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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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Mar 9, 2006 11:03AM Marcia320 wrote:

Hi Sharon,
I can't tell you how much to drink - I probably never drink enough - but I make sure that I have at least 2 bottles of water during treatment. And drink lots after - they tell us to flush it out of system - so as much liquid that you can tolerate. You probably won't need a wig - most of us don't lose that much. Amount of fatigue and when it sets in seems to vary with us - guess it depends on what other drugs are given to us - i.e. decaudron, etc. And always make sure you take the anti-nausea drugs. If you have time, it would be helpful for you to read the past posts on this thread - it contains alot of info. Good Luck to you and please keep us posted
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Mar 9, 2006 04:11PM Sha5 wrote:

Thank you for the info. After reading thru this thread I am feeling more at ease. I have my shopping list and will be heading to Rite-Ait for the biotene toothpast and Senekot. I have learned more information here then from the books I have purchased and the information I get from the doctors and nurses. Will keep you posted.

2/20/05 lump, State 1, 1.9cm DCOS, node neg
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Mar 10, 2006 10:12AM RaeMN wrote:

Sharon, good luck to you.

I have had 3 regimens to far (4th on March 16 with 6 total.) So far so good with me. The only fatigue I have really had has sort of been my own fault. I was feeling good so I went dancing with my husband and friends one Saturday and stayed out too late....caught up with me and I was exhausted for 3 days....but I was able to work, just tired. Everyone reacts so different as you can see from this thread.

Biotene Toothpaste and Mouthwash is wonderful. My teeth have NEVER looked whiter or gums healthier. Thank goodness for my dentist who told me to get it before I started. Senekot also helps for constipation and I take it for at least 4-6 days after chemo. After that I don't need it.

And also, chew, chew, chew on ice during chemo (especially the Cytoxin). No mouth sores for me yet.

Also, make sure you get your anti-nausea medicine in IV before the chemo. I get Ativan and decadron (Steriod). It works wonders for me.

Sounds like you and I have the same diagnosis. Mine was Stage 1, 1.5 cm, ILC, node neg. Lumpectomy on December 1. Feel free to e-mail me with any other questions.

Good luck and the worst is the first as you don't know what to expect. That is the worst. You will be fine and will find a lot of helpful hints and friends on this site.

Good luck.

Rae Dx 10/21/2005, ILC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes
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Mar 16, 2006 02:04AM Marcia320 wrote:

Hi everyone,
How is everyone doing? Good Luck on your treatment today, Rae! Did you have one yesterday, Glyn? If so, hope all went well. And Staples, how are you feeling?
I was able to get my treatment in yesterday. They were pretty crowded and I got the nurse ddidn't particularly want - she's nice enough - she just isn't that great putting an IV in - it takes her 2 sticks! UGH! I know I don't have fantastic veins but the others can do it. Oh well. Didn't feel so hot last night and I'm trying crackers and tea right now - too much like morning sickness
I did take my drugs though. Will just take it easy for next couple of days.
Take care everyone!
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Mar 17, 2006 03:35PM RaeMN wrote:

Hi everyone. Yes, No. 4 yesterday and am doing well. Can't believe it. How did it go for you Glyn? Glad you got your treatment in Marcia. The drugs really and truly help.

I know about those nurses. Got my favorite yesterday and everything went well with the IV. The one last time did a horrible job (she is supposed to be the supervisor) and I was bruised and swollen from the IV for at least one week. GO figure. And I do have (supposedly) good veins. I took today off work too so have been working on a fleece blanket. Gives me something to do. Also went and got a wig (although I don't really need one) as my hair isn't too bad. But I just hate the hastle all the time of keeping mine looking good. Got one Free from the American Cancer Society. Got a really cool spunky one to take on vacation on March 27 when we go to Arizona for 5 days. It is kinda red and my real hair is brown so my husband says he will be going on vacation with a new woman. Don't plan to wear it all the time, just when I don't feel like doing my own as with the weather being in the 80's I am sure it will get hot. Thought it would be fun.

Well, best go for now and get some rest. Glad everyone seems to be doing well.

Take care all and talk to you soon.

