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

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: 7-1-21. IDC 1B/N1/M0 grade 1. HR+ PR+ HER2- Surgery 3/8/2021 Cryotherapy (Left); Cryotherapy (Right); Lumpectomy (Left); Lumpectomy (Right); Lymph node removal (Left): Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Lymph node removal (Right): Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy (Left); Mastectomy (Right); Prophylactic mastectomy (Left); Prophylactic mastectomy (Right); Reconstruction (Left); Reconstruction (Right) Dx 7/1/2021, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IIIB, Grade 2, 13/15 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Radiation Therapy 7/4/2021 Whole breast, Radiation boost: Right breast, Lymph nodes Chemotherapy 9/2/2021 AC + T (Taxol) Hormonal Therapy 4/1/2022
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Feb 9, 2022 06:42AM - edited Feb 9, 2022 06:44AM by DebbieM1958

Re. Radiation - the specialist I talked to has sort of left it up to me to decide if I want it or not. Looking for any input. She says previously in years gone by they would do the surgery first and then the chemo. If that were still the case, based on my pathology she would not recommend radiation. Now however they do chemo first and then surgery. Although they confirm they have removed everything and my margins are clear she says there is not enough research yet about whether radiation would be beneficial for me. I asked her what she would do - she said she would have to think about it strongly. I am leaning towards not doing it but want to make an informed decision. Look forward to hearing from anyone. Thanks.


Also re. banding/cording after my double mastectomy - anyone else had this tightness and discomfort? I have read that its pretty common and can last weeks or months. Any suggestions? I am nearly 3 weeks post surgery now and starting some more advanced exercises.

Thanks so much.

Dx 7/30/2021, IDC, Right, Stage IB, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Surgery 1/21/2022 Mastectomy: Left, Right Targeted Therapy 1/21/2022 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Targeted Therapy Perjeta (pertuzumab) Chemotherapy Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Feb 9, 2022 07:12AM hummingbirdaz wrote:

Hi Debbie, I had surgery with lumpectomy and planned radiation but got that stage upgrade and ended up with chemo after surgery. I questioned the need for radiation after chemo and here is how it was explained to me: Surgery most often removes the entire cancer and could resolve the problem right there with local treatment. With more aggressive or advanced cancers, however, and considering there is no real "test" for cancer cells that have not become lesions, treating the potential cancers systemically with chemo should take care of any remaining and/or traveling cancer cells. The radiation is a regional approach that target where the original cancer was found because breast cancer is one of the highest recurring cancers and most often in the original site. It is kind of like an insurance policy. So, local/regional/systemic is the approach. It seems logical but still a lot!

I was SO excited to have a little cancer-treatment-free time this month to see my kids and grandkids but now my weekend trip to LA has to be cancelled due to my son-in-law getting Covid yesterday. He's definitely going to be an outlaw now! Good news is I've started to grow some tiny little eyelashes. Between pandemic working from home then cancer, I haven't worn mascara for about 2 years. I'm going to have to buy a new tube in a month or so, LOL.

DX: 7-1-21. IDC 1B/N1/M0 grade 1. HR+ PR+ HER2- Surgery 3/8/2021 Cryotherapy (Left); Cryotherapy (Right); Lumpectomy (Left); Lumpectomy (Right); Lymph node removal (Left): Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Lymph node removal (Right): Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy (Left); Mastectomy (Right); Prophylactic mastectomy (Left); Prophylactic mastectomy (Right); Reconstruction (Left); Reconstruction (Right) Dx 7/1/2021, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IIIB, Grade 2, 13/15 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Radiation Therapy 7/4/2021 Whole breast, Radiation boost: Right breast, Lymph nodes Chemotherapy 9/2/2021 AC + T (Taxol) Hormonal Therapy 4/1/2022
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Feb 9, 2022 08:41AM oldladyblue wrote:

Radiation was MUCH easier for me than chemo, side effects almost negligible, and now I am two weeks post radiation and things are pretty normal again. Just a bit of skin discoloration as a result. If a doctor suggests you need radiation, I would strongly consider it. It probably will be much easier on you than chemo was. I personally know 2 women in my life who had mastectomy surgery NOT followed by radiation who ended up with metastatic cancer 10-13 years after their prior breast cancers. One called me last year when she found out about my diagnosis to urge me to do everything the doctors recommended. I do not know the specifics of their cancers or treatments, but I learned enough from them that I will do everything to a T that the doctors recommend. Perhaps you need to get a second opinion from another doctor, as I did when I was given a choice between AC and TC chemo. The second doctor I saw did not give me a choice, but told me what would be medically best (TC).

Surgery 7/1/2021 Lumpectomy (Left); Lymph node removal (Left): Sentinel Chemotherapy 10/8/2021 Other Radiation Therapy 1/4/2022 Whole breast: Left breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 3/10/2022 Arimidex (anastrozole) Dx IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Feb 9, 2022 10:08AM mindthief wrote:

Hi all, just checking in and glad to see everyone seems to be progressing well.

Sarah_78 - so glad your surgery is done and you are healing well so far. Fingers crossed for a good pathology report!

Hummingbird - yay for finishing chemo! That's so cool about Groundhog Day! I love that movie. Good luck with radiation. 7 weeks sounds like a long time! I guess they're doing a wide area because of the nodes?

Carri - I was told at one point they would do another CT when I finished treatment; now my MO is saying probably 6-8 months out. I'm considered very high risk for recurrence but the normal process in Canada is that no one gets scanned without symptoms. I've had more than one family member point to me that I have no way of knowing the chemo has worked, which is super helpful, lol!

As for me, I just finished week 3 of 4 of radiation. My skin is holding up so far, with some minor irritation. My only real issue is with various aches and pains that they are attributing to my position on the table. Really hoping that's the case and it improves once I'm finished. They are sending me for an ultrasound of one area to check for a problem with the tendon and rule out anything more sinister. Always something to worry about ;) I also am officially considered menopausal now and have started on letrozole. No side effects from that beyond what I already had from the chemopause, but I'm only a week in. I'll also be starting zometa infusions, which I've read on here can be a nightmare. Anyone else doing these treatments?

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Feb 9, 2022 06:17PM CMR79 wrote:

Hi Debbie-

I highly recommend PT. I was my own advocate and contacted my surgeon about getting a PT referral because 3 months out past my bilateral mastectomy I still had limited movement in my left arm. Found out I had cording and just after a few sessions, I had so much improvement! I will continue with PT through radiation as well so I don’t regress.

Regarding radiation, I personally would do anything to fight it. I will start radiation in April once I finish chemo. I initially was diagnosed with stage 1B and they recommended radiation after surgery. After surgery it was found in 4 lymph nodes so chemo was added. Radiation was always part of treatment.


mindthief- exactly how do I know if chemo worked? I had surgery first so I know the cancer was removed but for peace of mind would like to have a PET scan for assurance since I had lymph node involvement

Dx 7/6/2021, IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIIA, 4/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 8/17/2021 Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left, Right Chemotherapy 9/30/2021 AC + T (Taxol) Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy Whole breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall

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