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*** January Chemo Club 2020 ***

Warm welcome to 2020 - May this be a great year for kicking cancer where it hurts Boot

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 all know how.
If you want to find this post quickly, you can hit the 'Save In My Favourites' button - See discussion tools box on the 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 Decembers 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 to those evil cells.   I hope all of you are doing as well as you can do while going through this tough part of your runaway minecart ride.

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.

If Only Hugging G n' J 

  • Happy New Year to all xx 

    I find out next week off the Optima trial if it’s chemo or hormone therapy.  I wonder if any of you lovely people have any idea if I can continue with Botox in my head and neck for chronic migraine if I get chemo?

    I will contact my Neurologist and ask but it’s just another worry that won’t go away.  Botox has taken me from 20-24 migraines a month to 6-8.  Without wanting to sound like an addict I don’t think I could get through this without it.  The migraine would be too much.  

    Thank you for listening xx

  • Hi everyone and happy new year. I'm gatecrashing the January chemo club as I actually completed my chemo on 27/12, but as I'm still in my 3 week cycle I think I am allowed!! Joy

    I'm doing ok, been tired but aches have passed now so apart from a few niggles, I can almost see back to some degree of normality! For anyone just starting out, keep counting down to your last session, it really does come round before you know it.

    I feel a little apprehensive now as I start the next part of my journey. I will see the surgeon next Wednesday to talk about the op and get a date. I'm not sure if I will have an MRI, although the doctor has said there has been a good response to the chemo so I am happy about that. My op will be mastectomy and I am not expecting this to change because at my diagnosis, the mammogram showed a few spots of calcification so I guess that all needs to be taken out. I'm a little worried about the op as I haven't had surgery before, but more so around all the new questions now in my head like.....

    will he be able to take all the cancer away?

    after the op will I feel like the cancer has gone?

    will I be able to use my arm normally after surgery and further into the future?

    how many lymph nodes will he need to take and how susceptible does this leave me in future to lymphedema? Is it common? Will I always be paranoid about this?

    I know I will feel better (well, hopefully) after I have spoken to him next week and got some answers. I have been really positive through chemo especially once I started to understand and learn more about what it was doing and that the response was as hoped for. So I just need to keep that mentality now and trust that the surgical team also now have the expertise to make me better!

    I think there are a few of us due for surgery in the next few weeks, maybe we should start an 'Op thread' to support each other like we have done here.

    hope all goes well for you tomorrow Slight smile


  • Happy New Year to you all. 

    I can't believe i'm having Fec number 2 tomorrow it's flown by so fast since number 1.

    I was really lucky re side effects so am hoping the 2nd follows suit!

    Onwards and upwards is my new motto 

    Linda x

  • Hi

    Thanks so much for your good wishes for my surgery tomorrow.  Yes, I think that it would be a great idea to start an “Op Thread” so that those of us who have recently finished chemo, but still have surgery to go, can continue to share our experiences.

    I have just finished packing my hospital bag, and seem to have everything but the kitchen sink in there!  Thanks to the helpful advice of those on the chemo thread who have already had surgery, I have bought things like front-buttoning pyjamas and tops, specialist bras for immediate post-surgery, wet wipes etc.  I am also taking a heart-shaped cushion and drain bag (both made by local volunteers in pretty fabrics) which I received from my BCN.  I have to be at the hospital at 7.30 tomorrow so am hoping to be on the surgery list for the morning.  Luckily I live only 4 minutes walk from the hospital, so it is easy to get there.  If all goes to plan, I will be in for one night, and go home with one drain. 

    I have also been thinking about all of the issues you mention.  Like you, I was told right from the start that I would need a mastectomy,  in my case due to the shape and location of the tumour (and also because it was HER2+).  I was also told that I would need axillary node clearance, because my baseline breast MRI showed that one lymph node was affected.  Even though my MRI after chemo cycle 5 showed no sign of the tumour (just the titanium marker) and indicated that the one affected node is now clear of cancer, it hasn’t changed the type of surgery I am having.  After surgery I will have 14 more cycles of Herceptin/Perjeta infusions as a follow-up treatment. 

    I am also concerned about lymphoedema, as my BCN told me I would be at high risk for this due to the ANC.  She emphasised the importance of the post-op exercises, and of taking care of the arm in the future to prevent infection (e.g. avoiding scratches when gardening or from pets; avoiding heavy lifting; watching out for swelling etc).   She has given me some leaflets and also a card to give to the GP if I get an infection (it tells the GP about the ANC and advises the antibiotics to give).  The BCN also told me to expect that the ANC may cause more pain/lack of mobility after the op than the breast surgery, and may also cause more fluid to drain off.  

