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Topic: Starting Chemo September 2021

Forum: Chemotherapy - Before, During, and After —

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

Posted on: Aug 25, 2021 07:25AM

HummingbirdAZ wrote:

Thinking perhaps we start a thread for those of us staring at chemo in September. How are you preparing; physically, mentally and emotionally? I know I've been doing research, asking questions, stalking past chemo threads and messaging ladies here. While I am pretty scared, I thought I was mentally prepared. But as I prep to have the port placed tomorrow, things are getting very real and I don't think I'm as prepared as I thought. I've never taken any drugs other than an occasional Ibuprofin and have never used my insurance for anything that isn't routine. The thought of intentionally putting toxins into my body is gut wrenching, not to mention adding more drugs to combat the side effects of the initial drug. It's somewhat overwhelming!

My first infusion (AC+T) is Friday, 9/3 and I'll report back but would love to hear from others and how they are coping.

Dx 7/1/2021, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 1, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 8/3/2021 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary Dx 8/13/2021, IDC: Papillary, Right, 1cm, Stage IIIB, Grade 1, 13/15 nodes Chemotherapy 9/3/2021 AC + T (Taxol)
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Sep 10, 2021 02:18PM oldladyblue wrote:

Hummingbird, so funny and great that your gift came from someone past 10 years! Yes, save it for your birthday, that's what I would do!

cactushouse, your sleep sounds like mine. I get tired and go to sleep by 9 and wake at 2 or so, wide awake. Last night I made magnesium drink and went back to sleep about 5:30 a.m. till I had to get up at 6:30 a.m. Most nights are like that. I hate it.

oddboood, I hope your biopsy of your other breast goes well tomorrow. Sigh. Hugs.

butterfly47, I also have digestive issues and fatigue, so understand your concerns. I'm glad your mammogram found your bc, mine too, otherwise I wouldn't have known.

debbiem1958, I asked my husband today what he will think when I have no hair. He offered to shave his head when I lose my hair. I was really touched. It's odd that right when I like my cut, color etc (finally, I can never get my hair right), I will be losing it all. I'll probably get something simple to wear when I go out, but not worry at home. Florida is so HOT all the time, I can't imagine wearing a wig. Time will tell. I like the idea of the hat you got with extensions on it.

spades2525 and swimgal, thanks for the info on cool glove and footsies. I had not heard of them, will have to get some.

My nurse navigator told me to get the covid booster and a flu shot soon, before chemo. Anyone else been advised on that?

Happy weekend to everyone! I cut my work-from-home hours down to 10-24 per week now. I want to take naps, do some fun things, etc, to be nice to myself. My boss is so understanding. But I still love the weekends best. Even if some in the future I will spend sick from chemo, glad I won't have to try to work. Will be thinking of you all, it does mean a lot to me to know others are going through worry, treatment and still being upbeat.


64 years old, Oncotype 28 Dx 6/25/2021, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/27/2021 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary Chemotherapy
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Sep 10, 2021 05:40PM Spades2525 wrote:

hummingbird - this looks awesome! I have a feeling we all will have those moments where we need to hit something… I’m grateful my son is into martial arts so we have a punching bag :)

Welcome to the group oddboood and butterfly

Dx 6/22/2021, ILC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 1/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/27/2021 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right Chemotherapy 9/17/2021 AC + T (Taxol)
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Sep 11, 2021 03:10AM Butterfly47 wrote:

Good day ladies! I have gotten a lot out of all your posts! I wanted to share some things I am doing in prep for this season of my life. I start chemo in 11 days. I bought a sturdy bag and in it I have some adult coloring books, colored pencils, of course the sock stuff (one of them moisturizes and the other for neuropathy jic), I never buy magazines but have some now, a pad for my lap, I don’t own an iPad so I found one used, earbuds, adult activity books). I have scarves and wraps ready to purchase but waiting. I have activated an acct on Caring Bridge and use that to share with family and friends the updates and info.
I also used a promotion for Smoothies Box because my husband will not know how to make a smoothie and for me it gets old buying produce all the time. I have found that puzzles get my mind off of things!! The Buffalo puzzles are great and some by Aimee Stewart are fun!

Last night I surprised my husband who has been so gracious and patient with a dinner uptown (gift card) and I went on Hotwire and found an affordable hotel room uptown. Put on a simple black dress. Our relationship has only been about my wayward son that just moved out (to a family member) and the cancer.

