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Topic: Tiffany's Twenty Terrific Tips for TC

Forum: Chemotherapy - Before, During, and After —

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

Posted on: Dec 29, 2015 01:18PM - edited Dec 29, 2015 02:41PM by tshire

tshire wrote:

I just wanted to share with everyone my tips for getting through TC chemo, which I think helped me a lot. My only symptoms were a touch of nausea on days 3-4, a bit of diarrhea, constipation, dry mouth, and fatigue. I never got sick.

1. During chemo and for several days afterwards, drink a LOT of water. I drank 3 liters a day from this bottle: http://www.amazon.com/Nathan-Big-Shot-1-Liter-Bott...

2. Ice your hands and feet during Taxotere. I used these http://www.amazon.com/Elasto-Gel-Chemotherapy-Hypo... and these http://www.amazon.com/Elasto-Hypothermia-slippers-... and never had any neuropathy or nail changes. It does make playing on your iPad or reading difficult with the mitts on, so I just listened to a podcast during that infusion.

3. Suck on ice as often as you can bear it during your infusions to avoid mouth sores.

4. Get the OPI Nail Envy and Avoplex cuticle treatment set here http://www.amazon.com/Opi-Say-Hi-to-Fortify/dp/B00.... Use the Nail Envy as directed, and apply the Avoplex twice a day or more often if you can remember. I kept 2 bottles of the Avoplex, one at work and one at home. Keep your nails very short to avoid snags and tears.

5. Get some Dixie cups and pre-fill them with 1 tsp of baking soda. I filled an empty 12 oz mouthwash bottle with about 3 tsp of salt and a 1/2 tsp of peppermint extract (for flavor) and poured some into the Dixie cup, swirled to mix, and gargled/rinsed with it in the morning, after every meal, and at night. I bought this mouthwash to take to work to avoid the mixing hassle, and I really liked it http://www.amazon.com/TheraBreath-Dentist-Recommen... Never had a single mouth sore.

6. Flossing during chemo can cause bleeding, I learned the hard way. I got a waterpik instead and used this to floss. Much gentler on the gums. I found mine cheaper at Costco, but here it is on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Waterpik-Aquarius-Water-Flos...

7. I got a value pack of extra soft toothbrushes at Costco, and bought this on Amazon to sterilize after every use: http://www.amazon.com/Oral-Stericlean-Portable-Too... I threw out the toothbrush and got a new one when I started each cycle of chemo. Clean toothbrushes prevent you from getting sick while immunocompromised.

8. Exercise every day. Seriously, even on bad days. Get up and go for a walk around the block. Every day go a little further. When you're feeling better immediately get back to your normal exercise routine. It helps so much!

9. Wear slippers around the house, especially if you have hard floors. This helps prevent neuropathy in your feet. And forget about wearing heels during chemo.

10. MOISTURIZE like crazy. After every shower, cover yourself in a high quality, paraben free, hypoallergenic moisturizer from head to toe. Moisturize your hands and feet every night, and wear cotton gloves to bed.

11. If you get dry mouth, especially at night, try these for sleeping: http://www.amazon.com/Oracoat-855933000517-Xylimel... They worked like a charm for me. During the day I sucked on hard candies or ACT lozenges.

12. Stock up on fresh fruit and bread for toast. On my "bad days," usually days 3-5, I really didn't want to eat anything besides fresh fruit, smoothies, and toast. Your mileage may vary, but this was the case for me.

13. Sign up for www.takethemameal.com and send the link to friends and family. This ended up being more for my fiance, who can't cook to save his life and I was not feeling up to cooking, but I also ate some of it when I was feeling better. The help was greatly appreciated, and the site is free and super easy to use.

14. Do something special that you can look forward to after each chemo, such as watching one season of your favorite show after every round on your bad days. For me, I downloaded the Game of Thrones game onto my iPad, which has 4 episodes, and saved them for my bad days when I didn't want to do much besides lay around. I played 1 episode after every round and it gave me something to look forward to, even though I wasn't feeling great.

15. If you have diarrhea, start the Immodium immediately, don't let it go. The bottle says only 4 per day, but my MO said up to 8 daily is fine. If you have constipation, Senokot helped me. Unfortunately every round for me was a different GI tract problem, so I never knew what to expect!

