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Terrified of Chemo - Please help

Debbie77
Posts: 5
Joined: May 2012

Hi all, I am new to the board. I am sorry you all have to be here on this board, and sorry for me too :( Had a bilatery mastectomy May 4, chemo to start after I'm completed healed. Have a favor to ask for those of you who have had chemo. Don't know which course of treatment I will have but I am terrified of the side effects. Losing my hair is the least of my worries. Will some of you who have had chemo let me know how it went or is going? How long after each treatment before the side effects happen? Are they as bad as I've read or does "today's medicine" have an improved outcome? Anything you can tell me about your experience would be so appreciated. Oh, I am so afraid.

jessiesmom1's picture
jessiesmom1
Posts: 708
Joined: Jun 2010

Hi Debbie, and welcome to the club that no one wants to join. Everyone here will have a different experience but I am happy to let you know how it went for me.

I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in 12/2009 after a bunch of diagnostic procedures including an axillary dissection. I had a right mastectomy in 2/2010, got my port put in and then had chemo. I had 4 rounds of A/C (Adriamycin/Cytoxan) and 12 rounds of Taxotere. I did well with the A/C and the side effects were manageable - primarily fatigue. I never got the dreaded mouth sores. I began to lose my hair on precisely Day 14 after my first chemo infusion. The Taxotere rounds were much more difficult. I was not nauseous but oddly enough I vomited 2-3 times a day. I also had diarrhea. Some people have the opposite problem if you catch my drift. I had watery eyes that continue to this very day almost 2 years later - that is out of the ordinary according to both my oncologist and a highly specialized opthamologist. I also eventually lost 8 of 10 fingernails and 2 of my toenails. They have all grown back just fine. For a while I also lost my desire to eat and sense of taste. Everything seemed to taste like paste. There is something to be said for being overweight to start with. I lost 40 pounds. I have, unfortunately, gained all of it back.

There are medications that you can be given for many of the chemo side effects. At various times I took an anti-diarrheal and definitely took the anti-nausea drugs Zofran, Compazine and Ativan. I got thrush in my mouth and had to use Nystatin briefly. There are even drugs that can help with neuropathy (one problem I did NOT have). There is no need to suffer unnecessarily. Tell your doctor what is going on and ask for help. You CAN do this.

It is now almost 2 years since my last chemo. I have had 2 reconstruction surgeries. I saw my daughter graduate from high school and complete her second year of college. I will see my son graduate from college next year. My 25th wedding anniversary is in November and I will be around for that. Anything I went through for the 6 months I was in treatment was absolutely worth it. We are all afraid when this unfortunate journey begins. If you educate yourself and know what to expect and come here for support it will be easier to handle. Knowledge is Power.

Post again when you have more information AND questions. We will be here.

IRENE

Gabe N Abby Mom's picture
Gabe N Abby Mom
Posts: 2415
Joined: Sep 2010

Hi Debbie,

I'm sorry you have to be here too. But you'll find this in an incredibly supportive group, and that you can discuss anything here.

I had 6 rounds of TAC (taxotere, adriamycin, cytoxan) once every 3 weeks, this was in 2010. Aug of 2011 I was dx'd with mets to the lymph nodes between my lungs. We tried xeloda and I'm now on weekly abraxane.

In my experience, the most important thing you can do is to stay well hydrated. It truly helps me to better tolerate the chemo, along with helping to flush the poison out of my body. I liked vitamin water for the taste and icy cold smart water for the electrolytes.

The other really important thing is to let your doc/advice nurse know about your side effects. There are many meds to help you deal with whatever is going on. Also let us know, there is lots of experience on this board...if you ask we'll share what helped us get through the chemo. And you can search previous posts for tips.

I also recommend that you ask your doc for ativan...it's an anti-anxiety med. I took one the night before the first chemo and it allowed me to sleep. I also took one the morning of the first chemo, but if you do that you'll want a driver. (I recommend a driver anyway, because you don't know how you'll feel after the first one.) Ativan can also help with nausea.

Eat whenever and whatever you want, your body will need protein and calories to help recover from the chemo. I liked bland foods...plain noodles, potatoes, scrambled eggs, rice, etc.

