About to start chemo &herceptin

Jk48au's picture
Posted by Jk48au in HER2+, on 16 Dec 2012, 04:56PM

I was diagnosed with early breast cancer in early November 2012 and the pathology report said I was HER2 positive and hormone positive. My mastectomy removed all the tumour and my surgeon said I was now cancer free. However because of these dangerous factors I am now about to begin my chemo and herceptin courses next week.... A week before Christmas. I am afraid of the unknown, and although I have read a lot about it all, I will not know how I am going to react to this treatment, until I have it. Do you get sick immediately afterwards, or sometime later? Just a bit anxious ....

Comments

Simone S's picture

Hi...I was diagnosed in May 2012 and I too am triple positive (HER 2, ER, PR) and commenced chemo 2 weeks after my mastectomy. Do you know what kind of chemo you are having yet? I can only tell you my story...and I feel I was very lucky when it came to the chemo rollercoaster. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be (no walk in the park though LOL!) I had Taxotere, Cyclo(something) and Herceptin together every 3 weeks.

I found that the day of chemo and the day after I felt OK...just a bit tired. Once I finshed the anti-nausea meds I would start to feel unwell (usually day 3), along with tired and achy. I never threw up though! By day 5 I was starting to feel better and was able to get out. By day 7 the feeling of being unwell was gone...just the fatigue and other side effects remained (ie. loss of taste buds, weak nails, hair loss etc).

Some other important things to remember which helped me:

- Take your temperature if you feel the slightest bit hot/unwell and if it is up go and seek medical attention straight away.

- Brush your teeth after each meal/snack (i felt snacking eased the nausea) and rinse your mouth with warm salt water or alcohol free mouth wash.

Everyone reacts differently...but I wish you the best! If you have any further queries or questions, feel free to Private Message me.

Chemo

Jk48au's picture

Hi Simone,
Thank you for your quick reply, I really appreciate it. I will be having Docetaxel Cyclophosphamide every 3 weeks for four times along with the herceptin. Then continue the herceptin for another 13 times. I suppose the fear of the unknown is worse than actually experiencing it, but your message has given me more of an insight into the time frame it could be. I just hope I am not too unwell with it, but, what will be will be I suppose. Will keep you posted on my progress, thanks again

Jill

Chemo

LouiseTurner's picture

Hey there....I had 4 x AC 3 weekly followed by 12 weekly taxol of which I'm up to session 6. With AC I felt the impact within a few hours and threw up the evening of the session. I was totally out of action for 10 days in terms of feeling really tired, metal mouth, ulcers, watery eyes...generally very delicate. Then after day 10 I was great, like magic. Except for the ongoing taste, hair etc. my dose was reduced each time which eased the side effects.

Now on taxol it feels like nothing much is happening except for the original allergic reaction. Just experiencing a bit of tiredness at this point and suspect something may be going on with my fingernails. Much easier, but I actually do feel like I have chemo brain, can't string sentences together too well sometimes. No eyebrows or lashes.

Like you I researched what might happen to me, but you just have to go with it and see how you fair. I was terrified especially the first time. Then when I started I just went with it.

Good luck, I hope you have a nice Xmas and are not too affected, let your loved ones too look after you.

Louie

Jennt28's picture

Make sure you get all of the anti nausea meds that you should and ask what you should do and who to contact if you need more. This is really important because you should not have to put up with nausea. And, take the meds as they direct you to and this should keep nausea away to start with.