16. QueasyPops for nausea helped me a lot, and if you email the company at info@preggiepop.com and tell them you're undergoing chemo for BC they will send you a free box!

17. Also, start taking your Zofran the night of chemo and take it every 8 hours on the dot for 5 days afterwards. I never vomited when I kept this up, even though I felt queasy occasionally. I DID vomit when I forgot to take the Zofran after the first round, and learned the hard way.

18. The website http://breastcancerfreebies.com/ had lots of offers for free products and services to help. I was able to get free home cleanings through Cleaning for a Reason, a free high quality headwrap from Good Wishes (which I donated after I didn't end up needing it), a free bar of soap from Bethesda Skincare, a free bag of makeup from Look Good Feel Better, and sweet cards and gifts through the mail from Chemo Angels. All of these things were wonderful.

19. If you're interested in keeping your hair, I used Penguin Cold Caps with amazing success. While it was definitely a hassle, the feeling I got from keeping my hair was priceless. I felt in control, and I didn't look sick so I didn't feel sick. I could go out in public and be treated normally without stares, pity, or special treatment. That really meant a lot to me. And I was able to get financial assistance through www.ccaps.org. The cold wasn't fun but was bearable and totally worth it. I have a whole nother set of tips for cappers if you're interested!

20. Sleep naked. This helped with hot flashes, which I developed after round 3, and also apparently prevents yeast infections by helping maintain air circulation down there.

That's all I can think of right now. I hope this helps. Any more tips ladies?

Tiffany, dx age 31. Neg for all breast cancer genes tested. Oncotype 20. Ki67 34%. Saved my hair with Penguin Cold Caps! Dx 6/12/2015, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 7/13/2015 Lumpectomy: Right Dx 7/16/2015, DCIS, Right, Stage 0, Grade 2 Surgery 7/26/2015 Lumpectomy: Right Chemotherapy 9/30/2015 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 12/29/2015 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 3/10/2016 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Dec 29, 2015 01:54PM MusicLover wrote:

How very sweet of you to take the time to do this.

As per PET scan, 3 or 4 nodules in the right breast, 2 of which were actually in the middle of my chest, the other 2 were side by side in the breast. Also DCIS in the left breast. Dx 9/23/2013, IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IV, Grade 2, 1/0 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 10/9/2013 Femara (letrozole)
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Dec 29, 2015 02:08PM Moderators wrote:

Wow! This is a really great list. We have this list as well: Chemotherapy Tips

Perhaps we should combine?

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Dec 29, 2015 02:18PM MsPharoah wrote:

tshire, I remember when you were just starting treatment. Here you are on the other side of chemotherapy giving back to others. Bless you.

MsP

Oncotype 24 Dx 12/4/2012, ILC, Right, 1cm, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 2/18/2013 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Chemotherapy 4/9/2013 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy 8/21/2013 Femara (letrozole) Radiation Therapy 9/4/2013 Breast
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Dec 29, 2015 02:50PM tshire wrote:

sure thing Mods!

And thank you MsP. You helped me more than you know! Now instead of making lists of my fears I'm making lists of things that helped.

Tiffany, dx age 31. Neg for all breast cancer genes tested. Oncotype 20. Ki67 34%. Saved my hair with Penguin Cold Caps! Dx 6/12/2015, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 7/13/2015 Lumpectomy: Right Dx 7/16/2015, DCIS, Right, Stage 0, Grade 2 Surgery 7/26/2015 Lumpectomy: Right Chemotherapy 9/30/2015 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 12/29/2015 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 3/10/2016 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Dec 29, 2015 06:06PM Moderators wrote:

That is just beautiful to hear! Medicating

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Dec 29, 2015 06:19PM Jinx27 wrote:

Awww thank you :) this is right on time!!!

Dx 9/8/2015, DCIS/IDC, Both breasts, 4cm, Stage IIIB, Grade 2, 3/36 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 11/17/2015 Reconstruction (left): Free TRAM flap; Reconstruction (right): Free TRAM flap Hormonal Therapy 8/30/2016 Arimidex (anastrozole) Chemotherapy AC + T (Taxol)
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Dec 29, 2015 06:23PM Jinx27 wrote:

# 16 sounds nice. I wonder if making ice pops from fresh ginger juice and honey is good for tummy issues, that way mouth sores are at bay and tummy issues may be at bay too.



