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Topic: 63yrs old and scared of starting my chemo

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: Jun 26, 2014 05:14AM

Jilly2405 wrote:


Dx 5/7/2014, IDC, <1cm, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/27/2014 Lumpectomy: Left Chemotherapy 6/30/2014 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Ellence (epirubicin) Hormonal Therapy Radiation Therapy Breast
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Jun 26, 2014 07:04AM Curlyq1974 wrote:

Jilly - do not be scared of chemo.  They have wonderful meds to help with just about every ailement you can think of - just be aware of your body, take notes of what you are feeling every day and share with your MO.  He/she will be able to help you if you have side effects.  I'll be praying for you and I am confident you will do wonderfully!

Janet, 39 at diagnosis, BRAC 2+ Dx 12/2/2013, IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 1/7 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 12/19/2013 Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 12/19/2013 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left Chemotherapy 5/6/2014 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 6/17/2014 3DCRT: Breast, Lymph nodes Surgery 9/22/2014 Prophylactic ovary removal Surgery 10/26/2014 Reconstruction (right) Surgery 4/17/2015 Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 5/6/2016 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 10/24/2016 Lumpectomy: Right
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Jun 26, 2014 11:29AM - edited Jun 26, 2014 11:32AM by Kicks

What in particular are you scared of?  Without a little insight into your concerns it's hard to know what of our experiences will give you the insight/support/info you're looking for.  What is your DX (diagnosis) and what chemos?  There are so many possibilities and we are each so unique.

I was 63 when I was DXd with IBC.  That was almost 5 years ago - I'm still here, loving life and still NED (No Evidence of Disease).  I did neoadjuvant (pre surgery) chemo, UMX (Unilateral Mastectomy), adjuvant (post surgery) chemo and rads.   Have been on Femara/letrozole for 4 1/2 yrs.

Dx 8/7/2009, IBC, Stage IIIC, 19/19 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 8/25/2009 AC Surgery 10/21/2009 Lymph node removal: Right; Mastectomy: Right Chemotherapy 11/11/2009 Taxol (paclitaxel) Radiation Therapy 2/4/2010 Breast, Lymph nodes
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Jun 27, 2014 10:59AM Jilly2405 wrote:

been through it with my doc and she as reassured me on a few things i was scared of the side effects  and how it would effect my ongoing ailments and also because of my age thought my body wouldnt cope as good

Dx 5/7/2014, IDC, <1cm, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/27/2014 Lumpectomy: Left Chemotherapy 6/30/2014 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Ellence (epirubicin) Hormonal Therapy Radiation Therapy Breast
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Jun 27, 2014 12:27PM kayfh wrote:

Jilly  It is normal to be frightened of the prospect of chemo.  You did the absolute right thing to talk it over with your doctor.

The worst side effect for me was nausea.  There are VERY EFFECTIVE medications to help with that.

If you are afraid of losing your hair (Oh come on, ALL of us are)  there are fantastic scarves, the great LOOK GOOD FEEL BETTER programme, and time.  It does grow back.  (Better than can be said for all of our friends and family members who are blessed with male pattern baldness.)

Be very kind to your self.  This is doable.  (I know, I am 61 years old.  And a wimp.)  Kay

Kay Dx 3/3/2009, IDC, 2cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 8/8 nodes, mets, ER+/PR-, HER2+ Surgery 4/27/2009 Mastectomy: Left
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Jun 27, 2014 09:35PM Kicks wrote:

As I said, I was 63 when I was DXd in Aug '09. IBC  No one can tell you exactly how your body will react to anything.  We are each unique.

I had no health issues before DX, other than being osteopenia (family history on both sides) for quite a while before.  I've had osteo arthritis in my upper back for many years (thanks to injuries from horseback riding accidents over my entire life).  In the years since DX, I have progressed to osteoporosis but that was expected anyway and my arthritis has gotten worse but again that was expected anyway.

Different chemos effect us differently.  Neoadjuvant DD A/C (Dense Dose Adrimycin and Cytoxan) was 'easy' for me - it didn't slow me down at all.  I did lose hair, appetite, sense of taste and smell.  Ajuvant Taxol was nasty - I was completely and utterly EXHAUSTED the entire 12 weekly infusions.  Basically, I existed either in bed or on the couch in front of the TV.  Hubby took over all house/cooking/dog chores and Son took over all barn/horse chores so I didn't have to do anything I didn't want to.  For some, A/C is harder and Taxol is easier

There are fantastic anti-nausea meds that you will probably be given to take before infusion and for a few days after.  There will be other meds given before the infusion starts.  You may have Neulasta shots the next day to keep white cell counts up.  According to what I've been told, when it comes to nausea issues, your experiences with morning sickness can some times be a predicter of chemo nausea.  In my case, I had no morning sickness with either Son and even when I quit taking the anti-nausea meds 1/2 way through Taxol, I never had any nausea issues.

