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1st CHEMO done - Ductal Carcinoma + HER2 proteins - Postmenopausal

1st CHEMO done - Ductal Carcinoma + HER2 proteins - Postmenopausal

Posted by Marilyn MDS on Feb 7, 2019 10:20 am

So....First treatment is in the record book of my life. And the first thing I find out is....not drinking enough fluids is BAD. Really bad. In so many ways.
First, it makes it hard for the wonderful nurse to put in a pic line. Then you are woozy because not enough water. And trying to drink when you are not thirsty is a challenge at the best of time.
LESSON ONE: drink fluids to hydrate - not to quench a thirst.
Day 1 - CHEMO Day
The first infusion was the Herceptin - 1.5 hr infusion with 60 minute observation. Apparently I tolerated it well. (I'll tell you more about that later).
The second infusion was the Docetaxel (Taxotere) - 1.5 hr infusion - was started as a really slow drip to check tolerance, increased slightly after 30 minutes then full on for the last 45 minutes. The thing about the Taxotere is that this is the medication that is the cause of hair loss and by the way - finger and toe nail loss if not protected by wearing ice cold mittens and booties. I thought I had to keep my hands and feet in those things for the entire duration and my fingers were getting so cold I thought I might end up with frostbite. Until the nurse told me I could remove my fingers enough to get rid of the burning sensation. Thank goodness for that.
The third and final infusion was Carboplatin - only a 30 minute infusion no observation. Not to bad.
Have been taking the anti-nausea as directed which started Sunday - the day before treatment. For the most part doing okay. Not very hungry but trying to ensure that I eat something to keep my system going as well as having something to help eliminate the toxins from my body. If it goes in - it needs help to come out. And without the fluids in your system - major abdominal cramping 16 hrs later due to needing to have a bowel movement. WOW - remind me not to do that again.
Day 2
Took Anti-nausea meds as directed. A little tired. Hubby home with me for the day. No nausea but no real appetite either. Ate lightly a half crossant for breakfast. Two bits of salad for lunch. And a little bit of Lebanese Veggie salad and tabbouleh for supper. I keep feeling for a Burger King Burger or even a McDonalds Reg burger but haven't had that yet. Tonight was the first Grastofil shot as an immune booster. That was stressing. Hubby gave it to me in my butt for the first shot. We will try the tummy area tomorrow IF it doesn't hurt for the shot.
Day 3
Anti-nausea meds as directed. Not only tired but feeling crappy. No fever - just crappy. Mom and Dad came over. Had a nice visit. Mom took over making the Beef stew for the family for supper in the InstaPot. Dad helped me by tracking some electrical in the basement so it can be repositioned for better access and use. I actually ate lunch. Tuna salad with what tasted like cardboard Nacho chips. The chips weren't bad or stale - my taste buds are way off. I actually gave in and went and had a lay down and rested in bed. About an hour (I think). Made a difference. Daughter Jenn got home early enough to be able to visit with her grandparents before they left to return home before the rush hour traffic got too bad. Hmm - should check to see how long it took them to get home. Had supper with the family - I actually ate almost a small bowl of the stew. The kids loved it so I know it was good but like I said - my taste buds are off. In bed by 9:15 pm - Grastofil shot in tummy at 9:50 pm. Better than the butt. I don't remember any of the news at all. Must have fallen asleep fast.
Day 4
Early morning started out with having to make an urgent run to toilet. Almost wet the bed. And when I got to the toilet, I had no control over my urine. I don't ever remember having peed so long and so steady in all my life. Without any control. I usually try to stop mid-stream to keep my Kegel muscles in shape but there was none of that this morning. That was a little disconcerting. Hopefully today I will have a mildly normal bowel movement. That would be nice. Today is the last day of "scheduled" anti-nausea meds for this round. Although I do have a backup prescription should I need help. Stay ahead of the nausea. Harder to stop the vomiting than it is to avoid it. Have had my coffee and meds and now to find something I feel like eating. I am also hoping to go to the office for a couple of hours today but we will see. My managers are wonderful and have told me to take all the time I need - they want be back but they don't want me to tire myself out. How did I get so lucky there? Wait and see. If not today then possibly tomorrow. But if I don't go to the office - I need to get outside and walk around a little in the fresh air. Exercise might help me feel a little bit normal again.