Dx 9/8/2015, DCIS/IDC, Both breasts, 4cm, Stage IIIB, Grade 2, 3/36 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 11/17/2015 Reconstruction (left): Free TRAM flap; Reconstruction (right): Free TRAM flap Hormonal Therapy 8/30/2016 Arimidex (anastrozole) Chemotherapy AC + T (Taxol)
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Dec 30, 2015 05:35PM tshire wrote:

I never tried that but I'll bet they would be good

Tiffany, dx age 31. Neg for all breast cancer genes tested. Oncotype 20. Ki67 34%. Saved my hair with Penguin Cold Caps! Dx 6/12/2015, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 7/13/2015 Lumpectomy: Right Dx 7/16/2015, DCIS, Right, Stage 0, Grade 2 Surgery 7/26/2015 Lumpectomy: Right Chemotherapy 9/30/2015 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 12/29/2015 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 3/10/2016 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jan 6, 2016 12:38PM tshire wrote:

bump for newbies

Tiffany, dx age 31. Neg for all breast cancer genes tested. Oncotype 20. Ki67 34%. Saved my hair with Penguin Cold Caps! Dx 6/12/2015, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 7/13/2015 Lumpectomy: Right Dx 7/16/2015, DCIS, Right, Stage 0, Grade 2 Surgery 7/26/2015 Lumpectomy: Right Chemotherapy 9/30/2015 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 12/29/2015 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 3/10/2016 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jan 13, 2016 02:59AM Wendiwithani wrote:

List making keeps me sane and this list is amazing!!! Such much wonderful information...thank you! ThumbsUp

Wendi Dx 11/13/2015, IDC/IDC: Mucinous, Left, 4cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/9 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Surgery 12/3/2015 Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left Targeted Therapy 1/12/2016 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 1/13/2016 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 2/13/2017 Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap
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Feb 8, 2016 12:42PM - edited Feb 8, 2016 03:42PM by tshire

This Post was deleted by tshire.
Tiffany, dx age 31. Neg for all breast cancer genes tested. Oncotype 20. Ki67 34%. Saved my hair with Penguin Cold Caps! Dx 6/12/2015, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 7/13/2015 Lumpectomy: Right Dx 7/16/2015, DCIS, Right, Stage 0, Grade 2 Surgery 7/26/2015 Lumpectomy: Right Chemotherapy 9/30/2015 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 12/29/2015 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 3/10/2016 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Feb 9, 2016 09:29PM TLIMS23 wrote:

Thanks for the great tips Tiffany!

Dx 1/7/2016, IDC, Right, 2cm, Grade 3, ER+/PR-, HER2+ Targeted Therapy 2/7/2016 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Targeted Therapy 2/7/2016 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 2/8/2016 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Feb 11, 2016 03:20PM 7of9 wrote:

Thank you for this!!! After I complete radiation I am getting the choice of Xeloda (6 cycles for 18 weeks) vs Taxotere (4 cycles 12 weeks) and they will give me the nuelasta which I WANT as I tolerated it well last time on AC+T. I am leaning towards Taxotere.

Some bad cases of GI problems requiring hospitalization are scaring me away from Xeloda - hair thinning vs loss, and "ease" of a pill be damned...I think Zofran, oxy will bind me up (I have ulcerative colitis which HAD been in remission well controlled before this latest round of stress nightmare recurrence started).

I already bought 3 elasta gel cold caps which I planned on using before they switched my treatment to radiation before chemo (I had a local recurrence but scans were clear and with the ALND & ooph - I'm on Arimidex to prevent spread now anyhow). Also mentally doesn't it just seem better that each single Taxotere infusion = 25% done. I just have to drag myself there then survive the week after. I am planning on taking off chemo days then working the following 2 1/2 weeks til the next one...


If you're going through hell, keep on going. You might get out before the devil even knows you're there. Dx 1/18/2012, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 6/1/2012 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 11/1/2012 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Dx 12/23/2015, IDC, Left, 2cm, Grade 2, 10/14 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 1/19/2016 Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary Surgery 1/19/2016 Prophylactic ovary removal Radiation Therapy 2/11/2016 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Chemotherapy 4/1/2016 Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Feb 12, 2016 01:29PM - edited Feb 12, 2016 02:38PM by Moderators

Hi to all of you! We are trying to come up with ONE master list of all your great suggestions around chemotherapy. Please help us out. We have looked at three threads and want to get it all together to best help everyone.