My treatments were on Thursdays, and I usually felt pretty rotten till Monday. Then I would gradually get better and better. You'll probably find there is a cycle and routine to how you feel.

I hope all this helps. Please come back and let us know how you're doing.

Hugs,

Linda

missrenee's picture
missrenee
Posts: 2137
Joined: Apr 2010

and that you're so afraid. I know that fear and I can tell you from first experience, it was not nearly as difficult for me as I thought it might be. Now, I know everyone is different and everyone has a different story to tell, but here's mine.

I was diagnosed with Stage 3C invasive ductal ca. with 10 positive lymph nodes. My onc. said she was going to be very aggressive with chemo, so I also (like Linda above) had 6 rounds of the TAC every 3 weeks. On day 14 after my very first treatment my hair started to come out, so my hubby and I had a happy hour party in the backyard and shaved my head. No big deal to me--like you, it was the least of my concerns. I have to say, the first 3 treatments went great--I got the Neulasta shot the day after each chemo (to help rebuild white cells) and I had some diarrhea/constipation combo for the first couple of days and then body aches and pains (flu-like) from the Neulasta. The onc. had a remedy for all that and it went very well. I never once vomited, though.

The 4th treatment is a little tougher--just felt very flu-y for a few days. Five and six were a little tougher as well, and it took a little longer to recoup.

I have to say, my most annoying side effect was that after about treatment #3 all food tasted pretty yucky. I pretty much ate to get my nutrients, but it was all trial and error as to what tasted tolerable. I love my food, so this was really annoying to me!

Staying hydrated is essential as is resting whenever you can. Don't overdo and take all the help that is offered to you.

Debbie, I know you're scared, but if you have a higher power in your life--you're going to get all the help you need to get through this and you will.

As others have said--it's not fun, but it's certainly doable.

Please keep posting and let us know how you're doing.

Hugs, Renee

Boppy_of_5's picture
Boppy_of_5
Posts: 1138
Joined: Apr 2010

I remember the fear before my first treatment too. I was diagnosed in Jan 2010 with stage 1 grade 1 invasive ductual carcinoma. I had a lumpectomy in March 2010 and then did 4 rounds of cytoxan and taxotere and 30 rads. My onc wanted to treat it this way because he said I was so young :o) I was 49. I did handle the chemo well, I felt the worst on Sunday after my trt on Fridays. I would feel really tired for a few day but was never nauseas, as someone said I would have ocassional diahrea and then the opposite. My hair started really falling out day 13 after first treatment. I choose to have my head shaved then. I always say one bonus was not having to shave my legs or underarms that summer! My last trt was July 2nd 2010. It is different for all of us but as we say it is doable. I am sorry for your need to be here but it is a great place to be for support and info. You will find great people here. Please remember to tell your Dr and nurses about side effects because so many can be treated. I took an anti anxiety drug before trt too and it did help a lot! Drink lots and lots of water before during and after the trts and please ask anything. Someone hear pretty much always has an answer for you. Prayers and God Bless
(((hugs))) Janice

Noel's picture
Noel
Posts: 3101
Joined: Apr 2009

Debbie, I was lucky that I didn't have to take chemo, but, many here have and it looks like they have given you some really good advice.

I want to wish you good luck and pray that you will have no side effects.

Hugs, Noel

MAJW
Posts: 2515
Joined: May 2009

Let me start with this...the first chemo is always the most frighting of all...it's fear of the unknown...my husband almost had to push me through the door! I was dx the first time in May of 2009...I have triple negative bc...and the chemo wasn't as bad as the horror stories I had heard from "caring" people...what you have to remember, even with all the pink sisters that will share their experiences, we're all different and will respond differently..

I had Taxotere/ Cytoxan then,,I started taking Zofran and Decadron the day BEFORE each treatment...I continued the Zofran (the anti nausea meds) for 3 days after each infusion...I never had the first wave of nausea! You have to take this BEFORE the nausea starts...easier to prevent nausea and or vomiting than trying to get it under control....

If your going to get a wig, I would suggest getting it NOW...so they can see what your real hair looks like...I got mine 3 years ago...back wearing agin, due to a recurrence...mine is synthetic...a human hair one has to be fixed just like your hair...don't want to be bothered with that...have your oncologist write a prescription for it and your insurance company may pay for it...mine did...

