually do research and make a conscious decision, or did let your fear lead you? I am feeling rushed
and don't feel like I have time to make an educated decision.
Injecting something that causes 3rd degree burns on your skin if spilled, into my veins, just seems illogical.
I want to hear from women this actually helped and for more than just a couple of years. I have a serious
problem with chemo basically killing my immune system and leaving me open and vulnerable to everything
else to come. I don't mean to scare anyone or be negative but I really, really just want to hear from one
voice who can seriously say that chemo saved their life. The recurrence rate terrifies me and I wonder is
because of the damage that chemo does to the immune system that it can't fight anything anymore.
I am sorry... I think I am just freaking out, am just TERRIFIED. I wish I could be brave like you all but
if my mind can't process it and make sense of it, I struggle like this.

I need to hear this. I guess this is my fear talking
as well as my logical mind not understanding.

Ayse

TLynn0102
Posts: 86
Joined: Dec 2009

Hi Ayse,
I felt just like you when I was waiting for chemo to start, did the research and asked a lot of questions. I learned from my doctor that chemo was the only option for me because of the type of cancer I have. One day I asked what the base ingredient was in my cocktail, I was on Taxol, and learned that it was actually extracted from a tree, the bark, found only in the state of Washington. I then asked if I was going to grow pine cones once they started to give me the drug. I am confident that the chemo did save my life and after I came to terms with the poision I was receiving I was okay. As for side effects I would ask your doctor about the Emend pill for nausua it is a God send. After treatment your immune system will slowly rebuild, I am finding that I catch everything right now and it is frustrating but it is what it is for now. At your next appointment ask your doctor every question you have and tell him what you are feeling. Chemo has advanced over the years and there are all kinds of things out there that the doctor can give you to make this part of your journey a little easier on you. Hugs to you.

Tracey

New Flower
Posts: 3917
Joined: Aug 2009

Do not be scary. Please read this post http://csn.cancer.org/node/182624. You can find answers to your questions.
In addition http://csn.cancer.org/node/183816 has good discussion as well.
Your age, size and type of the tumor, lymph nodes involvement, will lead your oncologist to prescribe Chemo.
Yes, it is a personal choice and many of us had Chemo and have been doing well.
Hugs

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

This is a choice you have to make. It depends on your circumstances. Everyone is different.

For me chemo did help. I don't know how much the 4 taxotere treatments helped because they were after surgery. But the 4 A/C treatments before surgery shrunk the tumors. Otherwise I would have needed skin grafts during surgery. So for a fact it did help me. I was a pretty serious case and they threw everything at me. Something worked because I had treatment in 2003/2004.

I can't answer your question about the immune system. I am having a few problems but we don't know what to blame them on. I did what I had to do at the time to survive. I was a stage 3a.

carkris's picture
carkris
Posts: 4513
Joined: Aug 2009

I struggle with htis as well. but right now in 2010 this is the treatment and this is what is known. There are many people this has worked for. I had BC 15 years a go and had chemo. did not have any issues. did develop a new primary this year but unrealted to the other cancer. so I guess you would say it was sucessful. Its important decision but for me I need to fight with everything there is I want to go to my girls weddings and babysit my grandchidren.and spend some time with my husband. I actually am not the poster child for chemo as it has been somewhat challenging. Ypu would be crazy to not be scared. Its not a minot thing. but many people do it and survive. I hope you have peace withyour decision.

jamiegww's picture
jamiegww
Posts: 384
Joined: Dec 2009

The only difference seems to be that you have your port. I decided not to get a port until I know for certain that I want to do this. I first saw my oncologist on Dec. 22 and I have been torturing myself nonstop since then trying to decide if I'm more afraid of the cancer or the treatment. There are so many brave people sharing their experiences with us that I feel we should be able to reach a decision just as they did. It helps me and hopefully it helps you as well to see that we are not alone. It's also sad to know that so many of us have to go through this. I wish you luck and very few side effects.

Skeezie's picture
Skeezie
Posts: 583
Joined: Aug 2009

I can appreciate your struggle to make a decision. But for me there was no struggle, no decision to make. Cancer kills if left untreated. I want to live, life is sweet and I love my life. I just finished my chemo last month. It was difficult but doable. My immune system will heal. Everyday I am feeling better. I know I have done all that is possible, my outlook is good. I have done all that is currently known to man. I hope you are able to reach your decision soon. I am very sorry you are having such a horrible time, I can't imagine how awful this must be.

