• Fear with having chemotherapy

    Asked by Neenersmama on Sunday, December 9, 2018

    Fear with having chemotherapy

    What's everybody's chemotherapy experience being so different how can I possibly know what to anticipate with mine. Everything about my body feel so disorganized and unfamiliar I don't know how to expect my life to change. What has been others experiences and how do folks stay flexible in dealing with the ups and downs and day-to-day changes in their bodies?

    16 Answers from the Community

    16 answers
    • po18guy's Avatar

      Best not to over-think this. Experiences are all over the map and it is not helpful to entertain visions of horrible side effects. You may very have few, and mild side effects. You may have more of a challenge. Stepping back and looking at the big picture, does any of this really matter? Everything - everything - must be viewed in light of what the cancer will do if left unopposed.

      Here, advice is almost a double-edged sword. I would say not to fear either the cancer or the chemotherapy. I would not give the cancer more power than it already has. Neither would I fear the remedy, as it is carefully considered and measured out. Fear, stress, anxiety - none of these is part of your treatment plan. Rather, have confidence in the power of love. Have faith and trust in those things you hold most tightly to.

      The bully has entered the room. You can retreat to a corner, but the bully will not go away until you force the issue. Chemotherapy in nearly all cases is a temporary situation. Untreated cancer quickly leads to a permanent, undesirable state which is best left unmentioned. Your treatment is nothing to fear - but is an integral part of your battle against the bully.

      Isn't your goal to survive, to live and to love? For a little perspective, I have been in constant treatment for ten years with a break of maybe 2-3 months five years ago. I have just begun my 20th drug and 11th regimen. I am delighted to be anywhere. Life is still worth living.

      Live that life. Love it, fight for it - for the sake of those you love, and who love you.

      6 months ago
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar

      For me, chemo was hard, but not impossible. I have lung cancer, so the kind of chemo was undoubtedly quite different. Regardless, i find it somewhat like childbirth - after it was all over with, i don't remember the worst of it. And, no matter how bad, it was worth it because i am still here!

      Good luck. Chemo is no fun, but it worth it.

      6 months ago
    • cllinda's Avatar

      There's really no set rules on how to handle chemo. Everyone is different and there are so many different kinds of chemo. Body type_ health_ and other things can affect how you handle chemo.
      Does your center offer a Teaching session? With this session_ the nurse will go through the chemo, what to watch out for, when to call the office_ etc.
      They also bring you to the chemo room so you can see where you will spend your time. This session can help ease your mind.
      It's a fearful time because you can't control what will happen. Life will be different for a while. Take things day by day. There is no real way to predict what will happen.
      Be willing to ask for help when you need it. Family and friends will be there for you. And have things in mind when someone asks to help.
      Hugs to you as you start this part of the journey.

      6 months ago
    • Skyemberr's Avatar

      I just had to roll with it. Every treatment brought me some complications that were serious because the chemo was a neurotoxin to my system. I spent a lot of time on the phone with the chemo nurses and palliative care.

      I would say you should approach it a bit like a puzzle. Break it down into individual complications and symptoms and sort out each one with either Oncology or Palliative care depending on what sort of set up your hospital system has. Also come on here and ask us! A lot of the people in here have had chemo and we have lots of ideas about how to deal with the complications.

      There are a ton of different things they can try just for nausea, and a lot of the other complications of chemo are also somewhat manageable. Chemo isn't any fun, but at least it is a little better than it used to be.

      I did a count down and put a giant X through each round after I did it and that helped a bit on the psychological end, to know that the number of times I would have to do it was finite.

      Good luck. We are pulling for you.

      6 months ago
    • knightwingfire's Avatar

      For me Chemo was Hard the Lack of energy that came on LIKE clockwork every cycle. I languished in bed . Not fearing it just hating it as it took Life and TIME from me. Its a NEGATIVE CONCEPT OF LIFE WE must fight in this journey Chemo is only 4.5 % of the battle surgery is 95 % radiation 0.5 % that's 100 % like it or not the verdict is NOW up to YOU Although you do not contribute to the destruction of the cells You do help the 3 processes Destroy the cells . transported on positive charged organisms the therapies' can and do work better on all of our illnesses . Cancer is no different . Fight every inch of the journey with an I will Win attitude and You will be on your own a Fearsome soldier. fighting THE Coward Cancer. Who do you bet on I know Who I put my money.
      Its not Cancer. . .

      6 months ago
    • savingrace's Avatar

      It's understandable to want to know what to expect when having to deal with something different and chemo is definitely different but it's not an unbearable experience. Everybody is different and have different challenges with chemo but go into it with a positive mind, thinking I CAN. Wishing you the best!!!

