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Post chemo side effects
ABBYB
63 Posts

Hi! I am done chemo 🙌 6 treatments, 5 mths later…. I am wondering about side effects from the drugs. Did anyone have lower back pain? I am experiencing stiffness as usual, swelling in legs and just overall fatigue. So Im 3 weeks post chemo and I feel like my body has been like clock work, so normally I wouldn't notice these smaller “ailments” because of the chemo. Does that sound crazy… I feel like my body is detoxing and probably just in shock. But I wanted to hear from others what you experienced after your treatments were done.

I still have surgery ahead, and I believe it will happen fairly quickly. So I was hoping to get my body stronger and prepare for this. But it looks like I may not be capable of doing the things I'd like. I get tired walking and now my body is stiff as a board, so its a challenge for sure. I guess just stretches at home for now. I lost about 29lbs so I really had a hard time with proper nutrition, can anyone recommend supplements? I have a multi/calcium & considering Omega….but anything else??

BTW, Happy New year to all of us!! May 2022 bring us unexpected blessings and healing

Thanks all.

16 Replies
Runner Girl
2449 Posts

Congratulations @ABBYB

Completing chemo is no small feat! Your body has been thru the wringer and it will take some time for it to come around to feeling more like its old self. Be kind and patient with yourself. Light exercise, good sleep, good food and lots of hydration will help get you back on track.

Hoping your surgery comes soon.

Runner Girl

Dakley
22 Posts

@ABBYB

Congratulations! Happy New Year! Just like runner girl said our bodies have had to endure so much, it takes awhile to rid all of that & to begin to feel somewhat normal again. You & I have had such a similar journey that almost every time I read one of your posts it’s like recalling every thing I went through as well.

I am now 6 weeks since my last chemo & even at 3 weeks post chemo had shortness of breath, leg pain and leg swelling which I was attributing to the holidays & being on my feet so much. I spoke to the triage nurse today as I had my herceptin infusion & she said it could be residual effects from the chemo but we would continue to keep an eye on it. But even from 3 weeks ago it’s much better, no more shortness of breath, leg pain is better & really no swelling.

It slowly does get better, I think it’s hard for us to be patient after all we’ve been through. Will be thinking of you & that hoping surgery comes quickly.

ABBYB
63 Posts

TY @Runner Girl I appreciate your advice!

@Dakley the leg swelling is quite the challenge. Im hoping it subsides soon. I want to do so many things but my body just isn't ready. I've never watched so much Tv in my entire life😫 but again, one day at a time. I will be seeing jy surgeon next week, so that will be the next chapter of this book. I'm ready for it, and ready for so much more. I can't wait to start seeing hair on my head again👩 YAY!!!!💓

JustJan
1291 Posts

@ABBYB I am happy you’re done chemo. It is definitely a marathon and not a sprint. I think in our minds we think that as soon as chemo is finished we go back to normal fairly quickly but alas it doesn’t work that way. My oncologist told me it takes 6-12 months to recover from cancer treatment. So be kind to yourself, start small and build your strength and stamina back up. Rest when you need it to allow your body to heal. You will start to notice that you begin to have more good days than not.

I hope your surgeon appointment goes well. Sending healing vibes your way.

Mosi
14 Posts

@ABBYB congratulations on the chemo completion. When you mentioned anticipation of hair returning I could relate. My last chemo was Dec 31, 2021 so 2022 was new start. My surgery is also after the chemo although I was fortunate to get a date of Feb 3. At Christmas I realized how my family saw my hair as my crowning glory when I was gifted with a multitude of products. Romaine, biotin in shampoo, gummies, and vitamins galore. Even got rosemary and coconut oil to rub on my head. We’ll see what works over the next few months but patience has never been one of my virtues. Let us know when you get your surgery date.
BTW I totally relate to more tv than I ever thought possible for me. I do take walks when weather allows and have noticed great improvement on my peripheral neuropathy. I miss my dog. She would have ensured I got those walks daily.

ABBYB
63 Posts

@Mosi I had my last chemo on Dec. 27th. Haven't see any growth yet, but it will be a wonderful thing.

I will def have questions after the surgeon appt, so expect me to be back lol.

I start Herceptin infusions tomorrow, which came so quickly. I'm hoping these go smoothly.

It's been an odd month & my emotions are high. Have you been feeling this way? Are you still quite fatigued? I'm completely exhausted and hope that changes soon. I was always bouncing back a week before each treatment but my body has just been like “nope, sorry I'm not ready” So….all I can do right now is rest and go with the flow.

Take care!

Mosi
14 Posts

@ABBYB
I am going to assume you mean growth of hair in your first para 😂.
i have to tell myself daily that my breast is not growing again since chemo ended. I had such rapid, aggressive growth of the lump and then a super response to chemo (shrunk from 12cm to 5.5) that I was scared to leave chemo in many ways. Glad it is done but scared because it is done. That roller coaster is full of totally unanticipated dips and peaks.
I had horrible pain with paclitaxol for about 3 days after and have neuropathy right now but feel the fatigue all the way through. I joked about being prescribed ginger candy which I love and naps. Worked for me great until paciltaxol. please let us know what surgeon says.

Essjay
1731 Posts

@Mosi @ABBYB @Dakley so glad to hear you’ve made it this far in your treatment.

