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February 2012 Chemo

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  • gonegirl
    gonegirl Member Posts: 1,022
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    Thank you everyone. Diana, send 'em on. The more meta survivors I meet the better. My friend Lisa is spending the night and going to chemo with me tomorrow. Then my friend Jill comes over tomorrow night. And then my Aunt Carole comes for the next two nights. I need to keep busy and stay away from my dark thoughts.



    I am 47 and single and always wanted kids but wanted that with a husband. After the breast cancer diagnosis, I thought I'd adopt once all this was done. But this won't be done. I'll be managing cancer in my liver all my life. And I don't to adopt only to leave a child behind.



    I do feel pity but I also feel a lot of anger and fear. Life is certainly not fair and I'm a bit pissed about that now.

  • moonflwr912
    moonflwr912 Member Posts: 5,938
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    Aw, h*ll, Gritgirl- not what we wanted to hear!  But as others have said don't give up.  Just 6 years ago there was no treatment for us Her2 people- now there is Herceptin- hang in there, maybe there is something in the pipeline that will help you. We will vent and moan and cry along with you, but we will also HOPE with you.  You are in my heart. Don't give up.  Sometimes life SUCKS! and then, sometimes it doesnt...............................

  • Gayle56
    Gayle56 Member Posts: 111
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    gritgirl  -  I am so sorry to hear this.  Faith is powerful medicine.  I will keep you in prayer.

    Gayle

  • Sissydi
    Sissydi Member Posts: 183
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    Hi ladies! Starting chemo this month too....glad to have found this thread! Thanks grit girl! Anyhow, waiting for my start date about 10 days from now, don't know my cocktail yet, but will definitely be getting Herceptin, and participating in a clinical trial. Glad to find you sisters so we can hold each others hands through this!

  • Sissydi
    Sissydi Member Posts: 183
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    Oh grit girl, I just posted before reading above your stage change....praying for you....let us know how your chemo goes. Hang in there......it seems every time I turn around, my diagnoses gets worse too. Thinking of you.

  • gonegirl
    gonegirl Member Posts: 1,022
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    Thanks sissy. I really appreciate that. This is a good group.

  • faithhopenluv
    faithhopenluv Member Posts: 154
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    Gritgirl Good luck with your first treatment today, that room will be overflowing with our support.

  • faithhopenluv
    faithhopenluv Member Posts: 154
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    I also wanted to share something about the port for anyone that is deliberating the timing of getting it and the first treatment. I was concerned it would be too soon the day after. Several women shared their thoughts on the Jan thread indicating that as long as there are no complications, it is easy and definitely not worth delaying treatment for healing. Others shared that it looked 'so angry' the first few days that they couldnt imagine. Here is my experience. Your surgeon can leave it accessed, meaning that the plastic tube is inserted while you are under and there is no sticking at all for the infusion. My surgeon uses surgical glue so he said if he left it accessed I coukdnt shower, if not I could shower the next morning. I told him wanted to shower. Fast forward to post surgery, It did look a bit angry and I was second guessing my decision. That was actually my biggest anxiety walking into the infusion. But the nurse numbs it and I felt abosolutely nothing. it definitely was the right choice for me, I wouldnt want to wait another week only for the purpose of it healing.

  • rachelvk
    rachelvk Member Posts: 564
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    Feeling a little better today after a rough few days. As you all go through this, plan to give yourself time off and breaks. The energy drain, at least for me, can happen out of nowhere even after I think I've 'recovered.' Generally my first two tx's weren't too bad. Over the weekend I'll post a brief list of how I seem to have been reacting. Hopefully it might help a little - though all our reaction schedules will be different.

    My PT yesterday really stressed how important it is to get at least a little exercise, especially right after your treatment, so it gets metabolized quickly and out of your system. Even if you're tired, take 15 minutes to walk around, and that might do you a lot of good.

    Good luck to Gritgirl and anyone else with treatments today - and I hope everyone has a restful weekend. 

  • ymac16
    ymac16 Member Posts: 85
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    gritgirl, I notice you're in Washington, DC - so am I.  I started in a yoga for women with cancer class last month and it has been a great source of support for me.  We do about 45 minutes to an hour of gentle yoga but people stay after (or come earlier) to talk, give advice, share experiences, etc.  There is a woman there who was diagnosed with BC about 4 years ago, was treated and cancer free for 4 years, but last spring it was found to have metasticized to her liver.  Its not exactly the same situation as you, but I'm sure she would be a great person to talk to.  I don't know exactly where you are in DC, but let me know if you're interested and I'll give you more info.  HANG IN THERE!!

