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Breast Cancer Haven
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Do I stop chemo?

I’ve recently had 2nd chemo (2/6) really struggling with the headaches, loosing my hair, lack of energy..., just everything. I’ve got another chemo in 2 weeks and already dreading it!! I’m having EC for 3 then Docetaxel for 3..... I’m seriously thinking of just having the 1 Docetaxel as then I’ve got radiotherapy.

My BC is grade 1 but doesn’t chemo only kill fast growing cells?

I want to be positive but it’s really hard!

I get married in 4 months and thinking I don’t want to be ill on my wedding if I don’t need it.... the oncologist said it was a 4% difference... surely some is better than none?

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You are on a very tough road that everyone on this page is currently travelling or has travelled. Chemo is very harsh but necessary. Naturally it is your choice what you do, however, If you were a master baker and you gave a student a recipe for the most wonderful cake in the world, however, the student found the recipe too hard to follow, so only used a third of the ingredients, and wondered why the cake did not succeed, as the master baker, would you honestly be surprised? The experts do not give out these expensive drugs for the sake of it. Your cancer is measured, the type of chemo and the amount are worked out for you specifically with the amount going on what has been researched and discovered to get rid of your specific cancer. If you choose to stop treatment, you put your own life at risk. The Cancer will continue to grow as you have not eradicated it. I am sorry to say, but you must take the bull by the horns and see this through. Not easy at all, but very doable. I do know how you feel, I had 9.5 month of a variety of chemo treatments, 25 sessions of radiotherapy, double mastectomy, had residual cancer, suffered with sepsis, pneumonia and more bouts of neutropenia than I care to recall, but I am here, I am alive, today I was discharged from the surgical oncology breast clinic. Something to celebrate. I still have a 68% chance of this returning as I am Triple negative and had residual cancer. The team fought to save me. So far so good! You have to make your choices for you, but make sure you make informed decisions and be prepared for the consequences that go with those decisions. I wish you well with your choices, and all the very best with your wedding. Try to stay strong. Regards Lainey66 xxx💐💐💐

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Thank you Lainey xx your right it’s just hard x

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It is hard, very hard. I have written a blog that details my journey, warts and all. It also details what I did to aleviate boredom, frustration and the really 'yucky' times. Feel free to have a read, You may find something that helps as you travel down this road. elainemurphy66.blogspot.com the links are on the right starting back in 2015, click o that and it opens links to October, Novembvr and December of that year, it thwn continues up until last year on the different links for 2016, 2017 and 2018. It needs updating at the mo, but it tells you exactly how it is. I hope you find it helpful. Lainey Xxxx

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Oh Bless You Tricia 💐

Following the second Chemo there’s a lot of cumulative effects. Which day are you now?

You need to speak to your Oncologist about how the side effects are affecting you.

Are you continuing with the Cold Cap?

When is your Chemo due to be finished by ie planned date of last one, against date of the Wedding?

Your Oncologist is the only one who can help you with this decision.

Are you resting & taking it easy or attempting to be SuperWoman? This can impact on how you are feeling, are you trying to continue to work?

When are you due at the hospital next?

Kind Regards

MrsN

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I’m on day 7 of 2nd chemo, headaches are so bad and belly gets blocked even with meds to help, had crapping all day..

I did the cold cap again but my hair is shredding and all I’ve been told is it’s 50/50 if it works or not..

My last chemo is June 24/26th can’t remember but then I’ve got 15 rounds of radiotherapy, which finishes 2 weeks before the wedding on 9th August.

I’ve really struggled with pain to, but after a ct scan it’s nerve pain from operations... but my heart rate goes up if I walk about, only short, or I do the dishes I am a worrier but this is frightening me... my heart rates was raised and a slight murmur whilst I was in hospital having ct scan but they didn’t seem concerned. I worry the more chemo I have the impact on the rest of me.

I’ve made an appointment to see oncologist before I have my 4th chemo

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Hi Trisha

I had nerve pain confirmed after a Bone Scan & that set in after first Chemo.

Are you on good Pain Meds? I was put on Slow Release Morphine with Oromorph as required & it made a huge difference to me.

There is a cumulative effect with the Chemo but good pain relief & anti nausea meds are available, you simply must let them know how poorly you feel.

Unfortunately, Chemo is a Poison & it knocks 7Bells out of you.

You really do need to rest, ring the Chemo Unit tomorrow, tell them how you feel. Get your pain sorted out & your tummy, whether it’s constipation or diarrhoea. Are you still drinking plenty of water?

