treatment question

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New Member

Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 6/22/2005 5:39 PM (GMT -7)   
confused  I start chemo on 6/24, 6 cycles of ACT.  What can I expect? Doctor says I will lose my hair so my daughter and I went and bought a wig and some hats.  Any suggestions? dak

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 857
   Posted 6/22/2005 7:27 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi dak - I am sure you'll get lots of good responses... but in a nutshell for me, I was tired on days 4-7 after a chemo treatment... make sure you get some good anti-nausea drugs, zofran worked best for me but some women like kytril. I continued to work part-time throughout chemo; it helped me to feel 'normal' and not like a patient 24-hrs a day... my hair started to fall out 2-3 weeks after my 1st AC treatment, and i didn't like that so i shaved it off and used duct tape (yes duct tape!) to remove the little hairs on my scalp. (you just lay it on your scalp gently, and the hairs come right up... none on the pillow, none on your clothes, i liked that better!) Never did wear a wig (too itchy, hot and expensive) but i loved the little cotton hats and i would wear a scarf around my head with the hat on top, and it looked great. no problems there. Just remember to rest when you want to! and don't be aggravated when, after a few hours rest, you might not wake up and feel totally refreshed. that's just how it is... you need to rest though, and let your body recover. don't forget to drink lots of water, especially right after chemo, to keep those drugs moving and out of your system. i was told baking soda toothpaste helps to avoid mouth sores, and wouldn't you know, i never did get one (and i used mentadent even before chemo). so i would recommend that. check with your onc on an iron supplement, and/or procrit shots to help keep your red blood cells up, that can help with fatigue too. andi had neupogen shots to keep the white blood cells from bottoming out. on the days your white counts are at their lowest (days 9-11 i believe?) you'll want to avoid places like theaters, crowds, the mall... anywhere where there are lots of germs. i usually stayed home for those days to avoid getting extra sick. of course, i wanted to go to the tim mcgraw concert because i had 2nd ROW SEATS but it fell on day 10 of a cycle and my onc highly recommended against it. ;-( so i stayed home.

gosh, what else? be prepared for a few days where food tastes strange, or has no taste... or you have a metallic taste in your mouth.. thats just the chemo, it does go away after a few days.
above all, HANG IN THERE, and just think of all the cancer cells that are DYING with each treatment! you can do it, it seems like it'll never end, but then it does and it's just a memory. i was dx in feb. 2001 with a 4.5cm tumor, stage iiB, 5 of 49 lymph nodes positive, and (KNOCK KNOCK ON WOOD) i am still here.... you can do it too.

"It's been worth everything I've been through,
 To do what I do"

                       To Do What I Do   -Alan Jackson, 2004

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 730
   Posted 6/23/2005 5:35 AM (GMT -7)   

Hi Dak! Welcome. Stef has given you some good ideas of what will happen. I know that you are really scared right now but believe me, the anticipation is much worse that the treatment itself. Yes, your hair will begin to fall out anywhere from 7-14 days after your first treatment. I kept cutting my shorter and shorter until I couldn't stand it anymore. Then I had my sil shave it. This is one area that you have total control. YOU decide when and if you want your head shaved. You will get a steriod (IV) premed before the chemo starts to help w/ the side affects of the chemo. It might make you sleepy so be sure and have someone go w/ you so they can drive home. You might want to get some meds on hand to help w/ being jittery/nervous. Remember that there is a med for any side effect that you might experience. All you have to do is ask for it. Whatever you experience after this treatment will prob be the norm for the remainder. Stef was right. You will be tired. Please listen to your body and rest when it tells you to. Be Kind to yourself. You deserve it. I will be thinking about you. Please let us know how your treatment went and how you are feeling.

Hugs and prayers...Deb


Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2921
   Posted 6/23/2005 5:43 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi dak and welcome. I could have sworn I posted to you last night, but guess I was in lala land. I want to welcome you here and say that we have a good group of varied experience to help you. Vacations seem to be in full bloom right now, so getting answers may be a little slow. I did not do chemo but my daughter did. She lost her hair just before the second treatment at a little less than three weeks. We live in TX and she tried wearing a wig but it was too hot. One day she pulled it off and left it in the hot car and fried it, no more wig. So with the hot summer we are having I wanted to warn you about that. She wore ball caps and went without mostly. It was very hard for me as a mother to see her go through hair loss altho I had also had a mastectomy and breast cancer. She was the first person I had seen up close after losing hair to chemo. Some say that is one of the hardest parts of breast cancer. Hang in here we will help all we can. Hugs Mary K (MK for short)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 734
   Posted 6/25/2005 2:47 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Dak,
I can't add much, but I want to welcome you. Yes, hang in there. Chemo does work! It is all worth it and will be over before you know it. Also, don't go near the store with a wig. If you open the oven door you can also fry it. Good excuse not to use the oven.
Prayers from me too, Hugs, Di

