Very nervous, starting Chemo Wednesday, May 4th

Hi all! Wishing you all a beautiful day! I had surgery to remove lymph nodes & had a kidney biopsy this past week. Doctor seemed positive after the lymph node surgery & she is going to stage my Ovarian Cancer from that. I have an appt. with her Tuesday to discuss my results & then she has me starting chemo (taxol/carboplatin) Wednesday morning. As a lot of you likely understand, I'm very frightened. I am trying to stay positive because I do believe this was caught very early & I know chemo effects everyone differently. I have a few questions. How did you feel the day of the treatment? After treatment but the same day, were you tired or didn't feel well?  Do they give you steroids during treatment or afterwards? Do you have trouble sleeping?  I would also like to know of anyone's experience with neuropathy. My doc said that's a common side effect. I had a friend tell me that the bottom of her feet would get really red like sunburned & peel. Did or does anyone experience that? 

I do not drink alcohol much at all, only socially and when I do it's a glass of wine or a margarita & for me, it's not even every month or 2. Should I avoid alcohol while taking chemo? 

Thank you so much in advance for your insight & for sharing if you so choose. Best wishes to you all! xxxx


23 Replies

  • Hi Andrea,

    welcome to the site. Firtsly, you will find you can share anything with us you ups and downs, fears and joys. I had Taxol/Carbo, yes I got steroids and I have to tell you everyone reacts to the chemo slightly differently. I found the chemo triring for a few days especially days 3/4. My feet were fine in terms of no blisters or peeling, I would take extra special car of them though. I did have nueropathy but it did eventually go away. Comfy shoes are essential I made the mistake of going out in heels after my first session and I think that was a mistake (for me anyway). I could sleep perfectly fine throughout but steriods do have a tendancy of keeping people awake. I asked my Onc about drinking wine and he didn't have a problem as long as it was excessive so I don't think there is any harm in the odd glass if you feel like it.

    Hope that helps if you have any specific questions please feel free to ask, the ladies on here are amazing, generous, kind and thoughtful.

    Wishing you all the best


  • Hi Andrea we've all felt very nervous starting any treatment, but when you get your first treatment over you will feel better about things as you know what to expect, I felt fine after the day, yes they give you steroids and anti sickness just before you have your carbo/taxol, then you will be given anti sickness for a few days afterwards, take them whether you feel sick or not they do work, I only had slight numbness in my hands and feet but yes get comfy shoes. I slept fine but then I do like my sleep!! Day 3 to about day 6 I didn't feel too great but those day were duvet days watching films reading etc just resting when I could, you will get into a routine and know how you will react to chemo. Good luck and best wishes let us know how you are doing we are all here to offer any tips and support



  • Hey Andrea, 

    I echo everything Trish and Karen have said! Once you start you will find you are a lot less anxious and you get into your own routine and will be able to plan the rest of the sessions accordingly! I found that the first week you are very groggy and have a kind of sense of being out of your body so take it easy that week! 

    My biggest tip is to drink loads of water it really helps especially the day before the day of your treatment and for a few days afterwards! 

    It's a long day in the hospital so bring amusement with you I had downloaded movies on my ipad and also brought a book! You will find that you will get talking to other patients too but it's as well to have stuff to keep you occupied all the same! 

    Steroids did have an impact on my sleep but again you develop your own pattern and will get to know what works for you! 

    All the very best with your treatment! It's a hard few months but you will come out the other side and to be honest I am a better person for it eventhough I wish I could have learned what I learned a different way!!!😁

    Onwards and Upwards!! 


  • Thank you all for the helpful tips and advice!! Especially glad to know I need to drink lots of water. I'm not good at that but I'm getting better & will definitely do it now. Yes, I will be glad once the 1st one is over & I will get in my own routine type thing. Thank you all again very much!! Great tips!! Best to all!! xx


  • Hi Andrea

    Not much to add to all the good advice you've all ready been given.

    But just to say that after my second lot of chemo I found that lots of food I usually liked to eat tasted awful, I ended up eating a lot more biscuits and sweet food! Not my usual tasty salads and Vegtables.

    All the best to you in the coming months


  • Is there a dietician involved in chemo patients' care? It may help to talk to one. She/he may help you make choices about what you might drink or eat, keeping your needs and likes in mind.

    I found I could only eat baked potatoes and rice pudding, not together, of course. I haven't had either since  chemo ended August of 2014. I may never again. 