12/01/05 Lump
Stage 1,1.5cm ILC, node neg, er+/pr+/Her2-
Rae Dx 10/21/2005, ILC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes
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Mar 19, 2006 12:53AM jax1961 wrote:

Hi, I think i have almost the same as you,I have my first appointment with onc tomorrow, I don't know what to think,I read through these posts and everyone seems to know so much more than me, all I know is that I am ahaving chemo soon and my first drug begins with E and is the one that will make my hair fall out. Im not stupid, its just that I wasn't expecting to have chemo my Dr had only mentioned rads,previously, then after my second ops said was grade two no node involvement not hormone receptive ( I had complete hysterectomy five years ago that knocked me into surgical menopause) is that the reason? My brother said he'd pay for herceptin if I had to have it but nothing has been mentioned about it,I don't know why or even what its for, is it the same as the hormone pils that are of no use to me? Im 44 years old,is that a factor in anything? I hope someone can put some sense to it for me, I have friends but no no one who has this dreadful disease, I cant work as I work with children so probebly have to much time on my hands......I do have the no of BC nurse but am a bit shy of medics..

thank you jax x
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Mar 20, 2006 07:47AM RaeMN wrote:

Jax, it is pretty devestating to hear of chemo, and it really sucks. I would assume your onc wants you to do the most aggressive for your age (44). I don't know what drug begins with an E that would make your hair fall out. Maybe you mean A (which is Adriamycin) or you might mean Epirubicin (similar to Adriamycin). Whatever your regimen is, make sure that you know and you are to your oncologist and before chemo, make sure you get enough meds.....and the nursing staff is usually wonderful. They will help all they can.

I too wasn't expecting chemo when I went to my oncologist, thought I was just going to have rads. It is really scary but there are enough of us out here on these boards to really help you every step of the way.

Good luck and keep asking questions...we will all try to help. You can't ever ask too many questions when it comes to your health. And NO, none of us are stupid.....

Good luck today and let us know how you turned out.

Rae Dx 10/21/2005, ILC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes
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Mar 21, 2006 12:23PM jax1961 wrote:

Hello Rae
many thanks for your kind words,yes it is epirubicin,then the cmf regime,saw a lovely onc on monday,he said it was small cancer but aggressive so want to make sure !mop! up any single cells I am grateful that I have the option,here in the UK we dont know we are born. He said I was young (44) so he's my best friend now! You know I have had a lot of upsets over the last 40 years with Dr and nurses but I cant belive how diferent they are w,ith BC I for once in my life feel that I may have some importance in this world as far as they are concerned!!! I was terrified at first more because of them than of having BC. The bc nurse thats looking after me treats me like a daughter,and the one who sorted out my prescription for my wig was lovely to me.....It makes such a difference, the fear of cancer is bad enough isnt it?
I have read some very sad stories since I have been on these sites and am humbled by some fantastic beautiful women. Thank you
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Mar 29, 2006 09:01AM PookieBear wrote:

2 down, 4 to go. Today's treatment was fine so far. I didn't have the headache like last time. Here's hoping this one goes as well as the first did. I am off to try and do a little yard work. It is sunny and in the 70's here today and I am off from my job until tommorow.

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Mar 30, 2006 01:34PM Marcia320 wrote:

Hi Staples,
Glad it went well and no headache. It's even going to be in the 70's tomorrow way up here in upstate NY.

Number 7 for be next week!!! YAY!!
Hope everyone else is doing well, also
Take care
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Apr 4, 2006 12:26PM c2et wrote:

Hello everyone:
Marcia, good luck on your treatment this week. No. 7 too, the end is in sight!
Rae, hope you are doing well.
I did my last infusion and am done finally.
All the best
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Apr 7, 2006 03:50AM Marcia320 wrote:

Congratulations!! You made it! I know it's been a rough road for you, glad it's finally over. Are you doing rads next?

I had my 7th one Wednesday - my darn WBC was low again so they gave me a Neulesta shot. I had a feeling it was low because I have been SO tired even though I was getting enough rest. My next and last one in April 24th - they moved it up a little as my dr won't be in on that Wed. I figure I'll start my rads around the 2nd or 3rd week of May.