Please make suggestions here, or in this forum: https://community.breastcancer.org/forum/69/topics...

Things to prep and purchase BEFORE you start chemotherapy:

  • 1.FOOD AND THE KITCHEN:
  • fresh fruit (bananas!) and vegetables
  • bread for toast
  • crackers
  • rice
  • unsweetened applesauce (in individual containers)
  • prunes, dried apricots, prune juice
  • lemons or limes to add to water
  • teas
  • protein and iron-rich foods (e.g. walnuts, pecans, almonds, meat)
  • sugar-free chewing gum, sugar-free hard candy, breath mints
  • disposable flatware, plates and cups (for times when you're tired or immune-suppressed; plastic flatware helps offset metallic taste in mouth)
  • Non-latex gloves to wear when doing dishes to reduce
  • Sign up for www.takethemameal.com and send the link to friends and family.
  • Supplements: Check with a dietician or a nutritionist about supplements and multivitamins. Some dieticians and nutritionists recommended taking Calcium Citrate, Magnesium, Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) during chemo (and forever) to combat bone loss. Some also recommend a multivitamin, but make sure that there is no soy include
  • 2.HYGIENE, CLEANING:
  • Biotene oral wash (also get travel size for purse) specially formulated to manage a dry mouth. Warning: Mouth rinses and washes containing chlorhexidine and cetylpyridinium chloride -- like Crest pro-health -- may stain your teeth.
  • Unscented moisturizer (also get small/travel size for purse). Some opt for natural oils (e.g almond or olive oil).
  • Sunscreen for face and body Visit the EWG Sunscreen Guide.
  • Lip balm/moisturizer
  • Thermometer or two.
  • New or washed shower curtain liner (minimize bacteria, mold)
  • Package of new toothbrushes (mouth is really vulnerable to infections, sores so change frequently)
  • Tissue boxes and on-the-go packs kleenexes (disappearance of nose hairs = dripping nose)
  • Purell-type hand-sanitizer without scent (also get travel size for purse)
  • Clorox-type disinfecting wipes (and some for on-the-go)
  • A box/packet of the flushable moist wipes
  • Squirt bottle for cleansing irritated skin after going to the bathroom
  • Waterpik (in lieu of flossing if you have bleeding)
  • lint roller to keep your pillow clean, if you are losing hair
  • 3.MEDICATIONS:
  • Artificial tears for dry eyes (consider Renew or Similasan brands)
  • Immodium (for diarrhea)
  • Colace, Miralax or Senekot-S, (for constipation)
  • Tylenol (painkiller) or Ibuprofen (ask your oncologist which is preferred; some chemo drugs work the kidneys, others the liver so your doc may prefer one drug over another)
  • Acidopholus capsules for yeast infections (if you're prone to them)
  • Pepcid Acid or Nexium reflux/indigestion
  • Regular Claritin (helps with joint pain)
  • Blood pressure machine
  • Ambien CR for sleeping
  • 4.COMFORT:
  • A satin or silk like pillowcase
  • Comfortable slippers
  • Get your hair cut short, if you know that you will be losing it during treatment.
  • Get soft, seam-free (or as seam-free as possible) hat for sleeping
  • Hair net to wear at night!
  • 5.PREPARE A "My "chemo bag": (A great project for a friend). Assemble a small make-up type bag (say 4"x4"x6" or smaller) that you can move from purse to backpack back to purse to car or whatever that includes some of the stuff that's good to have on hand when you're out and about: digital thermometer, Tylenol or Ibuprofen (ask your onco), toothbrush, toothpaste, Breathsaver-type lozenges, lip balm, unscented hand lotion, eye drops, antibiotic ointment, Purell sanitizer or handwipes, Saltines or animal crackers, tissues, thin cap to ward off any sudden chills, mouth rinse. And maybe a maxi-pad in case of any port or drain mishaps. (Why this stuff? Important to ward off mouth sores, avoid fever/monitor temp, chemo dries out eyes, mouth, skin; lack of nose hairs causes drippy nose.

