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Lets Talk Chemo

Re: Lets Talk Chemo

Posted by ACH2015 on Jan 7, 2019 11:09 am

Runner Girl‍ 

Gayle,

You previously posted you started Tamoxifen in early December. I found this information: 

https://www.cancer.net/navigating-cancer-care/side-effects/hair-loss-or-alopecia

Hormonal therapy. A small number of people receiving hormonal therapy will have noticeable hair thinning. It often begins several months to years after starting treatment with some types of hormonal therapy. But hormonal therapy does not usually cause complete hair loss. The following hormonal therapies are more likely to cause hair loss.

  • Tamoxifen (Nolvadex)

  • Anastrozole (Arimidex)

  • Letrozole (Femara)

  • Fulvestrant (Faslodex)

  • Octreotide (Sandostatin)

    It may be related to the hormone therapy or something else Gayle. Ask your radiation oncologist or the technicians about possible causes for the recent loss of eye brows and lashes.

    Keep well and let us know what you discover.

    ACH2015 - Andy.

Re: Lets Talk Chemo

Posted by Runner Girl on Jan 8, 2019 2:39 pm

ashcon‍ , ACH2015‍ 

Ann, thank you for sharing that this happened to you also, sad, but good to know I'm not alone.  Andy thank you for your information, I'm worried that my hair growth will be delayed because of the Tamoxifen and Herceptin.  It's coming back, slowly.

I googled about the eyebrows falling out and found a couple of chats from the UK.  Many women on there experienced the exact same thing.  

I quizzed the radiation doctor yesterday about this but he had no answers.  Next time I see the chemo doctor I'll ask him.

Re: Lets Talk Chemo

Posted by ashcon on Jan 8, 2019 3:28 pm

Runner Girl‍ 

I am not receiving any hormonal therapy (I'm triple negative breast cancer), so can't blame that!  Instead I blame the bilateral mastectomy I had shortly after I finished chemo.
Regardless of the cause, they DO grow back, so hang in there.

 

Re: Lets Talk Chemo

Posted by Hocklem on Jan 15, 2019 7:19 pm

Ok, I start chemo on Thursday, it’s Tuesday night and I’m scared to death. Reality is setting in. It’s here. I handled the surgery fine. But this is chemo and I don’t know what to expect, so I’m having difficulty preparing mentally.Any tips for getting my head on straight? Also wondering if there’s any suggestions for what I should eat or drink prior to the infusion.  They said a light breakfast I’m not in the habit lately of eating before 11, but my appointment is at noon. Thanks 

Re: Lets Talk Chemo

Posted by Essjay on Jan 16, 2019 7:52 am

Hi Hocklem‍ , I can understand your nervousness. I too found it hard to get my head straight. I kept wondering what I was doing, what I’d signed up to, was I really going to put my body through being poisoned. But I also know that the algorithms for me say if I don’t do it, my prognosis reduces, and I’m 50. I have a 103 year old grandmother, and expect a long life if I can kick this. I also realized I have to do this for my husband. He’s 53, too young to lose his wife.

Chemo is scary - I use mindfulness to accept how I feel about it. I’ve been extremely lucky with the side effects, which I strongly believe is because I came into this journey fit and healthy and I have maintained that through my treatment (I was back in the gym 10 days after surgery). Nausea has been non-existent, my appetite has not been affected so far, and other minor symptoms have been manageable.

You too are fit and healthy from your posts about biking etc. You will do fine.

I have chemo today, and I have just eaten a bowl of fruit, granola and yoghurt. I will get lunch at the clinic, and I have packed fruit, nuts and cheese in case there’s nothing I want to eat (I’m a vegetarian). I’ve drunk a glass of orange juice, and had a cup of hot water with lemon (I’ve gone off tea and coffee).

its round 3 of 8 for me today, I’ve reached the 1/4 through it milestone. The end can’t come soon enough, but I’m taking one day at a time.

Youve got this, you can do it, we will be thinking of you on Thursday xx

Re: Lets Talk Chemo

Posted by irishchick on Jan 16, 2019 9:17 am

Hocklem‍ , hi, I just had my 1st chemo yesterday. I am 57, lumpectomy and node biopsies Nov 15th, from a Routine mammo Oct 29. I am triple negative, grade 3. Stage 1, clear margins and clear nodes. My chemo is TC, 4 rounds followed by radiation after. I keep fairly active, and they say that helps minimize the effects!  As I had to have the 1st treatment in the city, I'm hoping the rest of chemo can be done locally, I had my long red curly hair shaved off on site just hours before my chemo. I'd picked out a short wig the week before at the chemo class. The nurses were all so good, going over everything. I only felt a little tired, ate a little supper when we got home, and only felt briefly thru the night, tingling in my feet and muscle cramps, but only a few minutes each. They've really been good about making sure you have the anti nausea meds to minimize that issue! Yesterday I avoided my coffee, and ate small meals. It's a relief they've come a long ways in chemo treatments! Good luck tomorrow!

