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Topic: What are the worst chemo days like?

Forum: Chemotherapy - Before, During, and After —

Regimens, side effects, and support from others going through chemo.

Posted on: Oct 10, 2008 01:53AM

newmex1598 wrote:

hi all, i am trying to figure out what the worst days for my girlfriend's chemo regimen (likely to be 4x TC) are going to be like.

What is the activity level she will be able to achieve? Will she just feel like staying in bed? Sleeping, resting? will she want to get up and about? will she be capable of driving? i'm not sure what to expect and what type of care and assistance she will need.

thanks for any help you can give


Dx 8/13/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Oct 10, 2008 03:27AM bettysgirl wrote:

jose' - I can;t tell you about TC cause i am on another regimine. I KNOW that one of the girls will be on soon that can help you. I know from what i've read everybody seems to be really tired and have all kinds of tummy troubles for about 3-5 days. She will at least be resting the first couple. I had my second treatment and slept more yesterady afternoon than the first time.

You are a good friend to come here and ask! Best wishes to you both!

Dx 6/20/2008, IDC, 5cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 2/13 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/16/2008 Lymph node removal: Right, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left Chemotherapy 9/18/2008 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Ellence (epirubicin), Fluorouracil (5-fluorouracil, 5-FU, Adrucil), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy 4/15/2009 Radiation Therapy
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Oct 10, 2008 07:25AM hopefullady wrote:

It's really hard to tell as everyone reacts differently to the chemo.  I am on 4x TC and for me the worst days have been 3-5 of the cycle.  Day 1 being the day of chemo.  

She will no doubt be tired, but we are encouraged to walk some every day and not to stay in bed all day.  Moving about will help with the side effects.  

There have never been days that I could not drive.  I have been able to get out of the house and walk every day.  It's just that she may have to rest in between things and not try to do too much at once.  

Everyone has different side effects, and mine have been different with each treatment, but we are not bedridden.  And she will be able to care for herself.  You can provide assistance with heavy work around the house and with emotional support.  That will help the most.


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Oct 10, 2008 08:04AM Tamara wrote:

My regime is also slightly different - I am on TC with the addition of adrymician.  Days 1-3 are the worst for me - just tired and tummy issues and don't really feel like doing much.  But, I am able to take care of myself but appreciate my husband handling the household chores and cooking meals etc.  I read and watch tv and usually take a long nap in the afternoon. By day 4, I am gradually getting back into my normal routine.

But, as mentionned above - everyone is different and there are a bunch of SE that can pop up (everything from just the annoying to the more serious)  - don't hesitate to call the onco or onco nurses with any questions about any SE.


Dx 5/30/2008, IDC, <1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 1/13 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Oct 10, 2008 08:14AM greenfrog wrote:

Everyone responds so differently it is very hard to say. Also I am having a different experience with each dose!

In general I am really unwell for about 3 days and then start to pick up day by day after that. My nadir comes at about day 13 and that is when I have to crawl back to bed for a while.

Even when I am feeling "better" I have limited energy and cannot work.

Dx 5/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/19 nodes, ER+, HER2-
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Oct 10, 2008 08:15AM revkat wrote:

Like Chris, I was on TC x4 and for me the worst days were 3-7. The first cycle it was just like I ran into a wall. One minute I was having supper with my family, the next I was flat out in bed. Those days I spent most of my time in bed or on the sofa. There were times when I didn't feel like I could walk across the house to the kitchen. It was like having a bad case of the flu -- body aches and fatigue. I would not have felt safe driving those days. It was less extreme in later cycles, I think because I knew it was coming.

And then, things start getting better and by day 10 it felt sooo good not to feel bad that I wanted to be out and doing thing, not anything strenuous, but like going to a movie or out to eat.

Dx 1/28/2008, IDC, 2cm, Stage II, Grade 2, 1/20 nodes, ER+, HER2-
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Oct 10, 2008 08:43AM momster wrote:

