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Starting Chemo September 2015; join us!

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octogirl
octogirl Member Posts: 2,434

Hello all:

There is a great and very helpful group in the August 2015 chemo thread, and I hope they will pop in to give advice to all of us 'younger' chemo sisters, but I figured it was time to start the September group for those just starting down this road.

My biggest worry is the impact of losing my hair, and am currently going back and forth on cold capping. However, none of the SEs sound like anything I want to deal with. MO says to try and live my life as normally as possible. We will see how that works out.

How about the rest of you? Please join in and let's support each other.

Octogirl.

September Chemo Group:
Hazel_Nut 8/27; Octogirl 9/9; Shopgal2 9/2; tshire 9/11; sailorgirl15 9/2; CarolinaAmy 9/3; Artista928 TBD;
Teacherhikermom 9/2015; SockerChick80 9/10; LindyC 9/10; edwsmom 9/17; AnnieB43 9/8
greytmph2 TBD; twiggyOR 9/11; Carolyn62 9/2015; Tessu 9/10; Admonkey 9/3; Rosieo 9/29
Jennagwyn 9/25; bc 201509 9/9; Summerfun 9/15; Lila-claire66 9/9; aj93 9/10
Flower68 9/11; SouthernCharm 9/15; ldurham 9/9; AG3 8/31; Amberbaum19 9/4
mom2boo_and_buzz 9/8; starsarestars 9/8; fidget 9/15; Judi1952 9/24; Skittlegirl 9/30
Scotland 9/22; HazelFrances 9/21; Drummerswife 9/10; Mommadigs 9/22; Shelly52 9/10
KatieJones523 9/16; glensea 9/23; RosevilleDawn 9/17; Jabe 9/16; Luzeelu 8/31
DoingwhatIhavetodo 9/29; cajunqueen15 9/25; Cat Lover 9/24; chevygirl54 9/18; ShannonCannon 9/24
TFoxy20 9/25; Patticakes 9/22; DLcygnet 9/16l dab0722 9/28; staykarlastrong 9/14; Shadow19 9/21
here2win 9/21; aggiemegs 9/22; ozigran 9/30; Grammy4 9/29; SoCalMom5 9/17; Minnesota_LisaFR Sept 22; marylc 9/30; yourotherleft 9/14; sweetrose623 9/15; insf 9/29; SuperMe 9/3; exercise_guru 8/27

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Comments

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,283
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    Hi Octogirl and thank you for starting the September '15 thread!

    For you, and all who join this group, we wanted to provide some helpful links, starting with the main Breastcancer.org site's section on Chemotherapy, including info on what to expect with chemo, types of chemo meds, and side effect management. Also, the Treatment Side Effects section is a great resource for tips to help manage any side effects you may experience.

    There are some really helpful key threads here in the Chemo forum too! Great tips and practical advice on the following discussion board threads:

    Also, Last Month's Chemo thread might be informative!

    Hope you find this helpful!

    --Your Mods

  • Shopgal2
    Shopgal2 Member Posts: 594
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    Happy to see someone else starting around the same date as me on 9/2. My onco plans on dose dense 4AC + 4T every 2 weeks. I am triple negative so I know chemo is necessary to do for my cancer. I am scheduled for a port 8/31. Then after chemo I am planned for 6 weeks of rads.

  • ksusan
    ksusan Member Posts: 461
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    Hi! I had chemo April to June and the April group was and is a big source of information and support for me. I'm mostly popping in to say that it's a scary prospect and it will feel like a long time while you're doing it, but you will get through this!

  • octogirl
    octogirl Member Posts: 2,434
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    thanks ksusan, I did check out the April thread and it was very helpful.

    Welcome shopgal! Going to edit my original posts to include names and start dates. I also will be having rads after chemo. I am looking into whether or not I can do the newer three week option, although there isn't anywhere in the immediate vicinity that offers it. I won't be getting a port. MO says he doesn't think I will need it with only four infusions. I certainly hope he is right; I've never had problems with IVs before so hopefully he is right. Good luck with your port insertion!

    I feel so poorly prepared for this. Going to shop for scarves and turbans today online. Cold capping sounds difficult, especially for me since it is an hours plus drive between my house and the location where I get the chemo. I am not even sure one can buy dry ice in my small town and I am not sure how I'd keep the cap cold enough. Everything feels a bit overwhelming right now so I am inclined to do whatever easiest.

