Chemotherapy

A support group for everything about chemotherapy, being treated and side effects. Tell others about your experiences and get answers to your questions.

When should I start chemotherapy?

sueevam
Posted by

Hello, I would like some advice please and wondered if anyone had any information about starting chemotherapy. I had surgery for breast cancer on 3rd October, I am grade3 HER2 positive. I still haven’t been given an appointment to start my chemo and am getting anxious as I have read that it is best to start approx 30 days after surgery. I saw my oncologist last week and have been told that I will need chemo, herceptin and radiation treatment plus biosphosphates ( not sure if that is how you spell it), but that I need a heart X-ray before it starts. Is this wait usual or am I being overly anxious? 

Sue Eva M
helkav
Posted by

I have no qualifications to tell you when you should start, not having had your particular cancer ro surgery, however (assuming you are on NHS) if you have a CNS (Clinical Nurse Specialist) I would call ASAP and get a solid date. I have made the mistaken assumption in the past that it's all happening and I should just wait. On many accasions I have been proven wrong...it just doesn't hurt to chase and check everything. Ask if they've booked in the heart X-Ray, and if they've booked in the chemo - they can always postpone if the X-Ray isn't ok. They will also want to do bloods before the chemo to check you are ok to do it - make sure they give you the tickets or whatever for the blood tests

trying to find the balance between fighting the good fight and not letting cancer rule my life
sueevam
Posted by

Thanks, I will contact my MacMillan Nurse tomorrow, hopefully I will get some positive news.

Sue Eva M
helkav
Posted by

I have no qualifications to tell you when you should start, not having had your particular cancer ro surgery, however (assuming you are on NHS) if you have a CNS (Clinical Nurse Specialist) I would call ASAP and get a solid date. I have made the mistaken assumption in the past that it's all happening and I should just wait. On many accasions I have been proven wrong...it just doesn't hurt to chase and check everything. Ask if they've booked in the heart X-Ray, and if they've booked in the chemo - they can always postpone if the X-Ray isn't ok. They will also want to do bloods before the chemo to check you are ok to do it - make sure they give you the tickets or whatever for the blood tests

trying to find the balance between fighting the good fight and not letting cancer rule my life
helkav
Posted by

woops sorry double posted that as I had some "technical difficulties"

trying to find the balance between fighting the good fight and not letting cancer rule my life
Dreamthief
Posted by

Hi 

The most common time frame for chemo to start after breast surgery is 4 - 6 weeks. They have to ensure you are fully healed to eliminate the chance of infection from any wounds that are slow to heal. It isn't uncommon for it to take 8 weeks but that is close to the edge of the 62 days allowable.

Please don't fret about having to wait as post surgery the follow on treatments for HER2+ positive are to prevent recurrence - As you have already surgery the cancer has now been removed...

You have the same diagnosis as my wife had way back in May 2012 so please be reassured this is do'able 

Checking the heart function is always carried out before and during Herceptin as there is a chance it can gradually weaken the heart muscles slightly. This is monitored every 3 or 4 sessions so nothing is left to chance. This can be carried out with a Muga Scan or with an ECG.

When you get your chemo appointment through, which should be quite soon now do join this Breast Groups November Chemo Chat discussion. There are several other members having chemo and the other targeted her2 therapies there you can chat with.

One thing worth mentioning is when you get your pre chemo appt ask if they fit PICC Lines as standard as they help protect your veins and are also used for the many blood tests which makes chemo a lot more easier to cope with.

Hope this is of some help for now, G n' J

Babs1313
Posted by

Hi Sueevam,

I have the same diagnosis as you. My last surgery was July 31st and I started chemo on 12th September. I had my heart scan just before it. Sounds to me like you're in a normal time frame. You'll probably have a scan every 3 months. It feels a lot longer when you're waiting to start chemo. I felt anxious about it and the days dragged, but once I started treatment I felt better in myself because I felt it was a positive step forward.

I found my breast nurse really helpful so if in doubt give your nurse a ring.

Wishing you well, Babs

Every day is a new day
sueevam
Posted by

Thanks Babs, had my first dose of Herceptin today, and I do feel better now that “the ball is rolling”, so to speak. Early morning tomorrow as I have my first proper chemo, of docetaxol, carboplatin and zometa. Hopefully I will be able to get a decent nights sleep tonight! Wishing you well, Sue

Sue Eva M
Babs1313
Posted by

Hi Sue,

Glad your first Herceptin went well. It's always a bit of a worry having new drugs because you don't know how you're going to react. My last 3 cycles of FEC were not much of a problem and after the first you know what to expect and can plan for se . I mostly just slept. A bit of help from ibuprofen at times and the occasional anti sickness tablet. I'm a bit apprehensive today as I'm going onto weekly Paclitaxel with Herceptin and Perjeta and it's a complete change and don't know what to expect again. Must remember to take a bucket in the car just in case because I'm travel sick anyway and this might tip me over the edge. It's not a long journey so hopefully I'll manage. Been wide awake since 4 am due to steroids but I'm sure I'll sleep later. 

Good luck with your chemo too today. It's always better than you think it will be, and it's a positive step. It's on our side fighting for us. On the few days I feel a bit rough I always think if it's making me feel bad it must be really kicking cancer's butt. 

Big hugs, Babs

Every day is a new day
Dreamthief
Posted by

Morning 

You are probably feeling a little nervy this morning 

Fingers crossed for an uneventful day with your Docetaxol and Carboplatin cocktail.

If they give you steroids to bring home try to work it so you take the last ones by 4pm or you may have problems getting to sleep tonight.

Hope the chemo is kind to you, hugs, G n' J

sueevam
Posted by

Yes I was quite anxious when I was given my blood pressure test, but it has settled down now. I managed to have a reasonable sleep last night, I have a lavender burner at the side of the bed which seems to help. Here’s to an uneventful day!

Sue Eva M
sueevam
Posted by

Well had the docetaxol, carboplatin, zomeda plus a nice selection of pre meds, and steroids and injections to take home. Feeling ok but a bit flushed in the face, also suffering from constipation. Any suggestions on a good laxative that I can take?  

Sue Eva M
Babs1313
Posted by

I always take sennakot because it works by softening stools instead of making your bowel contract so is kinder. Lots and lots of fluids, fruit juice and for me, eating  prunes always works wonders. 

Every day is a new day