Hugs, Judy :-)

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

Gosh guys
We are all scared when facing chemo. The idea of putting poison into your body deliberately
is pretty terrifying. But it comes down to this. The chemo won't kill you. The cancer will.
I finished chemo in Sept. and radiation in November and so far have been perfectly healthy
this winter. No colds, no flu...one 24 hr.stomach virus...just normal winter stuff..
Ok so you're thinking maybe somewhere 10 years down the road we'll find that the chemo
screwed up our immune systems? Well most of us wont have those 10 years without chemo. What is the other option?Doing nothing and hoping it will go away? I'm afraid I don't believe in those miraculous spontaneous remissions. But you have to make your own choice as we all do. If you believe strongly that you have a better treatment option than by all means follow your heart.We will be here for you either way.Keep us posted as to what you decide to do.

shortscake's picture
shortscake
Posts: 228
Joined: Nov 2009

Ayse, I understand what you are dealing with I was very scared about starting chemo i didn't know what it was going to my immune system and i knew some of the side effects and might happen but i know i wanted to live and would do what every it took to do just that.if they would have told me to run out in front of a truck and get hit you would live 10-20 more years i would have done just that...lol.. I am fighting with all my might to enjoy this life that i have i don't want to miss anything and as for my immune system i have not had a cold this whole winter i started chemo nov 16,09 the only side effect i have had is being tired all the time but found out that was from low blood.i have no hair but thats cool (i can deal with that)i made up my mind to face chemo as a step to getting better and when i go in for my treatments all i say is this to shell pass.remember we are all here for you, take a deep breath and do it...girl power

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

Ayse, my hubby was against chemo for the same reasons that you are. It is true, chemo is controlled poisening. But it is safe, and very effective for breast cancer. I too had adriamycin and was shocked when they told me about how it would burn tissue if it leaked, and how the nurses covered themselves from head to toe before handling it. But it is a necessary evil. I didn't like the idea of it, but I liked the idea of having a recurrence or mets way less.

You have to weigh the pros and cons. My Aunt died of breast cancer and suffered horribly before she died. She was such a good person. I don't have the courage she had. I took the chemo in hopes that it could reduce the chance of my having to go through what she did.

You have one life and we are lucky to live in a time where effective treatment is available for breast cancer. Think about it very carefully before making a choice. Eil

aysemari's picture
aysemari
Posts: 1586
Joined: Dec 2009

I once used this exact term explaining chemo! Great mind think alike,
Thanks for the reminder.

Ayse

xskeetshooter
Posts: 169
Joined: Aug 2009

how i got thru it..instead of thinking negative about it i thought the cheno going thru my veins were knights going in me to kill the dragon ( cancer )..and even with no inmune i never got sick with a cold or anything...so keep your head up and FIGHT girl

MAJW
Posts: 2515
Joined: May 2009

I can tell you that my sister in law is a 20 year bc survivor..........20 years! She will tell you that chemo saved her life! She has been my inspiration through my battle with the beast.....I finished chemo the end of August and radiation Nov 2.....EVERYONE is scared of chemo, everyone.....and yes, the chemo drugs can be considered a "poison.".....but to me CANCER is much more poisionous! As someone stated, chemo won't kill you but cancer will, left untreated and sometimes even when it is treated.........I choose to take anything and everything they could give me to defeat this.....

As far as your immune system is concerned, most are given the injection of Nuelasta the day after each infusion......this forces your body to produce white blood cells to fight off infection.......I was never sick with anything.....including chemo.......Never even the first wave of nausea.....that's not to say there aren't other side effects but all are manageable with medication......chemo has come a long way....

It's a person decision......mine to was to take chemo...I wanted no regrets down the road...
I wish you peace in making your decision

minermom
Posts: 8
Joined: Nov 2009

I hated the thought of chemotherapy, it sounds like I'm being embalmed alive! So I had to find a way to make it positive.

I named it my healing elixir, a much more acceptable term for me. Then I nicknamed it Elly. Elly is kicking butt in my system to find that 'rogue cell' trying to escape.

My best friend suggested I focus on the image of Underdog flying off with any cancer cells when I get my IV. My niece printed off a cartoon of Underdog flying through the sky dragging a woman behind him. That woman is my Elly. I take it with me to every "Elly".

Visualization of something positive is certainly helping me.