I'm back on some nasty chemo but am tolerating it now just fine...they did have to eliminate one of three drugs as it caused severe breathing problems...doing well since then...I had a port installed and it's a blessing! I have chemo every 2 weeks..I do have fatigue but am blessed in that I can sleep or rest when ever I need to...

Drink, drink, drink before, during and after each chemo....stay very well hydrated...have extra strength imodium on hand...maybe even some
Gatorade on hand...eat what you find appealing...you may lose your taste buds for a week or so...that's due to your taste buds being rapidly dividing cells, like cancer and that's what the chemo goes after..

Don't be shy, ask for anti anxiety medication...I took low dose Valium the first time I now take Zanax, one each night and one before each infusion...helps so much!!!!

I'm rambling...please keep posting and we'll help you any way we can...we truly care...
Remember...walking through the door for your first infusion, is the toughest!
Big hugs, Nancy

Alicia
Posts: 1
Joined: May 2012

Hi I am new here as well but my last chemo was over 2 years ago...I had chemo ever week for 6 months ( stage 3 breast cancer )never got sick...was given steroids to stop any sickness...was fine nerver had pain or flu like problems. Have to say that at the end right before I started radiation I got tried a lot!...I never lost any fingernails but i did have to tape a few on to keep them there. That was a trick a nurse told me and it worked for me. For me i just looked at it as this had to be done so lets get on with it! I wish you the best and hope all goes well. Alicia

RE's picture
RE
Posts: 4606
Joined: Feb 2004

I cannot add more than these wonderful ladies have. I do want to tell you that it is doable, I have survived 28 rounds of chemo and am currently in remission. Yes it is scary but doable and it is your path back to good health. With each treatment you are taking steps to take back your health and to kill the cancer. We will be here for you so don't hesitate to pop on and share your fears, joys and milestones. I wish you all the best!

RE

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

Debbie, chemo is doable and I know you can do it! Just keep thinking that you are killing the cancer!

Good luck and hugs,

Diane

salls41's picture
salls41
Posts: 340
Joined: Apr 2012

Hi Debbie, sorry you have to go through this. I was dx in Nov 2011 and had my chemo in 6 rounds every three weeks. I too had TAC. I lost my hair within 3 weeks of my first chemo. My first chemo left me with a headache that no amount of tylenol would touch and it lasted several days. That was the worst for me. I had trouble with food as most everyone else has, for me it was too sweet or too sour. No in between. I liked vanilla ice cream and baked potatoes the first treatment but by the last I didn't want anything!Hot tea was about the only thing I could drink. If you can do it, drink water as much as possible. I drank my water at room temperature, cold water caused me to vomit. The side effects are not wonderful, but they are doable. I still have some leftover effect, fatigue, blurry vision, and somethings still don't taste too good. I still don't have any hair or eyebrows or eyelashes..Chemo was the hardest thing I have ever had to do..but I did it, and you will too. Take it one day at a time, and be sure to draw on the strength of those that are here for you!
Hugs and prayers
Sandy

grams2jc's picture
grams2jc
Posts: 756
Joined: May 2011

My drug cocktail was a little different than some....first epirubicin and cytoxan 3 weeks apart for 4 treatments then taxol every 3 weeks x 4. The first treatment I was so scared my blood pressure was through the roof, I am surprised they treated me, and that was with Xanax (anti-anxiety) and blood pressure meds on board. By the time I got home it was fine and I didn't have any more trouble after that

I did have some nausea and made sure to take my antinausea meds, had some constipation so used over the counter stool softeners and ate dried fruit.

The Taxol gave me bone pain so I took Benadryl for that, the ladies here can tell you what they took as it was different, Claritin I think.

It was no where near as bad as I thought it would be.

Wishing you luck,

Jennifer

VickiSam's picture
VickiSam
Posts: 8220
Joined: Aug 2009

I endured 18 consecutive weeks, yes -- no breaks for Taxol/Taxotere - Carboplatin and
me. My side efforts were off the 'Bell Standard charts'.. Go figure! It was only
after my 3rd ER visit did my Oncologist sit up and take notice of all that I said.

