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1st chemo tomorrow...so scared!

Dee's picture
Posts: 40
Joined: Jan 2011

I thought I was doing ok...now its just one more sleep till chemo and Im so scared! Sweaty palms, upset tummy, thumping heart...I dont want to do this AT ALL!!

Please tell me it gets better?

cahjah75's picture
Posts: 2631
Joined: Jun 2010

please don't get so anxious about chemo. The first day was a long one for me but very doable. I had no reaction to any of the chemicals, etc. Wishing you a good day too!
{{hugs}} Char

Christmas Girl's picture
Christmas Girl
Posts: 3691
Joined: Apr 2009

For me - it was the worst before the 1st time. Probably because of that "fear of the unknown"... Maybe what you're feeling today.

Please be assured - yes, it's "doable"... Many here are either already in the midst of it, or finished (like me, long ago).

Best advice I can share - be certain to follow all instructions provided by your doctor(s) and nurse(s). And come here, too. As often as you may need and want.

Best wishes to you, for tomorrow and throughout.

Kind regards, Susan

CypressCynthia's picture
Posts: 4014
Joined: Oct 2009

It definitely gets better! And, as others have said, the chemo was very doable for me. I was able to keep working. We will be there with you both tonight and throughout. Prayers and good thoughts coming your way!

Posts: 402
Joined: Nov 2010

Fear is THE worst!!
Start drinking a lot of water--like 64+ ounces today and keep it up for at least 5 more days, you want to flush the chemicals out of your system (or at least keep them moving). I packed a bag with snacks, books, a comfy blanket and a notebook and pen. Kept it ready for each treatment (I had 6).
It really is doable, not fun, but you will make it through. Be sure to tell your doctors if you have ANY side effects--they will give you meds for everything except hair loss. I had to have a neulasta shot each time and that came with major bone aches for me. I took tylenol and oxycodone which kinda helped--time was the real healer. My schedule was every three weeks and by week three I would feel ok. Each cycle was different, almost exciting to see what side effect would rear it's head next (ok exciting isn't the right word).
I had my last treatment on 1/7/11 and my hair is really starting to come in. My nails will take more time, maybe 6 months to look right again, but my manual dexterity is improving and I just think of all the money I'm saving on not having haircuts, hair dye, mani/pedis and razors.
I'm doing rads now, which isn't as scary.
Check with your onc and ask if you can take a xanax or valium tonight to help you sleep (I didn't and I didn't get any sleep the night before my first treatment).
I know you'll do fine...so many of us have walked this path before you just as scared and we survived, you will too!
Good luck,

Bella Luna's picture
Bella Luna
Posts: 1579
Joined: Aug 2009

Dee... It was scary on my first day too, not going to lie. What made it easier for me was that the nurses and staff were kind. My husband came with me too and encouraged me through this process. I also met some wonderful Survivors who were in the same boat as well.

Think of it this way... you are going into the clinic tomorrow to kick cancers butt to the curb! Good riddance to the cowardly beast. Put on your armor and FIGHT! You will get through this, you are stronger than you think!

Once you start treatment, make sure to drink plenty of water, liquids. I ate bananas, yogurt, crackers, baked potatoes, and cottage cheese. Some other Survivors will give you some helpful hints, no doubt.

You are on the Road to Recovery. Remember to breathe and take it one step at a time.

Take care, God bless.

Alexis F's picture
Alexis F
Posts: 3602
Joined: May 2009

Good luck today Dee!

Posts: 242
Joined: Jun 2010

Yep the first one I was really nervous but axious to get things started. Drink plenty of water. Hope your experience is as non-eventful as mine was. I did get some aches and pain after the neulasta shot, but everyone is different so you may not have to have the shot. We are here for you.

Posts: 2515
Joined: May 2009

We've all been in your shoes...I can say with 100% honesty, I know how you feel! I was terrified too..as someone said, it's the fear of the unknown..and I am telling you again with 100% honesty it wasn't anything like I expected or feared.. I had Taxotere/Cytoxan..I started my steroids and anti nausea drugs as directed the day before...continued them for 4 days following chemo....take your anti nausea drugs religiously!!!! It's easier to prevent nausea than get it under control once it starts...if it does. I never had the first wave of nausea with any infusion...I ate peanut butter on a bagel before I left the house..as instructed..something to stick to your ribs...drink plenty of liquids before during and after..my cancer center even fed us lunch...continue to drink plenty of fluids for days following.
The chemo nurse will stay by your side for about the first 20- 30 minutes of the infusion to make sure there is no reaction....
I, truly feel your anxiety...and wish I could take it away...be kind to yourself, rest when needed and possible and don't turn down any offers of help!
Feel free to send me a private message if you 'd like to talk.

