Chemo or not?

I've noticed from reading through that some of you have had chemo others have opted out. Can I ask what inspired your decision please.

My hubby wants me to have the chemo, as recommended by my consultant, in case there are any stray cells from the op's, I don't want to lose my hair, will I be a ticking time bomb without it or will the assault on my body be worth it?

Thanks

LA

12 Replies

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  • Hi LA,

    I personally would go with the advice of your consultant every time, he is afterall there to save your life...chemo is expensive and he wouldn't offer it if he didn't think it was needed. Having been there twice and lost my hair twice, I can say losing your hair is not as bad as you think...if I had refused chemo the first time around I would have always thought it was my fault when OC returned... but I feel I gave it the best shot..it came back anyway..but losing your hair is a small price to pay for your life... so in my book not a consideration...my family loves me with hair or no hair...but your decision your life...love and best wishes x G x

  • What's it like? Is it really horrible? Will it be intravenous? Can I drink alcohol? My husband wants me to do it but I feel exhausted.

    LA

  • I would agree with Gwyn. I had borderline OC nearly ten years ago, and wasn't advised to have chemo. I spent about four years thinking it was bound to come back, and, although I know chemo is no doddle, it gives you the best chance. There's lots of advice about coping with chemo on here, so I hope it will be helpful.

    Love Wendy xx

  • Hi Lily Ann,

    I know how you are feeling I had my 5th chemo session last Thursday and yesterday I was so bad I could not walk up stairs without my husband helping me. I was in a great deal of pain all over my body. I just kept telling myself the chemo is killing any remaining cancer cells in my body but on the way it tends to attack good cells as well.

    The pain only last a couple of days I was fine after the first three chemos I carried on working and it had no real affect on me. It was not until I had number four that It started to make me feel bad.

    Re having a drink they say don't drink for a week after chemo, I too enjoy a drink but I cant say I miss it for a week each time. The chemo is administered through a vein in your arm it does not hurt when it goes in I just found my arm got a bit cold as the liquid is kept in the fridge until its needed.

    At the moment I am bald its not a problem I have 2 very nice wigs and lots of hats. I find without a wig or a hat my head is cold. I would do anything to stay alive and if it means chemo then bring it on.

    Your husband wants you to have chemo because he does not want to loose you but its us that have to go through it and its no fun but I would opt for chemo every time if it means I can spend more time with my family and friends.

    Do let us know what you decide. I hope this has been of some help to you

    Wishing you well Love Babs x x

  • Hi Babs, I didn't know you were feeling bad after the last chemo session. Hope you're up and about again now. xxxx love Annie

  • Hi darling,

    No one can really bully you into anything either way, this must be your decision however, if your oncologist has adviced you to have chemo then I would go with that advice.

    My brother chose not to and he died.

    I chose to go forth with it and am still standing, either way its a lottory but please don`t turn it away for the loss of your hair.

    I shaved my own hair off - that was my way of telling the cancer it was my choice rather than it robbing me of dignity. I had three fabulous wigs and no one could tell they were wigs. I even had a couple of people ask me who cut my hair or who highlighted it. One lady even borrowed my wig to take to the salon in order to get the sdame colour and cut. Once the chemo is ended its amazing how quickly your hair grows. Mine was back to its normal style (jaw length bod) after about a year from when the chemo finished. in the mean time I used this as an opurtunity to try new colours and styles, it turned out to be quite a positve adventure. I tried things with my looks I would have never have dared to do before. I am also a hairdresser and some folk wopuld say it must be worse for me because of my profession. But trust me its a mind over matter thing, it wasn`t as bad as I`d ever imagine in a million years.

    Hope this helps inspires you sweet lady

    Love from tina

  • Dear Lily- Anne,

    I was told back in this year that my Ovarian mass that was removed last Christmas was indeed stage 1C cancer ..a very rare and agressive cancer . During my op the mass had ruptured with the fluid spilling out into my body cavitiy and while they did a body wash they could not be sure they had all the cells out . So I was where you are now if you like ....

    I turned round and said to the consultant after he had given us the news . Will I need to have chemo and he said yes to be sure as they could be that they had got it all with the chemo too .

    Not for a moment did I hesitate ..not once ... I started in Feb and finished at the end of May and my hair started growing again in July ..its doing very well ..... My scan and bloods were all ok and my Oncologist does not want to see me till March .

    Most of us have good days and bad days when having chemo but you must listen to your body and rest when you do not feel so good .

    I use to drink lots of water through out my treatment which is important and eat well . There were days when I did not want a lot to eat but that soon passed .

    I do not regret for one moment in having the chemo as now I am going forward and staying very positive .

    I do get tired but thats to be expected as I had my op last year and then the Chemo in Feb and I am doing more again now .

