Hi Bernadette! I'm sorry that your report wasn't as good as you had hoped it would be. But, it sounds as though you have found a fantastic onco. She seems to care and it is wonderful that she takes the time to answer any and all questions. I am sure that you are frightened right now and that is very normal. We have all been where you are right now so please don't be afraid to let us know how you are really feeling and what we can do to help you.
Do something really fun for yourself. You deserve it!
The hair thing is freaking me out more than anything also. I won't start chemo until sometime in September. I called the American Cancer Society and they gave me a few #'s to call. One of them which I will probably deal with seems to specialize in the needs of women w/breast cancer. They have things other than wigs and they have a stylist that can trim the wig some. But you can only trim synthetic hair so much she told me, otherwise it will lose it's style. I'm having a hard time finding the color and in a style I like. I color my hair kind of burgundy. I did a lot of searching on line and did finally find 2 as far as style goes and comes in burgundy. They told me if you buy an inexpensive wig, it will look like a wig. My insurance will pay up to $350 for wigs so I am thankful for that. Call the Cancer Society and see if they have any places in your are that deals with cancer patients.
Hi Bernadette! It is okay to not have good days right now. All part of this wonderful game. Okay, the chemo that you are going to be on is the pretty standart treatment that most of us had. You might want to talk w/ your onco about taking herceptin. This drug has a high percentage rate of keeping the bc from recurring.
You will probably notice your hair coming out about 3-4 weeks after your first treatment. It will remind you of a dog that sheds. You won't lose it all at once. My hair was short when I started on the chemo so my beautician and I just kept cutting it shorter. Finally one day, I told her to "buzz" it and because it was MY decision as to the time, I was ok with it. If you have a beautician that knows your hair, talk to her about where to find a wig. Have her style it for you. Also, for insurance purposes, you will probably have to use the words "carnial prothesis" for them to cover the cost. We began a program at my local ACS where any woman that had cancer could come to the office and get a wig. We have an arrangement w/ the beauty school and several of the local beauty shops where the wig can be taken and styled for free.
Try and have some fun these next couple of weeks. Remember that you can't do anything to change what has happened but you can keep your mental attitude ahead of the game. Laugh, get mad, whatever it takes. Just don't be afraid to share your feelings.
Lots of hugs and sending lots of smiles...Deb
Bernadette, let me tell you about a port. First, my sister also had breast cancer and she is a Med Tech and has to stick patients all day. She does not like sticking a cancer patient because it is so difficult. She had only 4 A/C treatments -- that is it -- that is all. And she still wishes after 6 years that she had a port for just those four treatments. Chemo frequently hurts veins. I had 4 A/C and 12 Taxol. My sister recommended the port and I had that.
I have always had "good veins" according to my sister. My first A/C had to be given in the vein, it leaked, Onc RNS freaked and they recommended port to my dr. Of course, it had already been scheduled. Is it uncomfortable? Somewhat, turning neck can be "strange". It does not hurt during treatment. I always had the "freeze" before the treatment "stick". Does it show? Yes, if you are thin. When it is time to remove it, it is very easy and quick.
My only real problem with the port was the anesthesia when they put it in. It made me sick and on top of it, I got a sinus infection, so I was down for about 3 weeks. I am sure you will get other opinions from the ladies here. I recommend you base decision on how many treatments you have.
to port or not to port....
I asked my RN about one and she said "you only need 4 chemos, let's wait and see how your veins do." I was lucky and had great veins befor chemo. Now they are ok, but definitely not as easy to find....but no tech has had problems with finding a vein on me since then, just does not pop out. They also had a pretty easy time finding a vein for chemo, so it worked out for me. I did have a part of a vein in my hand get red and tender during the last chemo, and it actually disappeared...sort of faded away. Overall, i am glad I did not have to deal with a port.....BUT those on this forum who had one seemed to love it.
I also had to do weekly blood draws for 12 weeks, but tolerated it well.
As for side effects...the fear of the unknown is the worst! Try not to get frightened by the horror stories....for every horror story there are probably 20 that breezed through it. I for one did, and there is no reason to expect that you won't either. I worked full time, taking off only a couple days each chemo cycle. I also wore a wig to work and it was not itchy or bothersome, but I did take it off as soon as I got home.
Learn all you can, but don't expect the worst....take control and do what you need to do to remain in charge of yourself....we're here for ya!
Hey, don't think you are going to throw up. Have you ever had any experience with anti-nausea medicine. Fortunately for me, I had. Some meds work, some don't. For me, I got to use the cheap stuff, phrenegan (SPELLING??). Also, take as a preventative, not as a treatment. Also, I noticed early on that turning my head caused me nausea, so my med onc gave me a prescription for a motion sickness patch that I used for 3 days. Between the med and the patch. I was fine.
As for eating, you will find out when the best time to eat is. Again, you are a positive person, so be positive you'll be fine and chances are you will be.
Can you all tell me about this porta cath? Where does it stick out from? etc... I go for consultation on 8/17 to a Medical Oncology & Hematology office. I guess this is where they will tell me what kind of chemo and drugs I will get??? Does anyone know if they will prescribe med(s) for nausea right before the chemo starts?. I hate the thought of being sick. Someone here mentioned about drawing blood each week. Is that as soon as chemo starts? And who normally does the bloodwork, the same place that gives the chemo? Sorry, for so many questions at one time. This trauma will be upon me before I know it. My underarm is still sore from last week's surgery.