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Starting Chemo in February 2016?

chambo
chambo Member Posts: 88

I didn't see a thread starting for *my* month, so I figured I'd start one...

Anyone else getting ready to start their chemo in February?

I start my first tx on Feb 16th.

I'm doing 4 cycles of docetaxel and cyclophosphamide (also called TC, I think?). I've been doing tons of reading about whether I need to ice my fingers and toes or not, and getting things ready while trying to work around a crazy work schedule.

I already have short hair so I had my last real hair cut today...figure the next one will be buzzing it all off when it starts to fall out.

I'm still waiting on my BRCA test results (insurance delayed for some paperwork) - I plan to got the BMx route if that comes back positive...so I am not sure if that will put chemo on a screeching halt or if I will do the chemo and then have the surgery once I am strong again...it's my only other variable right now. If it comes back negative, I do chemo and then 6 weeks of rads.

Looking forward to knowing who else is on the February journey with me!


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Comments

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 7,689

    Hi Chambo, and thank you for starting the February '16 thread!

    We're sure others will be making chemo plans soon and joining you here. So, 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, January 2016's Chemo thread might be informative!

    Hope you find this helpful!

    --Your Mods

  • HausFrauMi
    HausFrauMi Member Posts: 113

    I am planning to start chemo first. My team dr meeting is Feb 3 then port the next week and start chemo ASAP after that. I meet with chemo dr tomorrow morning. 1 surgeon wants lumpectomy first then other surgeon and cancer clinic nurse say chemo first.

    My genetic counseling appt was last Tuesday and blood drawn. It was sent to Ambry Labs. I was told 2-3 weeks but haven't heard from them. I have a high deductible and was told they would call me first to confirm that I would pay. But I told the clinic to let the lab know I don't care the cost-- it has to be done!!

    The port placement surgical office called to sched for Feb 8 but I said I was having a super bowl party the night before. My last big party til I know how the chemo will treat me!!!! Port ~Feb 10. Then chemo. Need to try to figure best start day for our family sche

  • AMaree08
    AMaree08 Member Posts: 36

    Hi there ladies

    My name is Amber from New Zealand, I am meeting with my oncologist tomorrow to establish my treatment plan, all I know at this stage is that I have 4 months of chemo, herceptin coming up then radiation.

    Will hopefully be a lot clearer tomorrow once I have the chance to meet oncologist face to face

    Have IVF appointment on Friday as well to start the process for freezing some eggs as I am still a little way off from having children, hopefully one day can :)

    Look forward to supporting one another through this

  • NY30
    NY30 Member Posts: 4

    Hi Ladies: I'm in for February. Just got confirmation. Starting Monday, Feb. 1st. AC-T: 4 cycles of dose dense AC followed by 12 cycles of weekly Taxol. Just had a PET scan yesterday, and after a serious challenge getting a good vein (3 people, 4 attempts, 5 tourniquets, and a partridge in a pear tree) my biggest panic right now is just making sure that part of Monday goes way more smoothly. Really do not want to infiltrate a vein with the "cocktail" they're giving me!

    @Chambo: Thanks for starting! Was wondering where our group was! Also, love your quote. A little British humor goes a long way in this whole process!

    @HausFrauMi: Good luck with your test results and your party, sounds fun!

    @Mods: Thank you for all the good info and being on it!

    @Amber: I just completed the egg freezing. Thankfully the place I was knew of some financial assistance programs, which ended up covering 90% of the medications and a few years of storage. I'm not sure if the same resources apply in New Zealand, but it's worth a shot (links below). Also ask your oncologist about ovarian suppression during treatment. I'll be doing injections of Lupron throughout for that.

    http://www.livestrong.org/we-can-help/fertility-se...

    http://www.walgreens.com/images/pdfs/pharmacy/Pres...

    Best,
    Tara.

  • Mypinklife
    Mypinklife Member Posts: 18

    Hello! I will be starting 6 rounds of TCHP starting Feb 4th, definitely feeling nervous but at the same time I am anxious to begin the first step towards the end of this journey. Also, I will be using the penguin cold caps and am hoping for good results!

  • Ashley46
    Ashley46 Member Posts: 5

    Hi, I will be meeting my onco today and shd be starting chemo by mid February. I am scared n still can't digest all Thts happening to me... I hope our chemo journey will not be too hard...

    Ash..