    Octogirl

  • tshire
    tshire Member Posts: 54
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    Hi ladies! Just a short note now but I plan to start my 4 rounds of TC chemo on Sept 11 (great day for it, right?/sarcasm)

    I will also be cold capping. There is a lovely local program where I will be able to borrow the caps for free!

    I am getting married in March so I'm really hoping all the side effects will be gone by then and I can keep my hair..

  • Hazel_Nut
    Hazel_Nut Member Posts: 70
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    Hi Ladies,

    I'll be starting chemo on 8/27. 4 rounds of TC. I'm getting a PICC line tomorrow. Octogirl, see if you can go that route.

    My plan is to work through my treatment. I work in IT so desk job and work is flexible that I can work some days from home. My biggest worry is catching some bug. I'll do my best to stay away from the sickies.

    Hazel_nut

  • octogirl
    octogirl Member Posts: 2,434
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    Hi Hazel_Nut and tshire, added you to the list...

    I spent part of this afternoon ordering chemo scarves off of the internet. Will report back on whether I like the ones I got....I think the brand is 'chemo beanies' (?). Have to say though...the process of thinking about what I would look like was more painful than the $40 odd dollars I had to shell out. :-(

    Octogirl

  • Runningfromcancer
    Runningfromcancer Member Posts: 43
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    Hi September 2015 chemo sisters,

    I started chemo in September 2013 (TCx4) ...TWO YEARS AGO already and I just came on to give you encouragement!  I saw a sign on a church today that said, "Everything will be okay"!!! And it will be.., because you are stronger than you think and will be able to handle chemo just like you did surgery!

    Losing my hair was HARD but I got a cute wig that I felt good about and could wear when I didn't feel like looking like a cancer patient!  I wore soft hats at home or with good friends!

    I had minimal side effects (thrush, rashes) but just felt tired a lot and "yucky" on days 3-5!

    Best wishes to you as you get ready!  I still have wonderful friends that I met on the September 2013 board and I hope you can all support each other like we did! 

    I can answer any questions, too!





  • sailorgirl15
    sailorgirl15 Member Posts: 72
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    Hello September ladies!

    I am starting chemo Sept 21st. I will have it for 16 weeks every other week. (A/C for the first 4 times and T the last 4 times) I basically took the month of August off after my surgery and now I guess it's time to get prepared for this. I did get a cute wig but I'm worried about my nails. Does anyone have any advice about that? Thanks! We will get through this!

  • octogirl
    octogirl Member Posts: 2,434
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    Hi sailorgirl15: put you on the list....sorry you have to be here.

    my MO mentioned that the nail problem is worse if you do acrylics (which I don't)...don't have much info other than that...anyone else know more?

    yes, we will get through this together!

  • eheinrich
    eheinrich Member Posts: 6
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    Hi ladies,

    Thought I'd pop my head in & say Hi! I finished chemo 5/26 - 4 rounds of TC. You can do this. Will it suck? Of course, but for a finite period of time, then slowly life (and hair) return.

    hugs

    eileen

  • rainnyc
    rainnyc Member Posts: 801
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    Hi, I'm also dropping in to wish you well. I found the May group so very helpful, though I did not discover it--or BCO--until July. Losing my hair was not fun, and I am one of those who opted for a wig. I just wanted to feel as normal as possible, and I live in a big city and wanted to avoid the curious stares of thousands of strangers. The wig has been surprisingly easy to care for. I often wear it with a hat when I go out.

    These boards are incredibly supportive, and I feel so grateful to have found them. Good luck to all!

  • ksusan
    ksusan Member Posts: 461
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    I just wore big earrings and a sassy attitude unless I needed to be covered (while it was falling out, when the sun was bright). I haven't seen a study of whether cold caps reduce that 6%, but if it's important to you, it's worth doing.

  • octogirl
    octogirl Member Posts: 2,434
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    had an apt with my bs today, to look at the incisions which has been stubborn in healing. They took my nipple in addition to Lx, and it is that incision that has been a bit problematic. Both MO and BS want it healed before starting chemo...anyway, bs is very happy at how it is healing now, but feels I should wait one more week, and sent MO a note today asking him to hold off until 9/9. Just edited my date above.

    Not sure how I feel about it. On the one hand, it means I get to have fun labor day weekend without worrying about SEs. OTOH, one more week to feel anxious and nervous. Oh well, waiting seems to be part of the game, no?