    As for drinks, I usually like cold filtered water, but that sounded unappealing. So I drank Gatorade, but only Mango! Whatever works. 

  • You have some great advice here Andrea...I would just say again that everyone is different take it very gently and ' nurse' yourself through it. It is cumulative but this means that you begin to understand how your body reacts and can sometimes seek help before a side effect gets too bad. I had a lot of pain on my third cycle (on the day when my GP had a training day and was closed!) but a nurse came on a motorcycle with heavy duty painkillers. I thought I would need them for every cycle after that but the pain never returned! So it is a bit of a magical mystery tour... But when they tell you 'if in doubt ring the emergency number' they mean it!!

    Best of luck. Lyndall

  • Hi Andrea, 

    Some great advice here. Although we are all different, most of us experience constipation - after your first infusion you'll know how it affects you. If you do have this problem, I would recommend taking all the meds they offer (having previously been very anti-medication ), drinking lots of fluids and eating stuff you know will make you 'go', starting from the day before treatment til day 4. Oily, tomato based foods help me and taking  a high fibre, but delicious picnic into the treatment centre on chemo day helped too.

    You'll cope fine - without exception I've found us ladies with OC  are a very stoic bunch. Chemo for the vast majority is unpleasant but very doable.  It feels very strange when you're sat with the drip in, feeling fine, that this colourless, innocuous looking fluid could be so toxic and powerful. 

    Hope all goes well on Wednesday. 

    Sandra X x

  • Hi Andrea,

    I've just had number 3 or 6 post op chemotherapy sessions.

    I had Taxol & Carboplatin for the first, but then just Carboplatin - I had a reaction to Taxol on the 2nd, so was taken off it. This can happen, but the nurses are fantastic & know exactly what to do.

    Take note of what you shouldn't eat or drink - no unpasteurised cheese / bio-yogurt (including Actimal or Yakult / Swiss cheese also tends to be unpasteurised), no raw eggs etc etc. There are lists on the internet in case you don't get one from your nurse -  it can take a bit if getting used to, but you don't want an upset stomach. And avoid anybody with any gastro illnesses.

    Re post chemo - I have found a pattern for me - Feel fine on the day of the treatment (steroids & anti sickness given during chemo). steroid energy first day after chemo. Oh and bright red face - that was a bit of a shock, but it goes by day 2. Feel queasy from day one - so take the anti sickness regularly - I tend to need them for 3 to 4 days after chemotherapy. The Taxol can make you feel a bit like you've got flu (but without the head cold) - I found paracetamol & Ibuprofen helped (I don't need them with just Carboplatin). 

    The first weekend after chemotherapy I stay in bed - just get tired very easily & just don't feel right (breathless, but once you realise it's the drugs, it's easier to handle). The 2nd week I do very little, but feel much better & the 3rd week I'm ok.

    Yes, drink lots of water - especially a few days up to chemo - it will make the administration of the drugs easier. Eat what you feel like eating - especially the first week, but don't beat yourself up if you don't want to eat very much - my appetite comes back in week 2. When you can eat, try to eat lots of fruit & veg to keep your white blood count up & ward off any infections. (I also take a vitamin D3 supplement). You may find that your bowel goes to sleep for a couple of days (I think that's the anti sickness) - but it wakes up again - some take movicol, or other laxatives. I tend to eat pears & pineapple and wait ..... 

    I haven't had any problems with neuropathy and apart from the night after taking steroids, I sleep well.

    This all sounds a bit grim - it's not as bad as you will be thinking - it's doable & you need to just think that the chemo drugs are doing their thing - making you better. Go with the flow & rest when you need to.

    Val x

  • I can't add anymore than the brill advice given.  I was very nervous the first session.  I found the chemo units quite upbeat and as the nurses are very busy the place was almost buzzing.  I was expecting doom and gloom.  I have three more cycles after surgery and can't wait for them to start as I will be on my last lap. Good luck and take care.   Tracey x

  • Hi Andrea, 

    On the day of my first chemo I remember being so nervous. The other people who were there made me feel at ease with talking and even a bit of laughing. I took steroids 12hrs and 6hrs before my appointment. 

    It seamt ages waiting for my treatment as they mix it up once you have got there so don't panic and think they have forgot you. 

    As soon as the treatment started I actually thought this is the start of the fight and I felt relief that I was finally fighting back. 