  • AMaree08
    AMaree08 Member Posts: 36

    Hey ladies, we are going to kick this thing in the arse! Look forward to supporting one another x 

  • kiks1
    kiks1 Member Posts: 118

    Chambo, thank you for starting the thread. Hi everyone! I will be having port inserted 2/3 and chemo starts 2/5 ( friday). I am so nervous. I will be doing 4x TC. I think taxotere/ cytoxan. It has been just a challenge trying to get everything on my shopping list ready and now we are expecting a large snow storm on Monday. They even cancelled the Look Good Feel Good program.

    Hausfrau, I am hoping that watching the Broncos will allow me to forget SEs! I am here in CO and am certain they will shut down the city just for that.

    Well, let's get through this everyone. 

  • Eliz1973
    Eliz1973 Member Posts: 34

    Wow! Excited we got our own month! I had my port inserted 1/28 and I will start chemo 2/3. I had long hair and had it cut off today.. I was feeling sentimental, but I am feeling better about it.

    I am starting an every two week doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide cocktail this week. After two months I will graduate to the once a week taxol for 12 weeks.

    I have read over everything I can get my hands on, I'm a bit nervous to see how my body reacts to the treatments.

    This is quite a ride! I pray we all have very uneventful and swift journeys!

    Xoxox

    Elizabeth

  • chambo
    chambo Member Posts: 88

    Sorry I disappeared there for a bit - I had a work trip, zero time, and limited wifi! I've got another one next week, and then a quick weekend vacation trip to Tucson to see what the sun looks like before coming back to the wet northwest and starting chemo up on the 16th. In between all that I've tried to read everything I can get my hands on, buying a few scarves and hats (I'm not a wig girl), and get as prepared as I can be for something that I have no idea how it will affect me. Ugh. I'm to darn busy to have cancer...

    Welcome all to the February Chemo Club - not quite the Breakfast Club, but support nevertheless!

    I was wondering what everyone's biggest concerns are as we get started down treatment road?

    Here's mine:

    I think my biggest concern is over neuropathy - I type a lot in my job - so I've looked into these hypothermia gloves - they are pretty expensive though. I'm hoping the Cancer Center will be on top of this and I won't have to shell out for it.

    My second biggest worry is the nausea...my oncologist already gave me prescriptions to get filled, but I was one of those moms who had 9 months of morning sickness each pregnancy - got super dehydrated, lost weight in the first 4-5 months, couldn't keep anything down...so I worry I will respond that way with chemo too.SickTired


    Anyway, it looks like NY30 is up first on Feb 1st - we will be thinking about you - let us know how it goes!

    Eliz1973 - Feb 2nd

    HausFrauMi - Feb 3rd

    Mypinklife - Feb 4th

    Kiks1 - Feb 5th

    chambo - Feb 16th

    Ashley46 - mid Feb start

    AMaree08 - do you know your start date yet?

  • AMaree08
    AMaree08 Member Posts: 36

    Hi Chambo, 

    I hope you can get those gloves :) 

    Not sure of my start date, all depends on when my IVF process has finished and they are happy with the eggs they get but they want to before end of February, will have confirmation around the 10th of feb, good luck everyone else who starts soon, hope you are feeling okay x

  • kiks1
    kiks1 Member Posts: 118

    Chambo my concerns are probably too numerous to fit into this page! This cancer thing sucks! But to sum it up, these are my top issues:

    • Infections - I know our immune system takes a huge hit and I am concern that since this is flu and cold season, someone will bring home something (especially the kid). In the past, I had used Sambucol (black elderberry) with great success (I have not had a cold in 5.5 years) to prevent infection but I heard that we are not suppose to take antioxidants during chemo (contraindications). On top of that, there are so many more serious infections that can surface. I actually went to the dentist and got a deep cleaning done just to prevent any hidden source of bacteria.
    • HAIR. Seems funny but I think it is easier losing my breast. I already had it cut just below shoulder but have had long healthy hair for the longest time. My heart will break when I start seeing it fall out. Perhaps, we associate it with youth and the symbolism of it falling out may suggest the lost of our youth and vitality. Sigh!
    • Headaches. I have suffered from migraines since having the kid 16 years ago (never had a headache before then) and it has gotten worse in the last 10 years. Everything from a change in routine to stress can trigger my headaches. I hope chemo will not make them worse.
    • Nausea. Not so much nausea itself but that they bring on my migraines. I had stocked up ginger ale, dry crackers, and ginger tea that will hopefully help. Some on the forum have had success using Seabands, the ones that go around the wrist, and I got some from Target.
    • Neuropathy. I work with the computer as well and am afraid of long term consequences. Chambo I took a look at the gloves as well but they are expensive especially when you have to get the ones for the feet too (I am an avid runner and hope to keep at it after this little 'inconvenience' we are having to get through). My cancer center does not provide any but the oncology nurse suggested making ice gel packs. This is a link for those who want to make them http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-a-Gel-... , they are reusable. I heard others mention using frozen peas too. I am also going to take B6 and L glutamine.
    • Chemo brain. My work involve analyzing numbers and data and I am afraid I will lose that ability.

