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1st Chemo tomorrow...don't think I can do it

jaavon2002's picture
jaavon2002
Posts: 57
Joined: Feb 2009

I don't think I can do this. I have been crying for the past two days and I know I will go into the facility tomorrow crying. I don't know how or what to feel about having to receive chemo. I am terrified of not taking care of myself properly to maintain/control the side effects. I don't want to be sick. I don't want to feel bad and/or tired. I am scared about the whole situation, actually. I'm tired of crying, my eyes lashes hurt...but I can't stop. I'm still at the why me, what did I do stage even though I'm passed the lumpectomy and port insertion.

mimivac's picture
mimivac
Posts: 2147
Joined: Dec 2008

Aw, Jaavon. Many, many of us were frightened out of our minds by the first chemo. It's so scary to think about, both physically and emotionally. But, I will tell you this -- the anticipation is much worse than the procedure. I promise you. Most people feel nothing during treatment. It's just like sitting in a room for a few hours, reading or sleeping. It's normal to be scared, but you will find the strength. You've already been through half the battle -- surgery. Now, it's up to you to complete your treatment and ensure that you live a full and happy life with your loved ones.

As for taking care of yourself, take control. Make lists, write down your medication times and symptoms. Your doctor will try to do something about every complaint you have. A lot of my symptoms have actually lessened in time as I've learned to control them better. It's a learning process, but you soon become a pro. I promise that everything will be fine. You just need to get past this first hurdle. It will get easier after this.

Best,

Mimi

Marcia527's picture
Marcia527
Posts: 2749
Joined: Jul 2006

I was scared too. I never went through the 'why me' stage. I did sit and think what I'd done to get breast cancer and I concluded that I had done nothing. The surgeon said it best, "Sometimes bad things happen to good people."

Try to get support to help you get through this. We will be here too. Just take one day at a time.

ohilly
Posts: 446
Joined: Jan 2008

You CAN do it! For me, chemo was not that bad at all: I had four treatments of Taxotere/Cytoxan. The only side effects I had were hair loss and a bad taste in my mouth (the bad taste went away after the chemo and the hair grew back, although thinner than I would like). I worked the whole time and did not feel nauseous or tired at all.

I remember crying a lot when I was first diagnosed: I didn't know anything about breast cancer and my first reaction was: am I going to die? Now I know people can and do survive cancer all the time. I can't say I never think about recurrence, but it doesn't preoccupy my every waking thought and I am doing okay. You will be, too.

I will be thinking of you!

Ohilly

tgf's picture
tgf
Posts: 954
Joined: Mar 2009

Hi Jaavon ...

I am one of the biggest chickens on earth. I hate needles and the thought of chemo terrified me. I could't imagine a PORT. YUK! But ... after reading many postings on this discussion board and talking to friends ... I realized that the port was the best way to go and I had mine "installed" March 6th. I scheduled my first chemo on Friday ... March 13th. Yes ... Friday the 13th ... because it was also my 65th birthday. Being the biggest weenie around I asked for all sorts of suggestions to help me get through it. One of the most important things that helped me was EMLA cream. Several postings mentioned it and I called my oncologist and got a prescription. You blob it on the port an hour before your appointment and cover it with a waterproof bandage and by the time the nurse gets ready to hook you up to the IV ... the spot is numb. I honestly did not feel a thing. Also ... since I do tend to get very anxious about needles etc. my oncologist also prescribed xanax ... so I took one of those an hour before my appointment. I also took some CDs and earphones. The first IV they gave me had benedryl in it ... so it wasn't long ... between the xanax, benedryl and CD ... I actually fell asleep. I must have slept about an hour ... and when I woke up ... I put on a peppy CD ... grabbed my knitting .. and passed the rest of the time. Where I go they also have individual TVs with earphones ... so that may help to take your mind off of things. Taking something to read or crossword puzzles might also help. But ... I certainly would check into the EMLA cream and xanax.

I felt fine after the treatment but when I got home I took one of my anti-nausea pills (zofran) ... just in case. I also took a tylenol PM that night and slept very well. Since I have a great fear of nausea ... I took the zofran the following day also ... just to be safe ... but never did feel sick.

You will do just fine ... and you will be amazed at how really strong you are. We all know you can do it ... and we'll be thinking of you tomorrow. So ... if it starts to get rough ... just imagine hundreds and hundreds of women giving you big hugs of support ... and you'll be just fine.

Let us know how it goes ...

hugs.
Teena

mmontero38's picture
mmontero38
Posts: 1532
Joined: Dec 2007

We are all afraid of the unknown. But go in there fighting. Remind yourself you are kicking any stray cancer cells in the butt!!!!. You CAN do it and it is DOABLE. Tomorrow when you are sitting in the chair, feel our presence surrounding you. We will all be there in spirit with you. Make sure you drink lots of fluids and take the nausea medicine even if you don't feel sick. It's better to be a step ahead and not try to catch up with it. Hugs, Lili

CR1954's picture
CR1954
Posts: 1393
Joined: Jul 2008

I also was terrified of chemo. Heck, I was afraid every step of the way. And it seems that many friends and relatives were happy to tell me all kinds of horror stories regarding their experiences with chemo.