  • lmlola59
    lmlola59 Member Posts: 18
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    Hi all,

    Sorry Gritgirl just hang in there and kick its but.

    First want to say its wondefull to see so many brave woman,I can't say I started out this way but with time I think we all just learn to deal. We need to give ourselves our best shot and have no regrets about it.

    Just joined this community and this discussion.I actually just fell into the site this week when trying to research before I met with the Onc yesterday for the 3rd time to make my final decision to go thru with the chemo. My big day is going to be Feb 28th as last week I had a tooth that was just a bit sensitive and ended up having a root canal on Sat.Unfortunatly after much bargaining with the dentist he wont 'do the follow up work untill it has time to calm down but agreed to do 2 steps at one visit.So can't get the ball rolling till I get this done.Had a lumpectomy on Jan 4th and originally thought it would just be followed by radiation but after they tested the tumor the grade changed which I have found is a major factor on whether I would need Chemo or not.Of all the treatments that may have been needed Chemo is truly the one I have been struggling with.Like most I am devastated about the hair loss and going to make an appointment to get a wig.I feel guilty now about always telling my hair I never really liked it,as now that I will be loosing it I feel much different.Read some of the post on the cold caps and just don't think I would be able to tolerate it and my hair would continue to grow in grey and I can't color so that would also bug me.Also will be curious to see for those that have been faithfull exercisers if they have been able to maintain this.I don't want to gain weight or lose any of the body strength I have thus far been able to maintain.Also am going to try to not have the port my Onc seems to thing it will work ok for me allthough I have to wait till they look at the veins to see if they are plump enough.I was told to drink lots of water the day before to help with this.I am  to recieve the TC for 4 rounds 3 weeks apart if all goes well.

    Another thng I want to see on the post if all are going to do the shot of Neulasta,I have discussed this and my Onc said that we can try it without the first time see how it goes and if my results are good maybe just use it on the last round.

    I am lucky in some ways to have been recently laid off at this time (hubby has insurance thankfully) so I can at least not worry about that.But I was suppose to be going back at the end of March as a contracor (no paid time off) but I am not sure how that will work out so very interested to hear from those that have been able to maintain working and not need time off.Don't want to miss the boat on this as jobs are very hard to come by in this economy and seriously how am I going to go thru the job searching/interveiwing process at this time.

    Did not intend to be so long winded but I guess I have been thinkng on these things for  LONG LONG time.

    So short form

    Able to exercise?

    Able to work with no time off?

    Luck with no port?

    Luck with no Neulasts?

  • JudyP
    JudyP Member Posts: 35
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    Oh gritgirl, so sorry to hear your news!  Don't give up!  Sending prayers and positive energy your way.

     Judy

  • JudyP
    JudyP Member Posts: 35
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    I'm still tired, but not as bad, this is day 5 after 1st treatment.  I may have an upper respiratory infection, too.  Called the onc and am waiting to hear if she wants me to take antibiotcs.  Tylenol is helping with the aces, but now I'm not sure if it's the neulasta or some virus.  Resting, drinking lots of water.  Food tastes weird and flat, but I could stand to lose a few lbs.!

    love and strength to all,

    Judy

  • faithhopenluv
    faithhopenluv Member Posts: 154
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    welcome lmlola59 -  alot of us are just starting or contemplating starting, so I am giving you heresay:)  There are many on the other boards that keep up very regular exercise - like running, weights, etc, others are just making sure they walk as much as possible.  I ran before the biospy followed by the lumpectomy (11/17 and 12/21) but never quite healed to where I wanted to try again.  I had my first treatment yesterday and walked a mile and 1/2, I'd like to do 3 today because I still feel fine and want to try to do as much as possible and see where that takes me.  Everyone says it is huge because it gets the chemo in and out of your system quicker.

     As far as working, there are some that have taken off the infusion day, worked Friday, had bad days on Sat and Sunday and then made it through the week.  Others have such horrible side effects that it just isn't that easy.  My plan is to have txs on Thursday, work from home Friday and hopefully be able to go in on Monday.  But everything is a crap shoot - literally!  I knew that some people get constipated and others get the opposite.  What's worse is my occ nurse told me it can go back and forth between treatments.