    Hope all are doing well with the wait.

    Octogirl

  • BetterDay
    BetterDay Member Posts: 9
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    Hi there. I'm from the September 2013 chemo group, also popping in to say hi and wish you all well. While not the easiest thing to endure, chemo is doable and the support you will get from this group will help immensely. There really is no better place to ask questions, vent and even celebrate (and you will celebrate, hard as that may be to believe at this point) than within a group of people that is going through the exact same experience as you. Hang in there. You will get through this, and before you know it, you'll be the ones offering encouragement to those following behind you. Hopefully someday there won't be a need for these boards, but until then, they are a great place for information and support. Take care, and good luck!

  • Artista928
    Artista928 Member Posts: 1,458
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    I'm not sure I'll be joining this group or the Oct one but I will be watching! I have an appt with my MO next on 9/23 so maybe if I start right off. I'm doing the chemo class and 1:1 nurse teach beforehand and plan on getting the port in before so I can be ready to roll.

    Also, does anyone here have a port in their arm instead of on the chest? Just found out my cousin had it in her arm for chemo. Sounds better than chest because it would feel more like an IV. ?

    Good luck to you all and I'll let you know if I can officially join this group. :)

  • CarolinaAmy
    CarolinaAmy Member Posts: 215
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    Hi everyone!

    Looks like I'm joining you for September. My port placement is Wednesday, 9/2 and the chemo starts the following day. Four rounds of dose-dense AC every other week, then 12 weekly of Taxol. Mine is triple negative, so it's a lot of drugs. ;)

    I'm also one of the neoadjuvant chemo girls and wondering who else is, too. I'm 90% sure this is the route I'm going, but I have a consultation at Duke Cancer Center tomorrow and will make my final decisions after that.

  • Hazel_Nut
    Hazel_Nut Member Posts: 70
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    @Artista928, the arm one is called a PICC line. I had mine put in yesterday. My onc didn't want me to have a port since I'm doing 4 rounds of TC. We'll see how it holds up. I'll keep you guys posted.


    hazel_nut

  • Artista928
    Artista928 Member Posts: 1,458
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    Hazel Nut- Where is it placed on the arm? Is it as noticable as the port is on the chest- like as big-? I don't know what a picc line is. Thanks!

  • Hazel_Nut
    Hazel_Nut Member Posts: 70
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    @Artista, it's placed on the inside part of your upper arm. Tubes are hanging out so a cover is needed. Can't get it wet, so it needs to be covered when showering. It needs a bit more upkeep than a port--weekly flushing and dressing change. I have full use of my arm, just try to avoid doing anything repetitive with it or carrying anything too heavy.


    hazel_nut


  • Artista928
    Artista928 Member Posts: 1,458
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    Thanks Hazel Nut!

  • TheyCallMeCommodorable
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    Just popping in to let you all know that you can do this. I had my last of 4 treatments (Taxotere and Cytoxan) last week. I expected it to be harder than it was! My worst side effects were from the Neulasta shot I got the day after each treatment. Despite following the Claritin regimen, I had a lot of bone pain on days 4 and 5. Plenty of rest and diligently taking the pain meds they gave me made it manageable.

    Some other tips:

    1)For the first week of each treatment, rinse your mouth 3 times a day with salt water. No mouth sores!

    2) make an appointment at a wig shop NOW, if you plan to go that route. Because the wig lady saw me before my hair loss, she matched my hair color and style perfectly and even the nurse practitioner at my oncologist's office thought it was my own hair! If this is important to you, don't be afraid to spend a little money. Sorry, but a $60 wig on line will get you by, but it probably won't fool anyone. (I got one of those too, in RED, just for fun!)

    3). I see lots of women on these boards making themselves miserable during chemo by keeping their hands in ice during treatment to save their nails. I didn't do anything and my nails have continued to be strong, they continue to grow and they look as good as ever. It may be a case of you are destined to have a problem with it or not, regardless of what you do.

    4) I have continued to work full time, although I am fortunate that my company allowed me to tele commute from home. This made a tremendous difference in stress management and I was able to scoot over to the couch for a nap when needed. If you feel able to work, it is a healthy diversion from dwelling on cancer and all the what- ifs!

    Good Luck ladies! The anxiety will be over once you get started

  • octogirl
    octogirl Member Posts: 2,434
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    Very helpful tips, thanks Commodorable!

    my employer will also let me telecommute. I can't do it every day, but knowing it is an option helps.

