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*** December Chemo Club 2019 ***

Welcome to the Christmas Chemo Club - May your Xmas meal taste better than Tin and Cardboard.

Lets hope it's more Ho Ho Ho! rather than Oh Oh Oh!

This thread is for all of you good folks going through chemotherapy to browse through, ask questions, answer questions and be there for each other in a way only you guys know how.
If you want to find this post quickly, you can hit the 'Save In My Favourites' button - See discussion tools box Arrow right

If you need any extra tips, our Chemo Tips Page is something you may find very helpful, and something that you may find you would like to share with others who are also going through chemo. One top tip, ask about parking at the hospital you are being treated at; for some Cancer patients parking is either free or discounted (big discount!) So it's worth asking about.

If you need to refer back a month here is a link to Novembers Thread which will be being locked to replies soon.

Remember, you're never alone, you have us! And, just try to focus on what your chemotherapy is doing. Its hopefully kicking your cancers butt.  I hope all of you are doing as well as you can do while going through this tough part of your journeys.

Don't forget all cancer patients are entitled to a 5 Year Prescription Fee Exemption Card from your GP for meds to help with any side effects.  Happy December Everyone, fingers crossed for maximum impact and minimal side effects.

All aboard for the Mystery Tour - Hold Tight; ding! ding!

  • I'm in again ...last EC on 11/12 then Herceptin in new year so here for a while 

    Welcome to old friends and newbies  

    wishing everyone one minimal/ manageable Side Effects 


  • Hiya I start my first EC on the 13th and honestly absolutely dreading it 

    I know there’s side effects and I won’t get all of them PrayFingers crossed tone1

    its the total unknown that’s getting to me 

    it’s the how are they going to get it in me? In the arm? In the back of the hand? In my chest (read that somewhere) ? In my neck (read that too) Scream ?

    how long will it take ?

    what does it feel like?

    does it hurt? (Got a low pain threshold Cry)

    am I laid down or sat? 

    How long after does it take before you feel the side effects ?

    to be honest and I know you’ll all understand 

    IM TERRIFIED!!!!!! 

    Think im more scared of this then I was of the mastectomy and reconstruction 


  • Well I was off for an early night but I thought I better check you've remembered to breathe ,

    Write the above questions down and ask your team all of them . Have you been to Chemo unit visit yet thus will help you to find answers and feel more comfortable .

    I will tell you my experience but we're all different and react differently . Hospitals can also do things in different ways .

    So ...

    I had a cannula in the back of my hand this was done in a curtained cubicle just a sharp scratch . A saline drip was then attached to flush thru vein . Steroids then injected in after the intial scratch nothing to feel . Anti sickness med taken . 

    Then went into main area along with other patients . Sat in nice comfy chair . Sometimes recliner , telly on in corner ,drinks on tap unfortunately all non alcoholic . My unit also bring sandwiches at lunchtime .

    My EC consisted of large  syringes of red and  yellow liquid which  the nurse sat with me and injected into cannula no pain . 

    They watch you for any side effects cold arm, shivery etc just tell them if you feel anything . I was lucky never did .

    The first time us quite slow so could be couple of hours or longer if they busy .

    sometimes the actual infusion has only been 15 mins 

    another saline drip at end .

    whilst it getting done general conversations with nurses and other patients most of which will be on same cycles as you . So chemo can become a social activity .

    It's hard to say when you will feel SE ?If I remember rightly you've been to hairdresser already for pixie cut . So try not to handle hair very often you may keep it longer . Although you could start to lose it within days .

    Most chemo leaves you tired out for rest of day. Nausea is usually straight away but you will have had anti sickness meds and been given more to take homec. Take them wether you feel sick or not prevention better than cure .

    keep a diary of how you feel then you will see a pattern emerge .

    The above us my experience told to help ease your panic .

    We are all different the important thing to remember is look after youself if you feel ill contact youteam they help get the correct meds for you.

    Start mouthwash now 

    use Vaseline or lip balm 

    plenty of parabens free moisturisers in bath 

    chemo dehydrates so start hydrating your skin 

    checkk out the link above for shopping list for chemo

    your imagination is making it a lot worse's not the best thing to have but it sure beats cancer .

    hope it helps get some sleep 

    Margaret x

  • Thank you Margaret you always come to my rescue no I haven’t been to the chemo unit yet might ring up and see if I can have a look 

    what sort of mouthwash do you recommend 

    i didn’t realise it would take a few hours but now I’m prepared for that thank you 

    You’ve actually shed some light on my questions and have taken away some of my fears thank you 

    My hair is shortish so I’ll speak to my hairdressers and get it shorter ready

    and yes I’m still breathing Joy 

    it just came on me sheer panic and loads of questions I’m so pleased I came into this group Heart️ xxx

  • Any mouthwash as long as non alcoholic 

    once you start chemo if you get mouth ulcers ask them for one my unit provides me with most stuff free . 

