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Starting chemo July 2014

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magdalene51
magdalene51 Member Posts: 2,062

Guess I'll go first.

I start July 1.

Your turn!

Here's our list:

11PattiS – June 25

Magdalene51 – July 1

Too young momof2 – July 2

Blownaway – July 3

Mumford – July 4

Ladytdf – July 7

VerukaNY – July 8

Hemmie – July 9

ChaosRains – July 9

MomtoIrishQuads – July 9

CoyoteNV – July 10

RainDew – July 11

Z-Kitty – July 11

Mommymel – July 14

Gilmour – July 14

AJ62 – July 14

Jennliza – July 16

JoeysMommy – July 16

Kpmacmill – July 16

pinkninja9560 – July 16

Dancingdiva – July 16

JenKay – July 16

knmtwins – July 16

Kitkatmo – July 17

feelingoverwhelmed – July 17

Puffin2014 – July 17

Boxofrockstar – July 17

Rosemamma88 – July 18

Fayette37 – July 18

no1b4makidz72 – July 21

Nancy2581 – July 22

Redheeledwomen – July 22

WalleGater – July 23

ElaineTherese – July 23

Kebab – July 23

KiLin – July 23

MaBarker5 – July 24

ncgrl80 – July 25

Jujubes8 – July 25

Pat123 – July 28

tadover – July 28

Mainlady – July 30

maidentiredofwaiting – July 30

Fallen22 – July 30

Terri1975 – August 6

ladyb1234 – August 6

Wizard50 – August 7

Oceanbreeze1818 – August 13

filberta14 – mid-August

frenchiegal – ?

Slappy-Squirrel - no chemo!

Hholmy - TBD

Nigelsmommy - TBD

Cinchacha - TBD

RamblingRose - TBD

WendyWinslet – TBD

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Comments

  • magdalene51
    magdalene51 Member Posts: 2,062
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    Bump

  • magdalene51
    magdalene51 Member Posts: 2,062
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    I can't  believe I'm the only one starting chemo in July.

  • CoyoteNV
    CoyoteNV Member Posts: 286
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    Magdalene51, you are not alone.  My date with chemo starts anew on July 10.  I did this in 2012, but have had a "local recurrence" that requires do overs. I sort of know what to expect, having done this before, but the regime will be different than last time.  I'm sure there are others receiving chemo in July also, but there are so many posts on this site, it is difficult to find things.  I just stumbled across your post while searching for information about chemo side-effects.  Hopefully, I will find it again and we can keep in touch.  Seriously, social media is beyond my skill level.  I wish you well.

  • magdalene51
    magdalene51 Member Posts: 2,062
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    Two of us! We've got to hang together!  Hit that convenient "Add to my favorites" button then you can look under "My Favorite Topics" on the menu.

    I'll talk as long as there's someone listening.

  • slappy-squirrel
    slappy-squirrel Member Posts: 199
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    Magdalene,

    I see my oncologist this Monday. I don't know for sure if I'm doing chemo but by BS's nurse said to expect it to be recommended because of the final size of the tumor after my BMX (3.3CM). So I may (probably) be joining you here.

    Shirley

  • magdalene51
    magdalene51 Member Posts: 2,062
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    Welcome, squirrel, to our little corner of anxiousness. I am not quite five weeks out from BMX, not quite two weeks out from port placement, still having a lot of pain and feeling totally unprepared for what lies ahead.

  • slappy-squirrel
    slappy-squirrel Member Posts: 199
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    I have been crocheting chemo caps. Lmk if you want one Magdalene. I will give away a few to the first few ladies who join our group! Shirley

    image

  • slappy-squirrel
    slappy-squirrel Member Posts: 199
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    Here's one in purple.

  • slappy-squirrel
    slappy-squirrel Member Posts: 199
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    I know what you mean about feeling unprepared. I really thought the BMX would mean no radiation and no chemo. Is your pain from your port, your BMX or both? I am 2 weeks out from my BMX, and the pain is just general soreness for the most part. I had no reconstruction though. Did you? I still get a little depressed when I look at my concave chest and dog-ears (or underarm boobs as I call them).

    Shirley

  • magdalene51
    magdalene51 Member Posts: 2,062
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    Oh squirrel those are lovely! I would love to have one!