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 1090
   Posted 6/26/2005 5:11 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi dak, My onc recommended a few things for me to buy before starting chemo. Hand wash sanitizer, milk of mag., and a cranberry drink. He told me to drink that to flush the body, plus as much other liquids as I could take. Also might want to start on OJ if you start getting cramps. He suggested to have milk of mag. on hand incase I had a problem with that. Next he told me to get a hand sanitizer and carry it with me and practice being paranoid. Vision germs everywhere and when you are not home to use it all the time. I also have antibacterial soap in all my soap dispensers. Do not be afraid to ask people to wash their hands when they come to see you. Next you have to learn to tell people if they are even thinking about getting sick stay home. He said the worst places in the world are a shopping cart and a movie theatre seat. Make sure you do not touch that cart and then your steering wheel, until you have used it. I used sea salt water to rinse my mouth and I also lucked out and got no mouth sores. As for the wig. He told me to get one because in about 17days I would be bald. Let me tell you I strongly suggest you feel the inside of your wig. I was cheap and in denial about the treatment taking my hair. My sister in law and I went to the same dr. she did not lose her hair. What I did not know back then was there is a world of different chemos. One type for 1 mm and another for 5cm. I bought a R. Welsh on sale, still thinking I might be lucky and not need it. LOL I did not have a computer when I got cancer. I had none of the help and insight this group can share to help me. I never thought to shave my head. The inside of my cap on my sore head felt like a million termites and my head was a prime piece of lumber. Make sure you get one of those soft caps to wear between your head and your wig until your head stops being so sensitive. The only pity party I held for myself was over that wig. When I put it on and it bit me I tore it off and stomped all over it. I remember my dh coming in and saying what is the matter? I told him I might have to take what ever comes along with this treatment but I did not have to put up with that wig. I continued to stomp it into the carpet. I look back now a laugh and think, it was the only pity party I threw for myself and I am so glad I made it a good one. LOL As you can see one day at a time and so many of the things end up fodder for humor. My first real belly laugh was the after I lost my hair, I got into the shower and went to wash my "hair" I stood there and thought for a minute and started to laugh so hard poor dh came running. Wanted to know what was going on. I told him I am standing in here trying to decide what you wash your head with when you have no hair. Soap or shampoo. I laughed so hard and that whole thing changed my attitude. I decided to laugh at all I could and keep telling myself one step at a time to getting well. That was on Dec. 17,1998. I was bald for Christmas, but decided that was not nearly as important as being here in June when the new granddaughter arrived. Now I have some great shots Liana and I laugh at where we are both bald. Hugs 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 Oct 2004
Total Posts : 826
   Posted 6/26/2005 9:15 AM (GMT -7)   
I finished my chemo 2 months ago (boy it doesn't seem like it).  The cocktail I was on caused me to lose hair, but not all of it.  At one point, I did take the advise of these ladies and shave my head.  The wig just wasn't comfortable with some hair still on my head.  It started growing back right away, but I wore the wig until about 2 weeks ago.  Now I have a very stylish crop of gray hair!!!  LOL  I look at it this way - gray hair is better than no hair!  My experience with chemo was some nausea (take the meds right away) and after a while, my taste and sense of smell changed.  There will be certain smells that you come to hate, but it goes away after chemo is done.  I didn't get mouth sores and was never so nauseated that I threw up.  I was very tired, though, as it went along.  I went back to work shortly after my 2nd chemo session and continued working throughout the following 4+ months of treatment, only missing 1 day of work because I was so tired.  I was lucky and only had a low RBC once, but my treatments were never delayed.  I also managed to avoid getting sick like everyone at work did.  I discovered through this whole ordeal that I am a very strong person.  I drove myself to all treatments and doctor appts.  Everyone handles their treatment differently and it depends on your chemo meds.  Just remember, it is doable and we are all here to help you.  These ladies have helped me tremendously. 
P. S.  I'm now halfway through my rads and doing fine.
L & H,

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 200
   Posted 6/28/2005 3:08 PM (GMT -7)   
Dak, welcome to the board, but sorry about the bc. I just read your new member info, and wondered how the bone scan and other tests turned out. I know you started chemo last week and hope you are not feeling too bad this week. Good luck with treatments, and hope all scans and tests were negative.

Glenda :-)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2044
   Posted 6/29/2005 8:34 AM (GMT -7)   
I can't help with your chemo questions as I did not do it. But, you have gotten good advice from some of our resident experts. Just wanted to add my welcome. This is a great group of women who will be by your side for as long as you want or need them. Wishing you the best. Hugs, Lauri
"Go confidently into the direction of your dreams. Live the life you always imagined" Thoreau
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

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