    Night speak tomorrow I’m off to sleep off my walk today 

    margaret x

  • Just done my first AC in Friday, not much appetite and not sleeping much (blaming the steroids!) but doing ok otherwise. Hope I can get back to normal meals today so I have more energy. But overall not as bad as I had feared! 2 weeks now till the next one

    take care everyone 

  • Hi all,

    just had second chemo and next one due on 19th December. Hoping that I will be able to stay awake enough for some Christmas dinner ( lol).

    Have started with some peripheral neuropathy in fingers and toes and got meds for it , hoping it will resolve after treatments.

    My hair started to fall out before my second chemo so had my head shaved last week and so glad I did as much more comfortable now.

    I've been reading about Rapid Lash on a thread and wondered if anyone has any experience using it ?

    Wishing you all the best for your treatments , with minimal side effects and a very Happy Christmas Santa 

    Karen xxx

  • Hello everyone,

    Checking in for December....have made it to the month of my final 2 chemo treatments, on the 6th & 27th. Should be good timing so I will feel ok for Christmas week!

    Although it feels a long time ago since my first chemo on 23 August, at the same time it has also passed quite quickly, if that makes any sense!

    great news that your chemo is done and you have had a great response. Like Jojodot, I am also very similar to you and following your good progress thorugh the chemo was a help to me too. I haven't had any follow up MRI scans during my chemo but on examination, they have been happy that there is evidence of shrinkage and softening so I'm hoping the doc/her/per is doing its stuff for me too and I hope to starting hearing this month about follow up appointments being arranged with the surgeon and maybe for another MRI. It seems strange in a way that the chemo can be successful in dissolving the lump and cells in the lymph nodes but we still have to have surgery to remove......well, remove what? I was told that the chemo does not remove the need for surgery so I'm under no illusions and know that I will still be having the mastectomy. I feel exactly the same as you about not having a reconstruction. I don't want an implant and don't really want any more surgery than I need to. I am an A cup....I'm not even sure how much I will notice it gone!!! :-)

    Margaret, if you don't mind, can I message you to ask a few more questions about Clarissa?!! Smiley

    Hope everyone is enjoying some sunshine today!


  • No problem Clarissa is very sociable @West End Girl

    Off out to village Xmas fayre then lunch at lowther castle with birthday boy hubby 


  • sounds lovely. Enjoy! Happy birthday to hubby!!

  • Checking in for the December thread. All being well I should have 2 sessions this month on the 10th and 31st. Currently day 13 of my first FEC .

  • Big hi, just checking 3rd chemo down this week.

  • Hi Everyone,

    Checking into December thread - seems a long time since I joined in August.

    Snap - My last two treatments are 4th December and 26th December. I didn’t get the treatment last week as I wasn’t well so all put back a week. As you say - now a chance of enjoying Christmas. 

    So all the best to those going through chemo this month . Do hope side effects are manageable and you can enjoy some festive treats. 
    Love Jojodot X

  • Its, here!  December, Hope everyone had something lovely behind door no. 1, hand-cream & tumeric tea (yuck on the latter) for me (spoilt I am).

    Christmas decorations up tomorrow (like to get value for money for the effort!) as too pooped today.

    Glad to hear many are coming to an end (and have finished treatments) especially good given the time of year, means that Happy Christmas & Happy New Year have even more meaning for you. Well done for seeing it through, despite challenges.

    Re PN (from Nov thread)... Oh Lordy, not you too? I wonder if mine will progress the same way? Am not noticeably struggling to hold things currently. Hope your phone is fixed and wasn't too costly, another thing to add to the ever growing "cancer bill" me thinks, not a cheap illness is it?
    Please can I ask what they did to ascertain that it was grade 1 PN, was this just from a standard blood test? I'd be interested in knowing where mine sits.
    Am glad that you're happy you persevered and I do hope the PN clears up ok (did they tell you what you could expect?).

    Its great that you're on the final leg of chemo and am really chuffed for you, particularly given the roller coaster you've had.

    Re your comment on November chemo thread. Given experiences of others re having to undergo some strenuous questions/counselling re removing the other breast (which I am assuming does not have the same issues as the naughty one?) please can you elaborate how you managed to get this done?
    This is something I've mentioned to my surgeon & team and they seem less than keen, I would like some symmetry, especially as am going for smaller boobs when reconstructed and will be having a delayed reconstruction.


    Good luck with Christmas dinner, my annoyance re this is that I've gone off alcohol ( if I've also lost my taste for scrumpy pigs in blankets there will hell to pay).
    Please can you tell me what meds you were given for peripheral neuropathy as I've been told that there's nowt that can be done!