  • slappy-squirrel
    slappy-squirrel Member Posts: 199
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    Here's the pink one. I also have a brown one with a rolled hem and an all cotton dark blue green one with a very tight fit for sleeping. That's all I have right now. Working on a pale green one with baby yarn. Which one do you like the best? You get first pick! Shirley

    image

  • slappy-squirrel
    slappy-squirrel Member Posts: 199
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    image

    brown with rolled brim and a little tie to snug it to the head.

  • slappy-squirrel
    slappy-squirrel Member Posts: 199
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    All cotton (the rest are all acrylic). This one fits very tight for sleeping.

    image

  • magdalene51
    magdalene51 Member Posts: 2,062
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    I really like that blue green one, that's so pretty! 

    My BMX involved removing some muscle tissue on the left side, as well as several lymph nodes, and I have very lumpy incisions, some lumps flabby, some are hard, seromas maybe, in which case they will resolve I suppose. But the port really hurts too, guess I am just not liking having a foreign object in my chest. Good thing I elected to forego reconstruction, eh? I just couldn't imagine why I would do that. I'd actually been contemplating a breast reduction for some time but this was not how I imagined it. I joined a Facebook group called Flat & Fabulous, and a woman the other day was asking us about our feelings about reconstruction, why we chose not to. What I said was, when you lose your breasts, they are gone and you will grieve the loss as you would any body part, and having reconstruction won't change that. All reconstruction does is give the appearance that you have something you don't. So if that's the important thing, that's what you'd do. But if you have a limb amputated, you don't have implants, you have prostheses. Why is it different with boobs? Because if that's such an integral part of my identity I think I need some major reality checking. Or, as my DH said to me, "I didn't fall in love with your breasts."

  • slappy-squirrel
    slappy-squirrel Member Posts: 199
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    Magdalene, PM me your address and I'll get the blue green one in the mail to you. Don't throw it in the dryer though, it will shrink!

    what's your favorite color? if i have any yarn in that color I'll let you know.

    My sister didn't understand at first why I didn't want reconstruction. When I told her it was a lot more than just one surgery, she understood it better. I want to focus on getting rid of the cancer not getting fake boobs. I am not happy with my surgery site right now either. I have a lump in the center of my chest and flabby boobs under the arms and 2 concave spaces where I used to have boobs. I do hope to eventually fix that and get a truly flat look.

    Shirley

  • kpmacmill
    kpmacmill Member Posts: 69
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    Hi Magdalene, Shirley & Coyote,

    I will be joining you as well. I start on July 9th. It's going to be a long road with AC x 4, then Taxol x 12, but I want to get going and get it over with. I plan on using the cold caps to save my hair, but going to get fitted for wig tomorrow just in case.

  • CoyoteNV
    CoyoteNV Member Posts: 286
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    Good Morning (for me) Mandalene and Squirrel.  And then there were three.  Thanks for the suggestion about favorites,  As I mentioned, this is a second go around for me.  I hesitated to go on line and mention it, because I don't want to be discouraging to you.  We all hope that our fix sticks the first time around.  I did have reconstruction, and it was not without discomfort, but I am glad I did - and hopefully none of the projected treatments will have an adverse on them - or they on it!  I knew I would have reconstruction, because my Mom had had a mastectomy and felt "deformed". I'm not saying that she was correct, but I saw her suffer with it.  But it did affect my decision.  I look at it as "anatomically correct" shirt bumps.  I had a great PS with a great attitude and sense of humor, so it was not a terrible experience. I comes down to a personal issue.

    If you want me to, I can share my previous experiences and what I am expecting will occur over the next few months.  Some of it is good, some - not so much.  I am having a port replaced on June 26th.  I have fragile veins that can't support much poking.  They make nurses cringe, and me look like I've been pistol whipped.  When I was in the hospital following my mastectomy surgery, the blood draw nurse brought a trainee in with her and suggested that I let him learn on me.... I asked if she was kidding (or maybe crazy)?  That would be a "No!"

    Thank you, "S-S" those hats are very cute, but I do have some from my last go around. That is very nice of you to do.  I found them to be extremely important at night.  My hairless head was freezing when I went to bed, until if figured out that a "night cap" had a bigger meaning than an evening cocktail. 

    I'll check in later after my errand run.

