newly diagnosed

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lunefemme
lunefemme Member Posts: 1
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
Do not know what to expcect. Scheduled for double mastectomy 050807. Chemo after followed by radiation. The chemo scares me more than the surgery. I will get A/C for sure. Still waiting for Her2/neu status to come back. so taxol or taxotere adn maybe herceptin depnding upon Her2/neu status. How bad is the chemo going to be???? The oncologist just said "everyone is different". Ca you work while going thru it? help scared

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  • KathiM
    KathiM Member Posts: 8,028 Member
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    First of all, welcome to the family!

    I only had a lumpectomy, so I will let others share on the surgery...

    I had a challenge with my chemo...but that I feel was because I had just had my last chemo for colon cancer months earlier.

    BUT, that said...I MUST agree with your oncologist...I had a gal at my treatment center at the same point in her treatment. She would come bouncing in (literally), get her infusion, usually while eating a pizza or a sub sandwich, and run out after back to work. (Come to think of it, I HATED that woman....hehehehehee!).

    One of the big helps is water. I drank 4 quarts the day before, the day of, and the day after. I sit here typing, one year past, with no remaining sides from the chemo.

    I will pose the question my onc did when I wanted to stop...."Don't you want to do as much as possible to stop it now, so you don't have to fight it again?"

    All of the treatment is temporary. Remember that. I walked with a woman yesterday at Relay for Life that was a stage IV survivor. This means she will have treatments more than likely for a long time. I ask her about being scared. She said "You know, they are doing everything they can to keep me alive till there is a cure found...how can I not do the same?" A true inspiration.

    And this hair business. Carry yourself like you are PROUD of your bald head. Shouldn't you be? You are fighting harder than most people around you will ever have to fight in their lives. And for something so precious....your life!!!!

    (ok...Whew! I'll step off my soapbox...I'm usually not this cranky....thanks for forgiving me ahead of time!!!)

    Hugs, Kathi

    PS...please feel free to come here and share everything...there are some mighty heroic people here...you are now part of our family, so you will not be going thru this alone!
  • cabbott
    cabbott Member Posts: 1,039 Member
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    KathiM said:

    First of all, welcome to the family!

    I only had a lumpectomy, so I will let others share on the surgery...

    I had a challenge with my chemo...but that I feel was because I had just had my last chemo for colon cancer months earlier.

    BUT, that said...I MUST agree with your oncologist...I had a gal at my treatment center at the same point in her treatment. She would come bouncing in (literally), get her infusion, usually while eating a pizza or a sub sandwich, and run out after back to work. (Come to think of it, I HATED that woman....hehehehehee!).

    One of the big helps is water. I drank 4 quarts the day before, the day of, and the day after. I sit here typing, one year past, with no remaining sides from the chemo.

    I will pose the question my onc did when I wanted to stop...."Don't you want to do as much as possible to stop it now, so you don't have to fight it again?"

    All of the treatment is temporary. Remember that. I walked with a woman yesterday at Relay for Life that was a stage IV survivor. This means she will have treatments more than likely for a long time. I ask her about being scared. She said "You know, they are doing everything they can to keep me alive till there is a cure found...how can I not do the same?" A true inspiration.

    And this hair business. Carry yourself like you are PROUD of your bald head. Shouldn't you be? You are fighting harder than most people around you will ever have to fight in their lives. And for something so precious....your life!!!!

    (ok...Whew! I'll step off my soapbox...I'm usually not this cranky....thanks for forgiving me ahead of time!!!)

    Hugs, Kathi

    PS...please feel free to come here and share everything...there are some mighty heroic people here...you are now part of our family, so you will not be going thru this alone!

