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Topic: CMF Question

Forum: Managing Side Effects of Breast Cancer and Its Treatment —

This is a place to discuss concerns, tips and strategies for all types of side effects from all types of medications and treatments, (chemo/rads/hormonal/targeted/pain meds/etc.

Posted on: Jan 24, 2006 06:17AM

MargaretB wrote:

I thought it was better to post this under this forum rather than the starting chemo one, so hope you ladies can answer a question for me. A co-worker is now going through CMF and having a really difficult time. I gather she is on a 14 day regimen of pills; she gets something like 6 Kytril pills for nausea, so she saves them for work days. I have given her the advise I could but it may be different since I was on AC. She still has her hair and has been through two treatments; she wanted to know if she's going to lose it completely, not lose it, or lose just enough that she has to get a wig.

I figured you ladies would have the answers for me.

Dx 12/23/04, Bilateral w/tram 3/10/05, DD chemo 5/12/05, finished 6/26/05
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Feb 1, 2006 02:18PM Marcia320 wrote:

Hi Glyn - glad it went well - I have my treatments in the afternoon and always take my Kytril by 8:00 the same night - so I wouldn't worry about it - I usually take them for 3 days.

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Feb 1, 2006 05:47PM spbx wrote:

Hi Marcia,
The "Canadian Method" of rads is a 21 day cycle in which you receive more radiation each day, but for 21 days. 16 days were whole breast radiation and the last 5 were boosts. The end result is that you actually end up with "less" radiation. I had to have bi-lateral radiation (invasive cancer in both breasts) so that was the best method for me. I also did my radiation face down as opposed to the standard "face up". This was to lessen any radiation to the heart area because of where my cancer was located. I also had no side effects with the radiation. Not even a sunburn. I kept telling my radiation onc. that the machine must be broken! BTW, I am 43 with 3 children.
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Feb 2, 2006 03:20PM Marcia320 wrote:

Hi Steph,
Thanks for explanation - always learning something new here.
What type of cancer did you have - I have ILC. I didn't see the discussion boards until almost 2 months after my lumpectomy and I was kind of surprised what I learned about ILC and the number of women who opted for bi-lateral mast due to it the possibility of showing up in the other breast. I made my mammo appt today - will be in early March before I start rads.

BTW, I lived around the NYC area for 7 years in the early 80's - ended up in Secaucus for 4 years before moving back to upstate NY.
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Feb 2, 2006 05:39PM spbx wrote:

Hi Marcia,
I had ILC in the right breast. The MRI showed a bunch of suspicious spots in both breasts. All spots were benign except a spot on the left side which ended up being IDC. It was very small ( I think .2cm) but had unclear margins, as did the ILC side so they had to go back in. Unfortunately they did not get a deep enough cut the 1st time to do any pathology on the .2cm IDC. The re-excision was not big enough either so I don't know anything about it. Weird, huh? I was treated on the larger mass anyway, the ILC on the right side.

Funny you lived in Seacaucus. In 1989 I lived in Wallington and commuted by bus to NYC via Seacaucus. Too funny! Now I live in Central NJ.

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Feb 3, 2006 03:27AM RaeMN wrote:

Well, back from round 2 yesterday. So far so good, no nausea but then I took my Ativan last night before I went to bed. My daughter and I even went out for lunch after chemo yesterday. Didn't get done until 2:00 so was starving. Went to Subway but ate the whole sandwich and paid for it during the night with heartburn. Tums didn't even help. Won't do that again. Slept from 2:00 a.m. until 8:00 a.m. Not enough though so will lay low today and sleep when I need to. I hate taking the Ativan unless at night (mine is also to take for 3-4 days). I guess it is just the sterioid they put in with the Aloxi....I am tired but can't sleep. THIS TOO SHALL PASS.

Glynn, sounds like it went well for you. It is the fear of the unknown that is the worst, but you should to well. Try to get in some kind of walking or exercise for at least 10 minutes a day. My doctor said even if it is just being in the sunshine (here in Minnesota there isn't much this time of year) but I am faithful about it when the sun is out. Helps with blood counts so he told me. You will do fine. And good luck on your next one. You are 2 days ahead of me I think (my next is February 23). We can laugh, cry, complain together.

Marcia, I usually was buzzed on the dexatron (steroid) for 3-4 days after first treatment, then was tired on days 6-7, then seemed to bounce back. Everyone is so different. I also had ILC but was told by my doctor that it mirroring itself in the other breast is getting to be a wifes tale. I also had lumpectomy on left breast, had an MRI on both and nothing showed up more on either, so that is why I chose lumpectomy.