If you have other medical issues, you might want to keep in touch with your PC and keep him/her in touch with your Chemo Dr.  Chemo Drs prime objective is attacking the cancer - not necessarily with all the rest of other health issues - if there are some.

We are each so unique LONG before any type of BC.  Any of us can say what we, individually, experienced but no one can state what you will experience  

Dx 8/7/2009, IBC, Stage IIIC, 19/19 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 8/25/2009 AC Surgery 10/21/2009 Lymph node removal: Right; Mastectomy: Right Chemotherapy 11/11/2009 Taxol (paclitaxel) Radiation Therapy 2/4/2010 Breast, Lymph nodes
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Jun 28, 2014 01:47AM Cowgirl13 wrote:

Jilly, I was 63 when I went through chemo.  I was terrified of it and it was very doable.  I loved the chemo nurses.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor each morning the Devil says: 'Oh crap! She's up! Dx 5/28/2009, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Surgery 6/17/2009 Chemotherapy 8/2/2009 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 12/21/2009 Hormonal Therapy 2/22/2010 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Jul 1, 2014 02:57AM sbetts wrote:

I was only 30 and going through chemo. I remember I was afraid of all the "unknowns"... Will I be sick, will I sleep all the time, will I want to eat.... The questions seemed insurmountable. I found that just talking to the oncology nurses, asking questions here, and expressing my fears to the dr all led to some very helpful insight and when the first treatment came I still cried but I was a little better prepared for it. 

I will never say chemo is nothing to be afraid of, or that chemo is "just a part of it" because the entire process sucks. There is nothing easy and most importantly be aware of the psychological effects chemo will have. I almost committed suicide twice because I couldn't think anymore. I was so consumed with all the chemicals going through my body that I literally felt lost inside of myself. No one warned me of those types of things. Looking back now I can see things so clearly but at the time....... Let's just say I'm glad God watched over me because there is no way I'd be alive today with His saving grace. 

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Jul 1, 2014 07:06AM MomMom wrote:

Everyone is different and side effects on chemo are minimal to severe, but it's doable.  I'm 67 and have been through 4 and a half months of it-only 3 more weekly Taxol to go! I'm one of the lucky ones, having never been nauseated and able to exercise every day through treatment. But, I was in good shape before the DX which helped a lot.  I was also afraid of chemo, not knowing what to expect. I knew two women who had gone through bc chemo years ago who did well (they are both cancer free 12 years & 17 years later!).  Just knowing there were some women out there who did well on chemo gave me the attitude that I could do it too.  Best of everything to you.

Paula

Dx 1/9/2014, IDC, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 1/28/2014 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Chemotherapy 2/25/2014 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 8/6/2014 Breast, Lymph nodes
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Jul 1, 2014 09:23AM linzer wrote:

jilly - I'm still early in the process on my fourth session of doing taxol/herceptin/perjeta this week (doing taxol weekly x 12 with herception/perjeta x 4). I will have lumpectomy in fall and then AC for 4 cycles and radiation after that. I am no expert by far, but I am finding that keeping myself calm and centered has worked wonders. I live my life as I would normally and only acknowledge SE's as they arise by giving them only what they deserve no more, no less... I have been exercising (mainly brisk walking every day and continued modified workouts with a trainer) and drinking lots of water compared to what I used to do. I aim to try to eat very healthy, but honestly I need to eat what tastes okay and sometimes it is not necessarily a fruit or a vegetable. I'm not beating myself up over that - for now it's fine. For me, energy level has been fine (although that obviously may change) and as everyone says, the SE's vary so much by person. My biggest challenge has been diarrhea but even that is manageable for the most part. I shaved my head last week as I couldn't deal with the hair thinning. Although that was hard for me, it was more about the actual act of doing it. Once it was gone, I was fine. I know it all seems so scary - you will find that you can do it and ask for help when you need it. The chemo nurses are very compassionate and kind. I entered into this process as a stranger to the medical world and if I'm able to do it you can too :) I'd never had a medical procedure until having my port placed (not ever even a stitch!) never had a bloody nose, stayed in a hospital, broken bone etc. I had only been to the doc 6 times in 20 years (one of those visits included my diagnosis visit!). So, i'm learning a lot about myself through this, and you will too. You'll be proud of your resilience! Hugs!!

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Nov 1, 2019 06:52AM Martaj wrote:

Starting AC next Friday. 4 doses along with trial drug/placebo. Hopefully easier that 12 weeks of taxol and carboplatin. Hate that utter exhaustion feeling and skin issues. I have this week off from blood work and infusions. So nice. Not looking forward to next week. But I see light at end of tunnel.

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