Things to do During Chemotherapy:

  • 1.Drink a LOT of water!!! Drink, drink and drink some more. When you are finished, drink more still! Make it interesting by adding lemon or lime. Or try out different teas.
  • 2.MOISTURIZE like crazy. After every shower, cover yourself in a high quality, paraben free, hypoallergenic moisturizer from head to toe. Moisturize your hands and feet every night, and wear cotton gloves to bed. Aquaphor is recommended, or Udderly SMOOth with urea
  • 3.Exercise, or move around, every day. Seriously, even on bad days. Get up and go for a walk around the block. Every day go a little further. When you're feeling better immediately get back to your normal exercise routine. It helps so much! It gives you more energy and lifts your mood.
  • 4.Wear slippers around the house, especially if you have hard floors. This helps prevent neuropathy in your feet. And forget about wearing heels during chemo.
  • 5.Do something special that you can look forward to after each chemo, such as watching one season of your favorite show after every round on your bad day
  • 6.Make laughing and relaxing as important as cleaning!
  • 7.Support your immune system with iron- and protein-rich foods (but check with doctor before taking supplement
  • 8.PORT CARE: The nurse may clean the port by injecting Heparin into it. A horrible taste can sometimes be avoided by holding your nose while the Heparin is injected. A numbing agent may make entry in and out of the port less painful. Locating "Good veins". A/C can be hard on the veins. At some hospitals, women on A/C automatically have a port surgically installed. You may be given the opportunity to use your veins. The goal is to keep your veins in good enough health that you can use them for all 8 treatments. Another goal is to "start low" on the arm so that if one vein is blown, then they can work their way up. A nurse can go to a higher vein for attempt #2, but she cannot go lower
  • 9.Take care of your nails! Get the OPI Nail Envy and Avoplex cuticle treatment set here http://www.amazon.com/Opi-Say-Hi-to-Fortify/dp/B00.... Use the Nail Envy as directed, and apply the Avoplex twice a day or more often if you can remember. Keep one bottle of the Avoplex, at work and one at home. Keep your nails very short to avoid snags and tears. If you are going to get a manicure or pedicure during chemo, you'll want to bring your own tools (not a bad idea anytime). Even if you are not, you should probably at least have your own nail clippers or scissors at home that you do not share
  • 10.Closing the toilet seat before flushing will dramatically reduce distribution of bacteria in the bathroom. Some are told to flush twice first 2 days after chemo, depending on type they are using.
  • 11.Replace (or wash w/ bleach) the shower curtain liners.
  • 12.Get soft, seam-free (or as seam-free as possible) hat for sleeping
  • 13. Wear latex-gloves when cleaning to avoid nicks and scratches
  • 14.Use a satin or silk like pillowcase
  • 15.Check out the website http://breastcancerfreebies.com/ had lots of offers for free products and services to help.