I remember when I’d finished surgery, chemo and radiation for BC I was keen to get back to some semblance of normality. I’d been off work for six months so getting back to work was a priority and my insurance company giving me LTD gave me 3 months to return full-time.

The fatigue was the worst thing for me but everything I read said that the best thing for fatigue was to keep moving. My lung was irritated from the radiation and I got out of breath just getting dressed. I was out walking my dog when one of my chemo nurses ran past me and right then and there I decided to start the couch to 5k running program with the aim of running the ‘Run for the Cure’ about 4 months later. The first few weeks were tough and I walked faster than I ran, but an amazing thing happened…exercising turned out to be like a savings account. I put effort into exercise and I got energy back for daily life (in my case going to work). I slept well, my appetite was good, and the lung improved as my running improved. I completed the program and raised more than $1500 for cancer research in the Run for the Cure.

Im now fitter and stronger than before cancer and running 3x a week as well as weight training, hiking, canoeing, snowshoeing etc.

I would say it took me 12 months to be done with the fatigue and I live with some side effects of treatment like neuropathy and a messed up colon, but things do definitely get better…

#ExerciseToBeatFatigue #Breastcancer

ABBYB
63 Posts

That's awesome @Essjay!!! I am happy to hear that you completed your goals!! I also love running and hope to be able to start again once my body is ready. i saw the “Run for the cure” in Oct so me & my son are shooting for the next one Thanks for the encouragement. I try not to feel sorry for myself, I was never one to wallow/complain. I just pushed thru anything I face, but these treatments were brutal. I wasn't expecting this much fatigue and aches after it ended.

Every day is a new day, so I will make the most of it! Take care

ABBYB
63 Posts

Hi @Mosi I had a good chuckle😂 but when I said “growth” I meant my hair lol. When my hair fell out my son buzzed it for me. So there was some hair that never fell out. I didn't go completely bald. I was told not to so, so I've been fine with this.

And now I think the hairs on my head are looking longer, but it could be wishful thinking. In any case if it growing, great! I hope the rest of it follows, otherwise I will look like an 80 yr old man hahaha. HAGD!

Mosi
14 Posts

@ABBYB I too have delusions of hair lol. I was guided by my nephew on using a hair buzzer rather than razor and my scalp was never sensitive. He guided me well. Worst part is I always hated the way my ears stuck out. Now they are out loud and proud 😂

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Mosi
14 Posts

@ABBYB

How is your appetite? I did notice a huge difference in my energy level when I ate well. Funny how the body works like that. It doesn’t all taste like cardboard and tin foil now. I lost a phenomenal amount of weight (45 lbs) some before the chemo started.

ABBYB
63 Posts

@Mosi yay on your hair growth!!!! 😍 That's great esp since you finished treatment after me. My sprouts aren't nearly that length

As for my appetite, it's finally coming back. Every now & then I get that taste in my mouth (which I have come to hate🤢) but I'm thankful I am eating better. I lost 29lbs, I could barely handle a cup of water. So I agree I am trying to eat things to nourish my body that I wasn't able to eat thru Tx. I also started some vitamins. So today is not perfect but better than yesterday so I'm thankful for that. One day at a time

Hi @ABBYB,

congratulations on finishing your chemo! It looks like we have a lot in common. (cancer type, age etc)

I started my chemo around this time last year and completed it and finished my radiation treatments in July, 2021. So happy to say that I finally finished my Herceptin infusion this month. Yay! Now I am just left with hormone treatments for 5 years (hopefully) (hormone shots + Letrozole)

I had the opposite side effects than you during chemo that I GAINED about 20 pounds from the steroids. (it all came off after the treatments) I get what you mean by feeling exhausted AFTER chemo. I felt more exhausted after finishing chemo, and especially when I started on hormone. I am not a napper but had to nap almost every day. The good news is it does get better and now, after a year, I feel so much better and have so much more energy. All the swelling have gone down and neuropathy completely gone. (a couple of my nails came off during chemo but they’ve grown back)
My hair has also grown back nicely and I think I might just keep the short haid. (My hair came back super curly, which is unusual for Asian hair!)

Hang in there, and let us know how you’re doing!

ABBYB
63 Posts

Hi @landofnorthernlights Thanks for responding. Just curious..how long did your swelling and fatigue last after your chemo? I'm almost 4 wks and wasn't expecting this at all. I had my 1st Herceptin infusion yesterday, nothing out of ordinary so that's good. But my onco did mention the letrozole, I will know more after our next appt. It's alot, but I guess no more than when I was first diagnosed. I'm hoping my surgery is scheduled asap, I'd like to get that out of the way. But for today, I'm tired as heck but managing to still cook my boys some dinner and not completely exhausted. Even though the swelling is a pain in the butt!! I will keep you posted :)

Sept121
2 Posts

Hi @Abby I also had my last chemo treatment on Dec. 27th. I've been lucky and haven't gotten a lot of side effects. I'm currently dealing with fatigue, neuropathy and hot flashes. I was hoping the fatigue would be better before surgery but sadly it's not going to happen as my mastectomy is tomorrow. Which is both terrifying and… I guess relieving. I feel like my body is detoxing too and my finger nails (which look disgusting) remind me as they grow out, that it's slow, but there is progress.

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