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nearly through with chemo

kathleenss's picture
kathleenss
Posts: 49
Joined: Nov 2006

I have been a real trooper through the first 9 of 12 folfox treatments. I'm elated that there are only 3 left. I worked full time through all of it. I kept a wonderful attitude. Why am I now terrified of next Tuesday's chemo session? Why, when I'm nearly at the end, have I suddenly lost my good attitude? I absolutely dread the last 3 sessions, and I don't know why. Is this unusual?

catherine58's picture
catherine58
Posts: 92
Joined: Feb 2007

Hello Kathleen

I've only just completed round 4 of Folfox and am already dreading the next one, so I think you've done marvellously to get to round 9 with such a positive attitude.

Have you asked your oncologist whether it is really necessary to do 12? I am scheduled to do 10. My oncologist tells me they are about to run a clinical trial here (in the UK) reducing the number of cycles from 12 to 6, which he doesn't feel happy about (everything in our National Health Service is cost-related!) but he thinks 10 would be a good compromise (bearing in mind the potential long term damage to nerves, heart, kidneys etc). He told me that "quite frankly, we don't know the optimum number of cycles". I gather that over the years they have reduced the standard chemo for breast cancer from 52 to 18 weeks without affecting the survival statistics. Lots of people on this board have called it a day after less than 12 cycles and when I raised this subject in an earlier post someone mailed me to say Sloan Kettering are only doing 10 as standard (don't want to leave this page to double check my mail but I think that's what it was).

Hope this helps.

Best wishes, Catherine

peacegift2002's picture
peacegift2002
Posts: 16
Joined: Apr 2004

kathleen, the first time I was this close to finishing, I felt similar. It was kinda like graduation - the end of something, and the beginning of something else new and scary. So it is normal, and healthy. I found it scary to think that I was on the way to getting my life back! And if they aren't checking me every week what if it comes back? That's how I felt. But I just kept going. And I got used to the 3/6month schedule, and managed to get my life back... well, ok, mine came back, but that is another story. Just to address your question, you are indeed normal!

kmygil
Posts: 881
Joined: Feb 2007

Hi Kathleen. I totally get it. Keeping up the good face and being strong helped me deal with everything, but after 7 folfox treatments it seemed to catch up with me and it was scarier each remaining time. I think we just are a lot more physically and mentally weary even though we may not acknowledge it, and we don't have as much oomph. This is when the whole thing actually penetrates your consciousness, and you realize what a scary thing you are dealing with. All I can tell you is to listen very closely to your body--it will let you know if you really cannot do any more. Once you get to this stage, it is a tremendous act of courage and faith to show up for each treatment, but you have been a hero this far, and if you can, finish. I'm cheering you on!
Bless you,
Kirsten

sladich's picture
sladich
Posts: 430
Joined: May 2007

I think you are feeling the normal anxiety. When I finished with my chemo treatments, I felt a sense of loss. I was afraid that I was no longer treating my cancer and the fear was overwhelming. Hang in there. It gets better.

Sam725
Posts: 87
Joined: Nov 2006

Kathleen,
Boy do you sound like my husband. He got thru his first 9 treatments no problem and then when the 10th one came up he was really scared. We talked alot about it and I went with him just for support and he got thru it. He has his last treatment next week and he is already talking about it and what happens next. I think he is wondering once the chemo stops will the cancer come back, (he was a stage 2 no nodes)I think it all winds down to the fear of the unknown once again. Life after cancer....

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