Recovery process

Bliatery masectomy 2wks ago due to start chemo in the next wk or 2. Absolutely frighten as to how my body will respond to chemo as ive heard and seen how it can affect u. I also have to have radiotherapy once chemo has finish. Can anyone share their journey with me as to how they found chemo and share any tips with regards to amy dietary changes theyve made.

Look forward to your responses xx

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  • Hi Bajan77.

    I had a bilateral mastectomy on the 5th Jan. I was diagnosed Oct 2nd 2015. I had chemo before hand. Then the op. Followed by another 7 months of chemo then 25 sessions of radiotherapy. I finished treatment 4 weeks ago. To be honest there were not many dietry changes. I hardly touched alcohol as the chemo affects your taste buds and so it made alcohol taste rotten. I had three different lots if chemo each one affected my taste buds in a different way - none good. I ate less simply because the joy of enjoying food was gone. I ate three meals a day because I had to. Most were thrown away barely touched. Drink lots of water as that flushes the toxins out. You probably will lose your hair. But I told myself that it was only hair and would grow back. Every persons ecperience is very different. We all tolerate things in different ways. Example: a colleage had the same chemo as me and was physically sick, weak and barely left her bed. I made myself get up daily, yes I haf aches and pains but took up hobbied such as painting, reading, blogging kept busy. When fatigue hit me I slept. I did a lot of sleeping. My blog gives you an idea about my journey if you want to read it. I blogged from the start to the end of my treatment. I wish you all the luck innthe world. Here is to a full recovery for us all. Lainey66 xx

  • Thank u so much for your reply. Ive jus read your blog and i can relate to soo much in terms of wanting to question why me, what next. The last few yrs has been one bad thing after the next. Just when I thought things couldn't get any worst.. There came the Ca beast. Another chapter in my life thats gonna test my faith and strength. My faith has been shattered in the last few years but i promised myself im not gonna question the big man upstairs. Im gonna to embrace and fight. You're obviously a strong person and i wish you all the very best. Hope Gerry is well now.

    Thank you for taking the time out to respond. I have my appt 2morrow with the oncologist so will know when chemo will start. I pray i will be able to remain strong and win the battle without not too many set back.

  • I'm unable to give any advice about chemo/dietary issues, but if you've had full node clearance in either arm the chances are with your radiotherapy that arm will get very stuff, mine did, once treatment had finished I had physio twice on that arm and gradually got full movement back, the other thing I can do is send you and everyone else starting treatment in the near future, loads of love, good luck wishes, and staying stay strong xxxxx

  • Thanks for your response. Im already experiencing stiffness .. more so on rightside. I have remained active since surgery and do my exercises throughout the day. I have my appt 2morrow to see oncologist and will no when my treatment will start. I pray i dont have any setbacks but i will fight witj all my.might.

    Everyone has been saying drink loads of water. Thats gonna be a struggle but i will accept any adviced that will relieve and redice any symptoms

  • Thank you very much for ur response. My right side is very stiff now. I have been doing the exercises my breast care nurse gave me but not quite there yet. My consultant has warned me about the possibility of getting lymphodema and needing physio so I'm trying hard to avoid it by keeping both arms active. Pain restricts me at times.

    Thank u for your well wishes and I'll be updating how im getting on.

  • I had a bilateral mastectomy , chemo & radiotherapy I was very similar to Lainey66 your body will tell you to sleep .. Again with food , if you can't face food make sure you drink .. I had ginger biscuits or plain ones .. Drank water and also lemongrass & Ginger cordial ....I also lost my hair ... But it's the only thing you can control when it comes out had mine cut short then had it shaved as soon as it started to come out ๐Ÿ˜Š. If you feel really bad have a chat with the breast cancer people ... It's a journey lots of us go through .. But you will come out the other end ...and it's over 6 years since my treatment stopped so Good luck xxxx

  • Mandywilson

    Well done you.. Reassuring to heae you're 6yrs post treatment and still helping others like myself that have just about started or about to start the new chapter of their lives. I've been told I'll start chemo in the next yrs. I shaved my hair last wk for my bday so it won't be so drastic when it does happen.

    My oncologist has discussed all possible side effects and im hoping they won't put me out if action too much.

  • Hello, it seems everyone reacts so differently to chemo. I had FEC-T and found that I felt pretty ropey during the week of treatment but then absolutely fine on the weeks in between and could work part time and see friends. I found during the first cycle my taste buds changed but luckily they returned fairly quickly and I was able to eat my normal diet. Overall a healthy balanced diet is probably the way to go but equally a little of what you fancy is also good. Breast Cancer Haven has nutritionists at each of its centres who can offer expert advice tailored to you so it could be worth getting in touch with

    Sending you lots of love,xxx

  • Hi vwel .. I will also be having FEC-T followed by radiotherapy for a few wks. Getting alot of discomfort due to swelling as i had reconstruction at the same time. Ive got appt 2day for n ultrasound. Hopefully nothing too sinister.

