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Let's Talk Chemo

Re: Let's Talk Chemo

Posted by JustJan on Nov 29, 2020 8:39 am

Lucy77‍ I was diagnosed with TNBC in January 2019 at the age of 59. I had a lumpectomy and it was determined that it was stage 1. I was referred to the oncologist to discuss chemotherapy which was a bit of a shock to me. Thought I would be off to radiation and on with my life. I met with the oncologist and chemotherapy was offered to me as an insurance policy. After reviewing the possible side effects, the stats for recurrence, my life expectancy and my sheer terror of chemo, I did decline chemotherapy and I did complete radiation. Well fate intervened and I ended up with ovarian cancer just 2 months after I met with the oncologist and ended up doing chemo anyway. In my mind after the second diagnosis there was no discussion to be had, I just had to put my big girl panties on and do it. What I will tell you is that chemo was not nearly as bad as I had imagined. I had some difficult days but managed quite nicely through it. I won’t say it’s a walk in the park and there are definitely some side effects but it is very doable. 

I’m happy I didn’t have to go through my treatment during Covid but I’m sure the place where you are having treatment has all the protocols in place to protect you. 

Whatever you do, make sure you have enough information to make an informed decision and try not to let fear make it for you. At the end of the day you have to do what is best for you. 

 
Strength doesn't come from what you can do, it comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn't. - Rikki Rogers

Re: Let's Talk Chemo

Posted by Essjay on Nov 29, 2020 9:19 am

Lucy77‍ I can understand your reluctance...you want to feel well again, and you want to live your life again, and chemo will not give you that...

Like JustJan‍ i didn’t have a choice, triple negative, under 50 at diagnosis, taking a year out of my life for treatment and recovery was worth it for a long and healthy life (I hope)...

I found this, which explains the oncotype testing and the interpretation of the results
https://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/testing/types/oncotype_dx

From my understanding, your score puts you in the category of higher chance of recurrence, and chemotherapy would be more beneficial than not...

It’s always up to the patient, and I’m not going to try and persuade you either way.

What I can say is that chemo wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be. The side effects I was afraid of such as nausea and losing my appetite, were well managed by the medications, and my team were very attentive to every side effect I reported and did what they could to help. Losing my hair was a drag, my nails and skin were pretty rough, losing my taste for things affected my enjoyment of food, but these things were all temporary. My hair is shiny and soft now (and white and grey, which was a shock), my nails look awesome, and my skin has recovered with the help of some collagen. 

If you have any questions about chemo to help you decide ask away - plenty of folks who can answer your questions that remain after you’ve checked out the publication @lianne_moderator shared

Wishing you well whatever you decide - keep us posted. Good luck for your appointments, you have a busy week.

Essjay
Triple Negative Breast Cancer survivor since July 2018

Re: Let's Talk Chemo

Posted by Cynthia Mac on Dec 1, 2020 7:15 am

Lucy77‍ , I read your post this morning. I’m in the school of not wanting to tell you what to do: treatment choices are very personal, and it’s said often that every case of cancer is different.

My Dad was diagnosed with lung cancer at age 78. He had a 50/50 chance of recurrence and chose to have chemo, even though it only reduced his chance of recurrence to 45%. I was very concerned about how Dad would react to the chemo, and a lot of that was because of the little I knew about chemo. 

But, as it turned out, things had changed since I’d heard those things, and Dad made it through his 12-week program reasonably well: he allowed himself to eat as much steak as he wanted and actually gained weight, and, when his symptoms were too severe, they made a change in his regimen to help him manage it better.

One thing I’ve learned is that hydration is important, particularly on the days around the treatment. 

Whatever you choose for you will be the right decision. I wish you well.
“When the root is deep, there is no reason to fear the wind.” - Japanese saying

Re: Let's Talk Chemo

Posted by Lucy77 on Dec 1, 2020 8:09 am

😊 Thank you

Re: Let's Talk Chemo

Posted by Lacey_Moderator on Dec 1, 2020 9:25 am

Lucy77‍ 

I agree with all the others, treatment is such a personal decision. Making an informed decision that is right for you is key. I'm so glad you posted to hear other people's experiences. 

I wanted to offer some information for you:
Chemotherapy for breast cancer - Canadian Cancer Society
Understanding Treatment for Breast Cancer

You may find it helpful to talk this out with one of our Information Specialists at our Cancer Information Helpline by calling 1-888-939-3333.

You know yourself best! Wishing you all the best,

Lacey