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First Chemo Treatment

Posts: 1
Joined: Apr 2002

OK - the subject line was easy - now I have to find a way to articulate the overwhelming feelings I'm having!

As a result of a routine mammogram (Feb '02), I found that I became the reluctant owner of a lump in my breast. A flurry of activity folowed - ultrasound, mammatome biopsy, and surgery (lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy). I was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma - Stage 2, grade 3.

I began chemo yesterday (AC) and have not yet begun to experience any side affects that the doctor mentioned, with the exception of insomnia. I have always suffered from insomnia so I'm not sure that chemo is really to blame.

OK - now that you know that I'm an incredibly wordy person...

I was wondering, is depression is a side affect of chemo? I have a great support system and haven't really felt depressed. However, this morning (3am) I had the beginnings of a headache (like a very mild case of brain freeze - like when you drink something too cold), followed by a bout of tears. Not crying over anything in particular - just crying. What's up with that???

BTW - I was delighted to find this site and am looking forwarded to conversing with all.


Posts: 931
Joined: Oct 2000

Hi Maureen! Welcome to this site! It's a great place to talk ,cry, laugh whatever makes you feel better. There are alot of wonderful ladies on this site that can answer a multitude of questions. I never had chemo so I can't give you any specific answers to those questions but I can tell you that depression is very normal considering what you have gone through and what you will be going through. Don't be afraid to cry! Many people are taking a mild antidepressants and getting major relief from that. Talk to your MD if it continues! Insist on medication if you feel it's needed. Be proactive. It's your body and your life. I will pray for you! Keep in touch. You can e-mail me here or at RPT1206@aol.com. HUGS!! Cathy

Posts: 98
Joined: Apr 2002

Hi Maureen. Welcome to the site. I just joined this week, and am already so glad I did. I had my first chemo treatment in Feb. of 1998 and I can still remember it like yesterday. Although I didn't experience the physical side effects of the medicines that day, I did experience a multitude of emotions. I went up and down from anxiety to depression to sadness to anger all day and night. I think it is very normal to feel the things you are feeling. I'm pretty sure we all went through it. I'm sending a prayer your way, and I would be glad to chat anytime you would like to. You can email me at ludasuesnout@yahoo.com. Good luck and God bless, Angie

Posts: 1416
Joined: Mar 2001

As I go back it seems prevalent that depression is part of the whole cancer experience. Just the waiting for diagnosis can be enough do drive any sane human up the pole. Through chemo and radiation all the cells that are affected and yes we are talking on a cellular level so it is no wonder our bodies are affected hormonally too with menopause often rearing its ugly head in the process. I will repeat something I once heard and it was something like this. It is so difficult for those who haven't experienced the pain for some cancer victums because the pain is too deep to imagine, it is on a cellular level. I say too deep to imagine physically, mentally and spiritually.
I found the support of the women here long after my fight for my life. I am stage 3 with plenty of node involvement and am now a 5 year survivor. I am so glad so many of you are able to find it through your treatments because talking is very good.
Look forward to your participation.
Be good to yourself,
Now that you have found us you will soon see that there doesn't seem to be an experience yet that someone hasn't had or read about.

Posts: 2
Joined: Apr 2002

Hi Tara,
My name is Lydia and I honestly don't know what I am doing! My mother was just diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Adenocarcinoa. A type of breast cancer. Although she is the one that was diagnosed on March 28th (fairly recent)I feel like I am the one going through it. Since you are a 5-year survivor do you think that you can give me some advice on how to help her. I would appreciate any help you can offer.

Posts: 682
Joined: Feb 2001

Whoa! You've just had your first chemo yesterday - good reason to have mixed emotions and a feeling of you're not sure what! The tears could be relief for having gotten thru the first AC.

As I remember in Feb 01 - the day after my first chemo I had a headache too - and it hung around for maybe two days - mild - but I was so glad I did not throw up - as I had worried about- that the headache was not a bother. It did not occur with the other three.

Keep taking your anti-nausea meds as you were probably told for the three days after chemo - as prevention. Don't wait to see if you'll need them - then it's too late.

Before you know it, treatments will be over and you can sigh in relief.

Good Luck! Welcome!

Posts: 2
Joined: Apr 2002

Good morning Maureen
My name is Lydia and I am the daughter of a wonderful woman who was just diagnosed with the Invasive Ductal Andenocarcinoma. I believe it is the same breast cancer you were diagnosed with. She is also a grade 3. We just found out about it on March 28, 2002. My mom is still going through all the tests. She has to have a CT Scan next week and will begin her Chemo on the 29th of April. I am having a hard time helping her because I live so far away although I was with her for the initial diagnosis. She is going through a very hard time and unfortunately has already come to the conclusion that she is NOT going to beat this. Do you have any advice on how I should approach this issue. My family (sisters and all) want to be there for her but we find ourselves being pushed away. It is especially hard for me because I can't just run over to her house (especially when she keeps hanging up on me). I would appreciate any advice. Thank you and You keep your head up because you WILL beat this.. Lydia

