what can I expect now that Im done with chemo

britches Member Posts: 10
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
I was just wondering what other's found after chemo. I have joint pain all the time, Im not sure if this is normal or not? Im also getting sick alot easier with colds and such... well if u care to share with me i would love to know what u are going through or if u could help me? I also dont sleep much anymore and was wondering if that seems normal? thanks


  • jake10
    jake10 Member Posts: 202
    I didn't have to have th chemo so I can't offer any advice on those after effects, but the sleeping I can. I didn't sleep well following surgery and months latter I still couldn't sleep. I finally got some Ambien and I take it 2-3 nights a week. The further away from Diagnosis the better I sleep but some nights I just can't fall asleep. I don't feel any after effects the next day either. I just wake up feeling refreshed, kind of like the commercial. good Luck, Beth
  • cocotann
    cocotann Member Posts: 3
    I went through 4 cycles of chemo and had the growth factor shots to keep me going. I too had pain and didn't sleep well. However, its been almost 3 years since I completed the treatments and I guarantee there is definitely life after cancer! The pain will lessen and your immune system will kick in. As for the not sleeping, you might want to try some sleep aids to help with that. Again, all your anxiety will die down over time and a sense of peace will return! God Bless.
  • TylersMom1
    TylersMom1 Member Posts: 57
    Hi Britches,
    I completed my chemo almost one year ago. I had joint pain during my chemo but not after. I attribute alot of my feeling good to keeping as active as possible during and after treatment. I know it is hard, but even just a little walk on days you are really hurting helped me tremendously.

    As far as not sleeping, my doctor prescribed Tylenol PM, which you can buy over the counter, and that helped.

    Hope this helps, and hope you are feeling better soon...Cheryl
  • hummingbyrd
    hummingbyrd Member Posts: 950 Member
    Expect almost anything, literally. Chemo is one of those things where 'the cure is worse than the cause', almost.
    If you are on tamoxifen that may be causing your joint pain, however I'm not, I take aromasin. I'm 42 and I get up like my 84 year old grandma. Joints are stiff, but they loosen up quickly.
    I have a hard time with sleeping so I take a xanex at bedtime, same dose past 3 years. Diagnosed June 2000 and completed chemo April 2001
    I don't know that I'll ever sleep again without help.
    My memory is not what it used to be, I don't think, not sure, I've forgotten what it used to be. LOL That's 'chemobrain' for you.
    I don't tan, don't burn, but don't tan either. Doc says that's a good thing. Huh? Personally I like a nice tan, but hey minor detail.
    As far as colds go, initially you probably are more susceptible. I avoided heavy crowds, especially in small places with poor ventilation i.e. theaters, malls, subways...When you go shopping take a pen with you for signing checks or credit card reciepts. Think, when you use a pen at a check out stand how many before you have sneezed, coughed, etc. and then picked up that same pen. In a public restroom after you wash your hands turn faucet off with the paper towel, open door with paper towel, then chunk it in the trash. These things are just basic infection control procedures taught in med school.
    Lastly, if you chew your nails or put your fingers in mouth or around lips don't, you just ate some germs. Yumm, yumm! LOL Also talk to your doc about the flu vaccine and the pneumonia shot. Flu is yearly, pneumonia is 1x and then set for life.
    Hope this helps, God bless and good health. hummingbyrd
  • rizzo15
    rizzo15 Member Posts: 153 Member
    Sleeping used to be one of my favorite "hobbies" before all those rounds of chemo. Now I can count on one hand the number of times I have overslept or taken an unexpectedly long nap in the past year. I figure that as long as I don't get so tired that I get into traffic accidents or something, I'll look on the bright side and get some extra chores or reading accomplished. All the hip and leg joint pain after chemo and neupogen injections pretty much went away after 6 months for me. Even at its worse, I found that laying still or sitting still was tremendously more painful than moving around--whether at work, shopping, or at home. Now I am fighting a minor case of frozen shoulder that sometimes keeps me awake even with a low dose of vicodin (1.5 pills a day--I'd call that a really low dose, but it usually works). I had been reading some posts elsewhere, where women were saying that their post-chemo joint pain lasted up to 4 years. I try to ride my bike at least 2 times per week (4-5 miles each time). That might have helped my leg joint recovery.
  • bullfrog13
    bullfrog13 Member Posts: 213
    Dear Britches, Im not sure how long you have been off chemo, but I am guessing it has been recently. I too had joint pian ALL the time! They gave me celebrex (im sure I spelled it wrong) to take and it helped TONS and tons! However, I am sure that extra 80 pounds I carred around didnt help much either. About a month after my last treatment I started losing weight and started some moderate exercises and it has helped. I still do not sleep and probably will forever have bad dreams about the cancer journey. I too have been given ambien-which did next to nothing- i do take tylenol PM (the one this just for sleeping -forget proper name) which helps some.