Chemo

Jk48au's picture

Thank you all so much for your imput.....today is the day have slept well, with the aid of anti anxiety/sleeping tablet the doctor gave me. Will take anti nausea soon and continue for 6 days as instructed. I will also ask for more in case they are needed after those doses.
As all this is going on between Christmas and new year, I will make a note on who to contact if I find it all goes pear shaped.
Christmas will be a quiet morning at our sons with his young family, no heaps of food and drink for me this year I am thinking.
Really appreciate all your helpful comments

Regards. Jill

Chemo

Jk48au's picture

Thank you all so much for your imput.....today is the day have slept well, with the aid of anti anxiety/sleeping tablet the doctor gave me. Will take anti nausea soon and continue for 6 days as instructed. I will also ask for more in case they are needed after those doses. As all this is going on between Christmas and new year, I will make a note on who to contact if I find it all goes pear shaped. Christmas will be a quiet morning at our sons with his young family, no heaps of food and drink for me this year I am thinking. Really appreciate all your helpful comments Regards. Jill

Jk48au's picture

Sorry but that last message came up twice can't seem to delete it

X jill

One down 3 to go

Jk48au's picture

Well my first treatment went well, although the path report on my total body bone scan had a few question marks of things that might be a problem. I have also got what appears as spots on my liver and a possible cyst in my left kidney. None marked as mesastic cancer though. My oncologist told me if they react to the treatment it means they have cancer cells but he feels they will not change, which will be good.
After treatment which was given very slowly, I began to feel tired and a bit of an headache, but no other side effects, and much the same this morning. They tell me I might start to feel effects over next few days but I have contact details if I need them, and medications. I am determined I will enjoy Christmas in some way even if it isn't the usual all day celebrations . Thanks to all who have given me advice and MERRY CHRISTMAS to you all

Bye now Jill

Simone S's picture

I hope yesterday went OK and that you have not suffered too many crazy side effects! Good luck with everything and try to enjoy your "low key" Christmas...hopefully by next Tuesday you will be feeling better!

Simone

Hi Jill

LouiseTurner's picture

Good news that you don't feel too bad straight up....have a great Xmas, Louie

Thank you

Jk48au's picture

Thanks for the well wishes Simone and Louise now day two after chemo and still tired and headaches but a little better than yesterday. I am making sure I rinse my mouth out with carb soda and salt, decided not to go with the expensive option from Peter mac hospital which is the same ingredients with some colouring. My headaches are still persisting but manageable at the moment. Just hoping things stay this way so I can have a chance to enjoy my low key Christmas.
I really appreciate all the lovely feedback and encouragement
MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE

Headaches

LouiseTurner's picture

Hi, you've mentioned headaches a few times so thought I'd tell you my experience. I was taking anti nausea meds after the chemo session as suggested, and had a strange headache and was jittery like I had caffeine in my veins. I mentioned this too the onc who took me off Pramin. I never got that feeling again. I hope you find that it's as simple as that for you, coz a headache on top of all the rest is just annoying and probably preventable.

Merry Christmas
Louise

Headaches

Jk48au's picture

Hi Louise

My headaches are still there but mor low key, but I am on Pariet for my stomach and have got pramin in case of nausea but not needed as yet. Also have Kytril for bad nausea which again has not been needed...so far. What I am on though is a steroid called Dexmethsone which I have to take 2 tabs morning and night for 6 days which ends this Sunday. Has anyone had these? I was told they will cause constipation and have to take laxatives etc but I am thinking they may be helping to keep me feeling reasonable as he said they will hype me up and he gave me Ativan to help me sleep. I have to admit I feel like a walking chemist shop!!! I will see how I am today and if the headache still bothers me I will give them a ring. Thank you so much

Bye
Jill

White cell count

Jk48au's picture

Well I got Christmas over, saw the grand kids etc but a very quiet day to what I would consider a normal Christmas
Boxing Day I woke up feeling like a truck had hit me I was aching everywhere. My temperature was 37.3 and I had no energy to even get out of bed. I kept a track of my temps and they were edging up each time, and at 3pm it was 38.2 !!!! My husband said ok, this is it you are going to hospital. The emergency ward was reasonably busy, I wore a mask to protect myself, but as soon as the triage nurse heard my temp and how I felt we were taken inside immediately. There I had a chest X-ray and bloods taken etc and they hooked me up to a drip, then the blood results came back.....I had NIL white cells in my blood, which the doctor pointed out to me was very dangerous. I was put into a room that was cleaned especially for me and there I stayed for the night until I was transferred to a private hospital the following morning. Even that room had been especially cleaned for me. I was kept on IV all the time with antibiotics and other drugs fed through as well, until the white cells came up to .554 yesterday and I was allowed home.
What I would like to know, has anyone else had this problem with their first chemo ? My oncologist said it is not usual for it to happen the first time, but will give me an injection the day after my next session to help protect the white cells. Has anyone had these and did they work? I still have to stay isolated and take oral antibiotics right up to my next lot on 8th January .......I am so glad to be home again

