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 10:25AM

Posted on: Aug 25, 2021 10:25AM

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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Aug 25, 2021 12:33PM 1982m wrote:

Good morning Hummingbird!

I hope your port placement goes well tomorrow. Do you know if they put your port in your arm or chest? My friend is living with BC and she got her’s in her arm. I’m not sure how they decide chest or arm.

I’ll be starting chemotherapy and targeted therapy in September sometime. I’m playing the waiting game though and tired of it. Waiting for genetics, waiting for med oncology appointment, waiting for pathology results…. I’m hoping I get 12 weeks of taxol based chemotherapy with herceptin so that I can be done by Christmas. I turn 40 in Jan next year, so I’d also really like to be done in time for my 40th birthday.

I’m feeling out of sorts not really knowing the regime I’ll be receiving or the time line.

Today I’m getting a pre chemo hair cut. I also want to get some soft hats for sleeping/being around the house but not feeling up to going and buying some.

Dx 7/13/2021, IDC/DCIS, Left, <1, Stage IA, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2+, IHC
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Aug 25, 2021 01:08PM AMG2 wrote:

Thank you, Hummingbird!

I'm starting Sept 1. Got my port placed at the time of surgery, so that is ready to go. I got some cold socks and gloves to try to help with neuropathy, and I've got my cold capping lesson by Zoom this evening. My cousin and daughter are going to try to be there with me throughout this first 12 weeks of chemo. I know it's just taxol and herceptin, but still, mentally and emotionally -- AAAAAAAHHH! Scared half to death, and freaking out about what is going to happen at work. My coworkers, friends and kids are so supportive. I'm just trying to remember they are there for me, and they always will be and gain strength from that. I'm hoping once I'm into it, it won't be that bad and I'll feel silly for having been so terrified. It's odd to think my biggest hope right now is to feel silly in the future.


Ooh, 1982M, just read your post, and I hope you can be done for that, too. Mine (too bad for me) is end of Sept, and I will be sitting in the chemo chair on it. Sad face. No, truly, I know the chemo I'm about to do is a life saver, and I need to do it, so honestly, is it that awful a birthday present? BUT, my baby's 21st birthday is end of Nov, and I'm hoping to be done with my 12 weeks and able to buy him a beer on it. Here is to us celebrating your and his birthdays taxol free by the end of the year.

Dx 6/17/2021, DCIS/IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+, Surgery 8/3/2021 Lumpectomy: Right Chemotherapy 9/1/2021 Taxol (paclitaxel) Targeted Therapy 9/1/2021 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Radiation Therapy 12/14/2021 Whole breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy
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Aug 25, 2021 01:22PM AMG2 wrote:

Hummingbird, hang in there. I hear you on the suddenly very real part. I think we prepped basically the same way - research, read the experiences of others, got protective gear lined up, but now it's in our faces as being next week. Big hugs to you. I hope your port placement goes well. Mine bugged me a ton for about a week, and now - I don't like how it looks, but it doesn't hurt, and I'm getting as used to it as I think I can, and I'm really glad it's there.

Dx 6/17/2021, DCIS/IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+, Surgery 8/3/2021 Lumpectomy: Right Chemotherapy 9/1/2021 Taxol (paclitaxel) Targeted Therapy 9/1/2021 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Radiation Therapy 12/14/2021 Whole breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy
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Aug 25, 2021 03:07PM swimgal wrote:

Hi, All. I happened upon this post, so I thought I'd add my experiences so far with chemo. Tomorrow will be No. 6 of 12 with Herceptin/Taxol. I am using the cold gloves and socks and the cold cap (Dignicap). I have not had any neuropathy so far and from what I can tell zero/very minimum hair loss. I only shampoo twice a week and no hair dryer. On the days I work or on Sundays for church I do VERY lightly and gently use a curling iron on the lowest setting to turn the ends of my hair under. This goes against Dignicap's guidelines, but I've got to do something Loopy. I am using the hair products from Chemo Hair & Skin: shampoo, conditioner (only once a week since you can't use it treatment days), the scalp cooling booster system parts 1 and 2, and the hair growth spray. I also keep clear nail polish (strengthening) on my fingers and toes.

I stopped all alcohol intake because I wanted to have the best chance at staying healthy. I enjoyed having a glass of wine or a drink while making dinner, but I was surprised that I have not even wanted alcohol.

I am exercising at least 3 times a week - a walk, bike ride, some exercises with hand weights.

So far I have not missed any additional time off from work other than treatment days and going for labs. I am tired on the day of treatment, but not after that day. I'm fully aware that the effects are cumulative, so this will likely change as treatments go on, but I'm grateful for every treatment without SE.