    My appetite is all over the place at present. Eat because I know i haven't eaten and not because I'm hungry. Due to chemo in the next 2 wks. Will keep you all posted with how im coping.

    Thank u for your well wishes.

  • Hello, I don't think I've ever been so scanned as much in my life as during active treatment...hope today goes well. We'll all be thinking of you. Food wise there's no right or wrong just take it one day at a time. Sending a massive

  • hi,I'm just over halfway through fec-t chemotherapy and I have to say the nausea and eating thing has been the worst side effect.You won't know until you start what food you will like and which to avoid but just really simple things like soup beans on toast,plain chicken and rice,rice pudding, worked for me.Drink loads,get some cordial that you like in,ginger beer works.I had 10 days feeing sick and not wanting to eat and then 10 days eating normally,it's just a matter of finding what food works for you and it changes each time too!Take anti sickness tablets they give you and if they don't work ask for different ones till you get ones that work.Good luck,you may sail through it ,everyone is different and you get good weeks which are like having a new life I felt like I was born again on the good weeks!Hope this helps.luv Vicky.x

  • Thanks Vic1970. That's really reassuring. Im dreading the effects. Hopefully it wont be that bad and I'll be able to sail through. My oncologist has said all side effects are manageable so thats the main thing. She also stressed the importance of not suffering in silence. I'm a nurse and we're the worst patients. ๐Ÿ™ˆ

    Im just gonna listen to my body and take every day as it comes.

    Thank u for taking time out to respond. It definitely has helped knowing your treatment is still ongoing.

    Wishing u all the best hun..

  • Hello Bajan. Don't be frightened, everyone responds differently to chemotherapy but it certainly wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. The trick is to drink at least 2 litres of water a day, eat small but regular meals, keep up the exercise even if it's a short walk it will help, be prepared for losing your hair and join a local support group.

    Prunes help reduce constipation caused by the steroids and eat dark greens and protein. Mardens hospital sell a cancer cookbook that is worth buying.

    Good luck.

  • Thanks emonty. Im telling myself its not gonna be as bad as im expecting too. Im a nurse so im relating to alot of the patients ive cared for.. most of which have had a difficult time. I'm 39 and my oncologist has said ive got age on my side in terms of being more active so hopefully my body will glide through this.

    Ive taken everyones advise onboard.. Alot of people have recommended ginger so I'll be stocking up on some.

    Wishing u all well.

  • I had bad heartburn and nausea taste buds go a bit haywire but it wasn't too bad, I just kept taking anti sickness after a week it got better until next chemo. My side effects only lasted the week after chemo, didn't drink alcohol all the time I was having chemo, as regards the hair I had 2 session of cold cap but it didn't work for me so I had my hair shaved and it wasn't such a shock when it came out it seemed more gradual that way. You will get a free wig which are amazing, I will continue to use mine on a bad hair day x keep positive it's how I got through it you'll be surprised how quickly it goes before you know it you will be at end of treatment xx take care xxx

  • PS.. My chemo was 3 x fect T and 3 x docataxel, I worked through all my chemo, it helped me to keep active,just listen to your body

  • Thanks jillypig63 I'll be having the same followed by few wks of radiotherapy.

  • I'm starting radiotherapy on 30 th Aug 20 sessions will let you know how it is xheard it can make you feel tired,and area might get red, I've got pre radiotherapy chat tomorrow so will know more of what to expect after tomorrow, keep positive and you will be fine

  • Thank u for that jillypig63. The more i read the more i believe im gonna cope ok. I was dreading surgery and had awful visions and it was nothing of the sort. So lets hope chemo will be the same with regards to side effects. I shaved my hair last week so it wouldn't be so drastic when it does fall out. Oncologist has told me it'll fall out within 2nd wk of treatment.

    Im sure time will fly and before long it'll be a thing in the past. Positive thoughts all the way. An occasional negative does pop into mimd but i always flip it to a positive.

  • Hi Bajan,

    I'm sorry to hear your news, you'll find plenty of support & help on this forum.

    I had a single mastectomy & Chemo this time last year. I found the Oncologist & the Team on the Unit were outstanding, everything was explained & told me that any side effects they could help treat.

    It depends on the type of Chemo they decide to give you l had what's called FEC/T & is a fairly standard treatment I think.

