Positives of Treatment (chemo , radiation and hormone therapy )

ChipoChipo Member Posts: 19
edited February 4 in Newly diagnosed
Hi everyone 
My dr has recommended chemo , radiation and hormone therapy for me. i am scared . i do know about the hair loss stuff hence cutting my hair tomorrow . Can anyone tell me of a positive experience. 


  • AfraserAfraser MelbourneMember Posts: 1,557
    Hi Chipo
    good that you have taken the hair in hand ( so to speak!). Being prepared helps a bit. I haven't had radiation so can't talk about that.
    I had no nausea or fatigue (or chemo brain) during chemo and worked throughout. I assumed I would be really sick and I wasn't at all. Yes, I did get a couple of other side effects, but one is probably a mixture of things not just treatment, and the other is comparatively rare. Hormone therapy can have side effects, depending on how you tolerate it but they can also vary a lot. In general terms I would say that chemo is still the best therapy we have to get rid of cancer cells, it's for a fixed period and if you can keep that in mind, and keep looking forward, it's a little bit easier even if you have unpleasant side effects. A lot of people say they find radiation easier than chemo. With hormone therapy, ask for information about the side effects of whichever therapy is recommended, and the benefits. If you have side effects, from anything, don't suffer in silence!! Take it all bit by bit and don't worry too much about what's months ahead, things may change. If you can, and it's not easy, keep as connected as possible to the good things in the world, and the things you look forward to. It's all too easy to let cancer and treatment take over your life. This isn't your life, it's just a part of it, and with any luck, it's a part you will finish and walk away from. Best wishes.
  • SoldierCrabSoldierCrab Bathurst NSW Member Posts: 2,383

    Chipo just adding to what @Afraser
    has said above. 
    keep asking questions and you can always ask in here 
    Postives of Chemo .... no shaving/ or waxing of hair, quicker in shower as no hair wash/conditioning etc  IT doesn't last forever there is normally a time frame of  chemo then rads then hormone therapy. 

    It does save us from Breast cancer in the majority of cases. 

    I cant give you any idea on hormone therapy as I didnt need it. 


  • kezmusckezmusc Member Posts: 528
    Hi @Chipo,

    Considering all the yuk things your brain conjures up at the mention of chemo, some of us get through quite ok (much to our surprise I think).

    I had 6mths chemo.  AC was a little rugged but a hell of a lot better than I thought it would be.  Occasional nausea throughout.  Heaps of energy on day 2 and 3 from the steroids.  Kept my hair with cold cap, worked, think I only took 4 days off work the whole time, did all my usual stuff and managed to renovate my dining room along the way. I found having little projects going gave me time to focus on something else other than treatment.  Worst part was the bland taste of everything and hot flushes. Luckily wine still tasted the same LOL

    Taxol was a lot easier, had minimal issues with that one.   Drove there and back mysef on this one. (Not on the AC, though) Just sensitive to sunlight and a wierd skin rash, but my skin is weird anyway.  Worst part, again hot flushes.

    Had 30 rounds of radiation.  Skin held up until about number 24 I think but recovered really quickly as soon as I finished. No fatigue.  The worst part was having to drive there everyday.  

    I took lots of photos along the way of everything we did while I was having treatment, then made a video when I was close to finishing to reflect on how much good stuff happened in amongst it.  

    For me , the hormone therapy has been the worst, we have not agreed at all.    I did take a few weeks off it and have been back on for 4 weeks.  The side effects have settled somewhat this time around.  Just needed that break to let every rebalance I think. I'll just see how it goes. 

    Just remember that the list of side effects they give you is a list of everything that can happen,  doesn't mean it will.

    Keep in touch.

  • SisterSister Adelaide Hills, SAMember Posts: 2,064
    When do you start chemo @Chipo?  Have you been given the option of cold caps?
  • ChipoChipo Member Posts: 19
    &sister l am going to see the chemo doctor on the 8th . What are cold caps ? 
  • AfraserAfraser MelbourneMember Posts: 1,557
    It's a device that chills the scalp and may prevent hair loss. I haven't used it but there is a whole thread on this site. Worth checking if your day oncology offers this option.
  • SisterSister Adelaide Hills, SAMember Posts: 2,064
    I'm going to give them a go. Apparently, you know by the second treatment if they're going to work or not.
  • MollygirlMollygirl Brisbane Member Posts: 213
    @Chipo, the positive thing I held on to was knowing I had thrown everything at this disease to prevent recurrence and metastasis. Yes it's hard doing chemo but I know you can do it cos I did. I found the halfway point I was pretty rough and depressed but I held onto the words my onc gave me at that point -" you will get through this, you will look back on this as just a chapter in your life". I trusted her 100% and clung onto those words although at the time I didn't think there was life without cancer. 
    Well, here I am getting close to one year anniversary - lumpectomy and nodes done , tick chemo done tick, mastectomies tick, going to the gym feeling stronger back to work soon. Tick tick tick!!! You can do this!!!! We've got you!!! Xxxx
  • ZoffielZoffiel Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 1,942
    @chipo Cold caps are supposed to shut down the blood flow to your scalp while you are having your chemo infusion. The technology for the high end caps is very expensive and few regional centres can afford it. There are mid range products that you can rent (or some hospitals can only afford those options) The equipment is often funded through donations or available in hospitals that have surplus funding. It is not life saving and is not federally funded.

    As kez can tell you, they certainly work for some people. But, and this is the catch, they do not work for others. No one knows why. Some chemo regimens have some good results, others do not. there are no guarantees
    Cold caps significantly increase the amount of time you spend in the chair and some people report that it is a painful experience. All that is probably worth it if you keep your hair (or in most cases,some of it)

    When the caps fail many people have real mental crash. They are invested in an idea that means they can avoid that most telling sign of being in chemo treatment, baldness, and keep what most of us highly value, our hair. Yet another disappointment which I could personally do without.

    Hey, given what you are already managing, you will cope with bald. It's a weird right of passage, but it does pass. Marg xx

  • Sunshine0206Sunshine0206 Member Posts: 134
    I did the same Chipo. Embraced bald! Big earrings!!

    each to their own. Xx
  • AfraserAfraser MelbourneMember Posts: 1,557
    Bald is a passing thing, I swear if I ever had to do it again I'm getting a sea green wig and playing it for dramatic effect! 
  • SoldierCrabSoldierCrab Bathurst NSW Member Posts: 2,383
    I embraced my bald it was so much easier in our hot summer.... with hot flushes.  :smile:
  • SisterSister Adelaide Hills, SAMember Posts: 2,064
    I will too if the cold caps don't work.  I was offered them at no extra charge so giving it a go but wouldn't go to any extra lengths to do it.  I'm more concerned about my eyebrows and eyelashes.
  • jennyssjennyss Western NSWMember Posts: 284
    Dear @Chipo ,
    I too have had chemo, radiation and hormone therapy after a lumpectomy.
    *fantastic staff at chemo unit, even more fantastic breast care nurse, 
    *this network for information,laughs and support,
    *finishing each stage of treatment,
    *support from family and friends.
    As other network members have said above, everyone is different in their reactions and experience. I found the booklet 'guide for women with early breast cancer' very helpful at the beginning. But I did not think ahead too much. It was good to have the info when I needed it. Write down your questions for your doctors, clinic staff and breast care nurse. Do not worry or suffer in silence!
    Best wishes from jennyss in Western NSW
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