After the 7th/10th day you start to pick up, your white blood cells start to increase & the recovery period begins.

My Very Best Wishes Trisha

Speak Soon 💐

Angela xx

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I had 4 out of 6 planned rounds of chemo but the oncologist stopped it because I had such a severe reaction. You are right it is very very hard but in the scheme of things it is for a very short time and will soon be over, though I know it doesn't feel like it now.

Unfortunately my cancer has metastatised and I'm now on continuous chemo which is far gentler but does have side effects. Matatastic breast cancer can be treated but not cured at the moment. Missing the last 2 rounds of chemo probably didn't make any difference, but I will never know.

Please think carefully before you make your decision and talk it through carefully with your oncologist. You have to make your own decision but make sure you give yourself the best chance.

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I'm sorry to hear what ur going through TriciaPen, I understand how u feel!

I had 3 cycles of FEC with many side effects 2 include a blood clot in my arm and admitted to hospital! They had to bring my surgery forward cause my blood levels were to low to continue chemo!

At that point I hoped I wouldn't need any more chemo given the side effects not to mention the anxiety I feel thinking about having more treatment! but sadly that isn't the case as my oncologist wants me to continue having the remaining 4 cycles of Docetaxel as soon as I'm fully healed from the DIEP surgery which I said I don't want to continue with chemo!! Instead I want to have radiography, as I'm 35 I want to get my life back on track! Especially as my hair has grown back to a short pixie length, to my surprise my friends say suits me!

But my oncologist wanted me to think carefully about it before I made my final decision. I spoke about it with my family and in the end despite being told that I'll lose my hair again I've decided to continue with the chemo, even though I will dread that day, nor I don't want to regret not having it just in case!!

If it wasn't necessary then my oncologist would have referred me to the next stage of radiography! Saying that my oncologist is glad I'm continuing the treatment and intead of having the Docetaxel treatment every 3 weeks my oncologist has recommended me having smaller doses of Paclitaxel weekly. Which I'm still dreading!

All the best.

Sami

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As others have said it is probably better to continue with docetaxol. If it's any help, I found the side effects minimal, definitely easier than FEC.

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Hello sweet girl, there is a lot of wisdom provided here, I love the baking analogy. Two thoughts. I made my chemo decision as an educated adult. Originally I acted as a toddler stamping my foot or at best a smart aleck teenager. Secondly, trying to control time frames is a lesson you will be taught with huge stress attached. It is monumental in your case. I am suggesting that you decide what is most important to you and adjust accordingly. Brainstorm and consider all options.

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How are you feeling today Tricia? x

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Still knocked out, joint pain and headaches.. I might ask for stronger pain relief for when I’m on my down days xx

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Please don’t suffer, the pain meds can make a difference xx

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Hi Tricia I really get it Chemo is hard I had 3FEC and coped ok ill for 1week then picked up a bit for the next round then I went on to Docetaxel and it really knocked me about Iwas so poorly that my Oncologist decided not to finish the course so I only had two ask your oncologist to reduce your dose they can do this and it might help.Dont worry about you hair it will grow back and the wigs from the NHS are really good I wish you luck and send you all my love cos Chemo is the pits but you will get through it .Radiotherapy is easy so you will be ok with that .I hope all goes well xxxx

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Hi Tricia

Lots of good words here. I especially liked the comment about not trying to be superwomen. You have to rest and not fight it. Its the most miserable time. I know it doesn't seem like it now, but you will get to the other side of all this. Good luck xxx

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Dear Tricia, while it’s clear you must be finding this whole process stressful and scary the treatments that are available are powerful and as such have powerful side effects physically and mentally , which the excellent onco teams know how to treat and alleviate . After 8 months of surgery , FEC , Paclitaxol , neutropenia, pneumonia,

Diarrhoea, pains aches, numb feet , nausea, insomnia, dizziness,fatigue etc I’m feeling ok ! . My Onco prof advised stopping the Taxol leaving four treatments out at the end due to severe infections but I’ll start on either radiotherapy or Latrizole soon. Life is so precious to me ,that whatever is available to help fight the cancer Ill take it with open arms . There are good days in fact there are great days and once you get a grip on fear , and the “ what ifs” things seem bearable! I wish you the very best treatment and outcomes, courage and faith . We are all on your side ! We truly know what you are going through . You will get through the hard times ! You can look at all the disadvantages of chemo of which there are many or count the good days .