    Does anyone else know of other supplements that can help during treatment? I have stocked up on Claritin to hopefully starve off some of the aches and pains with Nuelasta.

    So here is my 'short' list to start.

  • MB12
    MB12 Member Posts: 44

    Hello Ladies,


    I'm reporting in for roll call. 🙋

    I'll start chemo February 23rd. I've been following other chemo months and will share useful information this week.

    1. I'm going to use cold capping therapy to keep my hair. Rapunzle Project donates free freezers and some programs help with the caps.

    2. Cold gloving hands and feet to help prevent neuropathy.

    3. Painting all nails a dark color n gel to help save nails.

    4. Vit -C and Meyers bag IV prior chemo day of to help fight fatigue.

    5. Freezing eggs this month prior chemo through the Sher Institute. They offer free services for cancer I students.

    6. Using naturopathic w conventional medicine.

    7. Will get med list supply for your med cabinet to help w side effects.

    8. Claritin should be taken to fight bone pain the day of chemo and everyday for 10 days.

    I have 4 months of treatment and will update when I get back to St. Louis. Stay strong ladies!! 💪🙌


    Cheers,

    Michelle

  • MB12
    MB12 Member Posts: 44

    kiks1 - I have some info on supplements for the brain, but have to find it. Also, getting bracelets gor nausea.

    Chambo - thank you for starting!

  • TLIMS23
    TLIMS23 Member Posts: 13

    Hi Ladies,

    Another February start here. I am getting my port inserted tomorrow and will start my 6 months of TCHP on the 8th. I am going through chemo before surgery. I am only 29 and no family history of any cancer. My BRCA was negative. First told Stage II but PET Scan with extra node involvement takes me to a III.

    I am pretty scared but am grateful that I've been having floods of support pouring in. I wish everyone the best and God bless!

  • nancyhb
    nancyhb Member Posts: 235

    Hi ladies! I hope it's okay to join you here, as I'm meeting my MO tomorrow and know I'll be starting chemo soon, just not sure exactly when.

    This is my second rodeo, so to speak. I was dx'd with ER+ Luminal B IDC in Nov. 2011 and started AC-T in Jan. 2012 (four years later us gals are still wonderful and supportive friends on FB). Last Friday I learned I have a new cancer - not a recurrence of my previous cancer - that is ER-/PR-, and probably Her2- (waiting on final report later this week). It's in the same breast as before, right next to my previous tumor bed so it was zapped with 23 rounds of whole breast radiation and 7 targeted boosts. Because of that radiation is not an option for me this time, nor is Tamoxifen or other AIs, so it's down to chemo and mastectomy. I'm hoping for port placement either this week or next, and assume I'll start chemo shortly thereafter.

    Being an "old-timer" I'm happy to answer any questions you might have, if you like. I did dose-dense AC (every two weeks) and dose-dense Taxol (every two weeks for 12 weeks) as part of a clinical trial. It's hard, but doable.

    Looking forward to getting to know you all!

    Nancy

  • Mypinklife
    Mypinklife Member Posts: 18

    MB12- I am using the cold caps too..which brand did you decide to go with? I am just waiting for my Penguin Cold Caps to come in the mail tomorrow and getting started on Thursday!


    Chambo- Right now my biggest concern is what to expect from the side effects and just the anticipation of what my "bad days" may be or what a "good day" means. I am the mother of two young girls and although we have a great supoort system the unknown is just a lot to handle right now.

  • kiks1
    kiks1 Member Posts: 118

    Hi Michelle, Tlims, Nancy and Pinklife. Looks like group is getting bigger, we'll just have more support.

    @Michelle, be good to know what supplements are useful during chemo, anything to help alleviate the SEs naturally would be great.

    @Nancy, I saw you in the other thread. Hope your parents are doing ok? You have so much on your plate right now, I am so sorry. Thank you for offering your support and experience to our very new group. Hopefully when you get your treatment plan in place it will give you more peace and direction.