Wishing you peace of mind,

cavediver's picture
Posts: 607
Joined: Apr 2010

We all understand that you would rather do anything else than have to fight this beast. But, I know fight you will and win!!!! Chemo is not so scarey once you start....as others said, drink lots and lots of water and ask questions and let the nurses know if you are nausious etc. You can do this and get through it....and then you will have won! We will all be there with you. I am so sorry that you have to do this, but I know you will be okay. Hugs and more hugs sent to you!

Posts: 11
Joined: Feb 2011

Dee, Believe me...Everything is going to be alright. I remember my first day of Chemo. The nurses were so calming and kind and reminded me that this is the beginning of the zapping of those cancer cells. I laughed as I pictured "them" screaming "we're dying!!" as that liquid flowed through my veins. I drank alot of water to help flush the chemo through throughout my treatments. I felt tired,and weak the next day but very functionable. Actually..the flu is 100 times worse in my opinion. One bit of advice...use vaseline on your skin areas "down there" because your urine will irritate and when you poop you could get very irritated and vaseline beforehand helps alot. Try to remember that this won't last forever and that you are now a soldier in a war of which YOU want to win!!!PS: My hair grew back SO FAST and SO CURLY and THICK and I love it! I was scared too just before my first treatment but not after the first 10 minutes of it nor after that. I looked forward to going every three weeks. Easy..no, but scary hard..no. Deep breaths honey! EVERYTHING WILL BE JUST FINE!

Gabe N Abby Mom's picture
Gabe N Abby Mom
Posts: 2415
Joined: Sep 2010

My onc prescribed ativan for the night before and the morning of the first treatment. It helps with nausea too, I've used it since the first one too, so it might be worth asking about.

My doc also prescribed steroids starting the day before the first treatment. If the same is true for you, they might be adding to your jitters. Many people have more energy and get a little hyper on them. For me, knowing that was part of the cause helped me to relax.

Try a relaxing tea, some deep breathing/relaxation/mediation exercises. One I learned long ago is to lay down, close your eyes. Then focus on just breathing, make your inhale through your nose as long as possible. Then make your exhale through your mouth also as long as possible. Then try and picture your breathing as a circle, with no stopping point between the inhale and the exhale.

Know that you are strong enough to do this, and that we'll be with you.



Posts: 132
Joined: Dec 2010

Linda, may I ask what the steroids are for? Your posts are so informative, thanks!

Lin (starting chemo thurs)

RE's picture
Posts: 4641
Joined: Feb 2004

Oh Dee I know how you feel, the unknown is so very scary but try to think of it as a step taken to stomp out the cancer and to return you to good health. Each treatment is one step closer to having all of this behind you. Be kind to yourself and do not overdo, if you are tired rest, drink lots of fluids and do not feel badly if you need to accept help from others it is okay you will get through this, you are brave for taking this step and we are here for you.


Dee's picture
Posts: 40
Joined: Jan 2011

thank you all for your messages xx

Ive got myself a big bottle of water and took down the clock so I cant see how slow it is going!

Most of all...I dont want to FEEL like a cancer patient...I feel good now and am so scared of actually feeling like I have cancer!

Clementine_P's picture
Posts: 516
Joined: Feb 2011

with everything these women have said. The first chemo is by far the worst mentally. It is so scary not knowing what to expect both during the treatment and after. Try your best to keep busy to keep your mind off things tonight. I completely know what you are saying about not feeling sick or like a cancer patient. The chemo didn't do that to me either. Yes, I had some side effects which I most definitely could have done without but I promise you that they weren't terribly bad. If you start feeling something you should tell your oncologist. Almost all side effects have treatments that can either get rid of them or certainly lessen them. I too was prescribed Ativan which helped me the day before my first treatment and the night of the first day of all of my treatments. I had to take steroids and was amped up from them so the Ativan helped relax me. As for helpful hints, drink lots of water, have something with you to keep yourself busy both during your treatment and afterwards, listen to your body and get some rest if you are feeling tired, and just be good to yourself. You will come through this like a trooper, I promise.

Posts: 21
Joined: Jan 2011

Hey d...I too felt the same. I did my 4th session today..still have hair..although probably not for long:)

I too did not want to LOOk or feel like a cancer patient. I too was so scared that I also posted about my fear and the girls here are so grt to hold your hand.

It is not that bad. The worst part was the lead up..the unknown. But if you have had blood tests and surgery..this is similar to giving blood..well the infusion part. The needle does not stay in your arm..just a minute little tube..you cant feel. then you can walk around with your bag and wheely bag stand behind you..as you will go to the toilet alot..ha ha.

Im not sure what type of chemo you r having..I am on herceptin ( biological) and taxol. So I go every week and I have not had vomitting ect, no nausea..just a little tired.