Glad everyone is still hanging in there. It is a tough time in our lives, but we have all made some great friends/BC pals.

Rae Dx 10/21/2005, ILC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes
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Feb 4, 2006 06:38AM Marcia320 wrote:

Hi Everyone
Steph - thanks for the explanation of the rads.
Rae - Glad things are going so well for you!

Well, my energy came back as the week went by - even went to the HS basketball game last night -both JV and varsity. Fun and see lots of friends - including my hairdresser who tells me that she has some special shampoo, conditioner and scalp treatment for chemo patients - my hair is thinning a bit - she noticed all the hair on my blouse! Unfortunately, have to wait to get rid of all this gray coming in! Oh well - minor problems really.
Funny story - I work in a school office - earlier this week we had a lockdown drill where we had to get under our desks - well I was prepared - made sure I had something soft and clean under there - the drill took 45 minutes - ended up laying down - I almost fell asleep. Do you think anyone would notice if I took daily naps there.

The sun is actually shining today - although lake effect snow coming later this weekend.

Hope everyone has a great weekend and is doing well.
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Feb 6, 2006 09:03AM RaeMN wrote:

Hope everyone had a good weekend.
One question to the veterans. Did you notice your "pubic" hair thinning? Sounds like a goofy question but mine seems to be. No thinning on head, armpits or legs....just pubic.

Can anyone answer that or could it just be in my head?

Hope everyone is doing well. Am planning a trip the end of March to Arizona for 5 days. Does that sound like it would be something I should do? My doc says "should be no problem" but you know, I am sorta scared to be away from here while still going to treatment?

My prayers are with everyone.

Rae Dx 10/21/2005, ILC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes
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Feb 6, 2006 11:25AM straykat wrote:


I didn't notice any change in the pubic hair and the only hair change I had at all came after the fifth infusion. As you know, it was slight and noticeable only to me and my hair dresser.

Are you going to Arizona alone or with your DH? I wanted to go to Oregon for my cousin's daughter's wedding, three days after an infusion. The doc and my daughter thought it was a good idea until they realized that I had to change planes at SFO and that it would coincide with the onset of chemo-brain, which I've also described to you. My daughter said, "Chemo-brain, hah. You'll phone me from Barcelona pretending you don't know how you got there." I raised a smart kid.

I too wondered about problems and how I could possibly get along without the docs who were treating me, but it seems that so many on the board had trips to the ER where they always saw a new doc.

I wouldn't worry about it, but that's me.
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Feb 7, 2006 03:38AM RaeMN wrote:


Actually, I think it is all in my head about my pubic hair. My mind seems to be playing tricks (is that chemo brain?)

Did you go to Oregon? After how many infusions and did you do good or did you end up in Barcelona? (HA).

Hopefully, I wouldn't need an ER trip.

Love to you all

Rae Dx 10/21/2005, ILC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes
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Feb 7, 2006 04:52AM c2et wrote:

Hi everyone:
I've had hair thinning/loss everywhere on my body except my legs! But I think I'm an extreme case in the CMF hair loss department.
Rae, I think if you want to get away for a few days I'd go for it. You've done so well with your treatments and I'm sure you'll be fine. By the way, I'm glad your infusion went well last week.
All the best to everyone
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Feb 7, 2006 04:58AM straykat wrote:


I did go and had a great time. Wish it had been Barcelona but I settled on Medford. I believe it was after the fourth infusion.

I wish I remembered it better! My cousin assures me I had a great time though, at least I think it was my cousin...
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Feb 7, 2006 06:03AM RaeMN wrote:

StrayKat, you just keep me smiling !!! I have been to Medford and it is a beautiful place. I will be going to Phoenix after my 4th infusion too so hope I have as good as luck. You and I sound like we are on the same wave length...Good luck and how is radiation going?

Rae Dx 10/21/2005, ILC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes
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Feb 7, 2006 07:05AM dobiew2 wrote:

i just finished up IV cmf on 12/9. I did notice pubic hair thinning as well as loss on my head. I think I lost about 60% of my hair. It was thin to begin with so it looks pretty rough to me. Others notice it has thinned but say it doesn't look bad. Good luck to you!

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Feb 7, 2006 07:50AM kats wrote:

Not a goofy question at all. At about the third month of chemo I didn't have any armpit hairs and the hairs on my legs and arms were almost all gone too. Eyebrows thinned out alot and so did the eyelashes. I lost all the hairs in my nose too....that was weird. Okay now gonna get personal here...the 'V' shaped pubic hair area had thinned considerably but the area below that, if you know what I mean, was hair free & as smooth as a baby's bottom by the time I finished chemo....too bad it grew back OOPS, did I say that out loud???
Mary "What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us." Ralph Waldo Emerson Dx 5/7/2003, ILC, 1cm, Stage I, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Feb 7, 2006 04:20PM SoCalLisa wrote:

Glad to say the hair under my arms never came has been over four years..