    @Pinklife. I understand thoroughly the fear of uncertainties and on some days, it is overwhelming. I am fortunate that I only have a 16 year old daughter to worry about and she has been a god send through my surgeries and treatment. I cannot imagine how so many women have coped with young kids through this illness. They are brave and you will be too. One day, one prayer, one step at a time. What chemo regimen will you be on and for how long?

    @Tlims, I am getting port inserted tomorrow too. So scared, seems like all these invasive procedures never end. Mine is first thing in the morning and I hope we can get there in time ( it has been snowing like crazy here all day). I still have so many more errands to get done. Wishing you an uneventful day tomorrow.

    @Elizabeth and Hausfrau, my thoughts and prayers are with you all on chemo day.


  • 06elise
    06elise Member Posts: 62

    My port will be installed on Friday, for me to start AC-THP next week. Haven't scheduled my BMX yet.

    "An aggressive treatment for an aggressive cancer."
    *sigh*

    Is it a good thing or a bad thing that so many of us can meet with this one month in common? Maybe we can just call it both good and bad? After all, it's nice to find a community when we are all facing these crazy circumstances!

  • TLIMS23
    TLIMS23 Member Posts: 13

    Hi Kik1, so nice to have a port placement twin :-) I have to go in the am also. I'm nervous, this is the first time I'll be sedated. I sure hope tomorrow is uneventful for the both of us. Since I hardly had to go to the hospital nor have had any procedures before I wasn't aware of my "bad" (rolling) veins but I certainly found out during my MUGA last week when they unsuccessfully poked me 5 times before giving me an IV to dispense the tracer :-/

    For that reason, I am glad to get the port in. Any less trauma associated with this disease the better.

    Safe travels in the am.

  • Suzted7
    Suzted7 Member Posts: 38

    Add me to the list! In 2 months time my life got turned upside down and inside out! Damn! Well.....I'm attacking this like everything else.....try to get "ahead" of it....research research research! Had my visit with the Pharmacy Dr. Today to go over the regimen I chose (TC) and I got my complimentary folder which included "Chemotherapy and You." So.... so illuminating......NOT. 😁. Gotta keep the comedy going folks....it's how I cope! They subliminally tried to get me to go dose-dense AC...(not kidding....AC got 2 LARGE paragraphs and TC looked like an after-thought) but I did my research and I decided on TC. They are both terrible but it's MY choice!😁. Anyway....doing the cardiac testing ANYWAY tomorrow and getting a bone scan on Friday. Monday.....port placement and that Friday (12th) my first day of chemo. I am also opting for the Penguin Cold Caps. What the hell.....it may just work! Won't know unless I try! So....that's the condensed version of my life for the past 2 months! We got this ladies!

  • Ruddycat
    Ruddycat Member Posts: 13

    Hi everyone! One more for chemo starting in February - I start next Monday on the 8th! I'm having 6 rounds of neoadjuvant TCHP, one every 3 weeks, and then surgery and radiation. I'm also going to try the Penguin Cold Caps and they're supposed to arrive tomorrow. I had my port installed yesterday, which feels a little weird, but overall not too bad. I wonder if these huge blobs of surgical glue will ever come off? I'm also going to ice my fingers and toes but haven't exactly decided how just yet. I ordered 1 pair of the Elastogel hypothermia slippers to see what they're like and if I like them, I'll order another pair. They're non-returnable and I haven't found any info yet on how long they take to refreeze/reuse so I was afraid to commit to more than one pair. I had considered ordering the mitts too but I think I'll try to just keep my fingers in ice or wrap them in frozen peas first to see if that works. I'm also using OPI Nail Envy and Avoplex Oil on my nails - which several people on other forums swear by.

    This should all be quite interesting! Eliz1973 - I see you're in Shelbyville so we're close! Can't wait to get to know everyone here - good luck to all of us!

    Leigh Ann

  • Ruddycat
    Ruddycat Member Posts: 13

    Ruddycat Louisville, Kentucky Joined: Jan 2016 Posts: 1

    Post a reply

    A few seconds ago Ruddycat wrote:

    Hi everyone! One more for chemo starting in February - I start next Monday on the 8th! I'm having 6 rounds of neoadjuvant TCHP, one every 3 weeks, and then surgery and radiation. I'm also going to try the Penguin Cold Caps and they're supposed to arrive tomorrow. I had my port installed yesterday, which feels a little weird, but overall not too bad. I wonder if these huge blobs of surgical glue will ever come off? I'm also going to ice my fingers and toes but haven't exactly decided how just yet. I ordered 1 pair of the Elastogel hypothermia slippers to see what they're like and if I like them, I'll order another pair. They're non-returnable and I haven't found any info yet on how long they take to refreeze/reuse so I was afraid to commit to more than one pair. I had considered ordering the mitts too but I think I'll try to just keep my fingers in ice or wrap them in frozen peas first to see if that works. I'm also using OPI Nail Envy and Avoplex Oil on my nails - which several people on other forums swear by.