Re: Lets Talk Chemo

Posted by KarenBlue on Jan 16, 2019 12:03 pm

Hello Hocklem‍,
You have definitely got this! For sure, before chemo starts, it feels like the great unknown, but you will get through the first one, and then the countdown begins! I had 4 treatments of a/c then 12 treatments of taxol between November 2017 and May 2018. It really does help to do a countdown to see how far you have come, and watch the number of treatments you have left get smaller and smaller.
You are going to find the nursing staff so understanding and helpful. Don’t be shy to ask questions and share your concerns. They are your fellow soldiers getting you through this battle.
For food on the day of chemo, I seem to recall sticking to my usual go-to breakfast: peanut butter on toast. I would recommend you take the meds they prescribe exactly as they recommend to keep any nausea at bay. I also found good old Premium Plus crackers helpful if I was feeling queezy in the days following treatment. (The last time these were so helpful to me was early in my pregnancies.... many moons ago haha).
Plan some fun stuff to do the days following treatment. Watch funny shows and movies, get some really positive, uplifting books from the library, and try to get out in the fresh air each day, even if it is just for a short walk around the block.
Take deep breaths and remember that you most definitely have got this!
I will be thinking of you Thursday!
Karen

Re: Lets Talk Chemo

Posted by Hocklem on Jan 16, 2019 8:36 pm

Thanks everyone for your advice, information, support and encouragement. I feel like I’ve just inherited a whole group of cheerleaders and it’s really nice. 

Re: Lets Talk Chemo

Posted by Hocklem on Jan 22, 2019 7:55 pm

So, I had my first chemo 5 days ago and I’m just feeling like I’m starting to crawl out of what followed. During my appointment I experienced a headache that I still can’t shake. I had one the morning of my appointment probably due to nerves, so I didn’t say anything right away. Turns out it may have been due to the speed of the drip. The headache lingers and I’m still on Tylenol 3s.  Following the chemo (Friday) I developed a blood clot and infection. So I spent my first two days trying to recover from chemo in ER.  Now I’m on antibiotics and blood thinners. This was harder than I thought it would be. I’m hoping things start to improve. Has anyone else had a similar experience?  

Re: Lets Talk Chemo

Posted by ACH2015 on Jan 22, 2019 8:58 pm

Hocklem‍ 

Not a good first round of chemo. Sorry it was such a troublesome event.

Have you spoken to your oncologist about what happened? Its very important to let them know ASAP when something of this nature occurs. Antibiotics and blood thinners may mean you have to stop, adjust or change your chemotherapy regime. 

Did the ER doctor advise you of the reason you developed the blood clot and infection? Equally important to pass all this information onto the oncology team.

You don't say what chemotherapy drugs you are being given. Each drug has a list of potential side effects that you may suffer at anytime during the treatments.

Its suggested to monitor and record any symptoms you have and pass them on to the oncology team as needed. Date, time, symptom, severity from 1 to 10, duration, pattern etc.

Was the chemotherapy delivered directly into your vein or do you have a PICC Line or Port? These are lines inserted into your vein during a minor surgical procedure. The benefits include reducing chemical irritation to the vein and keeping your veins viable and healthy - and it reduces being a pin cushion for repeated infusions. There are risks with them, but you have to look at your case and weigh the pros and cons.

When I had my chemo infusions, the RN's in the chemo clinic were all over me with regular blood pressure, temperature, and general wellness monitoring. That also may be due to the type of drugs I was given. Always trust your instincts and if you feel something isn't right let the medical team know about it, be it on the phone from home or while getting your treatment.

Keep well and let us know what treatment tweaks you are given by your oncologist.

ACH2015 - Andy




 

Re: Lets Talk Chemo

Posted by Essjay on Jan 23, 2019 7:55 am

Hocklem‍  I am so sorry your first chemo session did not go so well. I can imagine how disappointed, frustrated, and scared for the next one you must be. I know you’d rather be out on a fat bike! As ACH2015‍ says, it’s important to communicate with your team on all problems and side effects, and to make decisions together for the next round. Blood clots and infections are bad luck, and hopefully won’t happen next time (you have a PICC line I recall), but the headaches sound like something your team needs to know about. I have had headaches since my last round (I feel like I’ve been smacked in the face) and Tylenol doesn’t touch them  (can’t take T3s due to allergy to codeine, but I know they would make you feel pretty wiped out and of course you can’t drive on narcotics). I called my team and we agreed I could try ibuprofen (they don’t like NSAIDs), which has helped, and I have to take laxatives to manage the constipation that results, but at least I can function more ‘normally’.

Today is another day. Every day I wake up and acknowledge how I feel and make plans to do ‘something’. Yesterday I had to take my car for a service, walk home (10 minutes), and I had to find some information for our accountant. I was worn out after those small tasks, but ‘tick’, done!  Today, I’m following up with our counsellor about a mindfulness retreat which I think will be useful (if only I could persuade my husband to come too)...

Re: Lets Talk Chemo

Posted by Essjay on Feb 14, 2019 7:33 pm

Hi Hocklem‍  I was wondering how round #2 chemo went for you, and how you made it through round #1 after your rough few days?

Hope you are doing ok

Essjay (Selena)

Re: Lets Talk Chemo

Posted by Hocklem on Feb 15, 2019 6:55 am

Thanks for asking, round 2 was a little less challenging physically, but  emotionally I had a tough go. We had to put our golden retriever down unexpectedly. She was 14 years old.  I’m finding that I’m more emotional than usual. Still battling migraines. Just had #3 yesterday. Hoping this one goes okay,

Re: Lets Talk Chemo

Posted by Essjay on Feb 15, 2019 10:58 am

Hocklem‍ So sorry to hear about the loss of your dog - even harder to deal with when we are stretched physically and emotionally. Bug [hugs]!
Glad to hear chemo has gone a little better for you. I too have struggled with headaches and migraines. I’ve had to work hard at pre-empting the pain is taking medication before the pain starts, but basically it’s been 13/14 days each cycle -urghhh! 

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