Biography: DX 11/2000 LCIS,DCIS,IDC 2B, Grade 1, ER+,PR+ Her2Neg 1 pos node Lumptectomy, CMF chemo X 6 mos, DX 8/2001, IDC same breast--Mastectomy , Left Breast Lumpectomy... Tamoxifen, one year...Armidex, Four years
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Feb 14, 2006 12:19PM Marcia320 wrote:

Just checking in. I go for #5 tomorrow - more than half way done! I've been feeling so well and staying away from anyone who has been ill - guess I jinxed myself - I'm coming down with a cold - I hope they still let me do my treatment - I figure I'm going to fell pretty yucky for a few days either way so why not get it over all at once. I'm not running a fever or anything.Oh well - we'll see.
Hope everyone else is doing well!
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Feb 14, 2006 12:59PM c2et wrote:

Hi everyone:
Best wishes to everyone having treatment this week.
Marcia, sorry you have a cold. Hope your treatment goes well tomorrow. Let us know how it goes.
Love to all and Happy Valentine's Day
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Feb 19, 2006 06:24AM Marcia320 wrote:

Hi Everyone,
Had my treatment on Wed - they gave me some antibiotics as a precaution. Felt pretty nauseaous by the end of the treatment - went home to the couch! The couple of days after that didn't seem too bad. I think I felt more of the symptoms of the cold than the chemo. So that wasn't bad at all.

Glyn & Rae - you have treatments this week, right? Hope all goes well with you both - will be thinking of you.
take care
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Feb 19, 2006 01:32PM c2et wrote:

Hello to all:
Marcia, I hope your cold gets better. Thanks for thinking of me. My treatment is this Wed.
Rae, you are right after me? Hope your treatment goes well.
Please wish me luck. Had bad nausea last time but this time I'm taking the Kytril an hour before treatment so I should be fine.
Best to all
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Feb 20, 2006 03:10PM RaeMN wrote:

Hi all, I have been off the computer for a while as have been BUSY, BUSY....

Yes, Glyn, I have treatment Thursday right behind you. Hope all goes well. I have been doing so well it is kinda scary. I had pretty bad fatigue last week for 2 days (my own fault, I went dancing and stayed out pretty late Saturday night) (but had a great time....) Good luck on Wednesday.

Marcia, hope your cold is doing better and thanks for thinking of me too and hope you are feeling better by now. Just think, you are almost done (1/2 way for me this week).

Hope everyone has a great week. Keep in touch on how it is going.

Rae Dx 10/21/2005, ILC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes
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Feb 25, 2006 02:44AM RaeMN wrote:

Well, round 3 is over and the scary thing is, I am still doing okay. Still a little wired from the steriod put in with the Ativan but am surviving.

Glyn, hope Wednesday went well for you. Was exposed to a cold last week, of which I talked to my doctor about. Here in Minnesota you can't get away from it with our weather. Blood counts were good so he just said "keep doing what you are doing", so far so good.

Marcia, your cold should be over by now. Hope you are well.

Hope everyone is well and let's keep posting on this site. I am planning a week's vacation the end of March to Arizona. Doctor says I should be fine, change of altitude will make me a little more tired so will have to watch that. I guess I will just sleep when I need to.

Hugs to everyone and hope everyone is doing okay.

Rae Dx 10/21/2005, ILC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes
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Feb 25, 2006 03:35AM Marcia320 wrote:

Hi everyone,
I'm glad that you are doing so well, Rae. And I think it's great that you will be able to take your vacation!

Yep, my cold is over and feeling really well. Can't believe that #6 is a week from this Wednesday - it seems to be really going fast now. YAY!! I go for a mammo and check up with the surgeon 2 days before that. The only thing mildly annoying is that I am really noticing my hair thinning - I don't think most people notice it - just I'm so consious of it. But like I said only mildly annoying - the side effects have been so minimal which I am so thankful for.
Glyn - hope all went well for you, also.
take care everyone!
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Feb 25, 2006 01:04PM PookieBear wrote:

I will be starting IV CMF on March 8th. I've been told hair loss should be minimal but it seems that it varies per person. I have very thick hair, so maybe it won't be too bad. I am ready to start this thing and get it done!
Does everyone here take a day or 2 off after a treatment?
They have my first one scheduled for a Wednesday. I don't want to have to take time off if I don't have to. Maybe I should schedule it for Thursday and take off Friday??
I will definitely keep up with this board and let ya'll know how it goes.
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Feb 26, 2006 08:03AM dobiew2 wrote:

good luck!!! I just got done with iv CMF in December. I have very thin hair and thought I may lose it all. I did lose some but not as much as I feared. I never had to wear a wig. Hope it is the same for you. Any questions feel free to PM me.

