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chemotherapy - just how much of a crock of shit is it?

(11 Posts)
LEMmingaround Mon 09-Jun-14 19:44:54

A friend of mine needs chemo. She has had a mastectomy which has successfully removed all the bastard cancer lymph nodes clear. So belt and braces chemo followed by radiotherapy.

She is so very scared and depressed and im struggling to support her. Having just had a scare myself its all a bit close.

She needs several goes at chemo and I was wondering if anyone would share their experiences. I would google myself but have health anxiety so dont want to be accidentally diagnosing myself.

monkeyfacegrace Mon 09-Jun-14 19:49:11

It's a big pile of shit. But you get offered a cuppa smile

When my husband had it, it was a small room with 5 comfy chairs. He had the cannula inserted, and then was hooked up to the pump. It took about 3 hours (carboplatin was the chemo he had).

The chemo dept usually runs late. Tell her to take a snack and a good book.

DH also said that it kills your taste buds so he always wanted a killer curry for dinner that night! He had anti emetics so wasn't sick luckily.

Hugs for you both smile

weebarra Mon 09-Jun-14 19:53:17

It's not fun, certainly! A lot of it will depend on which drugs she'll be getting. For breast cancer it's likely to be FEC-T. It's common to have 3 cycles of each, sometimes 4, which means 6 or 8 cycles altogether.
Commonest side effects are hair loss, nausea (but there are very good anti-sickness meds and tiredness.i really hated the taste in my mouth - all food tasted wrong! If you have any particular questions, come over to the Tamoxigang thread on general health - we should pretty much have all bases covered!

tallulah Mon 09-Jun-14 19:57:01

It depends, because everyone has different drugs and a different regime.

My chemo was fortnightly. I went into hospital on a Wednesday and sat in a chair for 4 hours while it all went in. Then they sent me home attached to a pump which I had to carry around with me until I went back to be disconnected on Friday.

I always found I was well when I went in, got sicker and sicker, then gradually felt better again when it was time to go back sad. But they give you medication to stop you being sick. I only took a few days off work during the 3 months of chemo and mostly felt well enough to work.

It affects your sense of taste and puts you off eating, but really it isn't the absolute hell you expect it to be. It isn't pleasant but it's bearable. Tell your friend she will be fine.

LEMmingaround Mon 09-Jun-14 19:58:41

I am too scared ti go on that thread wee sad my ha would take on a life of its own. Can I ask how well you function in between doses? Do you feel bad all the time?

LEMmingaround Mon 09-Jun-14 19:59:53

Thanks for these stories. Cancer is a bastard. Will pass this on to my friend x

weebarra Mon 09-Jun-14 20:06:04

With the FEC, it was a three week cycle and I was really feeling ok by about day 8. The taxotere seems to be cumulative. I ended up having it weekly so it was a slow decline! I'm now nearly two months post chemo and if I wasn't in the middle of radiotherapy I'd probably be feeling back to normal. I was still able to do the school run most of the time throughout chemo though.

LEMmingaround Mon 09-Jun-14 20:15:17

I hope a full recovery is on the cards for you wee x

malteserzz Mon 09-Jun-14 20:25:34

I had 3 fec and 3 tax last year, was hard going but not as bad as I feared and definitely doable. I was lucky and wasn't sick at all but felt grotty and had mouth ulcers, tiredness, strange taste in my mouth, oral thrush.

The first few cycles I was feeling ok again after a week but the longer it goes on the harder it gets

The hair loss is horrid too, not just head hair but everywhere.

Radiotherapy is a doddle though !

2kidsintow Sun 15-Jun-14 21:42:50

My sister sailed through it! Compared to what she thought she'd have to cope with, certainly.

She was allergic to the actual drug so had to have a second drug to suppess the reaction.

She always felt tired and a bit sick the next day or two, but was then fine until the next dose.

The worst part for her was losing her hair. And unfortunately she's been left with some neuropathic pain as an after effect.

wineoclocktimeye Sun 15-Jun-14 21:54:25

I had 6 months worth, 3 months of FEC on a 3 weekly cycle, felt shit for about 6 days and then slowly felt better till the next dose. Also, 3 months of tax, no sickness but just very very tired.

The important thing is that it's do-able, it won't be fun but it is do-able.

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