Next step is Chemotherapy and I’m struggling to cope!

Hey everyone,

This is my first post here. To start just want to say how strong and amazing you all are for sharing your experiences and support others in this fight! 
I’m 31 years old and I was diagnosed with invasive ductal breast cancer at the end of April, since then I’ve had a lumpectomy in May, and got my histology results that showed one of the lymph nodes had traces of cancer. It was a big shock for me cause the lymph nodes looked clear in all the tests I did!

I have my first appointment with the oncologist next Friday so I can start Chemotherapy.

So far I’ve been quite positive but now I’m starting to struggle, mostly because I’m scared of the side effects of Chemo, more specifically the hair loss, sickness and tiredness!

I want to ask you if you can share your experiences and things that helped you cope!

Thank you and keep strong Muscle tone2

  • Hi , I'm sorry you are struggling to cope, it's not easy dealing with cancer.  I didn't need to have chemo but from reading posts on here the cold cap seems to help some ladies (I literally just read a post on this) and chemo varies from person to person but the general consensus is that it's doable.

    You might get more responses from people in the same boat as you if you post on the much busier main breast cancer site rather than the under 50's one.

    You should also be able to connect with others currently going through chemo if you visit the June breast cancer chemo thread, here is the link https://community.macmillan.org.uk/cancer_types/chat-breast-cancer/f/questions-about-diagnosis-and-treatment/218946/june-2021-breast-cancer-chemo

    Hope chemo goes ok for you.

    Sending hugs x

  • Thank youPray hope all goes well with you!

  • Hi AnaGamboa, I used the cold cap throughout chemo and bought a good wig in advance of my treatment expecting, as my oncologist told me, to loose all my hair. For me, the waiting to start chemo was the worst part of all my treatment, once you're in it you can just count down the weeks and before long you cant start seeing the end. The cold cap was by no way pleasant but by drinking lots of hot chocolate, wearing a puffa jacket and really thick socks, always with a podcast in to distract me it was manageable and i never needed the wig I'd bought. One nurse made all the difference for me and she was the person who i had on my first session, when i told her how nervous i was about the side effects she said 'you're young enough to get away with this, drink lots and lots of water before, during and straight after each session, eat well, and wear the cold cap really tight'. I don't know if it helped but taking lots of vitamins, making green juices and litres and litres of water gave me something to concentrate on and a sense of control. I found I didn't need the anti sickness medication which made me feel really wired, i just ate packets of polos and drank mint tea which seemed enough to get me through, with the add tablet if i needed it. The wait really is the worst, it gets easier from here. 

    x

  • Thank you very muchPray I agree with you I think once I get started I’ll cope better! I’ll definitely try the cold cap, I’ve been reading lots of different opinions but overall I thing it’s worth and it is something you can do to minimize the hair loss at least, but I’m also buying a wig and some turbans just in case. 
    the wait has definitely been the worst for me but more comments I read about other people experiences the better I feelSmile

    i hope all goes well with you! 

  • Hi AnaG , I have just had my 4th of 8 chemo sessions,  I had no idea what to expect from chemo  and wish I had been more prepared

    . I have always had very long curly hair and found I asked more questions about the hairloss than anything else. However after speaking with my kids about how they would feel about me going bald and reading about the discomfort of a cold cap I decided just to embrace the hairloss. The week before my fiirst chemo I had a half way haircut, then after my first chemo I let my sons shave my head. Rather than being traumatic it was hilarious and a memory I will actually trreassure, Im now 4 chemo in and completely  bald apart from a littke bit of fuzz ike a kiwi fruit and I have not gone dowm the route of getting a wig, , At first I made sure that no-one outside the house saw me without a turban on, but now I genuinly do not care, I almosf feel quite empowered by it. Everyone I know and care about knows I have no har so why hide it from them? I was in a cafe last week and a stranger cam over to give me a hug and tell me I looked amazing . .. that never happenned when I had hair!

    I am on a 3 week chemo cycle and have learned that its week 1 really crap, week 2 slightly less crap with good days and week 3 pretty normal. I plan absolutey nothing in the first week apart from staying in pyjamas and napping. The second week I will get dressed and try to go for a short walk every day and potter in the garden and the thrird week I can  make plans to see friends. I though that on my crap weeks I would be able to do crafty stuff and read lots but in reality I dont feel up to it. I am in the EC stage of chemo and the worst side effect has been the nausea. Its an all emconpasing nausea where I feel sick in all parts of my body. It reminds me of morning sickness where I feel really sick and really hungry at the same time, but there is absolutely nothing that I want to eat. I have also found that I feel noticably better with each day closer to finishing my neupoegen injectuions ( 10 days)

    Things that have helped me cope are: 

    wax earolugs and an eyemask so you can sleep in the day 

    audio books ( you can  get them free to download from your local library) as they take much less effort than holding and reading a book! 

    very cold sparkling water... anything remotely sweet tastes disgusting ,

    some really bland stodgy ready meals eg Macaroni cheese or caarbonara when you need to eat but are not enjoying strong flavours. 

    pre made turban headwear with a stretch satin lining so its really soft on your head. I bought some caps that were sold as for after chemo but they had seams on them that is really uncomfortable on your head. 

    Take Care S xx