    Cant help you as much with the other 2 - have a port and got my shot today :)

  • gonegirl
    gonegirl Member Posts: 1,022
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    Getting towards the end of my first chemo.  Only problem was when they had me 10 minutes into the taxol the muscles in my lower back began to cramp badly. I have sciatica so this just might have triggered that.

    They gave me 25 more mg of benadryl in my IV and now I'm sleepy.  Talking to an accupuncturist and going to get back into yoga. My body has tight muscles and sensitive GI so assuming these will be my issues.  A day at a time.

     Feeling a bit more optimistic today. Was checking for chemo when my aunt called.  She never calls me.  I told her I had to call her back later and then after hung up, commented to staff behind desk, another call from a relative I never hear from because I have cancer.  One of those folks is my father. He never calls, visits, etc. Suddnely I'm getting what I call weekly Cancer Calls.  Guilt is an interesting thing.  I'm doing my best to not get caught up with him again and expect things. He always dissapears.

    He lives 6 hours away and is 78 but still works.  He calls and quickly says, I'd like to come see you but I have to work.  Good he set it straight out. Luckily, his brother (my uncle) and aunt have become surrogate parents to me.  My aunt is coming this weekend to stay with me to help me through this hump. God bless them.

  • lumpynme
    lumpynme Member Posts: 497
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    i actually stole some alone time today and really needed it- took a load of laundry to my daughter's apt; went to a local credit union to open an acct. Goodwill-nothing thrilled me- and then to walmart for some stuff..back to daughter's to dry said laundry and home- not exciting but BY MYSELF and it was cathartic!!!!

    my sweetie man is sure that we are going to be homeless on just his income (only soc sec) before long-my daughter's company has a part time opening;the gal hiring said to apply so tomorrow we will do my app and i think tomorrow will be haircut day -needs to be done cuz it doesn't look great for a job interview! and i want my daughter to take pics of the event! daughter told the gal the whole situation of my tx upcoming etc so pt will be good for me and i know that i can do the work-just so i can do it well enough on the days that i do it!!!! i'm not sure that i would have fully disclosed my tx situation but daughter seems to think it's ok....i have to defer to her as she has been with the company about 5 years and they are family oriented.....

    i'm actually enjoying not working but know that reality says i need to-income is not really as great as output! also sanity....

    ok that's my whine....sunshine and 48* today so i am going for a walk- guess i should take the dog to keep me honest!!!!

    gritgirl--i do not blame you for being angry--someone pointed out taht any one of us could face teh same dx and i think we all are humbled by taht thought. my prayerscontinue for you and a hug too!

  • Hildy910
    Hildy910 Member Posts: 227
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     Gritgirl, that stinks and I am sorry to hear it.  Keeping you in my prayers. 
    I've had a pretty good week--taken some naps, walked the first couple days, went for a small run yesterday. I've been able to work as well (I work out of my house, which makes things simpler.)
     At day five, I'm off all the post-chemo drugs except the laxative stuff, which doesn't seem to be helping. I even drank tons of green Probiotic juice and nothing doing.
    Took Claritin prior to the Neulasta shot and didn't have problems, for what it is worth.   
    Picked up my wig this week.  It looks like some sort of a pelt sitting there on my dresser, but it did come in handy yesterday when my husband used it to shock our daughter out of bed. He looked like an aging '80s hair band rocker with a bad dye job.  
  • Gayle56
    Gayle56 Member Posts: 111
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    ImLola59  -  Welcome.  I worked through my first round of TC - I am a resource room teacher and I walk the building and an outside building and 4 flights of stairs a few times a day. I took the infusion day off but that was it.  I do not know if this will hold true for the rest of my treatments but one can only take it one day at a time.

    I didn't get a port nor was it even brought up.  They did the first treatment on my hand with no problems.  I did drown myself in water before and after as suggested by those on the board.

    I did not get Neulasta on the first round. My MO said he was willing to try it and see how I do.  I am going to guess my counts are ok as I even picked up a cold and my fever stayed below normal and it never developed into anything more.  My biggest reason for not getting it was it meant taking another day off to go get it.

  • Brandyj26
    Brandyj26 Member Posts: 7
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    Hi Ladies,

    I actually got my port this morning, 8 am.  then had first tx at 10 am today as well.  they left the needle access in from putting the port in and then wheeled me right on down to the cancer center for my first tx.  I am on dd AC x 4, then Taxol x  4.  Im not feeling to bad at the moment, little tired and a little sore is all. I get the shot tomorrow, already have Claritan on hand.  I do plan to continue working, I am a waitress at the local restaruant.  trying to keep things as normal as possible. 

