afraid of chemo

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Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 239
   Posted 3/23/2005 7:51 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi ladies,Ihad a masectomy two weeks ago,and for some reason i am afraid of having chemo.i feel like im going to be poisined.i live my life trying to stay healthy,and doing right for this to happen.its not fair.I know all of you feel the same way.I guess reallity is finaly hitting me.I go next week to the oncoligist to see what he is going to do.Thank you for letting me cry on your shoulder.I like talking to you because you have been through it tammy(possitive)

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 352
   Posted 3/23/2005 9:07 PM (GMT -7)   


For most people Chemo isn't as bad as they think it will be.  There are so many meds to prevent nausea, etc.  Just ask lots of questions, write them down prior to your oncology visit, so you don't forget what you want to quiz the Dr on.  Some may be will I get sick, will I lose my hair, what kind of side effects can I expect?  How many treatments will I have, how far apart will they be?

I am sure you will think of others, and other ladies may give you suggestions also.  We will be with you at your appointment if you like.  You will see lots of pink feathers floating around you.  Take someone with you to hear the things that you don't hear the Dr say also.  Because believe me you won't remember everything he/she tells you.  It is always good to have another set of ears or a tape recorder so you can relisten to what you were told.

Good luck and God Bless.


Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 135
   Posted 3/23/2005 11:28 PM (GMT -7)   
Dear Tammy,

Just thought I would give you my thoughts about this.

Your scared feeling is so normal - everybody has heard some horror stories of chemo in the dark ages. Thanks to modern meds most of us manage just fine - all the others on the board will echo this. watch for consipation & try to prevent this - I hope you like prunes & raisins which worked a treat for me - and just be prepared for cravings for different food - just like when you were pregnant! Some foods/drinks that you really love may temporarily taste horrible - but that passes quite quickly.

However, I am sure you will feel better after you have heard the chemo oncologist talk about why chemo is needed in your particular case. You might like to ask his/her opinion of your survival chances with or without chemo. In my case, to get the "numbers to stack up" it was a no contest - Chemo was a must! (if I wanted to be here to see my dgd 21st that is).

that said, it is drastic treatment and everyone has a slightly different reaction. Others have said that how you feel after the first treatment mirrors what will happen subsequently - I certainly found that was true.

BTW I found that although the hair loss was scary, the reality was that it didn't matter at all! I now sport a completely different hair style which everyone admires and I know I wouldn't have been brave enough to do this if it hadn't been for chemo making me lose the hair in the first place!

We will all hold your hand while you go through this

L & H
from down under

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Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 730
   Posted 3/24/2005 1:01 AM (GMT -7)   

Hi Tammy:  Cry and vent away girlfriend. That is why we are all here. To help, support and listen. I can remember when I first talked to my oncologist. I couldn't tell you one word she said other than the number of treatments that I would need. I did take family and friends with me plus a tape recorder.

I was scared to death before my first treatment. The fear of the unknown. I would laugh and joke during the day but lay in bed and not sleep and cry during the night. But, once that first treatment was under my belt, it was okay after that. I knew what to expect. I never did throw up or get constipated (I had the opposite problem) Tammy there are premeds (usually steriods) that they will give you before the chemo to help minimize the side effects. If your oncologist says that you will lose your hair, then go to your beautician and see if he/she can help you get a good looking wig. Insurance will usually pay for it if you use the word "cranial prothesis". The ACS has wigs that are free also. Have this ready for when you want to use it.

Do you have a port? If not, ask your oncologist about one.

Remember, there are lots of us that have gone thru treatment and are here to help you.





Post Edited (debbiR) : 3/24/2005 1:04:18 AM (GMT-7)

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Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 1090
   Posted 3/24/2005 5:13 AM (GMT -7)   
Tammy, I have to tell you I had chemo first. Before any surgery. I had a 5 cm tumor with other things going on. They treated this with chemo first. Then I had surgery and had to go back after surgery, for more chemo. After it was confirmed I had cancer I found myself in a chemo chair. You are so right it is scary. You have no idea what to expect. I had made up my mind I was going to put up with what ever it took to survive. I lost my humor in that chemo chair. I had to go out and get a wig and all the other things he told me to get. Life took a one two change on me quickly. I did not get surgery and the chance to adjust. Just jumped right into chemo. I can tell you what brought my humor back. About 17 days into chemo I lost my hair. As everyone that has been here can tell you. I got into the shower that morning and stood there. I absolutely was stopped cold in my tracks. I had no idea if you use soap or shampoo on a bald head. I realized my eyes were going back and forth and I started to laugh. How funny is this. I have a 5 cm tumor they are giving me a 10 % chance and I am standing here with this huge problem. What to use on my head! Hope this vision gives you a chuckle. I meet some great ladies in that chair. I never realized there were so many brave and wonderful women until I got cancer. L&H Joyce
How wonderful it would be to see Angels where there are only clouds. How sad it would be to see clouds where there are Angels.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 700
   Posted 3/24/2005 6:51 AM (GMT -7)   
Tammy, you have every right to be scared! I had a mast. and all my nodes were clear so I thought I would dodge that bullet, not to be. When they told me I should have chemo I lost it. But, I decided I would do everything possible to fight this and I did. I lived alone and after my first chemo I came home and sat there waiting for something to happen....I felt like a time bomb waiting to explode. I did have some quezzyness but nothing meds couldn't handle. The hair loss for me was tramatic but after it happened it really was nice getting ready for work in the mornings, didn't take much time at all. I too have a new hair style that otherwise I probably would have never tried. You will make it and we will be here to hold your hand or support you when ever you need it. Just watch for the pink feathers!

