Nov 16, 2018 05:59PM star2017 wrote:
So sorry to hear about your girlfriend's diagnosis. I was diagnosed last year at age 37 with a large tumor too, though it was invasive ductal carcinoma and DCIS, so slightly different diagnosis. The treatment plan for me was 4 infusions of AC and then 4 infusions of Taxol. Is that how hers is? Please don't hesitate to ask questions. If I can help, I will. I also did radiation and had mastectomies. You can see the details of my process below.
It's going to be a long year, and it's best to focus on one step at a time. Each step is manageable, but it feels overwhelming when you think of the whole process.
Chemo wasn't too bad. I recently wrote out my experience in another thread. I'll copy that here, as I hope it will be helpful for your girlfriend:
With AC, my main symptom was fatigue. I was very rarely nauseous. The doctors gave me anti-nausea meds in my infusion and also some steroids for the few days after which made me feel pretty good. If I felt even the slightest bit of nausea, I took Zofran, but I think that was only twice or three times during the whole time I was on AC. I was also given Neulasta to help keep my white blood cell counts up. I was pretty tired during the AC treatments, and napped whenever I could, but I was able to be up and about too. The first week is tough, and then you start to feel normal. Then it's time for the next infusion.
My hair started shedding about two weeks in, and fell dramatically three weeks after my first chemo. When it first started to shed, I had my husband give me a buzz cut. That's when I started wearing the chemo beanies (I had a cute wig, but didn't wear it that often).
After my second AC infusion, I developed a fever. It was cold and flu season. My kids were sick, and I caught something from them. But bloodwork revealed my white blood cell count was also very low at the same time, so as a precaution, the doctors checked me in to the hospital. I had to have lots of tests, and was hospitalized for four days. It probably would have been more, but I was feeling better and all the tests were clear, and the doctor was sympathetic to the fact that I had a newborn plus two other kids at home, so I was out after four days. Thankfully, that was the only time my white blood cell count dropped like that and the only time I got sick and needed to be hospitalized. Due to the hospitalization, I had to delay my infusion. Then a couple weeks later, I developed a mild case of shingles, and so we delayed it again, to make sure I was strong enough for infusion #3.
The four rounds of Taxol were easier in some ways and harder in others. Taxol usually doesn't affect your immune system the way AC does. I did not have quite as much fatigue, but I was very achy in the 2-4 days after Taxol infusions. I learned to take pain meds (Aleve, Advil, or Tylenol) regularly those first few days, until the aches wore off.
Though I lost my hair in the first 2-3 weeks of chemo, I lost my eyebrows and eyelashes about 2 months in. That was a bit of a shock because suddenly I felt like I looked sick in a way I did not feel with just the hair loss. I started chemo November 2017 and completed it March 2018. I've got my brows and lashes. My hair is a little longer than pixie length, pretty wavy/curly.