Tinabug's picture
Tinabug
Posts: 158
Joined: Dec 2009

Ayse,

I was in the exact place you are just 2 weeks ago. However, I meet with my oncologist tomorrow for my chemo schedule. It was the hardest decision I have EVER made. I based it on the fact that, I don't know 1 single person who died from chemo, but I know so many that have died from cancer. Unfortunately, my sweet mom is one that died from cancer...breast cancer to be exact. It was 21 years ago & the medical world has changed drastically. My mom didn't have chemo the 1st time & it returned with a vengence. My entire family has always believed if she had the chemo, she would have had a fighting chance. Only God knows that answer. One thing is for certain, if I have a recurrance, it won't be because I didn't fight it in every way possible(mastectomy, chemo, tamoxifin, diet, & exercise.) I WANT TO LIVE(just as we all do!!!!) I guess I'm saying chemo is a chance I'm willing to take, even though not everyone may feel like it's right for them.

I wish you the best in making your decision...I know it's tough!!! More than anything, I wish you a long life of happiness.

Hugs,
Tina

aysemari's picture
aysemari
Posts: 1586
Joined: Dec 2009

I almost feel embarrassed for having posted this. While there's truth to this post, I also feel
like I acted a little like 3 year old who doesn't want to do something. As you so graciously pointed
out to me, while it is not the perfect method to battle cancer, it is still a proven method. And
I should be grateful really. I think this week, with all the interruptions I had to my life due to
cancer and then the surgery that kept me home while everyone else took off to the beach...
which I have missed so much that I have actually dreams of it and I can smell it.
I just broke down and I imagined, my whole year will be like this. Then the research I did, lead
me to get mad and feel helpless..
Thank you all for pointing me in the right direction again, without telling me how uncalled
my behavior was. I really want to learn to live with this aspect of my life and not erupt uncontrollably
like a volcano, when fear comes knocking. There are some great role models on this site and
I will watch (read) and learn.

I will think twice before I post from now on, I want to post things that inspire and are thought provoking,
not whining.

Thanks again
Ayse

shortscake's picture
shortscake
Posts: 228
Joined: Nov 2009

your post is not whining its something that we all thought about before going on chemo its a post that anyone who reads it will make them think and that is something we all need is a post to make us thing and also you had a question in your post and we all told you how we felt.don't stop posting please keep it up, every post helps someone on this board.girl power

MyTurnNow's picture
MyTurnNow
Posts: 2694
Joined: Aug 2009

Ayse, no apology warranted. You had a concern and your expressed it. That is just what this site is for. It's totally normal and I think every one of us has had fear at some point in our journey through our treatments. I know I have. The best news from your response is that you now feel confident again in your decision to have chemo. It is a very do-able treatment and it does save lives. Please post often and let us know how you are doing. Good luck and take care!

SunnieC's picture
SunnieC
Posts: 37
Joined: Jan 2010

what I did was read a lot of books but 1 book in particular by suzanne somers called KNOCKOUT really made me look at the options out there - she is not an advocate of chemo but knows there are benefits to it - I ultimately decided that chemo (I am 1/3 of the way thru) then surgery (hopefully in early june) is the route for me - I decided that I am willing to take the chemo risks rather than spend the rest of my life (whatever it will be) taking holistic cures in the form of 60-80 pills a day!

I believe that we all need to get angry and act like a 3 year old sometimes - it is a huge relief to the emotions built up inside of us - everyone else will forgive you your tantrums so you too should forgive yourself your tantrums - they serve a purpose - in moderation like everything else :)

And please don't ever feel like you are whining - I felt that way too and mentioned it to a co-worker who said to me "I'd rather you be here whining every now and then, than to not have you here" - she is an amazing friend that I didn't even know I had... please consider yourself my friend too...

I wish you the best of luck on your journey and remember we are all here rooting for you - Sunnie

Skeezie's picture
Skeezie
Posts: 583
Joined: Aug 2009

Please don't feel embarassed or ashamed of your orginal post. We have all been there, overwhelmed with fear, thinking all (diagnosis and treatment) this will never end, watching our lives pass us by, envying our friends and family who are still leading normal lives and resenting and hating this ugly beast that threatens our very souls. I live in Michigan, on the water, and boating is our biggest pleasure. I found the lump June 6 and the roller coaster ride began. The entire summer was spent with surgeries, feeling like crap and fear. Our summers are short and it passed by and we were on the boat twice. I know (we all know) what it's like to miss your life, you have every right to have every emotion and sometimes all of them at once. This morning I cried cause it's been 5 1/2 weeks since my last chemo and the only hair tht is on my head is what never came out. I'm scared it will never grow back. I know that's nonsense but it's how I am feeling right now and common sense isn't ruling my emotions now. Thank heaven for a wonderful, understanding husband.