I am pretty strong, but I will say on the first day of chemo when I was going into the treatment room and had to leave my husband I totally broke down sobbing because it was about to get real Scared. After that I've been okay.

Last, but most important for me, LOTS of praying!!!

I hope this info is helpful. I am so thankful I found this site because I learned so much from so many ladies here and it really helped me prepare as much as possible.

Blessings to all!

Dx 6/10/2021, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Aug 25, 2021 03:24PM mindthief wrote:

Thanks for starting this thread, Hummingbird! I’m scheduled to start dose dense AC-T on September 10 so I’ll be a week behind you. I would have liked to start sooner but my oncologist decided to get a second opinion on the pathology/protocol from the major cancer centre in my area. I had an echo this morning, so that piece is done, and I’m not doing a port. So now there’s a lot of sitting around, waiting and psyching myself out!

I hear you guys on things suddenly seeming real. I got my hair cut off yesterday and even though I’m not overly attached to my hair, it hit me hard what’s coming.

Is anyone else thinking about fasting or fast mimicking diet around chemo days? I’ve read some interesting studies and am considering this, with my MO’s knowledge and cautious approval (her concern is that I will lose too much weight as my BMI is fairly low already).

Swimgal, thank you for stopping in to share your experience. It’s such a comfort to hear from people getting through this

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Aug 25, 2021 04:55PM hummingbirdaz wrote:

Hey Mindthief, I normally eat Keto and my naturopathic oncologist gave me a couple studies on the fasting. I'm pretty close to that anyway, mainly only eating 9am-5pm and it seems the zero sugar and ketones are the main advantage of the fasting, so I will try it. Of course, he gave me the caveat that if I crave a shake, eat a shake because calories can be more important than nutrients. Not sure I agree.

I ordered some hats + scarves from headcovers.com yesterday and made an appt with my stylist to get my head shave 2 days after my second AC treatment. EEEK.

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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Aug 26, 2021 12:15AM - edited Aug 26, 2021 10:00AM by 1982m

AMG2- I hope your done and drinking beer with your baby for their 21st bday too! Sorry your birthday is in a chemo chair. No fun, but your right- gotta do it.

Mindthief- I wasn't overly attached to my hair either- I actually had cut it pretty short during Covid to allow my natural colour to grow in. However, it was a bit difficult to get it cut short. My hairdresser was amazing and did a cute pixie cut and didn't charge me. That also made me tear up a bit.

I normally do intermittent fasting - 16 hrs over night. I'll prob keep that up. I looked a bit into fasting but honestly the longer fast might aggravate me…I feel so apathetic to everything like icing and cooling or painting nails. I think its great but I'm not sure I have the energy for any of it. I removed my mirena IUD a few weeks ago and am a bit curious if hormones are levelling or something. I'm normally pretty chipper but I'm feeling pretty emotionally flat lately.

Swimgal- thanks for popping in. Glad it seems to be going well!

Hummingbird- I also got one hat today- I ordered one of Etsy and it's very soft. I'm glad I have one. My friends knitting me another slouchy type hat. I've never worn hats but I guess I'm a hat person now. Lol.

I forgot to mention the one ‘prep’ thing I did was get my eyebrows micro bladed and some tattooed eye enhancement last week. I never would have though about doing either of those things pre cancer- but really glad I did. I feel so fancy with nice eyebrows!


Dx 7/13/2021, IDC/DCIS, Left, <1, Stage IA, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2+, IHC
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Aug 26, 2021 11:15AM mindthief wrote:

1982M - I had to have my Mirena removed as well. I haven't noticed a change in moods but I have acne for the first time in 15 years, so that's fun :( I bought a couple of soft hats on Etsy as well. I'm in Canada, where it seems a bit harder to find wigs and things without going into one of the specialty stores in Toronto, but maybe I just haven't been motivated to look much.

Interesting that a few of us are doing intermittent fasting. I've been doing 13-14 hours regularly but so far max out there because of cream in my morning coffee. I tried a trial run of the fast mimicking diet for the past two days and it seems manageable, although I know that may change during treatment. If it lets me get away with less steroids, that alone will be worth it, and if there's any chance it helps enhance the chemo's efficacy I'll take that chance too -- my pathology is ridiculously aggressive.

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Aug 26, 2021 04:00PM Cinderella57 wrote:

Hi,

I'm starting in September also. Found out yesterday. Crying randomly and very scared. I keep hearing the words in my head "I don't want to do this". I guess if we weren't scared that would be pretty unusual.

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Aug 26, 2021 04:01PM Cinderella57 wrote:

I will be getting Taxol also. Does it ALWAYS cause hair loss? My husband wants me to wait and see but my oncologist just straight out told me that it will cause hair loss.

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