This is a battle already and I am trying to prepare myself and family. I have a little girl we adopted though she is 12 she is more like an 8 year old. I am contemplating whether to get help taxing her around, light housework and meals for a few hours a week. I don’t want her to be home with some tired mom all the time who is bald and sick and living on fast food. So I am praying about that. Besides I will have the money that I normally spend on my hair right?!🙃🤪

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Sep 11, 2021 04:53AM - edited Sep 11, 2021 04:53AM by oldladyblue

Oh Butterfly47 what a great idea with the dinner, hotel, and little black dress!. It brought tears to my eyes that you thought of that. What a great night for both of you.

64 years old, Oncotype 28 Dx 6/25/2021, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/27/2021 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary Chemotherapy
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Sep 11, 2021 05:00AM - edited Sep 11, 2021 05:02AM by DebbieM1958

Hi Butterfly47 - your bag sounds a bit like mine that I took along to Chemo #1 on Tuesday. I also had the coloring books and I -pad thing, 2 books, snacks, lunch, ice bags for feet and hands, lotion, I took way too much stuff but didnt really know how long and dull the time would be. It actually went by really quickly with nurses popping in and out all the time, potty trips, etc. I never go around to coloring or reading, just played a game or two on the tablet, dozed for a few and ate my lunch. Oh and watched a little show on Netflix on my tablet. It would be nice to have some help with your youngest girl for those days when you dont feel good, with Covid things are so different now and probably not as easy to coordinate. My kids are all older and live outside of our home now.

I woke up to Day 3 today post Chemo and so far (fingers crossed) I have had no side effects except for a couple extra potty trips with all the water I'm drinking. Today I start 5 days of Zarxio (white blood cell booster shots) which my husband will do for me. Anyone else done those yet and anything to be aware of re. those? I feel like they should probably pep me up over anything else. We'll see.

Best of luck to everyone for a good day today!!! I love coming to this board knowing that we are all kind of going through the same thing at the same time. It's a great comfort to me as we share our experiences. I do much better when I know what to expect. Take care...

Dx 7/2021, Right, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Chemotherapy Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Sep 11, 2021 07:35AM HummingbirdAZ wrote:

DebbieM--Yay! I hope it continues. I think since breast cancer is so widely funded, we have many more resources and experiences to help with the bad side effects. I envisioned throwing up constantly like in the movies but really had only a little indigestion. I got the Neulasta patch, which was convenient although a little bulky for sleeping on that side. Nice to not have a shot or go back in. It did not affect me at all and I'm curious to see where my white blood cell count is on Friday. Today, a week out, I feel normal. That means I have a week to be productive and prepare for round two next Friday. I think the hair thing will be emotional, it's already no longer soft. I'm trying to make the best of it...looking for a graphic designer to create a custom Christmas card for this year---think paper dolls with a bald head and hat assortment! Glass half full with a dash of humor...

Dx 7/1/2021, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 1, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 8/3/2021 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary Dx 8/13/2021, IDC: Papillary, Right, 1cm, Stage IIIB, Grade 1, 13/15 nodes Chemotherapy 9/3/2021 AC + T (Taxol)
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Sep 11, 2021 04:00PM - edited Sep 11, 2021 04:00PM by Butterfly47

I have to admit during “cuddle times ;)" I kept thinking about how my Medi oncologist said we would need to start using condoms during chemo! Ugh!!!! And during dinner I kept thinking in a month I will be here with a scarf on. But we had a great time! And I have a great husband!

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Sep 12, 2021 04:03AM DebbieM1958 wrote:

Butterfly47 - indigestion is exactly what I ended up getting later in the day yesterday after my first white blood cell booster shot - I thought it was from a couple of plums I ate but it is still there with me this morning a bit. What did you take for that? I tried Gaviscon last night but it didnt seem to help much. Thanks.

Dx 7/2021, Right, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Chemotherapy Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Sep 12, 2021 11:56AM MEandJax wrote:

So I have known for about 2 weeks, that I will be having chemo on Sept 14th, but I have not really prepared psychologically; I feel like I am going up, down, and around - I'm ok, then scared, then mad, then ok again. I even feel a little defeated at times.

I did buy some snacks to eat during treatment. It is supposed to be about 2 hours, but I will know more Tuesday.