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Feb 26, 2006 08:58AM straykat wrote:

Had my last CMF on November 29th with about 20-25% hair loss (the amount was a guess by both me and my long-time hairdresser). Had thick hair to begin with so it isn't at all noticeable. I lost the majority of it right after the fifth infusion, primarily in my brush and comb and on the shower floor. I believe I was shedding for about a week and then it stopped and didn't return again, including after the sixth and last infusion.

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Feb 26, 2006 02:17PM RaeMN wrote:

Well, it is Sunday and still doing well (#3 CMF last Thursday). I am half done and then on to rads.
Marcia, good luck a week from Wednesday..yeah...#6. Will you be doing Rads?
Staples, I have my chemo on Thursdays and take Fridays off, but I think that I will maybe start foregoing Fridays as I have done so well so far, depending on how I feel that is. I seem to be really up on Fridays as I am full of steriods, then seem to come down about Sundays (like right now). Actually, I just feel tired but no real fatigue. Usually have been able to work the other days. I am very lucky as my company is so supportive and if I feel tired late in the day (or any time) they just say "go on home".
Hair loss for me has been like StrayKat's (very minimal and no one but my daughter has said anything, but she saw me last week after I had just washed my hair and I hadn't had time to really fix it). I have very thick hair also and opted to have my hairdresser thin it out a little on top as I thought it looked better. Good luck Staples on your first (March 8th) and I am sure you are scared (we all were). Just make sure you take your meds and drink lots of water. We will all be thinking of you and offering any support we can give. There is really a sisterhood here on this board (all others too) and you can really find some nifty suggestions and answers to your questions.

Good luck all.....Rae
Rae Dx 10/21/2005, ILC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes
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Mar 6, 2006 10:22AM Marcia320 wrote:

Hi Everyone,
Just got back from my mammo and a check up with my surgeon. I was kind of bummed that they would only do my right breast - because I have ILC, I wanted them to do both. My surgeon said that I'll probably have another mammo before rads (probably end of April). He said that he would take care of it if my onc or gyn didn't. But anyhow, everything looked ok they said and my surgeon did do an exam on both breasts (said he wouldn't charge double!)

Glyn - hope you are doing ok

Rae - sounds like everything is going fine - you have been doing SO well - that's great.

Staples - good luck on Wednesday.

BTW - went to my hairdresser on Sat - she had an interesting question - do you think the haircolor isn't good for the hair or just the scalp. She has a couple of clients who are doing chemo - not losing their hair completely but getting gray - like me. She was wondering if she pulled the hair through a cap (like for highlighting) then only the hair would come in contact with the chemicals not the scalp. Interesting but not sure if I want to be the guinea pig. Guess I'll run it by my onc.

Hope everyone is still feeling well and staying away from the colds!
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Mar 8, 2006 09:29AM Marcia320 wrote:

Well, I went for my treatment today but couldn't have it - my WBC is too low. I am sooo bummed. I have been feeling so good and things have been going so well. So, we'll try again next week.
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Mar 8, 2006 10:28AM c2et wrote:

Hello everyone:

Staples, I hope your treatment today went well.
Rae, I hope you are doing well after your treatment.

Marcia, I'm sorry your treatment was delayed--this also happened to me many times due to low WBC. These delays are tough. I would get all worked up to go only to be sent home. My counts would always rebound with the extra time. I only did Neupogen with one cycle.

I did my last treatment this past Tuesday. I originally was on 4 cycles of classic CMF and switched to i.v. CMF for the last 2 treatments. My nausea this time was so much better after switching to Emend and being more aggressive with the Kytril.

All the best to everyone
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Mar 8, 2006 10:56AM Sha5 wrote:

I will be starting my first iv CMF 3/13, Will be doing 2 on, 1 off - Need suggestions on how to prepare. Do I need to drink plenty of liquids prior, if so how many days before, how much? Should I wig shop at this time or wait? Fatique - how long or how many treatments before it may set in, as I need to determine if I can work during chemo.

Sharon 2/20 Lump 1.9 cm node neg

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