    I was given Dexamethasone (steroid) and an excellent anti emetic (name escapes me now) before the Chemo & three days following it for each cycle. I was also given extra different anti sickness tablets incase I had any issues but the one surprising thing was I was only ever sick once about two hours after the first one.

    It does affect your mouth & taste buds, as Lainey says drink plenty of water, as much as you can as it flushes the toxins out. I always took a 500ml bottle of water to bed at night so had it my my side when ever I woke up.

    As Lainey says I too ate because I had to but if I had a sandwich I never knew what was on it, eventually I had to give up bread as it stuck to the roof of my mouth.

    If you can manage porridge for your breakfast made with extra milk so it's a bit runnier & almost drink it! Cold Melon Chunks are refreshing & that was often all I had for breakfast.

    Straws are useful for cold drinks & I always carried some around with me. Hand wipes are really useful you can get the antibacterial gel but I prefer the wipes. Indulge yourself in the best skincare you can afford or add in a serum. Lots of hand cream & body lotion to keep your skin in the best condition you can.

    I love my Oncologist & he is the only man I've ever known who's always right! . . .

    He said my hair would fall out about day 15-17 I had short hair anyway but the curl started to drop at about day 12/13 so my hairdresser cut it a bit shorter, then on day 15 it started to come out & was all out by the following day just a few bits at the back to shave off. I had turban, scarves n hats but I loved my wig (now wigs) & people often said 'didn't your hair fall out then?' & even now people say 'your hair grew back quickly!' It's still a Wig!

    The best advice I can give you is

    1. Any questions, concerns or worries ring the Unit where you're having your Chemo, they give you a folder with loads of info & emergency numbers & a little card for your purse to carry every where you go.

    2. Keep away from people with coughs n colds.

    3. Rest when you need to, day or night, steroids can may you very wakeful, so my husband went into the guest room for the three/four nights I was on the additional steroids so I could have the light on, read, email etc I have friends in the USA so could 'talk' with them on iMessage or update my Group on Facebook and Online Shopping! I never slept much before 4am but I wasn't disturbing my husband & I could ring or text him if I wanted anything, he was so good to me.

    4. Eat what you can, it always improves after a week or ten days. I couldn't eat red meat & mainly ate chicken or fish, I always needed a sauce or gravy as my mouth was always dry.

    If you have any questions there is always someone on here who can help or point you in the right direction.

    I'm a year on now & sometimes I just can't believe it and before you know it you'll be there too.

    Take Care & Good Luck xxx

  • Thanks alot MrsNails for your detailed response. All points taken on board. I will definitely be updating my post with how im coping.

    I look forward to the end of this chapter where i will begin a new journey and a new me.

    Best wishes to you.

  • I had both chemo and radiotherapy, it is true that everybody does react differently. I worked through both as it kept me going I would have a few days off for treatment, then a work a few shortened days I had a desk job and worked near home so that worked for me. I would say if you need rest take it, lie done rest watch tv. Everybody is right about drinking water to flush out toxins. Your taste does change for example I couldn't touch orange juice during my chemo. I found jelly and ice lollies good. My biggest piece of advice would be take any anti sickness mess they give you, and don't try to be brave by not taking them they make a massive difference.

    I found radiotherapy a lot less trouble, I did get a small burn but ask for paraffin gauze if you have any problems and it healed really quickly

    Good luck with you treatment, it is worth it I am sure, I had my treatment six years ago.

  • Thanks Artemis-angel. Im hoping chemo wont take a toil. Im a nurse and my oncologist has told me i cant work during my treatment due to direct contact and bodily fluids. I wouod have to do admin work in the meantime but I'll c how it goes.

    The team have all stressed that the side effects are all managable. I dislike taking tablets at the best of time but this will definitely make things change. Not gonna be a hero and suffer in silence.

    Kind regardxx

  • Hope all goes well

  • I had my chemo before mastectomy and was worried how I'd feel as my youngest was only 6. After the first round I woke the next day feeling terribly tired I wondered how I'd cope. Two days later we were going out for a meal so I thought I'd take the anti sickness tablet when I got back but then forgot. I woke the next day feeling so much better and with so much more energy. From then on for 5 months of Chemo I only had the anti sickness they give at the same time as the Chemo. I actually found radiotherapy more tiring but it was everyday and I had a 20 minute train then 20 minute bus journey to get there so it might just have been the travelling. The most important thing I did each day was kiss my baby and tell her I loved her. You have to stay positive. It's her prom next summer and I'll be there just like I said I would be. Good luck.