    Wishing none of us have to be here and hoping no more join.  To those already here and those yet to join....WE CAN DO THIS.  You are all very brave, strong woman and its an honor to meet everyone of you just wish it was under different circumstances. 

  • ymac16
    ymac16 Member Posts: 85
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    I went in for my first treatment yesterday (don't count my disaster with the Taxotere last week as one!) and all went fine.  I was very tired when it was all done, but I attribute that partly to being anxious about another possible allergic reaction.  I went home and napped, got up and ate a light dinner (even though I wasn't hungry, the nurse stressed it was important to eat).  Right after I finished, I got nauseated, took a anti-nausea pill but it didn't really help. Was hoping to get a good nights sleep but I kept waking up every 1 1/2 - 2 hours to go pee.  This morning was OK, still tired.  Took an anti-nausea pill again and then ate a piece of toast with peanut butter - still made me queasy.  Had soup for lunch and that was fine, so I think I've found my food of choice!

    I did get a Neulasta shot today - my onco really didn't make it an option.  Plus, I have 2 young children and my job puts me into contact with a lot of people so I'm not complaining - better to be on the safe side.  I took some Tylenol when I got home, so hopefully I won't have much bone pain.

     Exercise has been tough for me - I am (was?) an avid runner and I really don't like doing much else.  However, I obviously had to take time off after my surgery.  Started taking walks after surgery and worked my way up to going to the gym and getting on the elliptical plus doing sit-ups.  Running was problem because I have tissue expanders in right now and they bounce very uncomfortably when I ran the first time.  Bought a support supportive sports bra and actually went for a run for the first time since the surgery this week - hooray!!  But, the nurse told me not to run for the first week after the chemo infusion - told me to take long walks (bleh) so I went for about a 2 mile walk today.  Everyone says that it is important to stay active!

    I do not have a port but this was based on the first treatment I was going to have - 4 cyles of TC over 12 weeks.  I am now going to do 6 cycles of FEC over 18 weeks.  The nurse suggested that I get a port in because the "E," epirubicin, is harder on the veins and she thinks it will be easier with a port.  I'm still going to try to avoid it, I've been told I have really good veins and I'll have 3 weeks for them to recover between infusions.

    Going into work consistently has been a bit of a challenge for me based on all the various doctor appointments I have to go to plus the disasterous chemo hell I've been through in the last week which has thrown my schedule completely off.  Fortunately, my work has been very good about all of this and I can often work from home, so I technically haven't taken many official days off - I was even working during my infusion yesterday since they have WiFi access.

    Well, tomorrow is supposed to be the day when the SEs may really kick in, so hopefully things won't be too bad.

  • momof3boys
    momof3boys Member Posts: 63
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    Brandy- take the Claritin today. You're supposed to take it the day before your Neulasta shot and for 4-5 days afterwards.

  • christina0001
    christina0001 Member Posts: 449
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    (((gritgirl)))) So sorry to hear about your test results and your liver. I cannot imagine how you are feeling inside...somehow, somewhere hang on to that hope...it is so true that people live a long, long time with cancer spread, and do a lot of living in that time. That strength has to be inside of you, inside of us all ... I have to believe that for you, me, and all of us. Your post about the first chemo treatment was reassuring to me.

    lola- OMG needing a root canal on top of everything else...seriously! Sometimes life is too much. My mom only had 4 rounds of chemo but she did it all without a port; she absolutely did not want one. She has no regrets, it worked out fine for her.

    lol @ Hildy (or your husband, at least!)

  • christina0001
    christina0001 Member Posts: 449
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    Dumb question - do I need to take the whole day off when I get the Neulasta? I assumed I could get the shot and then go to work (or get it at the end of the day and then go home).

  • DonnaDS
    DonnaDS Member Posts: 23
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    Probably would have been better to be a little more active today instead of giving in to the lazies.  It is day four after my fist T/C.  Achy and sleepy but still much better than what I was dreading a week ago.  So far the worst was the Dex before.  What a headache that brought. Only Oxy could touch it.  We are not doing that next time.  But still lots of steroids.  Anyone else having trouble with them?

  • ymac16
    ymac16 Member Posts: 85
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    christina0001, no you don't have to take the day off for the Neulasts shot - its a real quick shot and you won't feel any effects, if any, until much later.