But onward I marched! I made sure that I took the anti-nausea meds, regardless of how I felt. And I also told my doctor about any discomforts that I had along the way, and he was quick to give me something to resolve them.
I didn't have many problems during A/C, aside from the usual hair loss and a bit of fatigue.
The Abraxane was my nemesis however. But I had faith in my doctor and his concern for me, and he was able to reassure me and help me. And I got through all of it.

So, it's normal to be afraid. But I think you may find that it is not quite as horrible as you have imagined.

And everyone here will be with you every step of the way.

CR

tasha_111's picture
tasha_111
Posts: 2081
Joined: Oct 2008

Hey Girl, you have ONE GREAT ADVANTAGE that I didn't have... you found this site and these wonderful, understanding people before going through treatment. I stumbled upon it way afterwards. The worst thing about chemo was the anticipation, Right up to the night before I was due my first infusion I was not sure if it was what I wanted.. (Then my husband staggered up to bed at 3 am and told me he had been on the yahoo cancer websites and some bint in there had told him that her aged auntie went through chemo and it did no good).. Yes I could have killed her, and HIM!.. But it does do good, I am free of cancer now and my hair is growing back, I am starting to get back to normal (Hey, hard to imagine from the place you are right now, I know). Don't listen to the horror stories, they are ten a penny. I was never sick, never felt ill just a bit tired and my oncologist "Dr Charisma-Bypass" told me, try the first one, if you don't like it give up.
Please don't give up before you have started, we all felt this fear, no-one in here is a professional cancer patient... we all just ended up here like you. The worst bit is the baldness, but that doesn't last that long.......Like my best friend said "I'd rather have a bald friend than a dead one"...I guess she didn't get either.

Big Huggggsssssssss to you. I will be waiting to hear from you tomorrow that it really wasn't as bad as you expected and you are feeling fine!.......Jxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Derbygirl's picture
Derbygirl
Posts: 198
Joined: Jul 2008

Why does this happen to me? I bet most of us felt that way at some point after diagnosis. Anxious and worried, but I was ready to get on with whatever I could to fight cancer. This is a frightening time, but chemo was not as bad as I expected and hopefully yours will be same. Be sure to drink plenty of water, eat small frequent meals and rest often. Remember that whatever the risks or side effects of chemo, the potential benefit is greater. Look forward to hearing from you in the coming days. Good luck!

chenheart's picture
chenheart
Posts: 5180
Joined: Apr 2003

As you can see, we are certainly a Strong Army of warrior-survivors in here, and you WILL be one too! You have done so much whcih is positive already~ you will just have to trust us that the first infusion is the worst, emotionally speaking. I recently posted that I broke down and cried like a baby at my first chemo, but the rest of the chemo treatments and the radiation? No More Tears! The RNs were so amazing, and I had my Dr on speed dial in case I needed an answer to any question or concern.

We are here to help you through it; feel free to post whenever you need a cyber-hug! And tomorrow if it feels you don't have a lot of wiggle room at the treatment center just know that its because ALL of us in here are there with you!!!! Feel our strength and make it your own!

Hugs,
Claudia

Joycelouise's picture
Joycelouise
Posts: 493
Joined: Nov 2007

Have you a prescription for Ativan? It is as much a part of TX as anything else. It helps take the edge off. I took one right before chemo. Of course, I was afraid. And of course, I did not like doing chemo. But, I am now going to try to write a list of the "better" aspects of chemo.
1) You will be kicking cancer out the door! It feels good to know that stuff is racing around in you killing any potentially dangerous cells.
2) My chemo "lounge" was actually a pretty nice place. The nurses were sweethearts. Take the time to talk to them. Tell them you are afraid. They will give you free support, and good support.
3) There were goodies on the table when I first walked in. Now, I did find out this is not true of all chemo joints. So, pack some goodies to take with you. If this isn't a good excuse to eat a cookie, I don't know what is.
4) The chemo, when you think it will be horrible, is actually not. I don't want to say it's not that bad in a casual way. It just isn't that bad in the way that our imaginations picture bad. I had very little to no nausea. They have drugs for that. I actually (and it hurts to write this!) was pleasantly surprised after my first chemo at how little it affected me. Really.
5) And best of all about going for chemo. That one will be over. It is so fabulously wonderful to cross a chemo off your to do list that I actually looked forward to them (being over, one by one).
I don't mean to make light of this. Mind you, I cried too. And at times was aghast to even consider what the heck I was doing in a chemo room. But, thinking positive doesn't mean not worrying. Sometimes it means, as bad as things are, trying to find something good, buried deep. I did have some pretty good conversations with my fellow chemos. I even got offered some free marijuana once.
So arm yourself with ativan. Arm yourself with any hope you can find. And arm yourself with our support. Best wishes!
love, Joyce