    It is a long time. My carbo taxol takes about 5 hrs so take things to read or listen to music with your headphones, colouring, puzzles anything. You may not need them but just incase. In the room I had a tv so that was good. There were 5 other chairs which regularly had a change of different people in to talk to. 

    Taking things to eat too is essential. Although most hospitals have a cafe where you can get sandwiches. Drinking facilities were complimentary so try and drink as much as you can too. 

    During my taxol I got a cramping pain in my hand, and still do for some reason, but it is soon eased with warm wheat bags. If you get it don't hesitate to ask for help. Anything that feels different just mention it.

    When I finished I didn't feel any different at all. I was given anti sickness tablets to take home and was on my way. Steroids to take again the night before chemo 2. I went home and carried on as normal. 

    The next day I remember feeling tired than normal but slept fine. 

    The next few days I was fatigued more but no neuropathy, sickness anything.

    I did get a water infection on about day 5 which meant a visit back to the hospital for pain killers and antibiotics but haven't had it since. 

    Constipation was a problem the following week so keep an eye on your bowel habits as others have said. I continue to struggle so if you can get to grips with it early days it should help. 

    Sleeping wise it became disturbed, waking up several times but I just lay there and kept my eyes closed until I slept again. Everyone has their own method I'm sure.

    My hair started to come out around day 14 so make sure you are prepared for this. A headscarves at the ready. I then decided to shave my hair grade 2 as it was quite long and getting on my clothes everywhere, but you will know whats best for you. 

    My oncologist said that the side effects would pretty much be the same after my next chemo so don't worry you are going to get everything on the side effects list. 

    All I will say is that the tiredness for me lasted longer after each treatment. I did start with numbness in my fingers and feet but no sores or peeling. My eating habits have changed as foods I liked before don't taste the same and I don't eat half as much as I used to. You may find your weight drops quite a bit. 

    Everyone is different but don't feel nervous all these things are copable . Look how many are going through the same thing and have done before. 

    I'm waiting for my operation now after having 4 chemos and when I think Iv actually done 4 already it's like how did I get here?

    But as others have said you just get through it. Of course you have times where you want to shout, cry whatever and its best to let those emotions out. If your tired rest, try not to worry, just do what your body tells you. 

    Good luck for your 1st chemo. 

    Mandy. Xxx

  • Ah yes, the 'blues' - I get that, but doesn't last long - I have a little cry & it's gone by morning. 

    I also get the hot flushes during the first week, but they stop for the 2nd week.

    I put Epsom salts in my bath for the aches - it also softens the skin, which is a bonus.

    V x

  • Hi Andrea, 

    Other people have already given you lots of tips so there is not much for me to add. I had steroids on the day then for 3 days afterwards and they seemed to give me artificial energy, which meant I could do normal activities on days 2 and 3 of each chemo cycle. By day 4 energy was greatly decreased and fatigue would kick in for the next few days. After cycle 3 I developed peripheral neuropathy in my feet so my oncologist decided not to increase the dose of Taxol as originally intended. I think this was the right decision as the neuropathy has not got any worse, but it is important to tell your team about that or any other symptoms you expw

  • Sorry Andrea,

    My reply seems to have been submitted before I finished writing it somehow! It should have said or any other symptoms you experience. I also like many other ladies found constipation was a problem the week after each chemo and was prescribed a stool softener called Docusate Sodium sold as Dioctyl 100 mg capsules which greatly helped.

    I am sure you will soon get into the chemo routine and will discover how you personally react because we are all different.

    Best wishes for first chemo on Wed and for the rest of your treatment,


  • Wow! You ladies are amazing! You give me strength, confidence, great advice & invaluable support as I start my chemo this week. Thank you all so much!!  I have another question. Are you more sensitive to the sun during chemo? Did your doctor tell you to try to avoid the sun for several hours at a time or just use extra high SPF sunblock? Thank you all again & best wishes to you all!!  Xxxx


  • Hello Andrea

    All the other ladies have given great advice.  I just wanted to add keep your hands warm on the day of chemo so that they can fit the cannula easily and drink water for the same reason.  Avoid taking antioxidant supplements as they can affect the way the chemo works, also green tea and turmeric which you should avoid over the course of treatment but take well after they end if you like.  Eat a good diet if you can and avocado is a good way of encouraging the bowels.   You will find the nurses are very kind and professional, they are all very well trained.  Definitely take in some snacks, a good book or some headphone music and it is nice to have a good friend with you.  All the best, I will be thinking about you on Wednesday .  Sophia x

