End of Chemo

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I finished Chemo on Fri, and after 8 hard rounds I’m now feeling physically and mentally drained.

Throughout chemo I think I’ve simply gone into autopilot but now knowing this part is complete I’m feeling overwhelmed, it’s almost as if my body’s gone into shutdown, perhaps this isn’t a bad thing as I’ve carried on working and pushed myself to keep active throughout, I just can’t believe I’ve got to this stage, and whilst I have surgery and radiotherapy to come I feel a sense of relief but am wondering when I will feel like myself again, there are parts of who I am that I don’t want to see a return of and at the same time there are parts that I do want to return. 
I was before all of this active, lived a healthy lifestyle and went to the gym x5 days per week, I had energy and am wondering if this will ever return?

Can I ask what other’s experiences have been once Chemo ends?

Love to you all xx

  • Well done for getting through chemo, that is a huge milestone!

    Firstly, remember you need to recover from the latest round of chemo. I still felt pretty acutely awful by the time I had my lumpectomy 4 weeks later.

    I read that as a rule of thumb, it takes around twice as long to recover than your treatment lasts. For me, start of chemo, then lumpectomy to end of radiotherapy was 7 months so I had it in my head that it would be a further 14 months to feel like me.

    In reality, it hasn't been as simple as that for me.

    It probably took a good year to feel like I'd recovered from chemo, which isn't unusual. So that's from the end of chemo rather than the end of rads.

    But I also needed hormone blockers and as I was pre-menopausal going into treatment, the zoladex to stop my ovaries working gave me a sudden and intense menopause during chemo. Then during rads, I started taking exemestane which further stopped oestrogen.

    During that year after chemo ended, I got to a bit of a plateau where I was recovering from chemo, but the hormone blockers were really keeping me fatigued and not feeling great.

    The menopause symptoms have got significantly better, especially after I gave in to a low dose anti-depressant after a couple of years. That went a long way to making me feel like me again - no more crazy mood swings.

    But I haven't regained pre-cancer energy levels. I need to pace myself but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy life. I've just had to get used to the new me. I still run, but not far or fast. I still work full time, but I mostly work from home.

    I am 3 years past end of main treatment with another 2 of hormone blockers to go.

    I'm hoping that the end of hormone blockers will see a rise in energy levels again, but for now I just go with the flow and make sure I do enough of the things that I love. 

    One great thing is that you ditch all the things you never really liked that much as you don't have the energy for everything any more!

  • Thank you for your honesty.
    I'm due to have a lumpectomy on the 02 Aug, and based upon my previous 3 weekly chemo cycle of Docetaxel I still feel rough going into the next, so likely on this occasion I’ll still be rough by the time surgery comes round.

    whilst I’ve not thought about it too much, I’ve tried to take treatment one step at a time, but hormone blockers will be on cards, I’m 48 so been advised I’ll be on something until the age of 55, I suppose it makes perfect sense anything menopause related and at speed will impact significantly, naively I’m not particularly up on this side, maybe because I’ve been so focussed upon chemo, and when I did raise this with my consultant she said we were a way off discussing, although it was my oncologist that brought it up originally. 

    Its great to hear that although your energy levels haven’t returned to pre cancer that you still do things but at your own pace, perhaps this is what I needed to hear, because this puts you back in control, for me it’s been the loss of control that’s got to me over the last 7months.

    You have a great mantra ‘Go with the flow’, of which I will adopt and surround myself with things I enjoy.

    Wishing you all the very best x

  • Hi I’m kind of in the same position. I’ve finished 16th round of chemo last weekend. I’ve got TNBC so next will be surgery and then radiotherapy. Although I’ve got to the end of chemo which felt an age away when I started in February I still feel like I’ve got a long way to go. Yesterday and today I’ve been feeling rough so that makes me feel more down and unable to be positive. 

    I haven’t been any help at all! But just wanted you to know you aren’t alone. 

  • Sorry to hear that you are feeling down at the moment WhatNext.  Hope you feel better soon.

    Daisy53

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  • Well done to you for getting through chemo, especially 16 of them. 
    I’m a week post final chemo and still feeling rough, it’s mainly fatigue and lower leg pain but know with each day that passes I will become stronger, I suppose it’s the mental barrier that can be hard to overcome at times. I can be teary one min then angry the next, my emotions are all over the place.

    I wonder if we just need to accept this phase knowing it will get better. 

    Thank you for replying it does feel very isolating at times, and although we know were not alone it feels like you are at times, seeing and hearing were not helps tremendously. 

    xx

  • Totally understand what you are saying and feeling. I have been angry today, Tuesday I was teary (I don’t think coming off steroids help me). I suppose we just keep going in the hope at some point this phase will be long gone. 

  • I finished chemo last Wednesday and tbh I feel emotionally all over the place…. Confused, lack of motivation, one thoughtless comment about when I’m returning to work by a neighbour got me spiralling that I was being lazy by not working etc , I’m bored and everything seems to be not worth it … still got radiotherapy and start hormone therapy today so have got to be less hard on myself!!!