      6 months ago
    • junie1's Avatar

      I kinda of thought of Chemo as a good thing,, and a not so good thing. Days I felt good,, days I could manage. I took each day as it came,,I worked when I could,, I tried hard to maintain my "normal " lifestyle.. but mostly I just did what I could.
      Chemo does change a person.. There;s no doubt about that!
      When getting the treatments,, I would always let the nurses know how things was going,, 'course I saw the doctor before each treatment,, or the nurse practioner..had blood work done an hour prior to the treatment,,
      Take notes all the time,, as how you feel, what your thoughts are,, questions you might have,, take these notes with you at each visit,, discuss them with the doctors or nurses..
      it helps later,, when you think of something and can go back and look at what was said.
      Good Luck to you,,,

      6 months ago
    • ChildOfGod4570's Avatar

      For me, I upset myself more researching what to expect with chemo. There is no way to prodict your reactions at your first infusion, but when #2 comes around, you have an idea what to expect. By then you will know how your body handles the drugs. Unlike some of our other members, I had no chemo 101 class, nor was I given a tour of the infusion room. I was just thrust into treatment and told to call the nurse night or day if I had a side effect. I wish I could give you a better answer, but only you will know how your body handles chemo. Some people come through with few side effects. I even know someone whose mother had itand didn't even lose her hair! Please know we are all here for you throughout your journey. HUGS and God bless.

      6 months ago
    • Carool's Avatar

      I was a year older than you, Neenersmama, when I was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer. Mine, too, was HER2-positive (mine was triple-positive breast cancer). I had a total of four chemo infusions of Adriamycin and Cytoxan, combined, one every three weeks. All hair all over fled. I was working 25 hours a week then, 5 hours a day, and was able to work and socialize and paint in my studio. I never felt great (usually queasy and always had a metallic taste in my mouth when I ate), but only twice during all that time did I actually vomit. And the antiemetics these days are better than in my time, 19.5 years ago.

      As everyone here said, each person is different, and each infusion may differ from the previous one(s). Do know that it is doable, you will get through it and on to better health. Sending you best wishes. We're here to help.

      6 months ago
    • 2943's Avatar

      This entire journey causes angst. Remember that you can do this ONE STEP AT A TIME. While knowledge is good, do not overwhelm yourself. Take this on as another positive piece of the getting better pie. Celebrate there is a chemo for you.

      6 months ago
    • wendyp1000's Avatar

      I did six sessions of chemo with the drugs carboplatin and taxol. The first treatment, I was very nervous, by the six -- an old pro. Psychologically, what works for you will be very different than what worked for me. The first treatment, my family members insisted on staying - 4-5 hours is a long time to stare at one another and I found it very uncomfortable and had to send them away to PLEASE run errands, that I wasn't going anywhere ... it was just too awkward for all of us staring at one one another contemplating the 'what-ifs'.

      By my last 2 treatments, I just wanted to be alone and 'get 'er done' and drove myself.

      What I did to help me with my attitude:
      1) I bought a blankie - yup, I sure did - I figured if it can work for a toddler, it will work for me. It was a great comfort to bring along my chemo blanket.
      2) I bought myself a new computer tablet and nice headphones. I didn't want to have to squint and watch videos on my phone. I also didn't want to have to listen to other individuals in the next cubicle. Guaranteed there is a wifi guest login at your chemo center.
      3) I had a choice of chemo centers, I chose the closest one so that I wouldn't have to drive far.
      4) If you do not have to go to work afterwards, wear comfie clothing. Sweats, t-shirts etc.

      In other words, concentrate on what you CAN control (your attitude) and let the rest proceed through the needed steps ...

      Hope that helps,

      6 months ago
    • leslie48240's Avatar

      I know it is all so overwhelming. Best advice...just accept that you gotta do it to live and get thru it the best way you can. Be easy on yourself...let people help you when they offer (store errands, a meal, shovel the snow, pick up some soup). You will feel exhausted...get rest whenever you can. And one final thing...try to focus on something each week that you do want to do and enjoy...write it on the calendar just like an appt and do it. You got this. Before you know it treatment will be done and you can rejoice in the fact that you are a survivor!

      6 months ago
    • Gumpus61's Avatar

      I know my wife felt defeated by the side effects because she is strong... and well......most patients think the rules apply to everyone else. We have gone through 6 different regimens including just about every kind of chemotherapy over 5 years. So first and foremost it is OK to feel crappy ! Secondly, the treatments are cumulative.....each one will have stronger side effects than the last, that is normal. Don't wait to feel nausea to take the nausea meds.....take them as directed. Last of all you will develop a cycle that the family and caregivers learn to work around. When it comes to chemo it can be as bad as the worst Hangover you ever had that lasts a week.......or as mild as feeling like you have the flu. It is always better to be pleasantly surprised you don't feel worse !

      6 months ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar

      Just focus on doing what's next---your appointments and getting medicine you need---and write down the questions you have to ask your doctor. It's very important to tell your doctor everything you are feeling, in case the doctor can tell you something to ease your fears, or the doctor can see that you may need medicine to help you.

      Remember it's temporary. and it's part of your doctor's job to explain things you don't understand and to help you through your side effects from chemo. There are also counselors specializing in patients with cancer. Ask your doctor for a recommendation for a counselor or a support group to help. Best wishes.

      6 months ago
    • lo15's Avatar

      I want to start with everyone has different experiences because everyone has different drugs in their Chemo. Some people have very strong Chemo, others not so much. My husband has been on three different cocktails of chemo. He is amazing . He has his hair, he has no nausea.He has gained thirty pounds while on Chemo, probably due to steroids. He has experienced tiredness and some neuropathy in his feet and hands. He goes out like anyone else, drives, works around the house, eats and drinks whatever he wants. Its been one year. I hope you have a similar experience

      6 months ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar

      Neenersmama, please update us. I hope you are feeling more confident. Remember if everybody else can do it, YOU can, too!

      5 months ago

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