How is everyone else doing? How was your vacation, Rae?
Take care everyone.
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Apr 7, 2006 10:06AM SoCalLisa wrote:

Hi there..getting in late here..I had CMF five years ago..It did the trick but I did have problems with the WBC. I had the neupogen injections. I had diarhhea and should have invested in Immodium AD. The fifth month is when I started having some issues which turned out later was liver make sure they watch for that. Methotrexate is toxic to the liver.
I wish you well..hugs...Lisa
PS if you take the Cytoxan orally, make sure you drink large amounts of water for your bladder.
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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Apr 12, 2006 08:06AM RaeMN wrote:

Hi all and hope everyone is well.
Had #5 last Thursday and one more to go on April 27....YEAH....there is an end. It took a little more out of me this time, but my sisters and I also had to clean out my mother's house this weekend (she moved into assisted living) and are planning a garage sale in June; that in itself was tiring, even without having gone through chemo.
Blood was good and they (oncologist/nurses) are going to have a party for me the last day. Will be having treats, balloons, a great way to end. Then off to radiation 3 weeks after the last chemo.
VACATION WAS FANTASTIC...but of course, that was tiring too, a lot of gambling, eating...and enjoying the sunshine (it was in the low 80s).
Glyn, YOU MADE IT. CONGRATULATIONS!!! There is an end in sight. Marcia, sorry you had to get a shot. I have been so lucky in that regard.
Hope everyone else is doing well.
Let's all keep in touch.

Rae Dx 10/21/2005, ILC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes
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Apr 25, 2006 07:16AM Marcia320 wrote:

well, I'm done with CMF!! Had my treatment yesterday - feeling a bit yucky, as usual but so glad this is the end! My Onc was not in town but she called me at home and sang to me - unfortunately I was sleeping. Now I'm waiting to hear from radiology to get that going - I'm anxious to have this behind me. But all in all things have been going well and I really don't expect anything too different with radiology. Have an appt with gyn next week - want his opinion of an ooph. - we'll see.

Rae - good luck on Thursday! Yay - we made it!!!
Everyone - take care.
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Apr 25, 2006 07:54AM SoCalLisa wrote:

Congratulations Marcia!!!!!!!!!!!
Fellow CMFer Lisa
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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Apr 27, 2006 08:10AM c2et wrote:

Congratulations Marcia on your last treatment. Hurray!!! I'm so happy for you.

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May 1, 2006 07:32AM RaeMN wrote:

YEAHHHHHHH. No. 6 is OVER.....there is an end in sight. When this all started it seemed like such a lifetime away....thanks everyone for their input, thoughts and prayers during this journey. I am hoping I can help others. Had a little problem with nausea on Thursday night, but I just kept thinking, this is the last one......

Congrats to Glyn too. We are there. Now, we must get on with the rest of our life. Radiation for me now. 6-7 weeks, but I am glad I am this far.

Hugs to everyone.!!!

Rae Dx 10/21/2005, ILC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes
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May 1, 2006 07:34AM RaeMN wrote:

Marcia, congrats to you tooooooo...........

Rae Dx 10/21/2005, ILC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes
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May 3, 2006 01:54PM c2et wrote:

Congratulations to you Rae!!! You did it!!! I'm so happy for you!

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May 13, 2006 06:11PM Sue227 wrote:

It looks like I will be starting CMF in June. I am very nervous but reading this has been a great help. I was told I would probably not lose my hair, it might thin but I have very thick hair so it probably won't be noticed. Also heard I may lose my eyebrows???? Anyone have any experience with that? Also, I want to work as much as possible. I am a school secretary and one of my treatment will probably be during beginning of school after summer vacation. Anyone have any thoughts? It looks like most everyone kept their normal routines going. Thanks for any help.

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May 13, 2006 06:52PM straykat wrote:

Sue, working can proceed but I must admit that at the fifth and sixth treatments. I'm glad I didn't have any work obligations. I think I could have worked but not very well if I had small children, school, parents requiring my assistance, etc. You'll be amazed at what some women on this board have accomplished with harsher chemo than CMF.