Regards
Jill

Chemo reaction

Jk48au's picture

Hi everyone, had my second chemo on Tuesday, Doxataxel and herceptin -- all went well until yesterday when I woke up with a hot flushed face. Rang the chemo unit and they told me it sounded like a reaction o the chemo. I had to go in later and have a jab to boost my white cells, so was checked over and ended up having IV injection of something to help the redness, puffiness and rash, along with the jab I was getting for the blood cells.
Feeling a bit better today, but still a bit flushed with slight rash and peeling skin between my fingers. Has anyone else had similar??? What helped you? Been rubbing vitamin cream onto hands etc, any other tips?

Regards
Jill

Hi Jill

LouiseTurner's picture

Wow you are having a time of it. Sounds like you are being overdosed. I've had some nasty side effects but fortunately not had the trip to hospital. I did have an allergic reaction while having the taxol which scary, but I'm told is not rare. My oncologist was not happy with the side effects I was having and reduced the dose each time. She actually said that the standard dose based on weight, age etc is only right 60% of the time and they adjust based on our reactions. That made sense to me, but it took till the last AC to get it right which was a bugger. I'm not sure what regime you're on, but I'm getting peeling on my fingers and toes too. I use a cuticle oil on my nails and finger tips which conditions them. I also use moo goo to moisturise, and goat soap to wash and all over with baby oil while in the shower after washing. My skin just soaks it up. It seems to help stop drying out. I had a couple of rashes appear, very itchy, and went to the pharmacy who ave me a cream, not sure if it really helped, but kept moisturised and also to anti histamine to decrease the redness in case it was an allergy. Know one could actually tell me why it had happened. I hope this helps a bit, good luck and I hope you go better in te future Louie

Chemo reaction

Jk48au's picture

Hi Louise

Yes this past month has been pretty harrowing, the oncologist is loath to decrease the dose as he wants to get it into me and 'knock it on the head' I only have two more doses to go, so I am halfway there. Then the herceptin will continue along with Armidex. Not sure what side effects I will get with that but have been told it ill make my joints ache.
Thanks for your tips on moisturing, I have been using vitamin E cream, in between my fingers are peeling and I noticed some peeling on my legs too. I saw at the chemo clinic that they recommend moo goo, so might look into buying some. I have been using sorbolene in the shower, and like you, it soaks it in. The cuticle oil sounds a good idea, I have them painted black with a dark blue over the top as I hate seeing black on my nails. The rash I had yesterday was not itchy, but puffed my face and around my eyes, and my palms were bright red. They gave me a couple of injections through my port, then Phenergan as well. I have so many drugs in me I can't believe I can function at all(lol)
Thank you once again , I really appreciate it

X Jill

Finished chemo!!!! Great!!

Jk48au's picture

Hi all, finally finished my taxol and herceptin combined doses and have had two out of 13 herceptin three weekly treatments. What a relief to feel almost normal again. Have been going well, up until today, and I feel very tired, and my eyes are bleary and heavy. Have I pushed myself too much do you think? I have been slowly getting into housework although not heavy things like vacuuming etc. I minded my almost two year old grand daughter on Wednesday but I rested when she did.
What is worrying me most is my eyes, they get bleary and at times my left one seems to be looking through a fog. I know chemo can have some effects, has others here had similar?
Interested to hear from others that hav been down this track

Regards
Jill


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