About to start chemo - dreading it

New Topic Post Reply Printable Version
[ << Previous Thread | Next Thread >> ]

Anthi
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 86
   Posted 1/11/2007 3:53 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello everyone.
Well I've seen the oncologist.  She was really excellent - very intelligent, up to date, nice, funny but also kind and compassionate too. She spent ages with me and gave me loads of time to ask all my questions.
 
It seems that in my age group (I'm 60) chemo will increase my chances of survival by only 3% .  Not  a lot is it?  Apparently it's much more effective in younger women.  The oncologist agreed that it's always a difficult decision for women my age. She told me to go away and think about it but I said I would do it (and will be having radiotherapy and hormone treatment later).  I feel that I should really try everything and if the cancer were to come back later and I hadn't had chemo I would think 'what if I'd tried chemo ?'
 
I'm scheduled for FEC and am starting next Tuesday. Six sessions - one every 3 weeks.  I think it might be called CEF in the USA ?  (Fluorouracil, Epirubicin, and Cyclophosphamide). She might decide to change to Taxotere half way through.   I'm having doubts now because it all sounds so awful and I'm absolutely terrified. I already have stomach and gut problems and really can't imagine what it's going to do to me.
 
Has anyone else had this combination of drugs?
Anthi

jpann39
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 71
   Posted 1/12/2007 11:18 AM (GMT -7)   

Anthi,

Im sorry you are so terrified...I would be if I were you too..

Im 46 and have just made the decision to not do chemo since my cancer cells were slow growing and all the research Ive done says that slow growing does not respond to Chemo very well...

My onco sent a sample of my tumor in for OncoDx testing and the results from that show that there would be little benefit (4%) in my doing chemo...I weighed the risk of chemo against the benefit and with my family history of other cancers choose not to do the chemo...

I will start radiation treatments next week I believe (waiting for them to call with schedule) and started tamoxiphen for the hormone therapy Jan 9th, this I will only be on for a few months as I have also made the decision to have my ovaries removed to slow down the estrogen production...tamoxiphen has potential to cause uterus cancer and I already have a family history of that, so that is why Ive made the decision to loose my ovaries so that I can eventually take the AI type meds that have less side effects.
 
I understand your need to feel you have tried everything that is available to you...at my age I felt I needed to do what I can to be here for a very long time and taking meds or doing chemo that have the potential to cause other issues later down the road scared me more when I have such a low recurrence risk to begin with....
 
I really cant answer you question about the chemo drugs that you will taking since my choice decisions are different than yours, but wanted to let you know that everyone has to make the decisions that they feel are best for themselves and you will always be the best judge of those decisions...
 
I also wanted to let you know that your not alone here....I try to check here daily and would love to have you as a friend :)
 
Take care
Jule

Anthi
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 86
   Posted 1/12/2007 12:03 PM (GMT -7)   

Hello Jule and thank you for your nice supportive reply.

Yes - you are right - we all have a different set of problems and must make our own decisions based on those.  I'm pleased for you that chemo is not necessary in your case.  (Another reason why I was offered and have accepted it is because my tumour was a Grade 3 and - as you say - higher grade cancers respond better to chemo).

Thank you for reminding me that I'm not alone -sometimes it's very difficult especially in the middle of the night when things seem even worse. But it does help to read this board and to realise that other people have similar problems. And it's very nice to know that you are a friend Jule.

I wish you lots of luck with the radiotherapy next week.  Take care.

Anthi


debbiR
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 730
   Posted 1/14/2007 11:12 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Anthi: I am sorry that you are having to start chemo. The fear of the unknown is almost worse than the treatment itself.
 
I personally am glad to hear that you have chosen to have chemo. I feel that anything, no matter how small the chance, that will help beat the cancer is worth a try.
 
There are meds that you can get for almost each and every side effect. Please talk to your onco and try and have them before you have your first treatment or at least when you get home. You will be given premeds that will help w/ the nausea. You will most likely be very tired. I will tell you that I did NOT throw up one time during my treatments. In fact, after the first one, I went to McDonalds and got a breakfast sandwich and ate it on the way to my treatment. The side effects that you will have after your first treatment will most likely be the same ones you will have each time. You will know which meds to ask for and take..some before treatment and some after. Just remember, don't be afraid to ask and don't be afraid to take them.
 
You aren't alone. Each of us has had the same feelings that you are experiencing right now. We will be here w/ you each step in your journey to hold your hand, give you a shoulder to cry on or be here to listen to you yell and scream. Whatever you need.
 
Please let us know how your first treatment goes.
 
Hugs and prayers...Deb
 


barkyboys
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 1564
   Posted 1/15/2007 10:25 AM (GMT -7)   
Dear Anthi...I was much younger than you when I went through chemo, but it was years ago, so I had CAF, which they rarely do here anymore. I had treatments every three weeks for 6 months. Only you can decide if chemo is worth what it will buy you. Chemo is not a cure for breast cancer, but is designed to buy time. I've never heard the 3% figure for older women, but I don't know everything.