What if you experience these side-effects

  • 1.INDIGESTION and REFLUX: Pepcid or other H2 blocker antacids (Nexium, etc). Don't lie down after eating if you have reflux.
  • 2.NEUROPATHY: Ice your hands and feet during Taxotere. I used these http://www.amazon.com/Elasto-Gel-Chemotherapy-Hypo... and these http://www.amazon.com/Elasto-Hypothermia-slippers-... and never had any neuropathy or nail changes. It does make playing on your iPad or reading difficult with the mitts on, so I just listened to a podcast during that infusion.
  • 3.DRY MOUTH, especially at night, try these for sleeping: http://www.amazon.com/Oracoat-855933000517-Xylimel... They worked like a charm for me. During the day I sucked on hard candies or ACT lozenges.
  • 4.METALLIC TASTE:
  • Use plastic flatware instead of metal. Biotene mouth wash and/or mouthrinse (and/or toothpaste and chewing gum, lemon/lime cordial, Breathsavers mints). Oasis products were also mentioned
  • 5.MOUTH SORES: Get some Dixie cups and pre-fill them with 1 tsp of baking soda. I filled an empty 12 oz mouthwash bottle with about 3 tsp of salt and a 1/2 tsp of peppermint extract (for flavor) and poured some into the Dixie cup, swirled to mix, and gargled/rinsed with it in the morning, after every meal, and at night. I bought this mouthwash to take to work to avoid the mixing hassle, and I really liked it http://www.amazon.com/TheraBreath-Dentist-Recommen... Never had a single mouth sore. •The mouth sore cocktail: Equal parts of any liquid benadryl and liquid Maalox. Only mix up what you are going to use (about 1 teaspoon of each). Swish in mouth for a minute or two like a mouthwash. Then spit out. I put lemon or lime drops or slices into my water glass. Change your toothbrush frequently. Eating a popsicle or ice chips or something else very cold, while being given Adriamycin
  • 6.BLEEDING GUMS: Flossing during chemo can cause bleeding, I learned the hard way. I got a waterpik instead and used this to floss. Much gentler on the gums. I found mine cheaper at Costco, but here it is on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Waterpik-Aquarius-Water-Flos...
  • 7.HAIRY TONGUE
  • Frequent cleansing with combo of water, baking soda and salt is recommended. Sucking on lemon wedges to re-encourage salivary glands. Brushing one's tongue with a toothbrush, hydrating with water. Cytoxan seems to mess with the salivary glands.
  • 8.NAUSEA: QueasyPops for nausea helped me a lot, and if you email the company at info@preggiepop.com and tell them you're undergoing chemo for BC they will send you a free box! Emend (for nausea), a steroid (dexamethasone aka decadron is the most common), and a medication like Kytril or Zofran (the Aloxi you may get in your IV at chemo is in the same family of drugs).
  • Also, start taking your Zofran the night of chemo and take it every 8 hours on the dot for 5 days afterwards. I never vomited when I kept this up, even though I felt queasy occasionally.
  • 9.DIARRHEA: Take Immodium immediately, don't let it go. The bottle says only 4 per day, but my MO said up to 8 daily is fine. • Imodium is good for stopping this. Key worry is dehydration, so keep drinking water! Stay away from sugary things, as refined sugar can aggravate diarrhea. From a dietary perspective, you can try the BRAT diet: Banana, Rice, Applesauce, Toast. Use flushable moist wipes; they really help with general soft tissue irritation.
  • 10.HEMORROIDS: They are not uncommon if you experience a lot of constipation. Prevention is key! Lotsa fiber! If it does develop, Tux pads can make you more comfortable, or baby wipes. And Colace or Fiber One or a stool softener can help you avoid straining.
  • 11.CONSTIPATION: Eating fiber in days before chemo can help prevent/lessen constipation. Prune juice (you can mix it with Milk of Magnesia for a "cocktail"). Colace (docusate sodium) is an over the counter stool softener to have on hand. Senekot-S is a gentle laxative with a little Colace added in.Snacking on things like prunes or dried apricots can help. Lots of water (or tea) helps here, too. A square of chocolate ExLax the night of chemo, and another one the following evening. Eat active culture or probiotic yogurt every single day. A cup of coffee (if you've gone 'off it') may help! Avocados (eaten straight out of the skin, w/ a little salt, pepper, & olive oil). Magnesium.
  • 12.HAIR LOSS: If you're interested in keeping your hair, check out Penguin Cold Caps. • About 18 days after my first A/C, I had my head shaved. When hair on head starts to fall, a lint roller (I liked the velvet covered kind) helps to remove lingering hairs. Hair in pubic area often starts to fall out first.
  • 13.SLEEPLESSNESS (esp in first few days post chemo) Ambien CR or Benadryl
  • 14.NEUROPATHY and Hand Foot Syndrome (associated with the Taxanes). Avoid going barefoot. Wear slippers or "Crocs" always. Gently massage feet and hands with lotion to keep them soft and improve circulation. Wash hands (and dishes) in lukewarm water, not hot. Ask oncologist about taking 50 mg of B6 to address neuropathy (tingling, numbness that often appears first in feet and hands
  • 15.PAIN/ACHES: Check with your physician before taking anything! Each painkiller is processed differently in your body, and reacts differently depending on which chemo agents they are using. Regular exercise (e.g., a walk) seems to help lessen or prevent Neulasta pain. Naproxyn (e.g. Aleve) may also help if taken 30 minutes before the injection. Claritin seems to help some with joint pain, taken the day of the chemo, and for a few days after.
  • 16.HOT FLASHES: Sleep naked
  • 17.YEAST INFECTIONS: sleep naked, allowing circulation "down there". Also discuss with your doctor using Acidopholus capsules or other treatments.

.