It's me, my dog, and cat but I have friends offering to help out so I am thankful. The thing is, I am not a social person and it is difficult to ask for help. I always feel like I need to repay someone when they do me a favor. I was able to ask for help mowing, after my lumpectomy so that is a start.

I am thankful for this website and the community of folks helping each of us!

Dx 7/2/2021, IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- (IHC)
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Sep 12, 2021 12:39PM MEandJax wrote:

Hi Oldladyblue,

For the nausea, make sure they give you plenty of nausea meds; I use Ondansetron (aka Zofran) for immediate relief. But make sure they give you something for nausea. Yes, that is Jax, thank you. He is my buddy, I also have a cat Charliecat who helps me.

Good luck in your journey!!

Dx 7/2/2021, IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- (IHC)
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Sep 12, 2021 03:05PM mindthief wrote:

Well, one down, 7 to go for me! I was hit the first night with some pretty extreme nausea, but feel quite a bit better now. A bit queasy still and pretty tired, but manageable.

MEandJax, I definitely felt the same way in the days and weeks leading up to the first treatment: cycling through fear, anger, resignation, and sometimes hope. It does get better once you actually start. I hope everything goes smoothly for you.

Butterfly47, that’s so lovely that you planned a little date night! My husband and I did something similar—rented a little cottage for a couple nights the week before I started treatment and it was perfect to escape reality, just for a bit.

oldladyblue, the chemo nurse mentioned the third vaccine dose to me on Friday. Most cancer patients are not eligible yet here but she said it’s coming soon and would be fit in between my treatments

Dx 6/30/2021, IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+, HER2- Surgery 7/13/2021 Lumpectomy: Left Chemotherapy 9/9/2021 AC + T (Taxol)
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Sep 13, 2021 04:16PM oldladyblue wrote:

Hi all, Thanks for the posts answering mine, and also general posts. I feel much less freaked out, although I'm still walking around with "I need chemo?" bouncing around in my head. I wish I wasn't thinking about it ALL the time. I had the muga scan of my heart today, score of 75% which is high normal. I see the doctor tomorrow for my regimen prescription.

64 years old, Oncotype 28 Dx 6/25/2021, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/27/2021 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary Chemotherapy
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Sep 13, 2021 05:24PM DebbieM1958 wrote:

Hi all, I am on Day 5 today of Cycle 1 and it wasn't my best day. Didnt sleep well last night (and I always sleep well)....today woke up queasy, took Zofran, had the runs, took Imodium, no appetite and not much energy. Forced myself to walk the garden a few times before it got too hot then basically spent most of the day dozing on the couch watching reruns of Little House on the Prairie. OMG. My nurse navigator says Days 5 - 7 can be rough but will get better after that and I have nothing again till Cycle 2 on Sept 30th. I'm looking forward to feeling better, I dont do "sick" well. Things that worked for me to nibble on were saltine crackers, applesauce, toast, gatorade, canned peaches and I'm going to try a dry Eggo waffle shortly, potato for dinner I think. Yum. How is everyone else doing today?

Dx 7/2021, Right, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Chemotherapy Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Sep 13, 2021 07:35PM HummingbirdAZ wrote:

DebbieM--yep, it will get better! Mine was day 4-6 and I felt exhausted the entire 3 days but slowly came back to life and by day 8 felt normal again. Of course, that means only 6 days of normal until starting over agin, but it feels great!!

Dx 7/1/2021, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 1, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 8/3/2021 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary Dx 8/13/2021, IDC: Papillary, Right, 1cm, Stage IIIB, Grade 1, 13/15 nodes Chemotherapy 9/3/2021 AC + T (Taxol)
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Sep 13, 2021 08:03PM DebbieM1958 wrote:

HummingbirdAZ - good to know - I will anticipate Wednesday as a good day, I hope. I will actually have until Sept 30th for my next Cycle....they are doing 6 every 3 weeks so I have a bit of a break. Yipppee!!!!

Dx 7/2021, Right, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Chemotherapy Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Sep 14, 2021 11:42AM Spades2525 wrote:

mindthief - I am in Ontario as well and am curious to see what gets said to me about a third vaccine. We are doing the same treatment regime but I start on Friday Sept 17

I do feel like this week has been just one big countdown.. I just want to know what to expect! Ugh. As I get closer, my anxiety just keeps increasing.