They give you an antihistamine..and that really knocks me out.I take my ipod, some food, water, tea...and sleep. It is a long day the first day, so just close your eyes and rest.

The nurses are amazing and everyone is so friendly. I was expecting the stuff you see in the movies...not a chance...movies r unrealistic.

I was nervous,so I did cry...but hey..that is ok. And I looked very serious..did not want to smile..ha ha.

Will be praying for you and thinking of you..one down in the road to recovery. You will be great.!!

lots of lOVE

DebbyM's picture
Posts: 3293
Joined: Oct 2009

Wishing you the best Dee! Hoping today went well for you.

Hugs, Debby

jamiegww's picture
Posts: 384
Joined: Dec 2009

I remember how scared I was the first time also but now it's just a memory. The chemo nurses know what they are doing so just relax and let them do their jobs. Most likely the meds they give you before the chemo will help you relax. You might even doze off for a few hours. You will feel so good to know you have that first dose behind you. Please keep up posted.


jamiegww's picture
Posts: 384
Joined: Dec 2009

sorry........double post. The darn thing hung up.

dyaneb123's picture
Posts: 951
Joined: May 2009

was make myself walk in that door the first time and sit in that chair...It is sooooo
scary the first time for all of us....but I want you to look around at the other ladies who are there and see what they are doing...they are chatting, laughing, eating, reading,
sleeping...nothing terrible is happening to them...and nothing terrible will happen to you either...tell the nurse to walk you through everything she is doing the first time...and if you will feel better, bring someone to sit with you that first time. I did the first time,(or I probably would have run away!) , but after that I drove myself to and from all my chemo and radiation treatments.I know you will do fine.
Other Dee

missrenee's picture
Posts: 2137
Joined: Apr 2010

a cancer patient. I, too, felt so good before I was diagnosed. It was so unbelievable to me that I could feel so healthy and be so sick. Anyway, I was terrified for the first treatment--and like all the others have said--it went so well, I couldn't believe it. I had 6 rounds of TAC and the only side effects I got were the aches and pains from the Neulasta injection and everything tasted really crappy. I never vomited--not even close. Had a couple of little diarrheas here and there, but nothing terrible. It was kind of like I was at the beauty shop--we all laughed and talked--it was hard to believe what was really going on in there!

My wish for you today, Dee, is that you have a real easy time of it too. It doesn't have to be horrible (in most cases it's not) and if you have any side effects--the docs have so many remedies for you.

Hugs, Renee

chenheart's picture
Posts: 5180
Joined: Apr 2003

My first chemo was harder on me emotionally more than physically. Even though I had of course already been diagnosed and had surgery etc, somehow the physical act of being hooked up to be infused made it all horrifyingly real. I cried like a baby, I can tell you that! After that~I was just fine. I made friends at the cancer center, had a great rapport with the nursing staff, and the bottom line is: Chemotherapy saved my life!!!!!
We are with you every step of the way~ any concerns, fears and triumphs you have along the way we share with you.


aysemari's picture
Posts: 1596
Joined: Dec 2009

been there done that. First time is VERY scary. Up until that point
everything was rush, rush and the surgery was my first ever and some
what scary but I was out of it for most of it right?

But chemo is different, you sit there and watch it drip into you. And
worry and wonder what it will do to you. I used to envision how it
attacked the cancer, hello well who are you? clunk,clunk Cancer was
very surprised. In my head I started calling it liquid hope.

Just relax and know you will get through this. After all a while, you'll
know what to expect side effect wise and everything and you will go
in more relaxed.


Dee's picture
Posts: 40
Joined: Jan 2011

thank you lovely ladies xx

funny how I was having a pity party...then our 3rd biggest city in NZ - Christchurch, has just been hit with another huge earthquake...makes it seem so insignificant!

cheers to liquid hope! and thoughts and prayers to our Christchurch families

sea60's picture
Posts: 2618
Joined: May 2010

The first one is so hard because you don't know WHAT to expect. But it will be okay. You got your water, snacks, someone with you. We're all sending you COMFORT hugs {{{{ }}}}

Maybe plug into some soothing music or take good reading material (I tried to read but would inevitably cat nap).


Chickadee1955's picture
Posts: 336
Joined: Apr 2010


I don't have anything new to add; the first is frightening and then you wonder why you were so frightened. I had a port implanted, so we just hooked me up! I sat there the first time thinking---WTH!! I am sitting here while I pay someone to put poison in me!! Can this be real?? I actually did some napping during infusions. I, too, was blessed with a great cancer center and the most compassionate of nurses. My best advise is drink, drink, drink water and don't hesitate to take anything and everything your oncologist offers to ease potential symptoms. I was always one to shy away from taking medicine of any kind, but I gladly took everything offered and never suffered one moment of nausea; had only one day of mild constipation then diarrhea. The most difficult thing I had to deal with was yucky mouth for awhile and fatigue. Nothing like the stories of chemo in days gone by. You'll do just fine!!