     


     

  • CoyoteNV
    CoyoteNV Member Posts: 286
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    Make that four - kpmacmill. 

  • magdalene51
    magdalene51 Member Posts: 2,062
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    Welcome, kp. We will have our own little group then. Coyote, please do tell your experiences. Speaking for myself, I am not so naive as to think that the treatment is foolproof. My DH looks at me and tells me, "You're cancer free now!" It makes him feel better, but honestly, I'm not sure I can ever be cancer free. Those stray cells may or may not be floating in my body, or buried in my chest wall. But my mind will never again be cancer free. It will always be there, the monster under the bed. Every ache and pain turns into the fear of mets. But we share our experience to give each other courage, and strength, and hope. I've been through a lot in my 63 years, and I confess part of me wonders: have I met my match?

    But we also have to laugh, so here's the monster under the bed.

    image

  • CoyoteNV
    CoyoteNV Member Posts: 286
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    I guess I'm not the greatest shining example of the "gone and never to return" hope that we all have had, but still, it wasn't as bad as it could have been. I'm not sure if it was the chemo I went through before or not, but the PET showed no cancer in other areas of my body.  Just the local recurrence.  After the first shock passed, I decided to take that and run with it.  Understand,  I DO NOT look forward to another go with chemo to be followed by radiation treatments, and I AM frightened by it's return, but finding an up side is important.  Your DH needs hope too, and it could be his words of encouragement to you also encourage him. He is correct in one respect - that alien is out of your body.  The rest of this process is to keep it out. 

    I've talked to a lot my friends who have been in remission (I think a better word than "cure") for 10 or more years.  They are "aware".  Not every moment of course, but overall they remain aware.  They sleep at night, do fun things, and embrace life with the knowledge that they are more vulnerable.  The open wound feeling passes. Either that, or chemo brain sets in and you can't remember squat. 

    I mentioned the gate analogy in another note, but I think it bears consideration. The treatments are creating a gate between us and the cancer,  which I compare to a wolf. If we are fortunate enough that the wolf is still behind the gate, every nasty chemo side effect  ("every ache and pain") we experience can remind us that the gate is getting stronger against the wolf.  (or that monster under the bed)

    Stay strong.

  • magdalene51
    magdalene51 Member Posts: 2,062
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    Coyote, you are so right. One thing I have been diligent about is making sure DH never sees my fear. Oh, we've cried together, I've cried on him, but I can't let him see that fear. He's my rock, and I lean on him, and he's the reason I'm fighting. I won't let him down.

    The gate analogy is good. What my oncologist said was that I should remember that even though the chemo is hard, it's not the enemy. The cancer is the enemy, and chemo is the enemy of the cancer. And the enemy of my enemy is my friend, or something.

    I hate the waiting part.

  • CoyoteNV
    CoyoteNV Member Posts: 286
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    Mags,  I'll go with that.   "....the enemy of my enemy is my friend"  Guess we will just have to love our Chemo. 

    Seriously, I know you said earlier that you are anxious and feeling unprepared.  Are you researching various side effect helpers?   There were certainly things I did not know about last time that I am reading now that I will put into my plan and into my "Surviving Chemo" kit.  My DH and I are designing some ice mittens and slippers to protect my nails (and maybe avoid neuropathy).  Last time, I iced my fingers and toes with ice packs the entire time of each infusion, and only had some slight ridging.  I had a terrible time with mouth sores, and recently read that keeping a mouth full of ice chips during the same time will help.  Any thoughts?  These days before our July D-day might be a good time to do this.  My previous career was in Disaster Response and Preparedness.  Well...this is a disaster to me!

  • magdalene51
    magdalene51 Member Posts: 2,062
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    Actually not so much anxious, but unprepared in the sense that I've had no guidance from the clinic about what to expect: what the facilities are like, will I be able to have someone with me, what do THEY expect me to bring, etc. I've actually been in the June thread (since that was when I expected to start) so I've got a heads up about general stuff. But then there's the basic fact that everyone's chemo is different, even if the protocol is the same. Everyone's body handles it differently, different side effects, etc. I suppose I'll try the ice chips, because mouth sores are awful. But I'm expecting to lose my hair, and maybe my nails, and the rest is about comfort and avoiding nausea etc, right?