    Thinking about you Lily-Anne xxxx

    Take good care now and let us know how you are xxx

    Love Jan xxx

  • Dear Lily-Anne

    I can't say I was inspired to have chemotherapy. I didn't consider not having it as life is good and I hadn't planned on departing for a few years yet. I know chemotherapy will prolong my life and whilst that outweighs the side-effects I'll continue to have it.

    At the end of the day the decision is yours. My sister has had various cancers and has a phobia about hospitals. She just couldn't bear to have chemotherapy so the hospital arranged for her to do a course with psychotherapy and this has worked well for her.

    Carbo-platin and Taxol is the Gold Standard for Ovarian Cancer but you could opt for Carbo-Platin alone and then you won't lose your hair. It has less side effects and takes less time to administer. The only thing to bear in mind in making such a decision is that you can't have any regrets afterwards. I had carbo-platin only - not out of choice - and I was lucky it worked well for me. I certainly didn't get any joint pain or neuropathy which is generally associated with Taxol.

    The idea of chemotherapy is much worse than actually having it. That's probably because none of us have any exposure to a chemotherapy day unit so it seems frightening. I found the staff incredibly kind. They allocated over an hour to me on my first visit in order to explain everything and reassure me. They put my hand in a container of warm water to bring the veins to the surface. Inserting a sharp wasn't painful in the least as they are very experienced. They do it all day. They then bring along a bag with the chemotherapy in it which is hooked up to a stand. The nurse will programme the pump to administer the chemotherapy at the right dose and timing for you. All you need to do is to take in some reading materials or an I-Pad to keep amused. It's a bit boring really - far from frightening.

    Hope all the comments help you come to a decision.

    wishing you all the best. xxx Annie

  • Hi Annie,

    Your explanation of chemo is so spot on. You have explained it so well I did not realise Carbo-platin and Taxol are the Gold Standard I am on those two so I feel good now knowing I'm getting a Gold Standard Drug.

    I was quite unwell on Monday due to the chemo but today I feel a lot better I'm going to my daughters this afternoon to spend some time with my grandchildren. Its nice to get out the house for a few hours as I'm still off work as its only four weeks since my operation. I will be glad when I can start driving again its strange not being able to just jump in the car and go somewhere, I have to rely on lifts from my family.

    Lots of Love Babs x x

  • Hi Lily Anne!

    I would go with the recommendation of the consultant. It is not pleasant but I did not find it as awful as I was expecting. The main effects for me were tiredness for about a week after each cycle. Loss of taste buds and a nasty taste in my mouth when I ate some things. I was slightly sick after the first cyclem and got constipated by my lovely community nurse came out and administered assistance and after that I have used movicol to regulate things. I certainly felt that the depiction of cancer treatment in some soaps was exagerated in the extreme. I lost my hair in the first lot of chemo (all of it all over my body). I was given a wig but hated it and I just went with the "flamboyant" look with loads of scarves and turbans and looked quite exotic. My hair grew back quite quickly after I finished chemo and I did not lose it the second time around!

    I am now in my second phase of remission and feel very well.

    You will need some support in the week after chemo, my daughter and my sister were there for me but your hubby sounds as if he will be there for you. You will need someone with you when you are getting the chemo to distract you with chat, help you to get to the loo and fetch something edible from the hospital shop as, in most hospitals, if they supply food it will be barely edible!

    My daughter gave me an ipad so I spent the time playing patience and listening to my music.

    Hope that this helps!

    Margaret!

  • Hi there, Lily-Anne,

    I would go for the chemo after an operation. In one of the letters of one of the best clinics of the USA, the Mayo clinic, they advise chemo after the operation as a mopping up exercise.

    I wish I was offered this option. I wasn't and I cannot help thinking that perhaps I would have had a longer remission if I had had chemo after my operation.

    I wouldn't worry any more about losing my hair. With two silken turbans in lovely colours my looks improved....

    Good luck with whatever decision you may take

    Big hugs and all good wishes,

    Niobe

  • Thanks everyone for taking the time to reply, I supppose because my biopsy from the second op and biopsies from the bowel and colon came back that it hadn't spread, that I have a false sense of security. I'm disappointed that I had my cervix removed, yet when I read on here about the struggle some of you are facing it makes me feel selfish for being blaise.

    Hubby is determined that I will have it, if I'm honest I still don't know, I guess my consultant will lecture me again about not taking any chances and in his experience etc, I do trust him but I just feel as if I'm so out of control of everything and I hate that feeling.

    Plus I have a stroppy 14 year old who is living with her Dad 70 miles away and has latched on to a friend;s mum and I hate it, I'm not keen on the woman at the best of times and her Dad thinks I'm over reating. My son has lectured me on chemo, but I do wonder if I'm strong enough for this, at the moment I'm tired, bruised and my iron levels are low. I'm weepy and having hot flushes, plus I've got mouth ulcers, see a total wreck!

    Please do keep posting it makes me feel lots better

    LA xx

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