    I haven’t had surgery before either, so am a bit nervous about the whole process.  Yesterday I read a hospital leaflet entitled “14 risks of having a general anaesthetic”, and now I wish I hadn’t!  However, like you I have trust in my surgical team, just as I had in the chemo team, and I know that the surgery has to be done.  Hopefully I will get through it OK, and I will report back as soon as I am able (perhaps on the new thread).

    All the best to everyone for upcoming treatments and appointments - and let’s hope that 2020 is a happier and healthier year for us all!

    Blackcat xx

  • good luck tomorrow - we started this journey about the same time and we’ll get through it together too. I hadn’t had surgery before and was very scared. It was much better than I had convinced myself it was going to be xxxx

    Eileen xxx

    It’s going to be a long journey, but I won’t let this beat me, I’m still me xxx
  • Oh Blackcat, please don't worry, it will all be fine as I was just like you before my operation on 6th August last summer.  I was terrified, but it wasn't as bad as I had thought, again the mind does play havoc sometimes.  Yes, they have to advise on all that could go wrong, but it's not often that it happens, so trust your team, mine were brilliant in the theatre.  I was scared of going in on a trolley, but they walked me in, two ladies, the anaesthetist and someone else, who put me immediately at ease.  I had a six and a half hour op which I was not aware of, though that first night was very long and no clock in the room.  I had an immediate DIEP flap reconstruction, so went in Tuesday and home on Friday without the drain.  I have mild lymphoedema in my arm from previous surgery, a lumpectomy back in 2012, but if you do all the exercises and look after your arm, no backpacks, no carrying bags or heavy stuff etc., you should get by relatively okay.  You learn to cope as time passes and it may not be as bad as you think.  I hope it isn't, I shall pray for you.  This chemo is hitting me harder than the op was and now, the Docataxel is making my wound sites on fire with pain again, not allowing it to heal as it should, so I can't wait for my last one to recede in the distant past.  I've just had No.5 of 6, so not long now, though I still think there must be a kink in my tunnel, as the light at the end is still eluding me so far.  I know, presume, it will be some more months before I'm back to normal after treatment has ended, hair will take a long time to grow back, as mine is slow growing anyway, but somehow I think it's already trying to recover.  Anyway, going to phone hubby now at the hospital, so my thoughts are with you for tomorrow, good luck with your surgery and stay calm, we're all routing for you.  Come back and let us know how it all went later on, God bless.

    Regards, Giuliella.
  • Hi

    Go for it..... I'm sure a Breast Surgery thread would prove to be a very popular long running discussion Thumbsup

    It could eventually cover different types of surgery, advice, support and post surgery and recon info.

    G n' J

  • Checking in for the January thread. Had my 3rd FEC yesterday. Feeling at lot more sicky with this session. Assume it must be an accumulation of the treatment.

    Good luck to everyone having your operations. Hope all goes well. I am sure you will be fine.

    Happy New Year. Let's hope it's a happier and healthier  one for us all.

  • Hi

    You will so wing this next step after what you been thru with chemo .

    I was so surprised how well I felt after op . Slightly easier than yours with sentinel clearance .

    My hospital give a nerve blocker pre op which helped a lot . Take what they  offer for pain relief . Also yes the excercises they really help with movement . 

    Expect the dreaded constipation caused by anaesthetic plus pain relief so drink plenty again . 

    Only advice I would give is try to look at wound as soon as you can . Just a peek to stop it becoming a biggie in head .

    take care you'll feel better once you there 

    Margaret x

    One step at a time and ...Breathe !
  • A very Happy New Year to everyone on this site. All the best for those receiving chemotherapy and for those who have come through and about to start the next step of surgery.

     Will be thinking of you tomorrow . All the best Heart️Be brave and let us know how you get on. A surgery thread would be good to share. 

    _ great you have completed chemo as @yorkshiredefector  - we did it !! Although on day 7 still suffering side effects of dreaded Doxetaxel !!

    Like you West End Girl I have meetings re surgery and planned surgery on 29th. Not sure if it’s because I am nearly at end of chemo but I seem to be more apprehensive about everything. You mention you trusted your team as I did and I just battled through the chemo and remained pretty positive throughout.  Now though with surgery on the horizon it feels more real than ever. I am still unsure of what surgery is recommended and not really sure what to have for the best. And I am very apprehensive too. I have been told my choice is a mastectomy or a therapeutic mammoplasty but feel I need more help from the surgeon to make this decision. So hope I will find out more details soon so I can n m Areca decision. It’s so hard to know what’s best !!

    Jojodot X