I kept a journal of symptoms, which included head aches, fevers, bouts of nausea --
fatigue, watery eyes ... etc, and presented this list to my Oncologist, or his Onco
RN each and every time I went in for chemo therapy infusion.

ALWAYS .. alert your Onco RN of any unusual feelings etc .. Ask your Oncologist for a
list of possible side efforts, which should be presented to you before your first chemo infusion. Often these list will not be given, as most Oncologist would rather pull
out their eye, than give us Chemo Queens a list of possible side efforts -- chances
are .. most of us would run out of their offices, and never return.

A few personal tips that helped me make it to that chemo finish line. (it is NOT easy,
but, it is doable.) Honestly, only the grace of God, and the support of this
site helped me make it thru many a dark days -- and nights.

=====================

It is so important to remain and continue hydration, water - water, and more water. Splash in a little lemonade, cranberry juice -- or prepackaged crystal light, or Lipton Tea. Herbal Tea's also work for a change of pace.

If you are getting the neulasta shot -- Please ask your Oncologist about taking a benadryl -- or claritin -- which many of us === swear by -- as they help alleviate that 'just run over by a truck' aches and pains - some of us experience from the neulasta shot.

Ask for prescriptions for nausea and vomiting -- as well as diarrhea.

Plastic silverware is a must ---
biotin toothpaste and mouthwash is a daily essential
(available at most Target's or Wall-Mart's)

Food is subjective -- depending on your personal needs and taste buds .. What taste good or was tolerable 1 week -- changed for me, the very next. I could not tolerate any foods with sugar, i.e. ketchup, or cola's.

To help prevent mouth sores -- suck on ice chips during all chemo treatments.

Rest when you can, as some chemo queens have bouts of insomnia ---

Take goodies to entertain yourself during your infusions -- games, books, friend, a snack, IPOD, laptop ...

Strength, Courage and Hope.

Vicki Sam

AngieD's picture
AngieD
Posts: 504
Joined: Sep 2011

Lots of excellent advice here from other Pinks! And we welcome you! You have probably realized that chemo affects different people in different ways. Good hydration is one of the important keys to feeling better through it.

I've chosen to try to look forward to chemo (gotta do it) and visualize the stuff dripping in going after those nasty cancer cells and gobbling them up like the old Pac Man games.

I was diagnosed the end of the year and have been on chemo since Jan. I had Adriamycin/Cytoxan every other week for 8 weeks. I got Neulasta the day after to keep white cell counts up and Emend the day of and 2 days after to prevent nausea. Then I started 12 weeks of weekly Taxol. Just one more to go!! In both cases there is a cumulative effect and in my case that has been fatigue and aches. After I finished the A/C and started Taxol, I felt fine for about the first 6 treatments then the fatigue started one day a week, then 2, etc. But completely bearable. I did have problems with my contacts with the Taxol, but moisturizing drops help. For me, appetite has not been a problem. Everything tastes great! Bring it on! Something I never expected!! I now weight 15 lbs more than I EVER have. NOT a good thing--Go figure--

Good luck to you and remember to call your doc if you have any problems. They have so many things available to help. You don't need to wait for an appointment!

Angie

Monicalynn
Posts: 61
Joined: Apr 2012

I started my chemo on April 20th, 4 rounds of taxotere, carboplatin and herceptin to be followed by 13 rounds of herceptin every 3 weeks. The premeds they give me before hand and the pills after for two days are great, have had very little nausea, not enough to throw up. Also get headaches and relly sleepy about 4 days after the infusion. some diareah.

Like the others say, drink alot of water the day before, day of and after. I have one more chemo infusion and then move along to just herceptin. The first infusion was the most worrisome since I didn't know how I would react to it, after that it is pretty straigt forward and the chemo nurses where I go are wonderful.

Monica

eihtak
Posts: 809
Joined: Oct 2011

Just dittoing all the great advice. You will have our prayers with you and God will carry you when you feel too weak or tired. My sister used to remind me how quickly the time seemed to fly when I was pregnant with my children, and so we tried to think ahead 6-9 months and focus on the future instead of the today! Keep in touch here, these ladies are the best!

camul's picture
camul
Posts: 2004
Joined: Dec 2010

Because this group of pinks r the best! like everyone says, the anticipation is worse than the Actual infusion. There is no way around the fact that chemo sucks, but I keep reminding myself that this is what has kept me alive and is doing so again. I was 44 with IDC stage 1 , er & pr. + her2 -. Only had 3 of 8 orig treatments due to an alergic reation. Was on tamoxifen for abou 6 months, taken off because of toxiciy to my system but say onco 2 x a year. with annual mamograms, pet and bone scans.