I have read that the hormonal treatments (tamoxifen or arimedex) are at least as effective for post-menopausal women who are er+/pr+, but that was before the current standard treatment regimen they give here, which seems to be CA followed by Taxane therapy.

I will tell you that I continued to work through chemo, and I never missed a day while going through chemo. I was exhausted most of the time, but with anti-nausea drugs, I was never sick...I actually gained weight on chemo, as has been the experience of many of the women here!

This is a very personal decision. For me, I had two young kids to raise, and there was not a doubt in my mind that whatever increased my odds by a minute was worth it. So think of it this way. The hope of chemo is that it will buy 5 years that otherwise might have been lost. So...five years. You've just retired, I know...I would say, YES! I want five years! But that's me. You could have five years or ten or twenty, either way. But with positive nodes....I'd take the chemo...or, at the very least, one of the hormone blockers.

Good luck in your decision, sweetie.

Hugs...
BEV

Anthi
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 86
   Posted 1/15/2007 10:58 AM (GMT -7)   

Dear Deb and Bev

Thank you both for your very positive encouraging replies.

The oncologist was very good and showed me all the statistics.  She said that with my results I have about a 70% chance of survival which can be increased by 3% with chemo and then more with radiotherapy and drugs. 
 
My major doubts were if it was worth the possible side effects of chemo for just 3% but I eventually decided to have everything  - chemo now and then radiotherapy and then hormone treatment later and all of them together should bring my chances up to about 80%. I thought - if the cancer comes back and I haven't  had the chemo I would wonder if I could have stopped it.
 
So I start chemo tomorrow.  The only work I'm doing at the moment is teaching a couple of small groups.  They come to my apartment so I don't need to go out to work I'm happy to say. But on the oncologist's advice - tomorrow's group are coming a different evening just in case I have a bad reaction after my first chemo session.
 
I start at 12 noon tomorrow (you people may still be tucked up in bed then as that's UK time).
I'll let you know how it goes.
Best wishes everyone and look after yourselves.
Anthi

barkyboys
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 1564
   Posted 1/15/2007 4:59 PM (GMT -7)   
Dear Anthi...here's hoping you have an easy time with chemo. As you say, I may still be tucked up in my bed, but I'll be sending good vibes your way. It is scary when they stick that needle in for the first time, and what I remember most is being cold from all that stuff going in my veins. So take something you can throw over you if you get chilled. Also, it made my nose itch (I can't remember whether it was cytoxin or 5-fu)! But when it was over, I thought, "huh...is that all there is to it?" Of course, it's a gift that keeps on giving for awhile, but I have a feeling you're gonna do just fine!

Hugs...
BEV

Tavish
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2272
   Posted 1/15/2007 8:00 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Anthi-
I can't wait to be tucked away too!
Like the others said, the anxiety of not knowing what to expect is likely to be worse than the chemo itself. I too worked throughout chemo, but took a couple days off for each chemo cycle and worked a little from home. I found the side effects to be identical each time, I could set my watch by it. Water tastes bad? Must be THursday. Reflux? Must be Friday at 5:00. It was tolerable and predictable. I learned that when the nurse says eat light, it does not mean a chicken salad. It means toast and clear soup. I learned that salami is considered spicy. Not hot spicy, but herb spicy. Some of it you learn as you go....but I liked to say prepare for the worst but do not expect it. Whatever side effect you have, there is a medication for it...don't suffer with anything, whether consitpation or reflux. You can take something to make you more comfortable. COnsider eating dried apricots the first week too, it will help keep you regular. But also be sure to ask your nurse before taking anything that is outside of what they tell you to.

Hang in there....you are about to cross a major hurdle off your list and hopefully it will be a breeze. And nothing is too silly or small to ask us about, we're here to help!

L&H,
Lori


Anthi
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 86
   Posted 1/17/2007 3:40 PM (GMT -7)   

Hi and thank you for the very useful advice.

Anthi


barkyboys
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 1564
   Posted 1/17/2007 4:15 PM (GMT -7)   
Lori, I think I gained all my weight on chocolate shakes, and then there were days when nothing but spicy tasted right. Tortilla chips and extra hot salsa with a little sour cream... my family always liked it when I got out the chips and salsa...it meant mom was on her way back to "normal." (Well, normal for me, which is a tad shy of other people's "normal")

Anthi, you just have to go with whatever works for you. As Lori said, it'll probably be very predictable.

BEV
New Topic Post Reply Printable Version
Forum Information
Currently it is Tuesday, December 06, 2016 12:50 PM (GMT -7)
There are a total of 2,733,629 posts in 301,137 threads.
View Active Threads


Who's Online
This forum has 151272 registered members. Please welcome our newest member, Toto'surprise.
400 Guest(s), 10 Registered Member(s) are currently online.  Details
notsosicklygirl, sheepguy, JaSanne, astroman, ArtAngel, Ineedhelp, NiceCupOfTea, ChickenArise, Hilander64, angeusamike57


Follow HealingWell.com on Facebook  Follow HealingWell.com on Twitter  Follow HealingWell.com on Pinterest
Advertisement
Advertisement

©1996-2016 HealingWell.com LLC  All rights reserved.

Advertise | Privacy Policy & Disclaimer