    Wow! Kathy said a mouthful and I don't know how much I could add to it. But you asked about work. A lady at my school had bc years before me. She told us in August that chemo, then rad. was coming up and not to even ask her about it. It helped her keep her mind on her work Not to discuss "It", if you know what I mean. She chose to shave her head and get a wig before school started so the kids would never know and I doubt that most of them ever did. Chemo was Fridays at 3 so a teacher would take her class. Later she let us know that Saturdays were okay and Sundays she was exhausted though not really ever sick. Mondays she was always back to work. When the rad started she left right after the buses for her daily appointment. In all, she missed 2 days of work. She was tired at times and once in awhile she took her "free lunch period" laying down in the teacher's lounge. But she kept working the entire time. So I know it can be done if your body cooperates. You won't know for sure until you get started. As for the mastectomy, that depends too. I had only one side done with no reconstruction and I missed all of 9 days of school. I could have gone back a day earlier, but I didn't think to sign up for the inservices (I thought I'd be out a few months!) and it was inservice day for the state. Reconstruction adds to recovery time, but now is a good time to look at those options too. If you have everything done at once, you don't have to go through scheduling a second operation and all. Good luck!
  • babs49242
    babs49242 Member Posts: 193
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    Welcome to this great site sorry you have to be BUT the girls are great and comforting here and once in awhile a male..hahaha can't leave them out!
    Anyway, I opted NOT to work thru my treatments. I lived by myself and family was not close.It was just easier for me and I think it depends WHAT your job is.
    Like your Onc said 'everyone is different'..I breezed thru chemo while others who were doing the same didn't do well. I think alot of it has to do with your attitude..STAY POSITIVE..ADD HUMOUR..and drink lots of water....thank goodness for good nausea drugs and a great doctor.
    I thought it was soo cool to be bald..I always wanted my head shaved but couldn't get a hairdresser to do it...then when I did,I was told I had a nice shaped head! See I just wanted to show it off... I sometimes put temporary tattoos on it..the rub on kind....
    bunches of hugs as you get youself well!
    Cindie from Georgia
  • KathiM
    KathiM Member Posts: 8,028 Member
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    babs49242 said:

    Welcome to this great site sorry you have to be BUT the girls are great and comforting here and once in awhile a male..hahaha can't leave them out!
    Anyway, I opted NOT to work thru my treatments. I lived by myself and family was not close.It was just easier for me and I think it depends WHAT your job is.
    Like your Onc said 'everyone is different'..I breezed thru chemo while others who were doing the same didn't do well. I think alot of it has to do with your attitude..STAY POSITIVE..ADD HUMOUR..and drink lots of water....thank goodness for good nausea drugs and a great doctor.
    I thought it was soo cool to be bald..I always wanted my head shaved but couldn't get a hairdresser to do it...then when I did,I was told I had a nice shaped head! See I just wanted to show it off... I sometimes put temporary tattoos on it..the rub on kind....
    bunches of hugs as you get youself well!
    Cindie from Georgia

    OK, Cindie, were YOU the woman in my treatment center??? Huh??? Fess up...lol!

    Hugs, Kathi
  • LesleyH
    LesleyH Member Posts: 370
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    And we all agree, everyone is different. I worked part-time during A/C. There was no way that I could have worked full time. I was very sick and very tired for 3-7 days after treatment. (The period lengthened after each treatment.) For those days, I could not do anything at all. I could not even watch TV. I listened to books on tape. You will be given anti-nausea medication. The trick is to take it before you feel sick. Take it by the clock. Drink water/juice. I lost 20 pounds. Most women put on weight - not a good idea. I bought a wig but never wore it. I only wore scarves. I cried like a baby when my hair fell out. I felt a lot better when I realized that I could not fight chemo, I simply had to endure it.

    Hugs.