Now I am on my 3rd new chemo this round. It sucks this time around but the anti nausea meds are so much better thn even 10 years ago.

The hardest infusion of all was the very first one, only because of the anticipation. I know the chemo gave me 8 1/2 years cancer free and so far has given me 19 months now and with each treatment that I don't want, I just keep.reminding myself of all the things chemo has let.me.be here for.

Keep hydrated, have foods handy like yogurt, soups, popcicles, they were easiest when I did get some mouh sores. Use mouthwash with out alcohol. Have natural stool softeners on hand incase and eat natural fiber lime oatmeal, and drink water, water, and more water:)).

Lastly, wash your hands a lot, I use clorox wipes especially when I go in public restrooms. Most importantly, learn how to lisen to your body, when 7 r tired, sleep. When u know something does not feel right, go wih your gut feeling and call your doctor. Dont believe that the statistics you read on line are just that statistics, and we r not statistics we are individuals. Remember too that 20 of us may have the same treatment plan and each of us will have our own experience.along wih different se.

I wish you the best! Prayers,
Carol

VickiSam's picture
VickiSam
Posts: 8220
Joined: Aug 2009

darn spammers!

mamolady's picture
mamolady
Posts: 795
Joined: May 2011

Debbie,
By now you have heard that all of us were terrified of chemo. I have had some tough times in life but nothing terrified me more than my first chemo. Just remember, the unknown is worse than what is.
Everyone has already mentioned anything I might suggest so I will just say, once you get through the first one, the others won't be as scary. My husband went with me for the first one and that really helped.
Chemo sucks but it is doable. We really don't have a choice. I kept a calendar to mark off the weeks. It helped me see the light at the end of the tunnel. Any side effects I had during chemo were pretty much gone after a few months.

All the best.
Cindy

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

I am so sorry Debbie that you ever have to be afraid, let alone take chemo. The other sisters that have had chemo have offered you so much encouragement and I am adding mine to that. You go girl! You can do this!

Cnunley
Posts: 2
Joined: Jun 2012

I am terrified as well of chemo . I was diagnosed with breast cancer April 27th. The tests and the appointments with more doctors as well as reading up on everything and trying to make a decision is feeling just too much. I am now thinking that I do not want to do the chemo at all. I'm not trying to dissuade anyone from their treatment I'm just so anxiety filled I just don't think I can do it. Worst place I can think of to be at this point.

rallendorfer
Posts: 245
Joined: May 2012

I said exactly the same thing as you. It IS terribly confusing to have to learn everything and make decisions right when you are at your worst. I know you don't want to do the chemo...I actually was making plans to sell everything and move out of state and let the cancer have its due. The anxiety you feel may be helped with a prescription of Ativan, which helped me. Please call your doctor and explain that you are so anxious it is affecting your life, and ask for a prescription! And secondly, the loving support of a couple of dog-eared friends who would not let me do the above, but prayed for me and talked with me daily helped me to have the peace I needed to do it. You can too. We can face a lot with the loving arms of concerned people around us. Do you have this kind of friend?

I have just finished my second chemo. I hate it! But it will kill the evil thing that has come to live in your body, and mine. You have come to the right place with sisters that can give you advise and love. Stay here daily, and continue to post and we will pray you through it, ok?

madsters1
Posts: 120
Joined: Oct 2011

Hi Debbie,
I had four rounds, three weeks apart of T/C (Taxotere & Cytoxan). The worst really was and still is the hair loss. It's the longest lasting. I finished chemo in Jan and radiation one month ago. So basically I'm done BUT I still only have two inches of hair. As far as other side effects, fatigue was kind of a "biggie" for me. I'm 48 yrs old with two younger children at home. I had almost no other SE's to speak of. If you can get out with your hair (not likely), you're doing good. It's doable.