I have thick hair and according to my hairdresser, probably lost about 20% of it. Looking at me you wouldn't notice the difference, but I did in my hairbrushes and on the floor. There was no eyelash or eyebrow loss whatsoever.

My only real problems were extreme fatigue and chemo-brain. The fatigue would have interfered with work and the chemo-brain? What can I say? I had fun with it but also had some scary moments driving - I had my daughter take my car keys away for a week after my 3rd and 4th chemos. After that, chemo-brain lessened and I didn't feel the need to entrust her with the keys. I also didn't do too much driving.

Everyone is different of course (our standard disclaimer) but I think you'll find that you were very lucky to have had CMF rather than A/C.

Good luck! Let us know how you're doing as you go through treatment.
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May 14, 2006 02:59AM Sue227 wrote:

StrayKat - Thanks for the info. I don't have small children and my first 3 treatments will be during the summer break with the last 3 during school (live in GA where we start school in Aug.) What is chemo-brain?

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May 14, 2006 02:17PM straykat wrote:

Sue227, Go to the top of the page and type chemo-brain in the Search field. There are a few short studies that you can read through.

There's a great thread (Where's my Remote?) that's on this board (Help me get through treatment) that I just bumped up for you. It's long and funny and describes some of the things we've gone through during chemo due to the brain cell scramble (my description, certainly not's!) Doesn't happen to everyone, but there's a great possibility you'll develop some memory difficulties somewhere along the line. Let's see: memory loss, confusion...what were we talking about?
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May 14, 2006 03:21PM Sue227 wrote:

Oh no! I am known for my memory! I have one of those brains that is so detailed, everything is filed away in my head, never need notes, etc. This is going to be hilarious if it hits! I guess I should prepare them at work now!

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May 14, 2006 05:32PM SoCalLisa wrote:

HI..a fellow CMFer..I agree with stray kat..the fifth and sixth months were a challenge..with fatigue etc. I also had alot of trouble with my white cell counts so needed the shots for that. You need to be careful around people/children who may have some bugs to pass around. I lost about half my hair on my head but did lose my eyelashes and eyebrows. Make sure they keep track of your liver functions the whole time as methotrexate can be toxic to the liver. I had problems with that.
This is doable...Hugs, Lisa
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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May 15, 2006 04:00PM Marcia320 wrote:

Hi Sue,
I am also a school secretary - I do student records in a special ed school so I don't have a lot of kids in our office. I did 8 rounds of CMF starting in Nov and ended April 24th. My treatments were on Wed afternoons and I would take Thur and Fri off - back to work on Monday. Never got sick, some nausea, loss of appetite and some fatigue but usually back to normal by Monday. Still did things in the evening like meetings, basketball games, etc. I would sometimes come home and crash - that's ok too. I know what you mean by memory - people would say that my brain was the database - I would know the answer. Once in awhile, I would have a brain cramp and not be able to think of the word I wanted but I kept up with my work and didn't have any problems with administration. I start radiation next week - I think the daily grind of that may be more tiring - I've lined up friends to drive me at the end of the week when I get tired.
My hair got a little thinner and I didn't color it - yikes, am I gray!! Will probably color it in a week or so.

I agree - it is very doable - take a bit longer over all but I'm not sure how well I could work if I had A/C, etc. take care, good luck and keep us posted
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May 15, 2006 05:49PM Sue227 wrote:

Thanks for all of the info. I am feeling alot better about doing this. I also will stop coloring my hair and am not looking forward to seeing how gray I am. Small price to pay I guess. I will keep you updated.

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May 15, 2006 06:29PM straykat wrote:


I continued to color my hair because no one told me otherwise! I don't know what the repercussions might be if you continue - I just apaced that out.

I also continued to wear the underwire during rads when I was advised not to wear a bra at all. I thought I'd continue to wear one until it became uncomfortable. It never did.
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May 16, 2006 03:12PM Sue227 wrote:

I just assumed that the hair color would mess with me but you're right, no one has told me I couldn't do it. I am going back to my onc. the last week in May to set everything up so I am going to ask her. I was never told not to wear underwire with my rad. I had mammosite maybe that is different. I wasn't really given an directions.
I'll post what I find out about the hair color.

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