chemo questions

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madsters1
madsters1 Member Posts: 120
Hi all, I have IDC Stage II w/ lymphnode involvement(one). Have been advised to have 4 cycles Taxotere & Cytoxan followed by radiation and hormone therapy. I am still considering it. Can anyone who has had those particular drugs tell me #1- Will I need help? I am 48 years old with young children still at home. I have people "on standby" to come and help. #2- HOW did you deal with the humiliation of hair loss? I can't imagine being around people, especially I know. Seems I'd be under scrutiny. I'd just want to be as invisible as possible. Funny... strangers don't matter as much. I'm a basket case about the whole thing!!

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  • fighting4five
    fighting4five Member Posts: 71
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    I also have children the
    I also have children the youngest being 2 years old,I am 38. I nap when he naps,and sometimes I am lucky enough to get a nap when my Boyfriend gets home from work. I have mannaged to take care of kids,myself,cook and keep house and laundry clean myself. You will learn what is your good days and Bad days. Nutrition is VERY Important. Drink lots of water,Orange juice (for potasium) clear fluids, gatoraide. Eat lots of protien. Eggs or peanut buttur on apples are great ways to boost energy.
    I have had a bilateral mastectomy,tissue expanders put in. 11 Taxol (I was told Taxol is very close to Taxotere)4 Herceptin and today got my first of 4 f/a/c. None of it has been as bad as I had thought,however I would take all of the help that was offered. Take care of yourself and enjoy your children.They can help you get through this.(Mine do)

    As for the hair loss. 8 treatments in I got a very short pixie cut. I still have most of my hair. I have a few spots in the front that have thined a lot but it is more noticable to me than anyone else. The American cancer society has free wigs. Give them a call. I wear cute hats when I go outside or run to store.To start with I was very insecure about my hair,now it is not so important.I am a Breast cancer Fighter on my way to being a Survivor and I am proud! I even got a shirt that says "Yes they are fake...My real ones tried to kill me" I get so much support when I wear it. It kind of brakes the ice and make people feel like they can talk to me.
    You will be in my prayers. If you would like to chat just send me a message.

    Hugs
    Mary
  • HootieGirl
    HootieGirl Member Posts: 85
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    So I completely agree with
    So I completely agree with you about feeling humilitated and in a sense naked without hair. I was 19 years old when I was diagnosed, so my appearance was a big deal to me. Probably the most tears I ever shed was when my aunt shaved my head. It is just hair though, and the further along in treatments, the more you'll realize that in the grand scheme of things, it's not the end all be all. I wore a wig or a head scarf. I know everyone talks about buying fun wigs and enjoying changing up your look, I bought a long brown wig that looked exactly like my hair looked before. I didn't want to draw attention to the fact that I was sick. Although I didn't have the same chemo regimen that you will go through, just be prepared to be tired and sick sometimes and let your body rest. You can get through it though. Radiation in my opinion was easier because I wasn't as immunosuppressed and I felt less restricted. Talk to your doctor about special creams that you can use which will help with your treatments. If you have any questions or just want to vent, lay everything out here. Everyone wants to help in any way possible and there is bound to be someone who has gone through or is going through exactly what you're going through. Lots of prayers coming your way!!

    Kat
  • laughs_a_lot
    laughs_a_lot Member Posts: 1,368 Member
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    ???Help
    I am 55 and had stage 2 triple negative breast cancer and took those two drugs for two sets of 8 chemo treatments. I had some help in the fact that my 15 year old grand daughter stayed with me for about a month. It was when school was out and I had gone through a couple of chemos without her help. I have no children at home so I have less people to be responsible for but have a disabled husband who could help some with the work. I tried to do most of the work on the days I felt good and let things slide when I was not up to par. Suprisingly the last two chemos I had were not bad at all. I was able to do a little home canning durring that time. You don't say how old the kids are. Can the oldest one insure the clothing is ready the night before for the younger ones. You will probably feel ok to make the lunches for the kids.
  • skipper54
    skipper54 Member Posts: 936 Member
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    ???Help
    I am 55 and had stage 2 triple negative breast cancer and took those two drugs for two sets of 8 chemo treatments. I had some help in the fact that my 15 year old grand daughter stayed with me for about a month. It was when school was out and I had gone through a couple of chemos without her help. I have no children at home so I have less people to be responsible for but have a disabled husband who could help some with the work. I tried to do most of the work on the days I felt good and let things slide when I was not up to par. Suprisingly the last two chemos I had were not bad at all. I was able to do a little home canning durring that time. You don't say how old the kids are. Can the oldest one insure the clothing is ready the night before for the younger ones. You will probably feel ok to make the lunches for the kids.

