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chemo starts soon-HELP

dela's picture
Posts: 4
Joined: Jul 2002

Hi everone. Had a mastectomy on July 23rd. Chemo to start on 8/15. Don't really know what to expect. My husband and children are more worried than I. What can I expect? Thanks for your help. Del

Posts: 119
Joined: Apr 2002

Hi Del. I have been on chemo now for almost 3 years. So far I have never been sick with it. I do get very tired sometimes. You will more than likely lose your hair. I did and I choose to wear hats instead of a wig. Now days they give you alot of meds to keep it from making you so sick. Good luck and you are in my prayers. Judy PS you can e-mail if you like evansj22@bellsouth.net

Posts: 26
Joined: May 2002

Just wanted to give you some encouragement. I just finished chemo in 4/02 with five weeks of radiation. I have young children also 4 and 11. I had chemo every three weeks for from November to April. You will feel some nausea but they gave me a prescription that seems to ward it off. I had my chemo on Tuesday and usually by Friday, Sat, Sun I was pretty tired and starting feeling better by Monday. I still could function i.e. do family things around the house. I lost my hair by the second reatment. Feel free to send me an email djbohland@amplex.net. Love to chat. Hang in there. I did it so can you! Love ptomom

Posts: 11
Joined: Jul 2002

Hi Dela-I had my mastectomy on the 18th. Pathology report was quite bad-23 out of 23 nodes positive. 7cm tumor...I go on the 5th to find out when my chemo and radiation start-I'm terrified. Would love to share any experiences or just chat.

Posts: 23
Joined: Feb 2002

Hi Del..chemo is no fun..but neither was surgery. Somehow we manage to get through whatever it takes to get us well again. I only had 4 chemo treatments of adriamyacin and cytoxin last year. Lost my hair in 4 weeks. Bought a bunch of hats and a wig. I wore the hats every day to work. If you lose your hair..try to have fun with it..better than feeling sorry for yourself. Anyhow..when you start chemo..you'll be counting the visits until your last one and then a sigh of relief. You may feel some mild nausea and tiredness, but it passes. take the meds they give you...it helps. Take it one step at a time, this too will someday be a distant memory. The first day of chemo I came home and felt great...cooked and everything. The second & third day I slept a lot to get through the nausea feelings. After the 3rd day, I felt fine again. I guess we're all different but this is how mine went. you can e-mail me at kkerst@adelphia.net if you want. I'll be praying that you get through this with minimal discomfort. God bless. Tell your husband and children not to worry. Kathie.

Posts: 183
Joined: Nov 2001

Hi Del,
It will be 2 years this November since I finished chemo. I think everyones body reacts different to the chemo. The first 4 treatments were Ad/Cy and I did get nausea but they gave me meds. to help with that. My problem was I kept getting dehydrated so I would have to go in and get IVs, so make sure you drink lots of water. My last four treatments were Taxol and it just made me very tired out for about a week after I had it.I will be praying for you as you start treatment and feel free to email me if you like. Let us know how you are doing.Take care of you and rest when you feel the need.
God Bless

Posts: 15
Joined: Jun 2002

Hi Del-

Good advice from the group here.

I am assuming you have not discussed the procedures yet with your oncologist? I think mine spent over two hours going through teh whys and wherefores and about side effects. I STILL wanted to ask and chat with others that have/had first hand experience. Doctors can be good with the dry basics but not always with the practicalities of LIVING with the treatments...and emotions we are going through.
One thing I have learned to respect is that everyone IS different- unique in some ways with how the treatments affect them- BUT there are more commonalities with dealing with the treatments than there are differences. SO again- good to chat with other BC survivors! Seems to me we have about every possible circumstance represented on this board :)
I am finishing up my chemo cycles on August 7th - taking Adriamycin and Cytoxan. Lost hair about the 14th day - but not all of it. That was big deal- read the archives for other reports on this IF you are taking a drug that can cause hair loss- but not THAT a big a deal. Only bad for a couple days then you move on. I have heard some adorable stories of mothers with smaller children and how they handled this phase! It doesnt have to be all doom and gloom- depending on attitude. That is what you will hear the most here- ATTITUDE really can affect how this will go for you and your family. Stay busy and involved and realize that it WILL pass- this time- and you will all be much happier and less sick.