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Feb 13, 2016 09:42AM Ashley1221 wrote:

Thank you for these tips. I'm three days out from round one of TC. Most troublesome symptoms are all the GI stuff and mouth sores. Going to try the mouthwash today to see if that helps. 

Dx 11/6/2015, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 12/9/2015 Mastectomy: Right Chemotherapy 2/10/2016 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Mar 25, 2016 03:37AM carjeanne3 wrote:

I get my second round of Chemo next week, I've had persistent headaches and never sleep at night. I've lost a lot of hair and was wondering how you all cope(d) with the hair loss

Dx 12/11/2015, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Mar 25, 2016 01:45PM HRwinter16 wrote:

hating the hair loss!!! No fun at all. It's been traumatic for me and for my daughter but I keep reminding myself it's temporary - and as my daughter said "picture the hairs coming out as the cancer leaving your body"!

Getting a wig and some comfy hats has helped. I also got an eyebrow mousse at Sephora and signed up for one of the "look good feel better" classes.

I've been wearing the wig at work, but if my job was less interactive socially, I think I would just wear the hats. For comfort reasons.

Good luck!!

Xo

Dx 12/2015, DCIS/IDC, Right, <1cm, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 1/29/2016 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap Chemotherapy 3/7/2016 Other
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Mar 31, 2016 05:35PM Drmurph wrote:

Hi, this is my first time writing in. I was diagnosed with lobular carcinoma 8 cm and ductal carcinoma in December 2015. I had a double mastectomy with reconstructio. In January 2016. Today I had my second round of chemo. The first round was a naightmare and I was very sick. ( I was always sick in the beginnind of my pregnancies). I admire everyone for their love and conviction to fight these nasty. " cells ". I started losong my hair, Yes, its very traumatic.... But just temporary! The hair grows back thicker and fuller, so I hear.

I hope this is true. Any advice on how to deal with chemo brain I am already forgetting and feel like I am in a constant fog.

Thank you.

Robin

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Apr 1, 2016 06:18AM Moderators wrote:

Hi Robin, welcome to Breastcancer.org. We're so sorry for what you're experiencing, but you've come to the right place!

We're sure you'll get lots of tips, personal experiences and advise from other community members soon. Until then, you may want to read the following tips to help stimulate your memory: Managing memory loss.

Hope this helps!

The Mods

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Apr 2, 2016 01:55PM clairy1960 wrote:

love your tips. I had mouth sores throughout, so keeping my mouth moist helped. I am not a gum cheer usually, but found it helped to do so. Just avoid strong peppermint gums; they sting ( I speak from painful experience).

Another tip is if you lose your eye lashes and nostril hairs. Keep a thick soft cotton facecloth on hand to dry up the tears and nasal drips. This prevents small abrasions from tissue paper. I also applied lip balm directly to the outside corners of my eyes (again, find a mild one - I used lypsol) to alleviate the dryness

Finally, remember that treatment ends and healing begins.


Clairy



Stop acting so small, you are the universe in ecstatic motion - Rumi Dx 6/22/2015, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Surgery 7/7/2015 Lumpectomy: Right Chemotherapy 9/23/2015 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Ellence (epirubicin), Fluorouracil (5-fluorouracil, 5-FU, Adrucil), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy
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Apr 2, 2016 02:20PM Moderators wrote:

Dear clairy1960, Welcome to our community and thank you for the added tips. We appreciate the fact that you reached out to us and we hope that you will stay connected and keep posting. The Mods

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May 11, 2016 01:28PM Jane75 wrote:

hi!!! I am going to have 4 rounds of the same drugs you had from next week and my doctor says the cold caps won't help me. But it worked for you? I agree that having some hair will make me feel better. Would be interested to hear more about your case. I had a mastectomy a month ago and tested negative for everything but am high risk on mammaprint so although I don't have to do the chemo they recommend it.

Dx 3/11/2016, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 28, 2016 07:09PM BlueGirlRedState wrote:

I will probably start Chemo and am scared, since the whole body is being treated. Have no idea on what might be recommended. Tiffany's mention of the Penguin Cold Cap caught my attention, I would like to keep my hair, and also wondered of other areas could be "hibernated". Tiffany, did you need help getting these on, and was the Rx center open to having you use them? Did you need to freeze them ahead of time and bring them? My nutrition is pretty good and I usually drink lots of water, but it sounds like I will need to pay even more attention.