    Sam X

  • Hi Sam I saw one oncologist who wasn't so keen on me getting the other breast removed but then saw another one who was really sympathetic and just said my request was perfectly reasonable. I haven't had it done yet as am only halfway through chemo so I hope they stick by what they said!!! . I just said that because my cancer didn't show up with mammogram or ultrasound ( and I have cysts so they are lumpy anyway) that I would never feel free of worry and wanted to be able to move on with life with no worrying and checking constantly. Having had all lymph nodes removed when I had my cancerous boob mastectomy and I'm keen for that not to happen again if I did get cancer in my right breast at some point down the line. I'm seeing the first oncologist this week again so I hope she agrees!! The other boob is totally cancer free by the way.

  • hi Sam,  she just asked me questions and took a tissue rolled to a point and touched various parts of my hands along if I could feel it.  The odd thing is that they occasionally ache (as do my feet and legs, but I've had almost no tingling.  When I dropped my phone I couldn't understand how,  as I thought I was holding it properly.  When I dropped the glass in the sink it was the same. I'd just got up with a horrible taste in my mouth and went to the bathroom with the empty glass I'd drank from in the night to rinse my mouth.  I thought I was holding it but wasn't! Both times it was day 4 of the cycle . I took my phone to the new Samsung experience centre at the back of Kings Cross.  The man who helped me used to go to the school I run the library in years before my time there,  but we had a chat about it and some teachers who I knew would have been there during his time,  and in the end he charged me £65 for a new screen.  They replace the battery when the screen is changed,  and he organised free same day courier delivery for me as well, so can't complain! I'm keeping an eye on the side effects,  and will probably have one more cycle on Wednesday and my PICC line out if I'm no worse by then, and hopefully getting better. 

    Have you decided what to do yet about the Paclitaxel? You're at a London hospital a well aren't you? 

  • I'm still in! Now on oral cyclophosphamide - a daily tablet with no breaks, and so far it seems almost side effect free (probably jinxed myself now...) Not sure if it's working yet as we're still draining just as much fluid off my lung as we were and I'm increasingly breathless and wheezy.

    I've also now developed lymphoedema in my unaffected arm and it's worsened in my unaffected boob. I think my body is just producing lots of fluid that my lymphatic system isn't coping with! 

    Luckily I have lymphoedema clinic and oncology appointments this week, so we can try and get to the bottom of things... 

    Best wishes to everyone starting and continuing with chemistry this month - may the gods of side effects be kind to you! 

  • Well, here I am again in the early hours, can't sleep.  Seems to be routine now.  On Tuesday I've got the "Look Good, Feel Better" meeting at the Oncology Department, so that might cheer me up.  Not had the time nor inclination to try my wig on yet and time seems to be eluding me right now.  Need to write out the Xmas cards and sort out where I can hang those that will be arriving soon.  As I can't be climbing up to hang the cord and pegs in the kitchen and leaning over stuff now, to get into the corner of the room, I bought some red fillet lace to attach to the top of the lounge door inside and plan to use the pegs threaded through the lace holes to attach the cards to it, so wish me luck with this venture.  It's a question of adapting to changing circumstances this Xmas, anything to make life easier.  Same with the Xmas tree, as I can't get the large one out of the loft, I've got a new three foot one to put on top of a nesting table beside the TV, easy to get at to decorate and the plug points are right in front of the TV on a gang plug, easy access again.  Makes life easier than struggling with this exhaustion.  So, here's hoping I can get in a short walk tomorrow AND write out all the Xmas cards.  Lots more chores to do, but let's see how it goes, if I can ever get back to sleep tonight.  Wish hubby could be transferred back to the other hospital, but at least he's being well looked after in the Oncology department.  Will buy him a piece of fruit cake in their little shop/cafe when I see him on Tuesday, as he does love this, from a local bakery.

    I hope everyone else is not feeling too bad and that you all had a good weekend?  Wonder if I've lost more weight when I go see the Oncologist this Thursday?

  • ......I can't believe how well you are coping with all this organisation. The red lace sounds a fantastic mum used to do something similar with some net up against a wall to save marking the paper and the pegs worked brilliantly.......It will look very pretty especially with your new tree. If you are having difficulties with the lights/ sockets I just bought some led lights with a battery from Lidl at 2.99 a box . They are gold or silver. I bought both to decorate my bowers because I'm not having a tree this year. Just lights in pots and on twigs plus the chimney and stair bowers. Like you the thought of getting a big tree down from the attic for just us 2 ( no visitors  this year) was too much.....but as for the rest....I haven't even got my Christmas card box out yet and there you are ....stamps bought!

    I do so hope your husband is fit enough to be home for Christmas. You are making it so nice for him.

    How do your chemo dates work with regard to Christmas? I am hoping you will be at the end of a cycle and at your best strength. 

    For now please take care. I know you feel you've got to get things done but if it is exhausting you.......please stop. Nothing is more important than your health.....and especially as your husband is going to need you so much in the coming months.

    Now I must go. Chatting is not getting me to my fourth year mammogram.  Any excuse to delay........I know it will be ok but it's all these twinges from the last few weeks. I have an hour to drive....or actually OH will do that bit for me today.

    Love to all


  • good luck today at the scan! xx