  • Thanks Angelmummi. My youngest is 1. Breaks my heart not being able to pick her up when she wants a cuddle. Feels so restricted with my range of movement due to pain and discomfort. I know its just a matter of time.

    Positivity is definitely the key. It contributes to the healing process. Positive mind positive outcome. The main thing ive gathered is sickness, tiredness, and change in taste buds. I haven't really heard of anyone having severe side effects they inform you of. Probably because the percent is alot lower. Ive got 3kids and i will beat this beast for them. We've got alot more years of having fun and doing things together as a family. U will definitely be at your daughters prom next yr.

    Keep your chin up and all the very best.

  • I had bilateral one breast removed and lumpectomy .The chemo was not good but only sick once but felt really sick about a week after the chemo and had to lay really still untill it passed. Drank dry ginger also loads of pinapple juice got cravings for fish and chips and loved boiled eggs for breakfast weird. The radiotherapy is a walk in the park so dont worry abo u t that .after my fourth chemo I had a new kitchen installed must have been mad but you get through so good luck and keep positive.Xxxhugs

  • Thank u annmnnmalley. Reassuring response. I will definitely listen to my body. Rest when it wants rest but will push through when i can. Main thing is the sickness is managable. Gonna stock up on the ginger because alot of the comments have mentioned ginger.

    Well done hun..

  • Hi bajan77. I think the ladies have pretty much said it all. Just wanted to say good luck with it all and that before you know it it'll be over and you'll be getting your groove back!๐Ÿ˜Ž

    Find put what type if chemo they're going to do and let us know. Mine was not FECT which seems to be the most common one. Mine was called CMF and though I had the side effects (nausea tiredness aching joints etc) and had to take steroids and anti sickness, I found that if I did exactly as advised, then I was only really wonky for a few days then had 2 and half weeks of being able to function pretty normally, while listening to my body and not overdoing anything.

    Drinking plenty does make it better. If you're crap at drinking lots of water a tip I got was to have some crispy bacon for breakfast (cup of bovril or highly flavoured soup works too) and you'll be thirsty for the rest of the day. Add some Robinsons to the water and ice and lemon.

    Keep us posted. Most of us have been where you are and look at us now! Back to our fabulous selves in no time. Xxx

  • Thank u Gracie66. Will definitely listen to my body. Good thing is i drink alot now. I drink alot of aloe vera and coconut water. Will definitely take advantage of the anti sickness meds.

    Ill be have FEC-T followed by radiotherapy for a few wks.

    I will be constantly updating my journey and it so nice to read everyones story, many of which I'll be able to relate to as my journey progresses.

    Kind regards

  • If having taxol keep dark nail varnish on your nails all the time. A friend arrived at my house armed with the darkest colours and painted my nails as she had been advised when she went through it. No one had mentioned it to me but can make your nails fall out, the nail varnish prevents this as it stops the reaction with uv light. I did not lose any nails and had a touch of glamour for a few months ๐Ÿ’…๐Ÿป, back to normal now though

  • Sorry Bajan77 forgot about the nails ๐Ÿ’…๐Ÿผ as Mac99 says Dark Nail Polish may help saving your nails. I thought I'd got away with it but 3 months after Chemo I felt them 'pop' for want of a better word! They came away from the nail bed about half way down, l called it 'The Final Insult!'

    I always wore dark polish & treated my nails to daily Solar Oil at the cuticles but they were still damaged but I didn't lose them they were just lose, aaaggghhh!

    I found a new use for my hairdryer, ensuring the back of my nails were as dry as possible after having a shower!

    But they recovered & are back to their full glory again! ๐Ÿ’…๐Ÿผ

    Take Care xx

  • MrsNails. Thank u. I can't remember where i read this but i did see it somewhere. I've started painting my nails pink but I'll definitely change the colour to a darker colour once i start chemo.

    I saw the oncologist on monday and they havent given me a definite date for chemo as yet. Slightly frustrating as I'm so anxious to start.

    Had a large volume of seroma drained yesterday and they havent been able to expand my implants due to this.

  • I know it's frustrating waiting for a date as all you really want to do is get on with it!

    I had lots of seroma drained & my drain kept popping too, so l was back n to the ward & the clinic but it does eventually settle.

    Another tip ~ plenty of hand cream & rich moisture cream for your feet as the skin can peel but l managed to avoid that one!

    I'm starting the gym today on a one to one session to help my general stamina & get my leg muscles built up, l was already being treated for Polymyalgia Rheumatica when I was diagnosed so that added a few complications here & there, but onward & upward!

    Make the most of your time between now & the Chemo & soon it'll be over, we're all here for you.

    Take Care ๐Ÿ’

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