Hi, I had 4x TC and found I could barely move out of bed for day 3-6.  The fatigue was unbelievabIe, I would even drive down the driveway to pick up my kids from the bus!  I could get up for a while and take a shower, fix something to eat, read the paper etc.  I didn't need some one to stay with me.  But having someone to help with dishes and laundry on those days would have been great!  For me it was the Neulasta that was most devestating I hurt everywhere.  But come day six at about 8 pm, I would get up out of bed and feel fairly normal again.  That was last Jan - April and now I feel really great. The chemo wasn't as bad as I had feared, each treatment was a progressively a little easier for me.  The drugs they give you to control the side affects really are amazingly effective.  I was down and out for about three or four days each treatment and was still able to work, look after my kids, do the grocery shopping, exercise etc.  Everyone is different, but if she doesn't have a wonderful spouse like I do who picked up the slack the most helpful things would be to offer meals, child care, shopping, maybe a little house cleaning or laundry help.  .  Make sure your friend has a network she can call on if needed.  You might even want to organise it.  Have work and cell phone numbers of people who can help out at a moment's notice.  Cook a meal and drop it off, when you are there help with laundry and dishes. I didn't want to ask for help but I was really glad I had it.  Some one to watch my kids on a moment's notice was a Godsend. Many many friends and strangers in my town offered help me. I made me realize how lucky I am to live in such a wonderful community.  Hope this helps.  Momster

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Oct 10, 2008 05:41PM peeps1111 wrote:


I am on TC and there was only a couple of days that I felt bad.  Day 3 and Day 7 had abdominal issues.  There are tips to help your girlfriend if it's TC.  Have her get the neulasta shot in her stomach.  Have her take Claritin right after the neulasta shot. I had constipation really bad on day 7 even though I started taking a laxative the night before the chemo.  Everyone is different though, some have diarrhea and fatigue.  There was never a day that I couldn't drive.  I swam and or walked my usual routine and I think I only missed two days.

Just be intune to what your friend wants and ask her what she needs.


Dx 6/20/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 1/2 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Oct 10, 2008 10:48PM - edited Oct 10, 2008 10:48PM by leaninonfaith

I can't say how TC is because I wasn't on it - I was on AC then taxol.  I am normally a  very strong, independent woman with a high tolerance for pain.  It takes a lot to get me down.  WELL!  Not to scare you or anything, I had a horrible time with chemo.  I went to meetings, met with dr's but NEVER in a million yrs would I have imagined the reaction that I had.  I felt like I was going to be the one that could continue working full time during my therapy and boy was I ever wrong.  I was down for 7 solid days after my infusion.  I am 39 yrs old with 2 young children.  I had severe migraine headaches, little nausea (they give you a bazillion anti-nausea meds) that lasted 2 to 3 days immediately after the treatment.  I could barely stand up without having to hold on to the wall.  I wouldn't have dreamed of driving.  I felt completely mentally "disconnected" with myself for the first 7 days, then, like a light switch, I was normal feeling again.  It somedays took everything in me to get to the restroom. 

There isn't anything that you can read or hear that can help you "truly" know how she will react to the meds.  I saw many women that did continue working full time on the same meds that I was on.  So it is truly a mystery on what will be her worst days.  I had my mom take care of my house - there were many days that I didn't even want to talk - I just wanted to feel "normal" again.

She is lucky to have you - my husband and I - 'broke' up after my 3rd treatment.  Anyway, long story - short, I am doing wonderful now and feel like I haven't even been down that horrible "c" road.  Keeping a positive attitude and being supportive (sometimes just knowing you are there) will be soothing. 

I wish both of you all the best.  Johnie

Oh, by the way - I am also in Dallas - I was treated at Baylor downtown.  Wonderful staff. 

Johnie Simmons Dx 1/14/2008, IDC, 2cm, Stage II, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Oct 10, 2008 11:08PM - edited Oct 10, 2008 11:08PM by pinoideae

Hi Jose,

I had cmf chemo therapy.  Treatment was given in the afternoon, and by 7 or 8 pm I had extreme bone (skeletel) pain.  I learned to expect it.  Rather than take more drugs, I usually planned to have one or two glasses of wine (and yes, I limited it to that).  That helped me sleep.  I learned never to leave my house without antinausea medication (and I was given a prescription for two types but I found Zophran worked the best and stuck to it).  Cyclophosphamide was the drug that made me more sick than anything, and I was prescribed it at home.  Methotrexate and Flourucil was given by injection, but a sterioid went first, and I received these treatments at a cancer hospital.  CMF is called the sandwich treatment where I live (and they say this because chemo/radiation/chemo).  As time goes on activity level declined.  Not really activity level, but the stamina for activity level...I was clearly unhealthy. 

Advice I could give during chemo treatments:  eat a healthy diet, walk, exercise as much as you can, drink lots of fluids (this can include coffee, tea, juice, milk or chocolate milk and of course water), and get lots of rest.  Chemotherapy is supposed to kick cancer butt, but it kicks human butt too!

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