Look after yourself and please accept all the treatment that is available which is offered ! It’s your decision of course but as someone who has had every side effect on the list some requiring hospital admissions , some very difficult to tolerate I’d still go for chemo every time !!

Loving thoughts to you

Denise x

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Please do not stop..yes its horrible..but when you are done you will be happy you did it. You are still in a curable phase. I know the feeling..but am now cancer free for a year. I now look back and am glad I didn't give up. Your Oncologist should be able to give you meds to make you comfortable. Prayers...

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Hi Triciapen oh you poor dear thing we all know what it feels like.....I finished my 6 chemo cycles - 3xFEC followed by 3xDocetaxol. My 2nd FEC was the worst. The pain during administration was excruciating and sure enough I developed 2 blood clots which then meant an additional daily injection for 6 months - as I fi didn’t have enough drugs between cycles! So i developed ‘mapping’ but had a pic line fitted which took away any future pain during administration. I had bad constipation, developed a new pile (!) and spent one day in tears & panicking that I would be admitted to hospital due to extreme blood loss and would bleed out (from my pile / bottom) and die on a trolley in a@e because my hospital was in Crisis at that time (extreme bed shortage).

Every chemo appt after that was a better one.

I asked Why 6 chemo treatments and why every 3 weeks and the answer was because they know it works. That cycle is tried and tested as the most efficient and effective. It is in place for good reason.

I was offered a delay one time as my liver reading was extremely high& when I asked what is the risk of continuing was advised none really with a shrug. Sure enough I continued without delay, adjusted my meds and my liver returned to normal after chemo; this highlighted to me that things happen to us during treatments, extreme stuff and we can, will and do return to normal after.

Take whatever you need from our comments, advice and experiences and yes choose your own path which will as such be an educated choice.

Wishing you very well again soon.

Much love Debster xx

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Tricia ...just seen this ...my advise would be ..do not give up ..talk to your doctor and get all the help and support you can to see this through ...you are nearly half way through ...when you are done you will start your recovery and be able to get married knowing you have done all you can to ensure a healthy happy future with your husband ...I am now nearly 2 years clear and just come back from a trip in America ...I never dreamt life could be great ..when going through treatment ...my oncologist said there are no side effects that cant be managed with help ...so ask for help ...then you will know you have given yourself the best opportunity to get rid of this horrible condition to ensure it wont come back for you and your new husband ....imagine how more special your wedding will be with all this behind you any help needed or if you need a friendly chat im always here ...take care ....lots of love Jane

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Can I add ...Radiotherapy is a breeze ...and not intrusive at all ...just inconvieniant ...you finish chemo in june ...by august you will feel well ...I went to a festival before end of rafiotherapy ...hows the cold cap? ...i lost 75 percent of hair but managed to get weaves after it,all with what I saved ...and used a vegan hair dye ...any help needed we are all here xxx

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Thank you for your advice x well done on 2 years x

I’ve lost about 25% of my hair so far.

I was debating weather to have the radiotherapy when we come back from honeymoon,it will be 5 weeks post chemo.

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I would get it all done and out of the way asap ...staff are very good at fitting you in for radiotherapy but ask what the Dr thinks you should do ..25% loss of hair is good keep going ...make sure your hair is sopping tho ...i firmly believe i would have saved more if i had wet it before.I only washed it once a week ..with simple hair products ...and brushed it once a day ..a silky scarve at nights to stop it coming out on the pillow ...I managed very well as I was very traumatised at the thought of my hair going ...but i got away with a good wig ...Annabelle's wigs online ...£25.00 ...Bandannas and after about 5 weeks I had weaves ....still got them now as i was patchy and my hair is different lengths ...I had long hair all one length before .. I went slimming world all through treatment, I was a weigh lady ...and no one guessed ...I enjoyed conning everyone ...especially when they would say my hair looked nice ...I saved just enough to do something ....that was my saving grace ...I promise ...once you get half way ...you can count down ...and the light at the end of the tunnel is there ...you will find enough strength to get there your hair will then start growing again ...and you will be mighty glad and proud that you kept going xxx

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How are you doing this week hun? Did you go to your 3rd cycle this week.? How are you feeling? X

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I had my 3rd yesterday, hoping this is a bit kinder as they’ve changed my post chemo meds x

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Hope this cycle isn’t too hard on you 💐

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Thinking about you.Hope this cycle is a little easier on you xx

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