  • dltnhm
    dltnhm Member Posts: 420
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    Grit girl... Anger is an emotion that we have for a reason. If it didn't serve any purpose at all I am doubtful that it would exist. So you go ahead and vent and be angry. I can already tell in the short time that we have'known each other that you aren't going to be someone that allows anger to consume her or let it turn to bitterness. So use it, vent, it, work it, ... There are positive outcomes to the presence of anger ... Not the least of them being that you will not end up bottling all of this inside you and get ulcers, etc.



    I have friends that lively the DC area and although they haven't walked the cancer road that we are walking they are caring, compassionate, fun, real menand women of action. They put their faith and belief into action so they don't just sits the sidelines and say 'I will pray for you' when they know that a practical expression is needed and means so much more. Let's message each other some particulars so that I can get someone my 'people' in the queue for you!





  • dltnhm
    dltnhm Member Posts: 420
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    Wow so many of us areinthe same place wondering about hair, ports, exercise,neulasta,nausea, etc. adinfinitum.



    My start date .. As of today ..is Wedensday, Feb. 22nd. Iknowsomegals don't feel the harder side effects until a few days later and for others it's different entirely. I basically had the choice between Wed or Fri and chose Wednesday because I am hopeful that I will be able to make some weekends count during this including getting away for at least one weekend at the end of the AC portion 8 weeks after I begin.



    Can't speak to portlessness or no neulasta. My right veins have had so much trouble and trauma since my surgery and axillary excision on my left side with my mastectomy. Feeling like a pincushion, I have no desire to have veins blowup or collapse through this chemo regimen. My T (and H - if i get into the trial and get the drug) will be spread over 12 weeks due to the trial so that would be a whole lot more needle sticks that I will not have to deal with. Neulasta is on the docket period.



    Running .. I am so with you. Love to run and haven't been able to since the day before my surgery (1/10). Hoping doc clears me next week or at week 5 so I can get in some god runs before chemo begins. My chemo nurse is encouraging me to try really hard to go for it since it means so much to me and will help the drugs move, move, move. Walked at the mall the last two days and have almost returned to my presurgical pace. I would always run the corridors and hallways so I couldn't do that yet. And still guarding my axillary incision where the surgeon made my vascular connection for my tissue transplant. Obedience is sometimes difficult but I trust him and will follow allof his orders.



    Wigs. Just laughed out loud at the husband's antics with the daughter. I would have spit liquidity had been drinking something. Funny! I tried on a few wigs at a store the mall after my walking with exercise purpose was complete. It was fun, butithinkthatis because I haven't lost my hair, my own hair was already in a pony tail and just about anything was an improvement on my morning behead hair day I was having. To top it all off, the store is kind of a cath all kind of store: jewelry, makeup, scarves, nail products, hats, trinkets, tights and socks, hair extensions and wigs too. The gals in there were super nice and the little gal who helped me seemed to have as much fun as I did today. Some of the colors that I thought were closer to my own were definitely NOT good for me, but I did find a color that actually made me skin glow with its warmth and highlights and one where the bangs were just about near-perfect. And I don't even think I will wear a wig that much. Still .... It wasn't scary today and I had fun with it so a reason to smile.



    Love you gals and am honored to journey with you all.



    Diana

  • Brandyj26
    Brandyj26 Member Posts: 7
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    Thank you Momof3 for reminding me.  I did take it last night after reading your post and then climbed onto the sofa and went to sleep.  That is the most I have slept since getting the news a month ago.  still feeling tired this morning but just took the emend and dex.  Hoping to make a lunch date this afternoon with a friend   :)

  • faithhopenluv
    faithhopenluv Member Posts: 154
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    Christina - one odd thing I didn't know is my dr wants me to have the shot 24 hours after I finish treatment. Although it is quick, it's not something I can run in and get before work. Is that what is happening w everyone else?



    Dltnhm - hope you can get some runs in, my lumpectomy and axnb never felt like I was ready to go, close but not quite. Now I have the port in the other side that I'm babying. I am walking every day tho.



    Today is day 3 for me, still doing ok. I'm tired but a combination of the steroids and discomfort of sleeping on my back is making me restless. Not to mention my 16 yr little old man jack russel has been needing to go out 2x a night.



    Donna-sorry about the headaches, how quickly did they come after tx?



    Gritgirl

  • faithhopenluv
    faithhopenluv Member Posts: 154
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    Gritgil - thinking of you and hoping your first treatment was on a mission to get to the invaders in your liver