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Jul 12, 2016 11:05AM revnet wrote:

Hey All, I am 18 days post my first TC. I am cold capping. I have lost my body hair 'down below' and am losing patches of leg hair. So my question is, when is the hair on top of the head expected to start going? Although I'm cold capping, I'm expecting some kind of big shedding, but here I am on day 18 with only 4 or 5 hairs that have comes lose in the past couple of days. Am I just a slow starter and the worst is yet to come? Or am I being super blessed by the cold cap gods?

Dx 3/14/2016, IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 4/11/2016 Mastectomy: Left, Right Chemotherapy 6/24/2016 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Jul 12, 2016 11:55AM - edited Jul 12, 2016 12:00PM by Meow0369

Thankyou Thankyou!! For your tips you answered my prayers!!I met w my onco dr yesterday and was spinning on what to do w side effects. I'll be getting taxotere and carboplatin. And I asked my dr about the cold caps I hope they are able to help so your help certainly will. Did you have long hair or cut it while using caps? Mine is long. I have 3 kids and don't want to look sick.

Dx 3/1/2016, DCIS/IDC, Both breasts, <1cm, Stage IB, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 4/25/2016 Lumpectomy: Left; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 7/20/2016 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery
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Jul 12, 2016 12:08PM - edited Jul 12, 2016 12:11PM by Meow0369

Hi revent so glad your doing sogood. I hope I can do it too! Which caps did you go with?

Dx 3/1/2016, DCIS/IDC, Both breasts, <1cm, Stage IB, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 4/25/2016 Lumpectomy: Left; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 7/20/2016 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery
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Jul 12, 2016 04:47PM - edited Jul 12, 2016 05:44PM by revnet

Meow0369 I chose Arctic Cold Caps, because it was the cheapest.

Also I have a very short hair cut on the back and sides. Like a mens barber shop cut. The only length I have is on the top and it's not that long. So I have very short and very fine textured hair so I think this is to my advantage as the caps are so close to my scalp without a thick hair barrier. If I get bald spots on the side, I can always shave them shorter and still pull off my style. So I am certainly at an advantage there. I am just trying to keep the hair on top so I can still pull off wearing a newsboy hat and have some bangs hanging out. This is my hope.

However, people with longer and thicker hair are able to cover up bald spots easier than I will be able to. So hopefully, we all get what we need from the cold caps. Wishing you all the best of what you hope for

Dx 3/14/2016, IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 4/11/2016 Mastectomy: Left, Right Chemotherapy 6/24/2016 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Jul 13, 2016 08:10PM farmerjo wrote:

For those of you who cannot cold-cap, check out chemodiva.com. They can make a hair halo out of your own hair.

ATM gene mutation, Lynch Syndrome, On HRT for 17 years at dx. Oncotype 19, MammaPrint high-risk. Ki67 29.1% ER 90% PR 5% False-negative sentinel node biopsy Dx 1/26/2015, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 2/12/2015 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Dx 2/13/2015, DCIS, Left, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Hormonal Therapy 4/12/2015 Femara (letrozole) Dx 5/31/2016, IDC, Left, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 1/11 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 6/17/2016 Lymph node removal: Left Chemotherapy 7/31/2016 AC + T (Taxol) Hormonal Therapy 12/20/2016 Aromasin (exemestane) Surgery 1/17/2017 Prophylactic ovary removal
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Jul 13, 2016 10:50PM - edited Jul 15, 2016 07:11PM by ClarkBlue

This Post was deleted by ClarkBlue.
Dx 2/25/2016, IDC, Both breasts, <1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 4/14/2016 Mastectomy; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 5/19/2016 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 8/22/2016 Reconstruction (left): Saline implant; Reconstruction (right): Saline implant Radiation Therapy 9/26/2016 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy 11/3/2017 Arimidex (anastrozole), Zoladex (goserelin)
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Jul 14, 2016 09:24PM Meow0369 wrote:

Hi again revnet. Trying to order some cold caps and would like to see if you would recommend the artic cold caps your using??

Dx 3/1/2016, DCIS/IDC, Both breasts, <1cm, Stage IB, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 4/25/2016 Lumpectomy: Left; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 7/20/2016 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery

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