    This should all be quite interesting! Eliz1973 - I see you're in Shelbyville so we're close! Can't wait to get to know everyone here - good luck to all of us!

    Leigh Ann
  • TLIMS23
    TLIMS23 Member Posts: 13

    Hi Leigh Anne, I start neoadjuvant same regimen TCHP every 3 weeks on the 8th, surgery and radiation. Although this isn't a club anyone wants to be apart of it feels nice knowing there's other brave women tackling this beast right with us!

    My port was places today and I was pretty relaxed considering that I was scared. I pretty much slept through the procedure and the nurses took good care.

    I am developing a chemo shopping list and looked at some other threads for ideas. I will be buying the OPI Nail Envy by the weekend and purchased an electric blanket from Walmart today. My next stop is the vitamin store, any recommendations are appreciated.

    ~T

  • Eliz1973
    Eliz1973 Member Posts: 34

    Tomorrow is he big chemo day! So, so nervous, anxious, in denial... You name it, I feel it...

    Prayers appreciated!

    Xoxo

    Elizabeth

  • kiks1
    kiks1 Member Posts: 118

    Hi Tlim, I was awake during the whole port thing! I was feeling very anxious and was even worse when the OR nurse told me that I will feel pain and discomfort but it will be manageable. So much for trying to stay calm. He actually turned out to be a good guy and was very attentive to my comfort during surgery. The whole process was not bad at all. No pain just weird tugging. I am pretty sore in my neck now but doable. Still scared about Friday Sad.

    Best wishes to all starting chemo tomorrow.


    Regina

  • Mypinklife
    Mypinklife Member Posts: 18

    Eliz1973- good luck! You got this girl!!!

    What's everyone packing in their bag for chemo day??? Making my list for Thursday

  • DurhamGirl
    DurhamGirl Member Posts: 13

    Hi everyone! I am popping over from the "Starting Chemo in October 2015" board, having just arrived at the "other side" of my chemo journey (6 TCHP, one every 3 weeks). I can't stand all the platitudes and silly things people say when they don't really know what else to say...so I'm trying not to sound like that. But...I do want to say that although it's not fun and it's not always easy, but it IS doable. You are all strong and can do this!

    Please feel free to pop over to our board...there are a bunch of wonderful women who would be happy to answer any questions. Or email me directly and I'm happy to answer any questions or chat about anything.

    I know that nobody asked me, but my number one piece of advice is to TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. Rest when you need to. Give in to the fatigue even if your normal mode is to go, go go.

    I personally feel that the first round is the hardest because you just don't know what to expect. You will be more susceptible to picking up an infection than you feel like you are, especially at the beginning, so be very careful with hand washing and limiting exposure to the stuff that is going around.

    AND...be your own advocate! If something doesn't seem right, speak up about it...to a nurse, a doctor, a pharmacist, someone. I had a very troublesome side effect that I really thought wasn't right, and I kept calling the nurse triage line. They kept saying it was normal and just wait it out, and it turned out to be an infection that cost me three nights in the hospital. I am trying not to scare anyone, but don't be afraid to speak up.

    I'm sorry...I sound like all those well wishing people doling out un-asked-for advice...I have lots of other tidbits and tips, but I'll keep them to myself unless someone asks.

    In the meantime, I will be thinking only positive thoughts for all of you and wishing you all the best on this crazy road.

    *hugs*

  • TLIMS23
    TLIMS23 Member Posts: 13

    @Eliz - get your rest, rest your body and mind so you can be prepared for tomorrow! Best of luck, pave the pay for us Feb folks!

    @Kik - yay, glad we made it through the port ordeal! I am stiff as a board right now I'm so scared to relax my neck :-/ what's Friday?

    @Durham - congrats on finishing chemo, thanks for the wonderful advice!

  • kiks1
    kiks1 Member Posts: 118

    @Tlim, I know, the neck has been the worst. Now that I can finally roll after bmx, I am back to sleeping on my back. Friday is THE day ( chemo), I am really dreading it. Sad