Re: 1st CHEMO done - Ductal Carcinoma + HER2 proteins - Postmenopausal

Posted by mycrazyjourney on Feb 7, 2019 2:04 pm

Marilyn, welcome and congrat on chemo 1 over and done with. I also have her2 positive, actually triple positive breast cancer. Which means that I have estrogen and progesterone positive and her2 positive cancer also ductal. My treatment plan was different than yours, hope you tolerate your chemo well and ask your oncologist for nausea pills so you don’t have to suffer, they work wonders. All the best to you, this site has wonderful people who will answer all your question and concerns. Therese

Re: 1st CHEMO done - Ductal Carcinoma + HER2 proteins - Postmenopausal

Posted by ashcon on Feb 7, 2019 4:25 pm

Hi Marilyn MDS‍ 

Congratulations on getting through the 1st chemo.  Thanks for sharing your personal experience with Round 1 as well - great tips you have shared, which others will benefit from, I'm sure. I likened chemo to feeling like I had the flu.  Does it feel that way to you? 

I finished my chemo over 1 year ago, so I have forgotten a lot of the little tips and tricks, but your words reminded me of two more:
- Hydrate your skin as well!  Drinking water is great, but also make sure you are moisturizing - especially feet, hands and face, and especially in this dry winter weather.
- Fresh air/exercise.  Outside preferably.  On those days where you just can't get out - crappy weather or feeling crappy oneself - at least sit by an open window for a few minutes and deep-breath in some of the good stuff.

Your hubby and family sound fabulous - you are very blessed to have such a great group of supporters in your corner!

Good luck with round #2 - it sounds like you're going to get through this ok!
---- "Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced." ----

Re: 1st CHEMO done - Ductal Carcinoma + HER2 proteins - Postmenopausal

Posted by Essjay on Feb 8, 2019 9:08 am

Hi Marilyn MDS‍ congrats on making it through your first chemo. I’m just coming to the end of round #4 for IDC triple negative. I have found chemo day really hard - I’m totally wiped out and need the arm of my husband to make it to the car (I have no idea how others drive but they are obviously on other cocktails. Then I just want to sleep, but I know I have to drink a couple of litres of water, so my sleep is interspersed with panic about not drinking. I hope you are taking sennakot or similar for your digestive system - really helps make things more comfortable because those antiemetics really mess things up, and eat something like dried apricots daily. 
i have found days 5-7 the worst, when I really am not up to very much, just need to rest, and the worst of my side effects hit me. Then I start to feel a little more like myself. I schedule things for week 2 - eg a massage, lunch with friends, grocery shopping etc. The fatigue is cumulative, gets worse with each cycle. I had good intentions of exercising regularly, but it’s not happening as much as I’d like - I just have no energy. I try to get outside and walk the dog, but we have -40 today so I am really glad she’s booked into daycare and being groomed.
im glad you are eating - I can taste very little but eat anyway - in front of the tv to distract myself, or with others. It works for me, but I really look forward to being able to taste and enjoy food again.
good luck with round #2!
Triple Negative Breast Cancer survivor since July 2018

Re: 1st CHEMO done - Ductal Carcinoma + HER2 proteins - Postmenopausal

Posted by ACH2015 on Feb 8, 2019 10:59 am

Marilyn MDS‍ 

Thank you for that important reminder about hydration.

"LESSON ONE: drink fluids to hydrate - not to quench a thirst."

Something I noted in your post that I need to put into better practice - starting now.

Keep well

ACH2015 - Andy.

Re: 1st CHEMO done - Ductal Carcinoma + HER2 proteins - Postmenopausal

Posted by Tesachi on Feb 8, 2019 8:11 pm

Marilyn MDS‍  congratulations on completing your 1st chemo session. I am recovering from my last chemo session on January 21st, and getting mentally/physically ready for my upcoming bilateral mastectomy next month. I am also undergoing immunotherapy with Herceptin every 3 weeks for a year.

I have been off work to focus on all of the several medical treatments lined up for my HER2 positive breast cancer (1st chemo, ongoing Herceptin, then pending mastectomy and radiation) and any further follow-up tests  (MRI, heart ultrasound, etc), and to deal with any of the individual and/or compounded chemo side effects (insomnia, fatigue, constipation, mild diahrrea, heartburn, change in taste buds, constant runny/drippy nose, mild darkening of the nails and skin sensitivity).  When it was time for my Grastofil injections, one chemo cycle I would have them on my tummy and the next cycle I would have them on my thighs to alternate injection areas.  All the health tips that ashcon provided on her post are great (hydration, moisturizing, exercise, etc).

My strong faith in God, the love and support of my family and friends, and being part of this supportive online community have been very helpful for me to maintain a positive and proactive attitude most of the time.  It is also okay to feel upset or anxious at times because that what make us humans, and in life we have our up and downs. No matter how many times you fall down as long as you get up and keep going.

Marilyn MDS‍ Keep up with the positive attitude and wish you all the best in your journey.