Posts: 14
Joined: Feb 2002

Welcome Maureen,
I think there's definitely a slang expression that applies to this site and is really why we get such great support to our requests, i.e.,"been there, done that". My B.C. was also discovered through routine mamo but back last November. Went through same test, biopsies, surgery etc as you to reach a dx of Stage 2 Invasive Ductal and Lobal Carcinoma. At least I think that's what I have: French doctors are not as forthcoming as American doctors and the report is hard to figure out. Began (AC) chemo on January 25th. I didn't have much nausea but headaches the first day or two. And yes, also periods of crying and anger. I've now had second chemo on March 18th with less headaches and less depression. I'm now waiting for 3rd chemo - delayed a week because of low blood count. That's one thing I wasn't expecting - that the chemo would be delayed. I just want to get this treatment over with and get on with things. The doctor didn't prepare me for this. However, from reading postings on this site I see it's pretty common (just so you're forewarned). I'm also surprised to hear that insomnia is a side effect. I'm so tired the first week after each chemo all I do is sleep, sleep, sleep. But then I never had any problems with insomnia before.
One side-effect that the Dr did mention and which definitely happens especially with AC is hair falling out. It started with me around end of week 3 and was very depressing. Until I finally decided to get mad instead of depressed and had it all shaved off. Feels better to be the one taking action instead of having action done to you against your will! I got a wig but actually hate it and feel much better in bonnets, scarves and turbans.
Well, I think you can see that you're not the only wordy person around. Feel free to email at pecq@wanadoo.fr or on this site. I check it almost every day. With the time difference with the states I don't usually have any difficulty getting on it.

Posts: 10
Joined: Mar 2002

Hi Maureen!

God Bless you! I remember starting chemo, AC also...You'll find the steriods they give you to help with side affects will keep you up at night, as will the anti-nausea meds.

I can only echo the others who have responded, you have been and will be going through a lot. If your looking for a reason for the tears, don't, there are far to many for you to worry about, from your emotions, to fatigue, from sleeplessness to the chemo. Just know that it is completely normal.

The depression will come, don't try to fight it or pretend that it's not there, it to is normal. If being told you have breast cancer doesn't deserve a good cry and some depression then I don't know what does.

We're here for you. And we're glad you found us!

Take Care!

Posts: 119
Joined: Apr 2002

Hi my name is Judy and yes crying is a part of it. This is o.k. I sure have my crying times too. I think anyone with this diease is entitled to cry, so you go right ahead. Judy

Posts: 3
Joined: Apr 2002

as a SIX year survivor of bc, i can still remember all the moods and feelings i went through. yes depression and anger is a big part of your feelings, along with 'why me lord?' what did i do so bad in life that you are doing this to me? its all normal. the best advice i can give all of you is to get a sense of humor! i mean it, watch comedies, laugh,joke about it. it helps ease the tension you and your love ones are going through. i know you are thinking she sick! i was sick, and i needed to feel better and i started to joke around, i also remembered that my cancer was cut-able, and cure-able, if i got into the right frame of mind. I had a hard time with the chemo, my best friend became the toliet. the "porcelin God" after every treatment we met! but i was a smart girl, before every treatment i ate pancakes, and drank a lot of water. so when it was time to meet the porcelin god, i had something to offer. too many people don't force themselves to eat, and wind up in the hospital with throat or stomach problems, or loose to much weight and become malnutrition. Also home-made chicken soup goes down easily, and has a lot of good stuff in it. On my off week, my doctor allow me to have a glass of wine, that helped too, i tried to be as normal as i could. i was a single mom, and i had to live for my child!
(zanfire) as far as your mother, give her time to adjust, remind her what she has to live for., the love of a grand child works wonders, send pictures have the kids make drawings, let her know she is needed. every cancer center has counselors to work with her and you. use them, and us! remember your not a lone, even through you feel like you are!

Posts: 2
Joined: Apr 2002

Dear Maureen,

Oh, sweetie, it is going to be okay. You and I have almost the identical diagnosis. Don't feel self conscious or think that you are being "wordy". You a a billion things going on in your mind right now and 3 am is exactly when it was the most bleak for me as well. That is when the tears really flowed. It is not easy but it is all part of the process. I have been cancer free for almost 5 years and you are going to get through this by being tough and leaning on your friends, hopefully I might be one of them. I'm available any time and I will check my email daily in case you want to write. You are in my prayers starting right now and no matter what, things DO get better! Take care, my friend!!

Love, Allison "aandries1223@aol.com"

Posts: 2
Joined: Apr 2002

Maureen, I just had my last chemo on Mon 4/15. I am at home from teaching for the week hoping to recover from the cumulative effects. I gave up on a full night's sleep at my first treatment in Dec. (I had 6 over 18 weeks) My depression was only at the beginning of chemo and occasional mild bouts throughout. I would cry at just about anything-sad or happy. Now that I've finished chemo and will start radiation in a few weeks it seems to have started all over. (I am crying as I write!) Zofran helped with the nausea, but gave me really bad headaches-I tried to only take it if I couldn't stand the feeling any longer. Tylenol PM worked if needed for the insomnia, but I am so sick of being on meds I try to get through the sleeplessness w/o it. Good luck through it all!

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