rjjj's picture
rjjj
Posts: 1826
Joined: Jan 2009

and you will!!!! I can't add much to what all our sisters have said. But listen closely to what these courageous warriors have to say. The advice, support and love you will receive on this board is amazing. My prayers are with you.
love
Jackie

jakeca
Posts: 92
Joined: Dec 2008

Can you hear us all chanting, Jaavon, Jaavon, Jaavon!? I'm not actually an Obama supporter, but his "Yes we can" motto is something we are trying to share with you. If you have faith, pray. If you have family or close friends, talk to them. If you have kleenex, take them tomorrow to wipe away the tears. It will be OK. We promise.

tommaseena's picture
tommaseena
Posts: 1771
Joined: Feb 2009

Jaavon,
I had my first chemo treatment on 3/10 and it wasn't bad at all. Like some of the ladies have said--talk to your nurse and tell her/him your feelings. I had my nurse tell me everything she was going to do before she did it-which helped me. I wanted to know what to expect.

Make sure you drink plenty of water and eat small meals and most important---take your anti-nausea medication they give you.

Prayers and thoughts are with you today.

Let us know how your first day was.

Hugs,
Margo

RE's picture
RE
Posts: 4644
Joined: Feb 2004

Ahhhh Jaavon, I wish I was there to hug you! It is of course scary, but trust me it is doable and you will get through this. Please explain to the doctor how afraid you are, they can help you with this and there is no shame in getting that help! We will be here for you Jaavon, to listen to your concerns or just to you expressing yourself we are a very caring and supportive group.

((((((HUGS~HUGS~HUGS)))))

RE

tami90650
Posts: 82
Joined: Mar 2009

hi javaan by the time you are reading this you will have completed your first chemo and the worst part of it was the prick of the needle. Depending on the strength of the chemo, you may not be sick til after the third or fourth treatment. You can do this. Dress comfortable. Bring a book or start a new hobby. Learn to knit. When I was in chemo a lady knitted us all hats. Its not until the next day that you may get sick. Eat comfort foods and take snacks with you. God bless you and keep you strong. Please let me know how it turned out. You can call me anytime. When I was going through treatment, I was very scared too but I hooked up with a lady who allowed me to call her and she told me what to expect. Knowing takes half the fear away. I felt i had to be strong so my kids didnt get scared but i was SCARED and she always took my calls and always helped me. call me ANYTIME 562 440 0300
LOVE YOU TAMI

labtech
Posts: 37
Joined: Mar 2009

Hi javaan,

I just went through my second chemo yesterday and yes im scared to death each time i go in but like our sisters say here, you are fighting the cancer cells each time and you will get through this we all will. I think we will be scared all the time i visited my job today and broke down and cried i work in a lab and have always taken care of others with the horrible disease and yes wondered how are why this had to happen. Im not sure that ever goes away, but since we have it we have to fight and fight hard. Make sure you take your anti-nausea meds they heop a lot and drink plenty of water and juice. they will tell you all the things to do and just listen to them and know we are all with you.

Love,

Tracey

chenheart's picture
chenheart
Posts: 5180
Joined: Apr 2003

Yikes~ I am truly surprised you posted a phone number here on an international site! Just so you know, you have a Private Email option here on CSN...much safer, Tami!

Your number did catch my attention, as I lived in your area code for 27 years!! When I first moved there it was the 213 code, but changed when there were more people/phones than there were numbers available! I moved north to the 805 area code a few years ago...Santa Barbara County.

You gave comforting advice, thanks for posting!

Hugs,
Claudia

mspiggy
Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2009

By the time you read this it will be over. The apprehension is worse than the chemo. I went through 4 months of chemo and never was sick (I thought the one good thing about having cancer was that I would lose weight, but NOOOOOO) I did take the anti nausea pills
because I had them and I'm no martyr. But I honestly was never nauseaus or did I miss a meal.

The tiredness was something else. When it comes over you, you have to be gentle with yourself and accept that you have limitations. There is no way that you can fight it. This is out of your control.

I was diagnosed with stage 3C with 17 out of 39 lymph nodes being positive in February of 2008. I had a mammogram on monday, saw the surgeon on thursday, and was in surgery the following wednesday. I didn't have the time to worry and cry (plenty of time for that later).

You will get through this because you have no other choice. You have a big sisterhood praying for you and keeping you in our thoughts.

jojo elizapest's picture
jojo elizapest
Posts: 122
Joined: Mar 2009

Thanks for your post...this is one thread I am sure I will come back to again and again...the words of kindness, knowing support, and love were comforting to hear. On my first chemo visit I cried when they accessed the port and teared up several times during the set up...my nurse said, let them out tears don't do you any good on the inside.

Soak up the stength on this site...it is contagious!

jojo

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