Prayers for Christchurch from Northern California.


Marsha Mulvey
Posts: 597
Joined: May 2010

Certainly, the fear of the unknown is something we have to deal with. You could hear horror stories about chemo or you could hear some say, "it was a walk in the park". In all probability you'll likely find yourself somewhere in between. From my experience, it's not always easy, but it is do-able, especially when you look at the big picture. Keep in mind that it is your effort to free your body from any cancer cells that may still exist in your body. Best wishes.

Christchurch - about half an hour ago, I saw the report on Fox News. They showed pictures and video, it does look like it was a devastating quake. My thoughts and prayers are for the dead, injured, and survivors of Christchurch and their loved ones.

Hippiechick58's picture
Posts: 320
Joined: Feb 2011

Before my 1st chemo, I made myself a small fleece pillow (pink, of course) and I took it with me to the clinic. Turns out that pillow became like my "Blankie" It has gone through every single chemo (I have only one more to go!) It really helped to have something to hold when I got scared.

I agree with all the other ladies, the 1st is the hardest. Try not to project (I know how easy that can be!) Stay in the moment and you will do fine. Remember, the nurses are there for you. They will do anything and everything to make sure you are comfortable. Oh yes, and DRINK lots of water!

I will be praying for you. Hang in there.

"May you be at Peace; May you be free of Suffering,"

Kylez's picture
Posts: 3765
Joined: May 2009

I didn't have chemo, so, I don't know what you are going thru, but, want to wish you good luck!

Hugs, Kylez

Ritzy's picture
Posts: 4382
Joined: Aug 2009

Dee, I am wishing you good luck with your chemo. And, sending prayers to the Christchurch families.

Sue :)

Ritzy's picture
Posts: 4382
Joined: Aug 2009

Dee, I am wishing you good luck with your chemo. And, sending prayers to the Christchurch families.

Sue :)

PinkPearl's picture
Posts: 280
Joined: Oct 2010

I can honestly say it I was nervous the first time but so ready to really begin the chemo and get on the road to beating this thing. It is weird to be putting something in your body to heal you but can have very real side effects-but they have great meds for them so stay in touch with any questions. I had a precription for nausea, one for Dexamethosone-a steroid- and then several approved over the counter medicines for other side effects. If you get in a bind, ask on this site, and ladies a lot more knowlegle than I can help too.

I just got back from my second chemo tonight and I am feeling fine. The side effects of my first treatment were not bad at all. Mostly fatigue --but I love naps!!!
Best of luck and thoughts and prayers for you.

So sorry about the terrible earthquake. Just saw a news report about it on TV--so frightening. Prayers being sent for them as well!

Boppy_of_6's picture
Posts: 1138
Joined: Apr 2010

It is tough going that first time but it is very doable. I was really anxious too, there are so many unknowns but it does get easier. I will keep you in my prayers. God Bless
(((hugs))) Janice

MyTurnNow's picture
Posts: 2690
Joined: Aug 2009

Dee, it definately gets better!! By now, you may be done with your first tx and I sure hope it wasn't too bad for you. My first tx was the one that I dreaded but once it was over and I knew what to expect, it really wasn't bad going forward. Some of the side effects like loss of hair was the worst part for me. Like my sisters have said, be sure to drink plenty of liquids to flush your system. Also, know that we are here ready to answer any questions or just hold your hand as you go forge ahead. Sending (((hugs))).

dbhadra's picture
Posts: 344
Joined: Jan 2011

but for me the actual chemo has so far (7th week of Taxol) been do-able and have not experienced any major side effects yet.

Agree with comment so far - drink water - lots - and take any anti nausea that they prescribe...BEFORE you feel nauseous. Don;t try to be a hero and tough it out! I also took some Xanax and continue to take it if I need, say, a breast MRI like today. I don;t beat myself up for any temporary help that I need to handle what's going on.

You'll get through it! In a month or so you'll be looking back and saying"wow, look at how far I've come!"


Posts: 132
Joined: Dec 2010

Dear Dee,

I start the day after you! So I'm sweating and jittery right with you!! A few days ago I posted "chemo jeebies" and got some awesome support that helped my anxiety a lot, in case you want to check out the responses. Felt so much better with the information I got.

I'll be thinking of you tomorrow, throughout the day! Plesae let us know how it went, I'll be watching for you!


pokrydi's picture
Posts: 99
Joined: Feb 2011

Dee wishing you the best tomorrow I go for chemo class thurs so anxious to get started so I can get my life back. Let us know how it goes will be thinking of you and wishing the very best =:)

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