AngieD's picture
AngieD
Posts: 504
Joined: Sep 2011

Cunely, you are at possibly the very worst place right now. I think we all remember being still shell shocked by the diagnosis and then overwhelmed with tests and appointments and information. I know I do. Actually, once all the information is there and a plan comes together, things seem to go better. You just start going one step, one day at a time, and life seems somehow more manageable. If you have any doubts or concerns before doing anything, do not hesitate to get a second opinion. Hang in there!
Hugs and prayers coming your way,
Angie

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

Like some of the pink sisters said, the fear of the unknown can be horrible. I will be praying that you will get thru chemo with no side effects.

Hugs, Lex

StaceyPMD1121's picture
StaceyPMD1121
Posts: 65
Joined: May 2012

Hi Debbie,

I was diagnosed March 2012 with Stage 2 infiltrating duct cancer, ER+,PR+,Her-2-. I had a lumpectomy on May 4, 2012 with 2 lymph nodes removed. May 30th had a Bard PowerPort- chemoport implanted. I start chemo, Friday, June 8, 2012. My chemo drugs will be TAC-taxotere,adriamycin( aka Red Devil0 ,and cyclophosphamide. I am afraid of the unknown but my faith in Jesus has seen me through alot total hysterectomy with inguinal hernia repair at the same time. Tonsilectomy at age 46, on 9-6-2011. The lost of my entire immediate family:mother,father,brother,sister, grandmothers, grandfathers, all my uncles. I have my 27 yr.old son, Derrick who is a blessing and my boyfriend, my cousins, my church family, and friends. Last but not least my pink sisters who have also been a blessing. I have read a lot of helpful advice will start drinking lots of water today because I take 2 blood pressure pills. Enough about me, surround your self with positive people, make sure some of these people know how to pray with you and for you. God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.(2 Timothy 1:7). I will be posting often to give you and my other pink sisters support once I receive my new netbook this week from a technology trial at my breast center. Girl, you can do this just have faith. The onc doctors, nurses, and other support staff are some of the most caring people I have ever encountered in my life. Think of chemo as a power up helper in a game to beat cancer and you are winning the game. Welcome aboard & sorry we all have to meet this way.

Peace,Blessings, & Hugs,
Stacey

jwood1176's picture
jwood1176
Posts: 16
Joined: May 2012

Hello, Debbie77, it is nice to meet you but so sorry it has to be on here..i was diagnosed with breast cancer (a lump in left breast) on october 19, 2011, had bilateral mastectomy october 25th, no reconstruction yet, i had a port put in, developed a blood clot from it, but would still recommend it. i began chemo (taxotere and carboplatin, gerneric names) and then also had to have herceptin (not a chemo drug) because i was er/pr+, her2+. had 6 cycles every three weeks. my last one on march 22nd....the side effects were bad but could have been worse. i was very tired, loss of appetite, some nausea, hot flashes, very dry mouth, body aches, diarrhea and constipation. i know there are probably more, but those are the main ones. drink lots of water the more you drink the more it cleanses your system. I did like eating baked potatoes and eggs. my immune system got down really low so i had to take a shot the day after and i really think it may have been worse than the chemo...everyone is different though, i pray that you are able to breeze right through whatever treatment you decide is best. Keep fighting!! i am still having to take the herceptin every three weeks but its a breeze. my next step will be a complete hysterectomy and then hopefully reconstruction! keep us posted and prayers are with you. All things are possible through Christ who strenghten me...God Bless

Jaime

Lighthouse_7's picture
Lighthouse_7
Posts: 1566
Joined: Jan 2010

So sorry that you're so scared but I think the fear of the unknown is the worst part. It is very doable with the new way of doing things as opposed to years ago. I got meds for anxiety, nausea , steroids and benedryl for any allergic reaction.

It really isn't that bad and just remember you can do it. Emmend is the best for nausea.

Best of luck to you and be strong!

Hugs,
Wanda

Melaniedoingwell
Posts: 80
Joined: Nov 2011

First of all - know that you can do this. You CAN do this!

I had triple positive stage 3-A, bi-lateral mastectomy, 6ruonds of TCH, (Taxotere, Carboplatin, Herceptin) with Herceptin then continuing for a year -- And let's do Radiation just for fun too!!