Ayse, you hang in there and only think about the absolute present and day by day you will get thru this. Don't ever be afraid to post anything you feel or think on this board. No one will think badly of you cause we've all been there, maybe on the day you are posting! Don't bottle up your feelings, here is ok to let them all hang out. Someone, and usually many, will come to your rescue with good info and understanding.

Please keep us posted on your progress thru this journey that none of us wanted to be on. Here, everyone understands. The beach is still there waiting for you, it will just take you a little while to get there... Spring is coming and our boat is calling to me already!

Hugs, Judy :-)

aysemari's picture
aysemari
Posts: 1586
Joined: Dec 2009

Carde blanche - let the kicking and screaming begin! ;)

Thank you my friend.

Ayse

Tinabug's picture
Tinabug
Posts: 158
Joined: Dec 2009

Dear Ayse,

You were not whining, you were simply trying to make an informed decision & you asked the ladies who have been in your shoes. I have asked any & every question possible. This is my life & knowledge is power. When I first found this site, one of my first questions was "does chemo do as much good as harm?" It's just human to want to have the answers. Not only have I been curious...I have whined, screamed, cried, & put my head under the covers for 2 complete days. I've come to the conclusion that someday's I will cry like a baby & the next day "I will fight like a girl(bring on the chemo.)"

The best thing about this site is, you don't have to apologize!!! Everyone or someone has been exactly where we are.

Huge hugs,
Tina

chenheart's picture
chenheart
Posts: 5182
Joined: Apr 2003

Oh No! No! No! This wasn't about patience, or whining, or the need AT ALL to think twice before posting! It isn't as if you were wondering if we think so-and-so should have red hair vs. blonde, or if stillettos would be too sexy to wear on a first date to the ballpark, or if we think sushi is really stupid when you think steak is obviously superior. Ya know...non essential, foolishness which you have your mind set on anyway! LOL

Chemo, on the other hand is scary as hell! And of course it's poison! It is not quite the same, but honey has botulism toxin in it, so shouldn't be given to children under the age of 1, poppyseeds would make you test positive for opiates, apples seeds have ( I forget) something like arsenic in them. The point is, chemo's poison, while definately affecting our healhy cells, is truly KILLING ( poisoning!) the cancer cells! Which is so what we want, obviously!

These boards are our safe place to land~for our fears, concerns, triumphs, recipes, vacations,and jokes. We need to know we can come in here at any time and feel enveloped by Kindred Spirits. At 2AM we might feel alone and afraid, or simply can't sleep...we need to be able to sit and read whether we post or not.

You are a member of our family now~ and your feelings regarding chemo were valid. It is a major decision, to be sure. I hope the decision yu make is right for you , and not only brings you peace of mind, but health and a long, long Life After Cancer!

Hugs,
Chen♥

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

Dont you dare apologize for the post. You touched a sore spot and sparked a good conversation. We've all been there and we all had to work through it. Thank goodness we can post those feelings and get help with working through the fears. I've only been through with chemo and rads since December...but life is pretty much back to normal already. Keep posting and don't edit yourself. If nothing else it gives us something to talk about! :)

pgrace35's picture
pgrace35
Posts: 122
Joined: Nov 2009

your feeling on chemo. I went through the same thing. I have always taken the homeopathic route to all my aliments, but I went rounds on this one. Decided to do the chemo and put into my mind over and over again, though it is a poison, I wasn't going to look at it that way, it was killing off my cancer cells. I always have eaten really well, exercised reg,etc... I just stepped it up, educating myself on building my immune system more, eating things that are proven to help with breast cancer, supplements and a postive mind. The mind is a very powerful tool, put it in you mind that the chemo is good not bad regardless how you feel. Just be smart when you are at your weakest point of each treatment, don't go out in public as much, bring hand sanitizer every where you go, take immune building supplements to boost your immune system and when feeling down talk, this is a wonderful site and has helped me out immensely. Remember cancer is not who you are, it's just what you have.Good luck!

MAJW
Posts: 2515
Joined: May 2009

You are not whining.......you just expressed your feelings......all of us who have gone through this know exactly how you feel.........been there done that! One thing I would like to add.......I was told not to even take a vitamin during chemo.....pgrace offered great advice on hand sanitizers, etc but taking anything without the consent of your oncologist is a no no......ALWAYS check with your oncologist before taking ANYTHING......
Peace be with you......