  • I just want to wish you the best Andrea . I think the other ladies have covered everything. As most of them said it is very doable. For some reason I became very up beat during my treatment. I think it was that finally something was being done to attack this monster. I never lost my appetite . As for the glass of wine on the day I was being told about my treatment I was told to continue to live a normal life and go to the  pub if I wanted to. I asked what was the point if I couldnt have a drink and they said who said you couldn't ! I just told them they had just made my day ! It was not that  I go to the pub every day but I do like the odd glass of wine and thinking I would be banned from it for 6 months was quite depressing. As someone said go ahead but everything in moderation. .

    I did feel tired but not excessively so. The neuropathy wasn't bad either and did go when I finished treatment . Usually chemo wards are bright and cheerful and you can catch up on your reading . I wish I had my IPad 5 years ago as I am a Word game addict now. Also it would have helped me so much if I had known about this site which has been invaluable to me. So best foot forward Andrea. You can do it and everyone here is rooting for you. Nothing like getting wise words from the horses mouths ! 


  • Absolutely MollyO! So encouraging. I'm keeping a positive attitude. The opposite won't do me any good. Like I told my co-worker today, I'm going into this chin up, gloves on!! Thank you ALL so much for your words of kindness & encouragement!!

    In it to win it!!!!    xxx


  • Hi Andrea.......I want to wish you a smooth journey through your chemo. 

    I think the lovely ladies have covered everything.  The only thing I wish I had paid more attention to would have been to go to the dentist before I started my 18 weeks of chemo...carbo/taxol.  I was due to have my teeth cleaned.  I go every 6 months, and my appointment was scheduled for just after I started chemo.  I asked about it, as I didn't want to go if it was contraindicated........well, it was, so I had to wait another 4 months.  The coffee stains were quite noticeable on my bottom teeth by the time I went for my cleaning.  I think I was more embarrassed by that than my bald head!   Anyway, that's the only thing I can think to add. 

    You will be in my thoughts and prayers.  Be'll come out the other end with friends and experiences you never expected.            Hugs......Judy

  • All good advice above. All I would add is keep a diary particularly at first. I used to take my temperature,jot down how I felt,what I had to eat etc. It can be useful to see a pattern in our own chemo journey. You think you will remember but once 'chemo brain ' kicks in I found I got a little forgetful! Wishing you well x

  • Good luck, it will all seem more real on Wed however you will be looked after brilliantly im sure. Lots of good advice already for you. I was told to wear at least factor 30 in the sun, i love sitting out so have factor 50 and put it on under moisturuser if sunny. 

    Keep a journal , chemo infusion day is Day 1 so you can track side effects and temperatures plus bowel movements etc. Essential for your next mtg with your Oncologist. 

    I am o  steroids day 2 &3 but get no energy rysh, do get red face, neck and chest. I start to feel off on day 2 and get nauseous on day 4 and 5. I had my sickness meds changed this time but was still sick so shall definitely raise that. I get tingly & numb thumbs/fingers which neant that the Taxol was reduced by 20%, as Im still having tgat I doubt if it will go back up. 

    Week 2 I tend to get my appetite back and eat, need to be careful as you are prone to infections etc this week. Week 3 build up strength, more energy - great. Thats when I can drink tea again!

    Hair started dropping exactly on day 14 so it was clippered to a grade 2 on day 17. So much better. Now its falling again but its less than half an inch so not as notuceable.

    Epsom salt baths or footbaths(20mins) help and tell your Oncologist of ALL your side effects.

    Let us know how you get on x


  • Thank you all so much for your responses! They are so helpful and encouraging! Clare, I love sitting out too but will definitely use factor 50.  :) Thanks for the info too, Clare, on how to count the days. Day 1 is the day of chemo instead of Day 1 being the following day.  Great advice from all.  I definitely want to start tracking what I eat, bathroom regularities or irregularities (UGH), etc.  ;)  You all are a wonderful encouragement!! Can't thank you enough! Very best wishes to you all!!  xxxx


    PS. OH MY WORD, chemo brain!!! I feel like I already have it and haven't had the first bit of chemo yet!!! YIKES!!  Someone did describe it to me though. 

  • Andrea, thinking of you today.  Soon have your number 1 badge! Hubby and I wear a badge each time and for the next three weeks !

    Take care and let us know how you get on

    Clare X 

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