One step, one day at a time, girl. I developed what I call Thursday-phobia. Thursday was my infusion day and I just worked myself into a state with anxiety. You are tired, you don't feel well, and on and on and on. So saying - My doctor had given me a prescription for xanax which I took for the entire year ONLY on Wednesday evenings before chemo and occasionally on Tuesdays too... It is a wonder how much better you will be able to cope when you actually get some sleep.

Guard your peace!!!

Sometimes people say things that you would really like to smack them for on reflection. Eliminate negative people from your life - enlist someone to help you protect your peace by keeping those negative nellies (or neds) at bay. I had a code word to use with my sweet husband to let him know - "Get this person AWAY from me!!!" Being thus prepared, I was able to head off the occurrences and never had to use my code word. But you see, it was in my mind and I was prepared.

Everyone reacts differently. I have a support group with several people who had the same chemo I did and they never got sick. Grrr.. I'd hate them but that would be unproductive!! I got sick every time. It is what it is and now it's done. I feel SOOO GOOD!!! I have a whole new appreciation for feeling good - feeling ill and puny - that is still a GREAT day!!

I also prayed a lot. I hope you have faith - personally I cannot imagine how one can cope with this walk without faith. Not trying to preach, just saying for me - God has blessed me greatly and bountifully.

Ask for help when you need it. And, by the way - you will and do need help. People who love you want to show you their love by helping you, LET them.

love and hugs to you!
Melanie

ms.sunshine
Posts: 710
Joined: Mar 2010

I also was terrified of chemo. What choice do you have. I won't tell you my experience it won't help you at all to know what I went thru. I'm alive and doing fantastic 2 years later.
You feel the effects right away. Drink plenty of water. Tell your dr. everything no matter how small you may think it is, tell him/her.
I went thru chemo 2 years 3 mos ago and thinking of it causes me to feel ill. To this day I refuse to sit in a chemo chair when I have blood drawn. That chair gives me flashbacks. The nurse laughs at me, but I don't care.

We are here for you Debbie to help you thru.
Take care Jennifer

moths
Posts: 9
Joined: Jul 2009

Hi Debbie,

The fear of the first chemo treatment was way worse than the chemo. I know that everyone reacts differently, but I know that you can do it. I had a really rare breast cancer, case number 9 in the world. I was given a lot of chemo and radiation and it was all doable. Let your doctor know if you have problems so that they can help you. Karen

mmmurray5
Posts: 2
Joined: Apr 2012

Hi Debbie. Sorry to hear that you have to join the rest of us, but you are in good company.

The fear of the unknown is what gets us. I too was afraid of chemo, but went through it anyway. Completed 3 treatments of cytoxan and taxotere. Worst side effect initially was the hair loss, which I got ahead of by having my head shave. Then the sensitive mouth, for which I was prescribed a mouthwash formulation. Then aches and pains, which I couldn't tell if they were from working out at the gym or from chemo or the Nuelesta shots I had to give myself days 3-7 after chemo. Then very dry skin. I was surprised no nausea, vomiting, etc. The doctors prepare your body to accept the toxins more so than in the past. They say it's important to drink lots of water and exercise if you do that already to flush the drugs out as fast as possible through the kidneys and bladder.

I continued to work and to exercise. I do get fatigued more than normal, but other than that, it's important to keep your head positive and to stay ahead of the side effects. The American Cancer Society has some wonderful guidance and programs. I would recommend their Look Good Feel Better program for dealing with the physical features of chemo. You may find out that it's not as bad as you think.

Debbie77
Posts: 5
Joined: May 2012

I just want to say a heartfelt thanks to every one of you who took the time to reply to my post. The recurring theme of most of your replies is that the first treatment is the worst due to fear of the unknown. That helps me greatly to know that! I wish all of you the very best as you go forward and I will take heart in knowing you are all there as pink sisters. You guys are wonderful! Hugs, Debbie

Angie2U's picture
Angie2U
Posts: 2993
Joined: Sep 2009

It is always true that the first of anything, especially treatment, is the scariest. It is because you just don't know what to expect. After you have the first one done and over, you will feel better.

Wishing you all the best and keep us updated,

Angie

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