Ms.Lefty's picture
Ms.Lefty
Posts: 3
Joined: Jan 2010

Ayse, I can understand how you feel - the decision to have chemo was more stressful for me than any pain I had from my biopsy and lumpectomy. But I was very lucky - I had very few side effects from Chemo. Tired, yes, but the sickest I ever got was when I caught a virus during my treatment. I had a port put in, and even that didn't bother me much. So you might not do so badly after all. The Oncotype DX test estimated that chemo would reduce my chance of the cancer recurring from 15% to 7%. I was in good health, and had good insurance, so DH and I figured why not?

So I got poisoned. And then nuked.

But I'm doing pretty well now - with the exception of a 20-lb weight gain.

Mama G
Posts: 764
Joined: Nov 2009

and I cried and whined for 3 weeks straight. Finally my daughter knocked some sense into me and I got on with my battle. The chemo was a poison chemical in my mind (still is) but it's essential. How do I know? My sister had her breast cancer come back while I was fighting mine and the chemo beat the H.E. double hockey sticks out of her cancer! I got to witness that her cancer cells disappeared! Also my oncologist is a 17 year survivor and she used the same chemotherapy that I'm on.
All we can do is pray that it works for us and that it doesn't do much collateral damage along the way. I've done the 4 a/c chemos and 9 of the taxol and at the age of 59 I'm doing GREAT! No real side effects. I'm so blessed. I hope and pray you have the same results. POSITIVE attitude! Go in there fighting, woman!!! but with a smile.

aysemari's picture
aysemari
Posts: 1586
Joined: Dec 2009

Where would I be without you? I learned so much from this site and it prepared me in
so many ways but I guess I still have to go through the emotions and nothing can prepare
me for that.

Good news ladies, I finally found the source of normalcy in my life. My cats!! They treat
me exactly the same. Wake me up early in the morning in the wee ungodly hours, chase
me all day around demanding treats and don't budge to make room for me in my own
bed, gotta love the brats.

I even found some beauty in all of this mess. My friends and their clumsy and endearing
attempts to be there for me. Tonight I got a pizza, compliments of my friend who lives
in another state... you see she got it in her head, that I will be a skeleton, so it's time
to plump me up! Tell me that's not funny?? She's a chef, I should add that too. My other
friend, highly intellectual is on a mad book hunt, I get 3 days a call, to make sure she's
picking something I would be interested in but it has to be good literature. So they
all help me in their own way.

How many people really can say who their true friends are, I CAN!!

So I will continue to post and maybe sometimes (whine)!!!

Ayse

pgrace35's picture
pgrace35
Posts: 122
Joined: Nov 2009

Continue to keep us updated on how your doing, and even whine....we have that right too!!! And yes, animals are wonderful creatures aren't they. I work a vet clinic running the boarding and handle impounds, I'm around these wonderful creatures all day. Plus I have 1 cat, 1 dog and 5 ferrets!! They are a huge positive aspect in my life, they live so in the moment, don't judge and love you reqardless how you feel and what you look like...it's awesome. Hang in there, have a great day!

aysemari's picture
aysemari
Posts: 1586
Joined: Dec 2009

Thank you both for the good tips and making me feel good about expressing
my fears and emotions.

When I am at my weakest point the only crowd I want around me, are the
understanding and compassionate women on this site.

Ayse

mariam_11_09's picture
mariam_11_09
Posts: 693
Joined: Nov 2009

I was told yesterday what my chemo plan would be and told I would have to have a port put in. To be honest I couldn't sleep last night. I am also stage 3A, they found some lone cancer cells in blood and lymphatic fluid. I want to see my daughter grow up.

I am very nervous about chemo. However I do also believe if one really takes care during chemo, rest, good diet, plenty of water, whatever suppliments are permissible, keep away from people with have something contagious etc one can support one's body and minimise the side affects. I know I am going to need to build myself up into having a port installed.

I think a question to ask as well is "Is there anyone out there that refused chemo and is still alive today?'

aysemari's picture
aysemari
Posts: 1586
Joined: Dec 2009

Hi, I really understand what you are going through. And now that I think about it, you are
right it really started with the port. I started getting really upset and emotional. The port
surgery itself was not all that bad, afterward it's weird, you feel it inside you and I still
take pain killers. But I think after a while, the skin will stretch and make room for this
foreign object in my body and then hopefully it will be fine.