    Lesley
  • ireneingeorgia
    ireneingeorgia Member Posts: 73
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    Hi lunefemme. Sorry you have to be here, but glad we're all here for you. I was diagnosed January 13, 2006. From that time I had 8 surgeries and 4 months of chemo that was put off for 3 months because of a bad plastic surgeon's error (know your doctor); I had ACT, every two weeks. I worked through the whole thing. I only took off every two weeks on Thursday, had the treatment and went back for a shot on Friday. There were days with nausea or real tired days, but I made it through. I didn't think the treatments were as bad as I expected. I had Saturday and Sunday to feel the effects of tiredness and some nausea, but was back at work on Mondays. Be strong, you will eventually see the light at the end of the tunnel.
    xoxox
    Irene
  • carmon
    carmon Member Posts: 5
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    i was scared too but you can handle it. the main thing is being tired all the time. i worked all through my treatment but there were times i was so drained i couldnt move. on really bad days i stayed home and rested but dont stay in the bed too long or you will lose muscle tone. if you feel like you are going to throw up(i didnt) try eating something salty. the steroids will make you retain water so drink plenty of water and other non-salty fluids. please keep me informed during your treatment. i want to help. my last chemo was 3/9/07
  • shelley05
    shelley05 Member Posts: 1
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    My name is Shelley, i went through a double mastsectomy at the age of 36, followed by 6 chemos, taxotere, cytaxan,and adrimysin(red Devil-looks like red koolaid when going in), I could not work because I was very weak , I got chemo every 3 wks and only had a half decent week, the week before I did it again. I did lose my hair and it was tough but it will grow back and now it is curlier than ever before.Alittler darker than the orginial color. It is a scary process, but with family and the most important is Jesus Christ, he has to be in your life or I don't know where I would have been without Him, I was saved 8 months before my diagnosis.If you are a christian, read Jereimah 29:11, even if you are not a christian, you should read it. It got me thru everything. You can e-mail me at shelley1969 @bellsouth.net, if you have questions, I am a cordinator with the American Cancer Society,reach to recovery,which puts breast cancer patients in touch with other breast cancer patients, susan g koman website has info and I have been with relay for life for 10 years, my mama is a 11 yr bc survivor.I know you don't know me , but it helps to find people who have been thru it . trust me ihave been there and I have talked with lots of people. Shelley,North Carolina
  • ClareT
    ClareT Member Posts: 3
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    Hi: Certainly understand the "scared" part. I was devastated when I learned I had to have chemo. But now I view it like having a baby - you forget the worst parts of the delivery. I had a mastectomy in February and a tissue expander inserted for reconstruction later on. The drain was the worst thing about surgery. I was off work for 3 weeks, could have gone back sooner, but didn't want to deal with the drain at work. I slept in the Lazy Boy for at least 1 week after surgery - it was difficult to raise up out of bed. Make sure you have some button down shirts - easier to put on, plus doc instructions were to not raise my arms higher than shoulder level for 30 days.

    As far as the chemo I had both Adriamycin/ Cytoxin and then Taxol. I had my treatment on Tuesday's took off the rest of the week. The side effects for me were not that bad. The doctor prescribed Emend & Decadron following each treatment and I believe those two drugs really helped with the side effects because I really didn't have any nausea or vomiting. I did get acid reflux with Adriamycin/Cytoxin and had to eat more bland foods during this period of time. Also the Neulasta shot I got the day after my Adriamycin/Cytoxin treatment caused joint pain. My head also had this "full" kind of feeling. With Taxol though I didn't have the acid reflux and my appetite went back to normal.

    Alot of people advised me to make sure to not push yourself and to get enough rest and I took their advice. Also take the help. I was more tired especially the week of my treatment and the meals that friends and family provided were greatly appreciated.

    You will survive!

    Peace

    ClareT
  • jessicawinters
    jessicawinters Member Posts: 7
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    While I am not a breast cancer survivor, I am the granddaughter of a 3 time survivor and am a survivor myself of Hodgkin's. The scariest part for me and my grandma about starting chemo was the uncertainty because everyone IS different. I was going into my junior year in college when I started chemo treatments and to be honest they were easier to get through once I had classes to get though. My classes and meetings and things gave me something to be better for and so they kept me going. I gave my grandmother that advice - keep doing what you can do and just listen to your body to slow down if you need to. She is retired but runs a small antique store and with the help of my grandfather has kept it going pretty much all on her own (she is down to one treatment left! I am so proud of her!). Everyone is different, but because everything is so crazy at this time, it might add a bit of normalcy and stability to keep working, at least as long as you are feeling well enough to.