    Didn't have kids at home to worry about but
    tried to keep to my "normal" schedule and routine as much as possible. The big concern is blood counts and picking up colds or flu so you'll have to be extra careful with kids in school etc. I had 4 rounds of a/c cocktail and 4 of taxotere and lost my hair right before the 2nd infusion. I had a wig for church and special meetings etc. but used scarvbes and hats most of the time, but nothing while at home. I was told to wear long dangling earrings to draw attention away from my head so had some great fun with those. I didn't feel too bad about the hair loss, just reminded myself it would grow back. And it did! It started while I was still on chemo. My onc was thrilled when my hair came out early. He siad it showed my body was receptive to the drugs and they were doing their job. Try to focus on that aspect. Sending {{{{{HUGS}}}}} and prayers your way!!!
  • Gabe N Abby Mom
    Gabe N Abby Mom Member Posts: 2,413
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    I was 48 at dx with a 14 yr
    I was 48 at dx with a 14 yr old and a 9 year old at home. I too had standby help, and I have a very supportive husband. I did taxotere, adriamycian, and cytoxan...6 rounds 3 weeks apart. It wasn't fun, but I got through it. As for needing help, that's hard to predict because we're all very different. I think you should accept help whether you need it or not...your friends and family want to help. It makes them feel that they are 'doing something' in a situation where they feel helpless. And it gives you a chance to focus on you and your healing.

    You say you are 'considering' the chemo...I feel compelled to point out that chemo is a systemic treatment. The logic behind chemo is that if there are other cancer cells in your lymph system (aside from the one node) or vascular system, it is chemo's job to hunt the nasty buggers down and kill them. The radiation therapy is localized, it will only attack cancer cells where the rads are applied.

    And yes, I went completely bald...no eyelashes, no eyebrows, no armpit hair, no leg hair, no hair anywhere...you get the idea. And yes, sometimes it was like wearing an advertisement that said 'she is sick, she's doing chemo". For comfort, I mostly wore hats. And yes, it is hard to come to terms with hair loss, but eventually you find a way.

    This is a difficult decision...know that whatever you decide, we are here to support you. We'll answer questions and give our advice, but do what is best for you.

    Hugs,

    Linda
  • Pam5
    Pam5 Member Posts: 232
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    I was 48 at dx with a 14 yr
    I was 48 at dx with a 14 yr old and a 9 year old at home. I too had standby help, and I have a very supportive husband. I did taxotere, adriamycian, and cytoxan...6 rounds 3 weeks apart. It wasn't fun, but I got through it. As for needing help, that's hard to predict because we're all very different. I think you should accept help whether you need it or not...your friends and family want to help. It makes them feel that they are 'doing something' in a situation where they feel helpless. And it gives you a chance to focus on you and your healing.

    You say you are 'considering' the chemo...I feel compelled to point out that chemo is a systemic treatment. The logic behind chemo is that if there are other cancer cells in your lymph system (aside from the one node) or vascular system, it is chemo's job to hunt the nasty buggers down and kill them. The radiation therapy is localized, it will only attack cancer cells where the rads are applied.

    And yes, I went completely bald...no eyelashes, no eyebrows, no armpit hair, no leg hair, no hair anywhere...you get the idea. And yes, sometimes it was like wearing an advertisement that said 'she is sick, she's doing chemo". For comfort, I mostly wore hats. And yes, it is hard to come to terms with hair loss, but eventually you find a way.

    This is a difficult decision...know that whatever you decide, we are here to support you. We'll answer questions and give our advice, but do what is best for you.

    Hugs,

    Linda

    I was on taxotere and
    I was on taxotere and cytoxan. Unfortunately it affected my lungs badly and I had to go off. I may go back on it. Remember to chew crushed ice throughout the actual administration of the chemo - it made all the difference in the world in terms of mouth sores - once I learned about that I didn't get the sores. I didn't have any other side effects except for the lung issue but I'm a pretty serious asthmatic. I would get a little tired about three days after the treatment but just took it easy. I had no trouble eating, drinking, or doing anything else as long as I could breathe. As for the hair - I didn't lose my eyebrows or eyelashes but I am completely bald. I have a lot of beautiful scarves which I played with until I found the best style for me. I use the rectangle ones because they wrap better. Also I found silk is to slippery. My chemo was in the summer and I found wigs too hot. I wear a lot of fun earrings and I make sure I have makeup on every day. I will probably wear some cloche hats this fall when it gets cooler.

    Hang in there with all this - it will pass.

    Hugs,
    Pam
  • mamolady
    mamolady Member Posts: 796 Member
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    chemo and kids
    I had 5 months of chemo. (4 AC and 12 taxol) I was able to stay home from work but I still had my 7 year old grand daughter to take care of. Mostly it depends on how you react to the chemo. If the kids are in school, then you have that time to rest. There were a couple of days during the rounds that were hard to get out of bed. But for the most part it is doable. Be good to yourself and let people help.
    As to the hair, I used bandanas and beanies. Some people use wigs, some scarves or hats. Try a couple different things until you find what works. See if you can get to a "look good, feel better" class through the American Cancer Society. Call their 800 number.
    All the best,
    Cindy