Sara Dearing
Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2921
   Posted 3/24/2005 7:10 AM (GMT -7)   
Tammy, as you have already read you know you are not alone in the scared feeling. It is normal. Now you have to think about what good the chemo will do, not what bad symptoms you may have. Think of it like the little pac men running in your veins chomping on the cells that may have jumped in the swim there. You may be surprised and not have any trouble with chemo. My daughter had few problems, being tired was the worst for her and she was trying to live normally while going through the chemo sessions. Hugs, MK

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Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2272
   Posted 3/24/2005 9:52 AM (GMT -7)   
Yes, it is very scary. Think of all the horrors you have seen on tv and in the movies about chemo, and no wonder we are scared! But most likely, your experience will be NOTHING like that. None of us can tell you what you WILL or WON't experience, but we can tell you our stories. Figure you will have a little of all our collective experiences.

The fear of the unknown first treatment is usually worse than the actual treatment. There will be side effects from chemo and from the meds, please let your doc or RN know becuase they may have more that they can do to help you.

In my case, I did AC chemo, 4 times. I felt pretty good the first day, went out to eat lunch after, and got nauseous around 10 pm, vomited once, and that was it. No more nausea and no more vomiting (and no more out to lunch!). I was tired for the first couple days, and a little restless from the steroids. On Thursday (chemo was Tues), my voice faded and water tasted funny. On Friday I got acid reflux, lasting a few days. That is it, no other real problems....I took off work Tues and Wed, worked half days Thurs and Friday. The pre-meds can be constipating, so you may want to ask about taking a stool softener or something to help out.

My onc advised me to keep active and walk a lot, so I did a mile a day (in winter in Michigan!) and it helped me to feel normal.

Hang in there!

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 239
   Posted 3/24/2005 10:27 AM (GMT -7)   
Thank you so much for all your replies it really made me feel better to know its normal to feel this way and its comforting to know that all of you will be there with me.I will catch as many floating pink feathers that i can...Love Tammy(possitive)

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2004
Total Posts : 141
   Posted 3/24/2005 7:52 PM (GMT -7)   
The first time I had chemo (9 years ago) was pretty rough.  When I had it last year, it was a lot better.  I'm not saying it's fun, it's not, but it's a lot more doable than it used to be.  There are some really good drugs out there now that help you to get thru it.  Will be praying hard for you!!!

Teresa King

Jeremiah 29:11 - "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."


Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2004
Total Posts : 70
   Posted 3/27/2005 8:51 PM (GMT -7)   

Hi Tammy. So sorry you have to deal with this. I certainly know your fear. Prior to chemo, I was scared to death. As I made my way to the chemo room, I felt like I was walking to the electric chair. I have to say that it was not near as bad as I was expecting. I was taken to a room that had a lot of big recliners in it. The recliners were filled with other people getting chemo. They took me to my chair and I sat down and got comfortable. The nurses are very compassionate. The nurse took a warm towel and draped it over my arm. After a short time, she came back and started an IV. I can't remember what the premed was. After that was done, she started the chemo. The only thing that I felt, was the initial stick of the IV needle and when they "pushed" the chemo, which we dub "red devil", I felt a warm flush go through my body. Other than that and the fact that you may get a little sleepy, you don't feel any pain or anything. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids, before, during and after your treatment, which will help to flush the excess chemo out of the system, helping to eliminate irritable bladder. You will have to tinkle a lot, but they can unhook you and let you walk, rolling your IV pole, to the bathroom. I took a newspaper and a book to read,during treatment. It was over before I knew it. Your doc will give you anti-nausea meds. Be sure to take them on time, every time, even if you do not feel nauseated. It is the meds that are allowing you to feel that you don't need them. If you let the nausea get on top, it will be hard to get rid of it. I worked through my chemo. It is very doable. I lost my hair on day 19, after the first AC. Prior to losing your hair, your scalp will become real sore and tingly. You know that the time is close. You can then choose to buzz it or wait and comb it out. I combed mine out. It wasn't traumatic for me, at all. I just put on a scarf and did my housework. Start looking for wigs , before your treatment, if wigs are what you choose to wear. Some women choose wigs or scarves, some women choose to go natural. Paula Young has nice, inexpensive wigs: If you have further questions, feel free to ask. I wish you well.

Breast cancer has become an epidemic. After all of the these years and billions of dollars donated for research...WHERE IS THE CURE???

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Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 892
   Posted 3/28/2005 9:59 AM (GMT -7)   
Tammy, fear is part of having BC; I guess you can look at it as healthy. Enormous things have happened to you in recent weeks. Why would you not be frightened?? I'm not going into details about chemo.; others have covered that area. Just know that everything you're feeling is normal. Know too that we're all here thinking of you and urging you on. New things, especially events of this magnitude, are always scary. Hang in there. After my first tx, I kept wondering why I had been so afraid. The next time was not exactly a lark, but I went knowing exactly what to expect and that made it a whole lot easier. Sending hugs from NV. Luci
In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me lay an invincible summer.  Albert Camus

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 239
   Posted 3/28/2005 9:39 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Ladies,i start my chemo treatments on monday.twice a week for 16 weeks.I was very nervous today for my consultation but i thought of all of you and it really helps to know that your right there with me.Thank you all so much. Love Tammy(possitive)
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