Dx 6/22/2021, ILC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 1/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/27/2021 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right Chemotherapy 9/17/2021 AC + T (Taxol)
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Sep 14, 2021 01:44PM mindthief wrote:

Spades, it's nice to see someone else in Ontario! The week leading up to the first treatment was odd indeed. I haven't felt great since my treatment (nausea gave way to fatigue on day 4), but I still feel better just for getting started than I did during the anxious, impatient wait. Good luck this Friday! If you have any questions about the protocol, ask away.

Dx 6/30/2021, IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+, HER2- Surgery 7/13/2021 Lumpectomy: Left Chemotherapy 9/9/2021 AC + T (Taxol)
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Sep 14, 2021 06:22PM oldladyblue wrote:

Went to see the oncologist/hematologist at the Veterans Administration Hospital today. She recommended AC 4 infusions, but said I could choose TC instead. Supposed to get a port put in if I do the AC. I need to do more research I guess, as I'm second guessing my choice of AC over TC. She didn't mention Taxol, is that a separate treatment?

Got my 3rd Pfizer shot and a flu shot today too.


64 years old, Oncotype 28 Dx 6/25/2021, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/27/2021 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary Chemotherapy
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Sep 15, 2021 05:02AM swimgal wrote:

Oldladyblue, did your MO explain the pros and cons of AC and TC? I certainly hope so. If not, she should. My understanding is Taxol is a milder form of chemo, but I'm not sure. I hope you get all of your questions answered so you can be comfortable with your decision.

Keeping everyone on this site in my prayers.

Blessings!

Dx 6/10/2021, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH)
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Sep 15, 2021 09:30AM - edited Sep 15, 2021 09:30AM by oldladyblue

No, Swimgal, she spent most of her time going over the AC (Adriamycin & Cytoxan), since she felt that was the right regimen. I asked if there was a 2nd option so she talked briefly about Docetaxel & Cytoxan, but stressed she felt the AC was better. I can't remember ever getting a definitive answer on why she felt it was better though. My head didn't retain everything we talked about. I am going to get a 2nd opinion from one of the other MOs at the VA since there are 6 doctors in that dept. Thanks for stressing that I should be comfortable with my decision. True, true, and I am not yet.

64 years old, Oncotype 28 Dx 6/25/2021, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/27/2021 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary Chemotherapy
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Sep 15, 2021 12:45PM Butterfly47 wrote:

Hey Chemo Sept Gals!

So in a week and a half I have lost or misplaced 2 pair of RX glasses, my driver’s license then my passport when I was going to use in place of DL (husband found on porch) and left my phone at the hospital after my echocardiogram!!!! What the FLIP!!!!!

Tmrw I get my port…..Huge Dread!!! Freaks me out! But gotta do it. However tonight me and my girls (daughter, soon to be daughter in law and other sons girlfriend) are having dinner and going to see Wicked! I booked the tickets before I knew my chemo schedule so perfect timing!!! Living it up while I can! Dreading port and chemo! I have been VERY unmotivated and depressed so this should be a good kick off ! Hope you ladies are feeling better after treatment! Mine is next Wednesday! I have 6 RX’s for side effects waiting and about 4 otc! Good Times! God is good ALL the Time! All the time God is GOOD! 😅

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Sep 15, 2021 12:47PM Butterfly47 wrote:

I haven’t had a booster yet! Sorry…I don’t know what I will do with indigestion if that happens!! Hope it worked out for you!!

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Sep 15, 2021 02:10PM swimgal wrote:

oldladyblue, it's a lot to process. I actually recorded (with doctor's permission) my info sessions because you just can't take notes fast enough or remember everything. Good luck with your 2nd opinion.

butterfly47, I didn't have any problems with the port placement. The most inconvenient part was I couldn't sleep on that side for a couple of nights. I hope yours goes smoothly. Try not to stress about it and have a great night. Sounds super fun!

Dx 6/10/2021, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH)
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Sep 15, 2021 03:41PM Ernnelson wrote:

Hi all! Found 3 weeks ago that I had ER+ Pr+ and HER2+ breast cancer. I have had the port installed & start chemo on 9/17. 6 treatments 3 weeks apart, then a lumpectomy, radiation & a year of more drugs😔 I shaved my head already - its something I have always wanted to do & wasn't brave enough before! I am super nervous about starting chemo but I am trying to stay positive. I have never known anyone who had cancer so reading all the comments here has been very informative.