    And as far as that whole hair thing goes - that was one of the most traumatic things in my life - but like Kathi said, be proud of your BEAUTIFUL bald head! Let people stare and be jealous of how little time it takes to get ready in the morning.

    Good luck with everything and don't hesitate to email if you'd like someone to talk to!! I'll be thinking of you!!!
  • Baby13
    Baby13 Member Posts: 11
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    Hi Sweetie,
    I've been praying for you since I read your message. By the time you're out of surgery you'll have all kinds of love notes. Yeah! If you're anything like me and never had any surgery this is so scary, this too shall pass. Chemo- I did really well but I ditto everyone else, everyone is different. Up until I was diagnosed I never had any health problems so I think that because I was so healthy initially that may be why I handled it so well. Nausea meds are the bomb! I had 10 cycles of chemo and am now taking herceptin treatments every 3 weeks, I had a single mastectomy 11/06, radiation from january - february, did fine was tired first few weeks, and have been lately, All in all I have been truely blessed, as of 3 weeks ago I am officially cancer free. So I must say to you, it is a process, but as long as you have God, your family and friends and us you will do just fine, as for the water, drink tons of it, it helps to flush out the bad dead cells after chemo and just to cleanse the system. Just for the fun of it, your favorite music, fresh flowers, whatever makes your heart purr. I found solitude in painting. Find something that soothes your soul when nothing else does. My prayers are with you
  • Unknown
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    Hugs to you. For me, far and away the worst part of my two year treatment was the not knowing and waiting to get started on treatment. I too went through a double mastectomy, but only after first doing a lumpectomy (2000), chemo and radiation followed by a quick recurrence(2001). I found my friends and family sooooo supportive that the whole process was easier. I was able to continue teaching the entire time with only a day or two off after chemo treatments. Since everyone reacts differently, I don't want to tell you how it affected me other than to say it was much easier than I imagined. Everyone has suffered from the flu, and I simply imagined I had the flu following my chemo, and knew it would get better shortly. It also helped immensely to stay involved with teaching so I didn't obsess about my health. Six years later life is good, and I cherish each day. You will find you have strength and inner resources you never imagined. Good luck, God bless.
  • kit45
    kit45 Member Posts: 89
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    shelley05 said:

    My name is Shelley, i went through a double mastsectomy at the age of 36, followed by 6 chemos, taxotere, cytaxan,and adrimysin(red Devil-looks like red koolaid when going in), I could not work because I was very weak , I got chemo every 3 wks and only had a half decent week, the week before I did it again. I did lose my hair and it was tough but it will grow back and now it is curlier than ever before.Alittler darker than the orginial color. It is a scary process, but with family and the most important is Jesus Christ, he has to be in your life or I don't know where I would have been without Him, I was saved 8 months before my diagnosis.If you are a christian, read Jereimah 29:11, even if you are not a christian, you should read it. It got me thru everything. You can e-mail me at shelley1969 @bellsouth.net, if you have questions, I am a cordinator with the American Cancer Society,reach to recovery,which puts breast cancer patients in touch with other breast cancer patients, susan g koman website has info and I have been with relay for life for 10 years, my mama is a 11 yr bc survivor.I know you don't know me , but it helps to find people who have been thru it . trust me ihave been there and I have talked with lots of people. Shelley,North Carolina

    Shelley or anyone, I'm reaching out as I was diagnosed 9 days ago and am very scared. I have two boys, 14 and 11 and I don't know what to tell them as I am still in shock. Can you offer me any advice?