Tesachi  - Teresa


Re: 1st CHEMO done - Ductal Carcinoma + HER2 proteins - Postmenopausal

Posted by JenDavid on Feb 9, 2019 8:43 am

Hi there. I had exactly the same regimen as you! Finished round 6 on Jan. 7. I had diarrhea and then constipation pretty well every time. I saw a naturopath for what foods to eat and supplementa to take and it helped! Also did acupuncture which alleviates some side effects. Good luck. You can do it!

Re: 1st CHEMO done - Ductal Carcinoma + HER2 proteins - Postmenopausal

Posted by dmarie on Feb 9, 2019 10:22 am

Hi Marilyn MDS. Thanks so much for sharing. I am heading into my first Chemo next Thursday and will be getting Taxotere so this was really helpful. I know I don't drink enough water so need hydrate up. I will have to make sure they give me the ice gloves and booties. I had heard that rubbing vaseline on your nails may also help. 

Re: 1st CHEMO done - Ductal Carcinoma + HER2 proteins - Postmenopausal

Posted by Marilyn MDS on Feb 19, 2019 3:53 pm

Wow - as much as I hate the poison going in my body, I am sooooo glad we are in a day and age it is there and being impoved upon daily. We met with my Medical Onclogist last week and received very encouraging news. The mass had already shrunk in size from a 4cm to a 3cm (being conservative says the Doc). And then Saturday evening, after being very uncomfortable in my own skin (literally), I developed a "rash". A head to ankle rash. It looked like hives and German Measels rolled into one. Not itchy but slightly burny. Somewhat like a mild sunburn. Guess what? It's "Chemo Rash". Yup - that's what I said. Chemo Rash. And guess what - everything we read and then was told is that is good news. It means the Chemo is working. Woohoo - a rash means it's working!!!! Yes it is working - but now I also know what it feels to be a piece of prized cherry wood lovingly carved and SANDED to silky perfection. Only thing is - human skin does NOT do well when sand paper is used on it. That is what it feels like though. Like it was sanded. GRRRRR 

Remember I mentioned hydration earlier in my posts?!? Hydration of the skin is just as important. I know someone else mentioned it earlier and I should have listened closer. She was and is right. Non-parfumed, quality lotion is wonderful. So is oatmeal based lotions. Soothe the angry beast that is your skin and the redness and burning sensation is greatly reduced. OH - BTW - this also means that my skin is now ultra-sensative to the sun and has the potential to burn faster than a new born. Sunscreen 30 is the minimum on any exposed skin. And reduce exposure to less than 10 minutes at a time. I guess I am going to have to adopt a modified vampire attitude to the sun. (I can hear my childish subconcious saying "I don't want to {whine whine} I want to play in the sun. I NEED to play in the sun {whine cry whine}.) Suck It Up Buttercup. Do what is good for you and quit complaining. (Yes I do talk to myself that way-sometimes).

So here we are one week before 2nd Chemo treatment and I am trying to keep my self busy with work on good days and getting excited about the idea of being finished and on a two week trip to Antigonish in July with hubby and a couple who are amazing friends of ours. Focus on a goal and beyond I've been told and so I am. 

Oh - and by the way - you all gotta try running your hands through a huge bowl of multi-colored jeweled confetti.

JOYFUL JOY is the only way to discribe it. It is impossible not to smile with your hands deep in a cacophany of color. Soak up the essence within your psyche. Color is life and life is color. I think this could be the equivalent to the IKEA ball pit for adults.

Until next time - I hope I brought a smile to you face and a laugh to your lips. If so - I succeeded in my goal today. Humor is a wonder drug - I wonder why we don't use it more. ;) 

Re: 1st CHEMO done - Ductal Carcinoma + HER2 proteins - Postmenopausal

Posted by Elsie13 on Feb 20, 2019 5:05 pm

Hi Marilyn MDS‍ .  I had ovarian cancer and I had 6 chemo treatments, three weeks apart. During my fourth chemo, I developed a rash on my neck, throat and upper chest, so they stopped my chemo for a half hour ? an hour? while consulting the doctor. I was given additional pre-meds, something I had already been given, but more of it, and the chemo was started again, but given more slowly. So we were there for 7 hours that day, instead of five and a half to six hours. 
         So for my next two chemos, I had to take a bunch of pills at 3:00 AM, ahead of the chemo.  The rash wasn't itchy.  It was the nurse who noticed it. Some weeks later I was prescribed mega vitamin D, or 10,000 IUs of vit. D, once a week, which is good for the skin. And yes, I was advised not too spend much time in the sun, and use sunscreen! 
In 2016: diagnosed with stage 2 ovarian cancer. Treatment: hysterectomy, chemo, radiation. Afterwards: No Evidence of Disease!