    Added you to the list CarolinaAmy and Artista....welcome! Artista, let us know when you know more details.

    Octogirl


  • knittingPT
    knittingPT Member Posts: 10
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    Hi Everybody! Also popping in for a little pep talk. Y'all are going to do great and you can get through this. Just stick together and reach for some support when you need it. I had for rounds of A/C and 12 rounds of taxol and I survived!

    I noticed several of you talking about head scarves and hats. This is my FAVORITE website http://www.hatsscarvesandmore.com The hats are so adorable and nice. I hated scarves because they slipped off my head. Hats were super easy. I like the cotton ones because they were soft on my bald head. I was sooooooo worried about losing my eyebrows and eyelashes but by the time they fell out, I figured that everyone already knew I had cancer so didn't bother to paint them on. I never even tried a wig. I figured 5 months whatever. I was very open with coworkers and friends about the diagnosis.

    Other quick suggestions: don't suffer through symptoms un-necessarily. Let your oncologist know what is going on because there are all kinds of tips and tricks for side effects. I was able to work through A/C and 10 rounds of taxol before having to take off from work. You will get into a rhythm and know when your good/bad days are and you can adjust around them. I had chemo on Thursdays, worked Friday (still hopped up on steroids and felt pretty good), and then took off Sat, Sun, Mon. I am a pediatric physical therapist so my job is fairly active. If you have a desk job, it may even be easier. Try to stay busy with something. When I was idle, my mind went to scary places and I worried over nothing/everything.

    Definitely peruse the boards from previous months and you will see lots of other suggestions!


  • simplelife4real
    simplelife4real Member Posts: 341
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    Hi All,

    I'm from the Sept. 2013 chemo group (and the third one from our group to pop in). All of us from the Sept. 2013 want to wish you the best. It's scary before your first chemo only because there are so many unknowns. Once you get going with it, you tend to get into a routine. Wear warm layers to the infusion center. They will give you a blanket if you want, but it's nice to be able to add or subtract a layer. Also, be prepared for long waits. Bring a book or laptop. My husband used to play cards with me some of the time.

    You can do this!

  • Artista928
    Artista928 Member Posts: 1,458
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    Thanks Octogirl! I hope to be in Sept, at the end of it at least! I'll let you know! GL ladies!

  • octogirl
    octogirl Member Posts: 2,434
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    knitting, thanks for the link to the scarfs website. Will check it out. I ordered two beanies from chemo beanies, or something like that...got the first one today in the mail: simple, head hugging scarf in navy. Will go with most of my clothes but meh. I think my face looks fat when I wear it. I never wear makeup but wonder if it is time to start?

    How are others doing with preparations?

    Hugs!

    Octogirl

  • teacherhikermom
    teacherhikermom Member Posts: 42
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    Hi group. I am going to introduce myself.

    I am a busy 35 year old, mom of three kids under five years (plus two dogs), middle school teacher (this is my first week back to school), and somehow unexpectedly find myself facing cancer.

    I start chemo/hormones next week (TC + Lupron). I am prepping now by getting meds ready, setting up subs for school, etc.

    Things over the past few weeks have been very challenging, to say the least as life has entered a state up complete upheaval.

  • octogirl
    octogirl Member Posts: 2,434
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    welcome teacherhikermom (love your handle) even though this is the place no one wants to be. We will get through this together!

    Octogirl.

  • SoccerChick80
    SoccerChick80 Member Posts: 13
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    Hi all,

    Just a quick intro.  I am 35 and have 3 kids.  I should be starting chemo on 9/10.  I am getting my port placed on 9/8 so I can still enjoy the holiday weekend.  I am hoping to be able to work through the various chemo and radiation.  I have a desk job for the most part so hopefully the Thursday schedule will work out for me and I won't miss too much time. I am new to this site, and actually just found it today.

    My chemo is to be 4 dense doses of AC and then 4 dense doses of Taxol, 2 weeks apart for all.  I am triple negative as well so the treatment is just surgery, chemo, and radiation and then hope for the best.  I know this will be a long 4 months but I am trying not to dwell on it and just keep myself busy with other things.  The kids are really good at keeping me busy with all their activities so hopefully the time will fly by.

    I bought a wig for work and any special occasions and I am on the fence aboput just shving my head or letting the hair come out on its own.  Anyone else have thoughts on this?