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Sep 15, 2021 05:56PM Cactushouse wrote:

I was really unsure how the port would work. I was prescribed Lanacane to apply to port area one hour before access. When the nurse accessed the port I could feel the initial poke. The nurse suggested that I should put a glob of of Lanacane on the port area and over with a piece of Saran Wrap at least an hour or longer. I followed this for my second infusion and it was completely numb, did not feel a poke! Just a tip worth trying.

cactushouse Dx 7/12/2021, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+ (IHC) Surgery 8/3/2021 Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal: Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary Targeted Therapy 9/7/2021 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 9/7/2021 Taxol (paclitaxel) Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Sep 15, 2021 06:21PM Moderators wrote:

Welcome, Ernnelson! We're so sorry you find yourself here, but we hope you continue to find this community to be a source of helpful information and support. You are not alone!

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Sep 16, 2021 01:34AM oldladyblue wrote:

Hi all. Hope you are feeling relatively well and in good spirits. Welcome Emnelson. I totally understand being nervous about chemo. Good for you shaving your head! Since you always wanted to do it, it sounds empowering to me. I always wanted crazy colored hair, so may dye my hair purple or something. It has helped me a lot too to read here.

Yes, Swimgal, I wish I recorded the talk, I got back with my surgeon and it mixed me up. Was told perhaps I don't need chemo due to age, cancer type, oncotype score. I was premenopausal for sure it's statistically with chemo, but less than 5% benefit at my age. Just surgery, radiation and hormone therapy for 5 years, maybe 10, might be enough. I still wish for cold hard statistical interpretation. Has anyone else had a 2nd or 3rd opinion, perhaps by video before? How did you find someone to do it?

Butterfly47, I understand, I've made sooooo many small mistakes and misplaced things lately like glasses, keys, glass of water, umbrella, ugh. I hope you enjoyed Wicked!

Was your day yesterday better, DebbieM1958?

64 years old, Oncotype 28 Dx 6/25/2021, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/27/2021 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary Chemotherapy
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Sep 16, 2021 03:42AM Ernnelson wrote:

Oldladyblue- it was super empowering & the supportive comments from complete strangers has been great as well. You should so dye your hair the craziest of colors!!!

Here is a question for those of you that already started chemo - is there anything food wise that I should steer away from for the first round? Beyond junk food - I figure the healthier the better! I was going to have my standard nondairy yogurt & fruit for breakfast but am at a loss for what to take with me to eat😒

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Sep 16, 2021 04:58AM DebbieM1958 wrote:

Yesterday (Day 7) was much better than the previous 3 or 4.!!!! Yippee And today (Day 8) I slept better, forced myself to stay in bed till 4:30 am (which is my normal pre-chemo wake up time). I dont feel queasy or bloated yet and feel I may have turned the corner, fingers crossed. I ate real food yesterday vs. crackers and applesauce which was huge. I still was very tired and took 3 good naps of nearly 2 hrs each (very unusual for me). Had the runs a bit but took the imodium which fixed it right away. Today I think will be lots better.

Welcome Ernnelson, sorry you are here too but this is a great site for comparing notes and general comfort. On Day 1 for my first chemo I was doing fine for food and took a sandwich and chips to chemo. After that I really just felt like plain bland stuff - applesauce, crackers, bananas, toast, ginger ale for about 5 days. I eased in a baked potato with just a little butter on Day 5 and it worked. Nothing dairy related seemed or sounded good for me.

Re. the port - my nurse sprayed something cold on it before poking and I didnt feel a thing. Hope the same for you all.

Next chemo for me Sept. 30th so hopefully I have good days until then which hopefully are the days I can do intermittent work going forward, my boss will take whatever I can do (from home of course). I will let this whole cycle go through first before I commit. Thankful for the flexibility and understanding.

The whole thing about taste buds being affected is real - nothing tastes the same, even water. I have been sipping 7up or ginger ale as a result since the water tastes putrid.

Hope everyone has a good day today....




Dx 7/2021, Right, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Chemotherapy Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Sep 16, 2021 05:04AM swimgal wrote:

Ernnelson: I always have oatmeal on the morning of treatment. I am there for four and a half hours, so I don't take any snacks with me. Maybe a pack of Belvita breakfast crackers/bars?


oldladyblue, sorry I didn't have a second opinion. My surgeon and MO were on the same page, so I was comfortable with that. Good luck!

Dx 6/10/2021, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH)

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