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Starting Chemotherapy -Herceptin
Hi all... it has been a while!!! I will be starting my chemo tomorrow 6 sessions and I will also have Herceptin for about a year at 3 wk. intervals.I have no idea of what to expect. I realize everyone has different side effects and experiences. I am quite nervous about this..Can anyone help? and give me some sort of idea as to what I can expect. I had a port put in last week to make it easier for injections. I also have a terrible phobia with needles
9 Replies
Flyingfree
5 Posts
Hi - will have my 6th (of 6) chemo next week - boy will I be glad when that is over.! The treatment itself is a piece of cake - I too have a port; the nurses do their thing and hook up the saline, then the chemo drugs, and my daughter and I sit and chat; or I doze.  Easy!! Doesn't hurt at all.

The side effects for the first three treatments were not too bad - fatigue of course, complete hair loss, but no nausea at all.  Cycles  4, 5, and 6 consist of a different drug named Taxotere, and it causes severe aches / pain in my bones; and worst of all, cut my white blood count down to nearly zero, and increased my temperature - that meant I had to go into hospital twice (so far), to receive anti-biotics to protect me from whatever I might be exposed to.

I'll start Herceptin at the end of November - every three weeks for a year; then 5 years of Tamoxifen after that.  I hope the Herceptin will not affect my blood count, as I have felt it wise to pretty much isolate myself from crowded places (including church), movies, or anywhere there are a lot of people.  At this time of year (October / November) flu and colds are everywhere, and I just don't want them. I do have a few folks coming in to visit, and if I feel too paranoid about colds / flu, I just put on a mask.  
You can do it!!
jani
2 Posts
Hi spinellie,
I'm a newbie here else I would have reassured you sooner.  I experienced same regime in 2010.  The port does make things much easier.  I used to take a
couple of Tylenol before I went for my treatment so it sting so much when they hooked in.  The Herceptin weakened the push/pull strength of my heart over time but it took the full year and I was monitored throughout.  Then once I was off it, the measurement started bouncing back.  The other thing I noticed was that it took alot longer for my hair to grow back.  This round of treatment was for a recurrence and it seemed to me that my hair grew back much quicker last time.  But, I've got it all now.
Hope your treatment went well.  
evie
3 Posts
I have finished my Chemo/Neulasta regime.  The four treatments of Chemo didn't really bother me that much except for a bit of constipation but it was the Neulasta that was the killer.  I had pain in every bone in my body for several days after my treatment.  Lost my hair after the first treatment and it is slowly growing back in.  I am now on Herceptin.  I've had my first treatment and my next treatment is next week.  First treatment went well.   I am glad that I had a port put in, as it is a lot easier to manage.   I am scheduled for 18 treatments of Herceptin to be administered every 3 weeks so will be on it until next fall.   We are in this together ladies and we can conquer it. 
Hi ladies,I too have a port. What a blessing as was told years ago that my veins are worse than a two year olds. Had 8 chemo treatments every two weeks [4 of "A-C, 4 of Taxol ] No nausea only fatigue at times. Gave myself Neupogen for 7 days after each session. Have been on Herceptin since Aug. [first 5 treatments were weekly ] then  every 3 weeks till next August 2012. I'm on Arimidex for five years. Have felt  good throughout all of this which began May25.
What a year. But every one of us is strong and we will support each other and get through this
Nelliennm
27 Posts
I finished my year of Herceptin last September. Other than seeming to catch every cold that came along...it was a piece of cake compared to the 6 sessions of chemo that came before. You can start living again.....

congrats on making it through this I far.....
denise IDC
8 Posts
Hi spinellie‍ 
my situation sounds similar, triple positive IDC with left side mastectomy followed by 6 rounds of chemo, docetxel, carboplatin and herceptin, 3 weeks apart . I am finished two of the three and have only the herceptin for an addition 11 treatments of which I have done 3.  My side effects were managed with pills during the full chemo, which you are likely familiar with.  I was 'inconvenienced' a bit by watering eyes and runny nose.  I had some swelling in my ankles and feet but only after my last treatment .  I would also add that altered or lack of taste for food was the most annoying .You are hungry but few things satisfy. You will find some foods or drinks that work though, and it isn't that many occasions to deal with, only 6. 
good luck...and stay strong, a positive outlook makes a real difference .
denise IDC
Janegj
38 Posts
Hi there,
spinellie‍ 

On Friday I completed 18 rounds of chemo, 4 of A/C and 12 of Taxol/Herceptin. I chose to have a port put in and I think it was the best thing I ever did! Thankfully my only real complaint is aching joints and I find a heating pad helps a lot to alleviate pain. As time went on I found the side effects more pronounced, more pain and extreme tiredness for a couple of days afterwards, and basically feeling a bit 'out of it'. Food also tends to taste different the first few days after chemo. Oh, and I developed a drug rash on my arms and back but nothing too worrisome. Tried all kinds of creams for it but finally settled on fractionated coconut oil infused with high quality Frankincense essential oil, and that seems to be working.
On December 21 I will be starting Herceptin every 21 days until next October and I understand that the side effects are similar to the Taxol/Herceptin mix, just a lot milder. I will also be starting 28 rounds of radiation in January.
I can honestly say that I was terrified at the thought of chemo and it has not been a 1/10th of what I imagined it would be like. Yes, I lost my hair, but found a great group of ladies on FB called Wrapunzel where women choose to wrap their heads instead of wearing wigs (for religious or health reasons) and they are extremely supportive. I had bought myself a wig in preparation for my hair falling out but haven't worn it once. I feel much more 'me,' and empowered when I wrap.
Good luck to you and I hope everything goes smoothly for you.
Goodtogo
81 Posts
Hi spinellie‍  I’ve finished my active treatment as of April 2018. I had a power port inserted which I highly, highly recommend ! One hour prior my appt for chemo I would apply a blob of EMLA cream (& cover with the included plastic dressing)..., it numbs the port skin & honest to God, I never felt a THING during insertion of my chemo needle. WONDERFUL device. The chemo itself made me tired starting with session 3. The first two times I was my usual self/energy. I lost my hair starting day 12 & on day 22, my son shaved my head. I had a wig & rarely used it. I went with hats mostly . Drink as much water as you can. I aimed for four 12 oz glasses/day. Be careful of flu season... I was very vigilant with handwashing & I stayed away from crowds & kept distance from kids who seem to pick up every bug going lol. People really understand & they will be in YOUR corner. The Herceptin was no problem ... didn’t have any problems like nausea or vomiting ... but it did affect my heart function by decreasing it by 10%. This made me have zero stamina. My doctor had me have MUGA scans every 3 months to monitor this which I think is standard treatment. Now that I’m 7 months since stopping Herceptin, I’m feeling much much better. Going to exercise class and resuming full activities with no problem. Hope this helps. Take care. Joy
Naan
34 Posts
Hi everyone, I am on the same regimen of 6 chemo with herceptin. As others have said fatigue was the worst for first 3 rounds, pain and achiness the next 3. I’m having my last chemo this Friday
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