Today we have some personal anecdotes and stories from some of our Community Champions who are discussing what surprised them about chemotherapy. Many people go into chemo with pre-conceptions about it, such as it will be very quick, or that they will be in a room alone, however this is not always the case.

What didn’t you know about chemo before you or your loved one went in? Share your experience and tips with other members by commenting below.

  • Not all chemos cause hair loss! (Lakeslover)
  • What I did not expect on my first visit to the chemo lounge was how long it took. 8 hours for the first session. (Rily)
  • What people don't always realise is if your chemo is in 3 week cycles, the first week you may feel rubbish, but you generally have a good week or two in between where you feel normal(ish) and are able to do things as before. People think they will be ill during the whole period of having chemo but this isn't usually the case. (Caroline)
  • Someone told me they didn’t know that prescriptions were free for cancer patients (jujuju)
  • The taste changes seemed very much like being pregnant (Lakeslover)
  • I thought it would be like on the movies where everyone is throwing up, but it wasn’t. It was the days afterwards when I felt ill. (Caroline)
  • The worst side effects only lasted a week. (Lakeslover)
  • The hospital should let you visit the chemo ward and show you around beforehand (Caroline)
  • The camaraderie of all the patients who were at various stages of their treatments. I never heard a single moan, as we knew we were all in the same boat. (Chris999)
  • My husband felt well enough to drive himself home afterwards. (Lakeslover)
  • Many people feel so anxious before chemo but there is medication that calms people down. If people feel nervous or extremely anxious they should tell their oncologist or nurse as a lot can be done. The same with anti sickness pills. If they don't work, don't sit in silence you can tell your medical team and they can give you something else. (Caroline)
  • What really surprised me was how many people were in the unit.  There were several wards being used, and every one I visited was full, not a chair or bed spare.  The number of people attached to drip stands and pumps was unbelievable. (Chris999)
  • I found that hospitals do vary in how friendly and lively they are. Many are quite upbeat and people will chat to their neighbours happily. Others are quiet and people don't talk much. (Caroline)
  • You can take mobiles in! (jujuju)

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