I am sorry that you are in the same scary place I was. After doing a lot of mind wrecking
research.... I found myself very mad, I did not find another option to chemo. But I did
make some people I know come out of the closet and tell me they had cancer and had
chemo and the whole nine yards and have been cancer free since. That's all I needed.
It's heartbreaking that this is all science can do for us right now but goes to tell you,
just what you are battling. It's also not a coincidence in my eyes that the survival rate
in other countries who don't offer chemo or radiation is much lower.

Please don't misunderstand, I am not trying to influence you in any way, I am just
giving you my end results, in the hope that I can help lessen your fears.

But like you, I will gear up, take very well care of my body and after chemo, do EVERYTHING
in the book to boost my immune system so it can keep fighting my battle.

I hope this helped some what...

Sending lots of hugs
Ayse

KathiM's picture
KathiM
Posts: 7864
Joined: Aug 2005

I was dx with stage III rectal cancer...given 6 months to live...started a combo of chemo and rads that attacked the tumor so well that it completely disappeared...it was the size of a golf ball...

Chemo for my second cancer (breast, stage II), 6 months later, was a bit harder to accept...why didn't the first set get this cancer, too....

After 4 second opinions, I sat with the lead oncologist from the breast center at UCLA. She gave it to me straight. She said that right now, with today's medicine, this was the best course for me. Since this was different than the other chemo, it was specifically designed for breast cancer, and was very efficient. Her final statement convinced me "Why, after fighting so hard for your life the first time, would you not do everything you can this time?"

I did take the treatment, but also when it got too tough, conferred with my oncologist and we skipped one treatment...I did what felt right for me.

This is a VERY personal decision, but I fell that I made the right choices for me...and I'm still No Evidence of Disease, 5 years later.

Hugs, Kathi

laurissa's picture
laurissa
Posts: 773
Joined: Sep 2009

I just finished my 6th round of chemo. It does drain you temporarily. It took almost 4 months to do it, but after the 2nd treatment, my 2 tumors were gone, 3 cm. size. One in right breast and one under arm. Losing hair and taste were the worst part of it for me. I took a week off work each month and bounced right back in time for the next treatment. Like a rollercoaster ride. I'll have a petscan on the 4th to see whats happening. I wish you well.

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

By the way, Ayse is my mom's middle name. :)

I understand your trepidation. Who wouldn't be scared and sketptical about a treatment that lowers your white blood count and causes your hair to fall out? You have a right to question your treatment, its risks and benefits. One of the hardest things to come to terms with is the fact that the specific risks and benefits for you are not 100% known at the beginning. There can be serious side effects from chemotherapy, to be sure. However, the really serious ones are not common at all. However I cannot tell you 100% that you will or will not get them. We can only make the best decisions with the information we have. Here's how I reasoned my treatment: I had aggressive cancer that wouldn't respond to hormonal treatments or Herceptin. It was early stage and my best bet for preventing recurrence was to hit it hard from the beginning. Chemo was the only systemic drug in my arsenal. The management of side effects is much more advanced now than it ever was. With those facts, I chose chemo. I had side effects, but none that have lasted. My immune system was weak during my treatment and for a few months afterwards, but my counts now are normal and even high. I am a perfectly fit 35 year-old woman and I even have a full head of hair again.

I know the decisions can be difficult. There are many questions to ask and doubts abound. The major factors to look at are: 1) stage of cancer, which includes lymph node involvement and size of tumor; 2) grade of cancer; 3) hormone receptor status; 4) age; 5) fitness level, including heart function level; 6) Oncotype score if hormone positive; and 7) BRCA 1 & 2 status. Those are the ones I can think of now. Good luck with your decision.

Mimi

aysemari's picture
aysemari
Posts: 1586
Joined: Dec 2009

I am getting my first chemo treatment tomorrow, wait today... hahha it's past twelve so it's friday. I am still
a bit nervous about it, I admit but not so afraid anymore. Look at all you wonderful women coming
to my rescue and letting me learn from your own personal experiences.
This site has become a ritual for me, I read this every night before bed. And it never fails to
inspire me. No one understands me the way you do and I am very grateful for all the amazing
posts on here. I will do my best to follow your foot steps.

Ayse

e_hope's picture
e_hope
Posts: 371
Joined: Sep 2009

I totally relate to your fears about chemo!! and have said many of the same things you have. i even cried almost that entire first treatment! but, I made it through all 8 treatments. For me, I couldn't not do it no matter how a truely felt about it because I need to be around for my kids. I look at them, and my family and realized how guilty I would feel if it would come back because I didn't do everything in my power to prevent it. I trust modern medicine and yes its mind blowing how poison can make me better, but I have faith.

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