    Disaster? How about a catastrophe?

  • CoyoteNV
    CoyoteNV Member Posts: 286
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    Does your Dr. provide a Chemo 101 class?  If not, I'm thinking there might be a cancer support group in you area that might.  There are lots of discussions on this site about saving your nails... and hair too if you want to.  I was not blessed with wonderful hair, so when it falls out again, I'm hoping it will improve on regrowth. 

    Oh there is a list of potential issues: hair loss, finger and toe nail loss, neuropathy, unremitting nausea, bone pain, mouth sores, headaches, oral yeast growth, low blood counts - both red & white cells, constipation, diarrhea, fatigue - as in "bone weary", memory loss (Chemo Brain). I'm sure there are more that I forgot.  As you correctly said, everyone has a different situation and not everyone will suffer through all of it.  Unfortunately, I had a lot of it last time. I honestly thought it was going to kill me... and I am not a wimp.  This time, I will have my arsenal of procedures, equipment, and supplements ready.  Sorry if I sound like an alarmist.  With my last experience, I would be foolish if I did not attempt to head-off the potential SE's lurking out there.  Last time it laid me out but I'm optimistic that I can get through it without so many problems this time. 

     

  • magdalene51
    magdalene51 Member Posts: 2,062
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    Coyote, that is wise of you. I have had a range of medical issues with their own meds & side effects, so I pretty much have an arsenal to deal with them. I take lots of stuff to deal with constipation, for instance, Metamucil, colace, etc., and I take vitamins & herbal supplements as well. My cousin who lives with us juices for me. Her mom had cancer (in the 70's maybe) and beat it with the Gerson method, and went on to live to mid 90's cancer free, and my cousin took care of her in the last years; she always had juice. So cousin juices organic carrots, kale, beets, apples, etc., for me which I drink every day. And she puts liquid vitamin C and potassium in it as well.  I've heard there are vitamins I shouldn't take but no one at the oncology clinic has said anything, and they know what I take.

    I've read all the stickies and chemo threads, I just don't know what *my* side effects will be.  

  • BigSkyGirl
    BigSkyGirl Member Posts: 1
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    Hi ladies,

    I regret having to welcome you to the lovely club you never wanted to join... I mean "lovely" literally - I have had so many blessings and met so many wonderful people in my cancer journey. Yes, it will be difficult for you (especially chemo) but there are and will be good things too. Stumbled across your post as I am searching for info regarding a recurrence. A couple of pointers for you, if you don't mind:

    - find out if you have a local breast cancer support group. Made all the difference for me.

    - resist the temptation to read everything online. Stick to a couple of reputable sites or you will overwhelm and terrify yourself.

    - go easy on a tight night cap - most scalps get quite tender. I chopped my long straight hair shortly before I started chemo - helped lessen the shock when it fell out. Now I have curly, dark hair!

    - stay ahead of the pain/nausea curve, look after your mouth (esp keep it moisturized) and take little walks when you can. You will see a laundry list of unpleasant potential side effects for different infusions/drugs - you will almost certainly not get all of them.

    - surround yourself with positive, loving people. Avoid the negative. Accept help!

    - know that you are not alone. Know that you are beautiful and strong - the new normal will take some adjusting but now I look at my chest as battle scars.

    Wishing you all luck and serenity in your journey, sending you all a huge hug :)

    Meg

  • CoyoteNV
    CoyoteNV Member Posts: 286
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    To BigSkyGirl:  Thanks for the good thoughts, good advice, and good hugs.

  • slappy-squirrel
    slappy-squirrel Member Posts: 199
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    had my first visit with my oncologist yesterday. Had the blood draw for the oncotype test and I get the results back in 3 weeks. (More hurry up and wait.) can't take tamoxifen because it clashes with another med I've taken for years so I'm looking at a hysterectomy ASAP so I can take the other hormone blocking med. I'm hoping for a low score so I won't have to do chemo, but my dh pointed out I will probably end up with one right smack in the middle. 

     Shirley 

  • magdalene51
    magdalene51 Member Posts: 2,062
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    I hate the waiting part.

  • slappy-squirrel
    slappy-squirrel Member Posts: 199
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    I hate the waiting too. Btw, I mailed your hat yesterday Magdalene. U should get it tomorrow or Thursday. Shirley