    Much luck and God Bless
  • DeeNY711
    DeeNY711 Member Posts: 476 Member
    At the end of six months of chemotherapy, I also had major pain in hips and low back. However, two months after finishing, I am beginning to feel a LOT better, and returned to the gym for an hour a day Mon -->Fri this week with the doctor's permission. I have trouble sleeping also, especially when there is some confusion or mess in processing the endless bills and insurance claims associated with catestrophic illness. I think the colds and stuff may simply be the time of year. Recalling now that when my children were young, the germfest started in October, it was always an iffy thing whether they would be able to go trick or treating or travel during Thanksgiving week. Hope this helps. Love, Denise
  • cammie
    cammie Member Posts: 102
    Hello Again - Ambein is a great sleep med. I don't take it every night, but some nights you have to. It is not that expensive. Celebrex however will cost a fortune. Try and get samples if you choose to use that for pain relief on the joints. I found that a magnetic sole in my shoes has helped a lot. I don't understand why, but someone gave them to me, and I love them. As for the question what can I expect now - A LONG BEAUTIFUL LIFE!!!!!! You have made it girl!!! Your at the top of the mountain Enjoy. Love Cammie
  • inkblot
    inkblot Member Posts: 698 Member
    Hi britches:

    It's so great to have chemo behind yourself! Congrats on coming through well.

    I'd say that what you can expect is to feel wonderful. You've survived!

    I think that aches coming and going are only sometimes part of the general physical experience which follows chemo. Certain pains are more common with different chemo regimens but then, our bodies are each unique and respond differently. I know a lot of women, just like me, who didn't have any pains.

    I'd suggest that you not expect/anticipate ANY physical pains. Just wait and see what your experience will be. Work on relaxing and discovering the new and wonderful you. As you shed the pains/fears... physical and emotional, of your bc experience and find your best perspective, you'll again feel balanced and whole. Just have patience with yourself. Rome wasn't built in a day.

    The colds may simply be due to your weakened immune system which will strengthen with some time. Eat well, (consider consulting with an nutritionist) get plenty of rest and exercise and be grateful for each new day!

    Good luck and best wishes!

    Love, light and laughter,
  • epgnyc
    epgnyc Member Posts: 137
    I had terrible joint pain after finishing chemo/radiation and I'm not even on Tamoxifen (ER negative). My oncologist said some people just get these arthritis symptons (my pain was in my hips, knees and ankles) and that it was hard to say when it would clear up (days/months/years) but that it definitely would clear up. Mine was pretty crippling. He said he'd prescribe Viox or Celebrex if I wanted, but the last thing I wanted was to start taking another medication so I opted to take glucosamine instead. Low and behold four months after finishing chemo my joint pain mostly cleared up. What a relief! Now I'm 7 months out from treatment and am finally feeling like my old self.....pain gone, energy back and sleeping well. I guessing you're pretty recently out of treatment and like I was are itching to get back to normal (whatever that is!). It just takes time. Good Luck. Ellen