The chemo - at least my expereince- has been that the day of the treatment really isnt bad at all. Worst thing, honestly, is the time it takes to get it all done. (I am not the only one who has mentioned that an appt at 8:15, for example, does not mean you will start then. On days I have just bloodwork-which takes maybe 5 minutes? I am STILL there for at least an hour or more. This is a time to relearn patience skills and relaxation techniques! I bring a bag with me each time with my CD player and tapes (music as well as audio books), at least 2 bottles of water, lemon drops or some other hard candy to suck on, a power bar, a book or magazines AND my Journal. Please do start a journal now if you havent already. It makes fascinating reading later on- I can testify to that already. I record everything in there- when I take pills or have tests. Problems to discuss with my husband or doctor or nurses. Good things. Bad things. EVERY thing.

Anyway- as far as sickness/side effects (which seems to be biggest concern for newer patients)there seem to be a couple days after the treatment that are mostly YUCK days- just a sick kind of feeling- no vomiting. The meds they have nowadays are really amazing- and if the one they try first doesnt do so good a job- they do have others that might work better for YOU.

Depending on the drugs that are recommended you might also need or want to consider- installing an implanted catheter- lots of us that take Adriamycin have those. (If you need more info on those please write me directly and I will send you my internet links and info that I have saved. Write to Ldrunnrmom@aol.com)

Sometimes you can get low blood count levels- but the office will be monitoring you weekly (probably) for that and again- there's a plan if that happens.

I guess best thing is to do your research- be informed as you can be about what the dr is talking about for your particular cancer and stage etc- and ask lots of questions.

Best of luck to you and come to us if you have specific questions or you just need to "let it all hang out". Personally I dont ask myself to be "Mary Sunshine" ALL the time - it is natural to be upset or frustated- just dont let yourself get too wrapped up in that or in a rut. Give yourself permission to take fifteen minutes (or whatever seems reasonable) and just go ahead and feel sorry for yourself about the situation. Ask all the whys you want and cry if you feel like it. Then pick yourself back up and get on with your life. This IS crummy- no doubt about it to get a diagnosis like this is scary and crummy. But you cant be about the cancer- that is not you, really.

I am sure I didnt express that very well - just hope you can understand- you are still you and need to remember that!

Hugs to you and your family. You will do FINE.


heavenlee's picture
Posts: 113
Joined: Apr 2002

Hi Del,
I finished 5 cylcles of AC 5 weeks ago ( 3 weeks before my baby was born). I had no side effects other than being more tired...and losing my hair...and my bowel movements were all wacked out. I was able to take all nausea medications before the treatments and took Zofran
for the 2 days following the treatments.
I wish you the best of luck...if I got thru it being pregnant, you will do great! God Bless and feel free to email me ahaney@elp.rr.com

Posts: 1416
Joined: Mar 2001

I think the first thing you all have to do is stop worrying because that is the worst thing for you all. Easier said than done and have heard of ways to strengthen the family ties we have. I have heard of families praying together and talking together, speaking of the fears so they don't seem so bad. Every notice once you talk about things they seem alittle less of a burden. I talk all the time and am so grateful that I have learned to communicate my fears and problems. I would hate to walk around with it all bundled up inside of me with not way out. I find this site great for dumping all you feel so that you aren't carrying it around with you all the time. Accepting it and then letting it go is something we must all be working on doing.
You will soon see that chemo is doable and you will be glad to have that phase over and done with. Rest as much as you can and drink lots of water more than 8 glasses is best. Think about flushing the crap out of you each and every day. As the cells die you are washing them away. Drink your nutrition if you can't eat it. Weight on your bones is what one has to fight things with. Energy is needed to fight and nutrition is how we get our energy. Some are lucky to continue daily life but my experience was I was to sick to work, especially my physical job. It took all I had to get up and do the daily life. But you know I did it. So can you, You will...
Be good to yourself,

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