• OK, officially - What next?

    Asked by Baldredhead on Tuesday, February 26, 2013

    OK, officially - What next?

    It doesn't happen much, but I am a bit down in the trenches here. I am four treatments into chemo, and have only two to go....(woo HOO!) but I need to begin thinking about what the journey out of this will be. Come on, Whatnext, uplift me - let me know about your experiences on the other side of drugs - Tell me about your hair's return, about how your skin is supple again - Wow me! What's it like to have all of this behind you? Thank you in advance for your joy!

    18 Answers from the Community

    18 answers
    • BuckeyeShelby's Avatar

      Hi Baldredhead! Hang in there. It does get better. My leg pains from chemo are all behind me. I just finished in January, so I'm still in hats, but I do watch my little hairs on me head get a bit longer. I'm hoping to have enough to dump hats by the end of March -- don't know that it will happen but I'm hopeful. I still have some peripheral neuropathy, but the Neurontin/Gabepentin seems to be helping the problem, and I do believe my feet and fingers are doing better. My skin is dry, but that usually happens to me during Ohio winters, so I don't know if that is "just because" or a chemo thing. I still get down from time to time and I still get tired, but overall I am SO glad to be done w/chemo. We just have to be patient for the other things to either grow or go away (depending on if we are talking hair or symptoms. : ) ). I wish you all the best as you complete those last 2 sessions. And may all your side effects fade quickly until they are merely a distant bad memory. Hugs!

      over 4 years ago
    • HeidiJo's Avatar

      It will get better, I am 3 years in remission now, and it is all in the perspective. It is something I will always carry with me, but I chose to gather my blessings from the experience, and I take great pride that I am a survivor!

      over 4 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      In my case, chemo was just the beginning of my journey. It was followed by multiple surgeries, radiation, hercepton infusions, aromatase inhibitors, etc. My hair is back, my skin is not supple, but it wasn't before cancer either. I am finished with active treatment but there is more to the "all of this" than just active treatment. Some of it will never be behind me, but I am able to live with it an move forward with it.

      over 4 years ago
    • Nomadicme's Avatar

      I finished 1 yr 6 months ago. Time flies! (Which is a good thing in rough times). My eyelashes and eyebrows came back fast, but had a couple of times after when the lashes fell,,and not as long as before (probably the early menopause plus tqmoxifen). There are remedies for this - latisse or eyelash extensions (all these magazines talk about the extensions).
      Hair, it comes back, but it's a journey. Think mine is about 5 inches long now, and it looks awkward (don't want it cut into any great shape as I need length! There are many cute short cuts out there, but all in life is a negotiation).
      My face is much dryer now, but emu oil makes it look and feel great.
      After I was finished with the chemo, I was thrilled, however it wasn't the end (still had Herceptin, surgeries, Tamoxifen). But yes life was better, I no longer had to subject myself to the misery of chemo, and started to see signs of my old self coming back. Congratulations on being strong, the last chemos will be done with before you know it.

      over 4 years ago
    • Nellie's Avatar

      I'm so excited that my hair is coming back and I think in April or May or maybe sooner depending on the weather I will be able to go without the ol wig. Time does fly by!!! My skin is so soft and my pores on my nose seem to be smaller (YEAH!!!) I am told my eyes are bluer. I feel like my old self again and sometimes even better!! It is so great to have it behind me and one day soon you will say the same!!! I wish you the best baldredhead!!!!

      over 4 years ago
    • Debbie's Avatar

      Baldredhead- I am 3 months post chemo and 4 weeks post radiation. Of course leg and face hair came back wwwaaayyy too fast :). Brows and eyelashes are at 75%. Still wearing hats and hope to have scalp covering hair in a few more months. It feels like the fatigue and chemo brain are going to hang around forever but there is improvement day by day, week to week. Hang in there and know there are better days ahead. Half Bald Debbie

      over 4 years ago
    • Loafer's Avatar

      Hi baldredhead! Great name and beautiful hair - which will come back thicker and lusher than ever! I am 7 weeks PFC and feeling great!!! I had 4X T&C and thought it would never end. THe fatigue and muscle pain lasted from treatment to treatment. I did cold caps so I have hair and accelerated rads which cut down on my number of treatments. I ran on a treadmill this weekend and I'm not even a runner! Hang in there - it will be a distant memory soon for you too!

      over 4 years ago
    • Sunnydays' Avatar

      Dear Baldredhead, I was also a redhead (long hair that was my pride and joy) when I was diagnosed January 2011, age 44. Now two years later and 4 major surgeries, double mastectomy, reconstruction, 4 months of chemo, etc. I'm on the other side of things and feeling great. It was all terrifying and painful but I made it through - hang in there. I learned so much about myself, about my family and friends, and what life is all about. I think I'm a better person now and I appreciate each day so much! My hair grew back very dark brown so I dyed it to be red again. It came in curly - and I love the curls! It has just gotten to my shoulders and I got my first trim - my husband just told me yesterday he loves my curls and thinks my hair is healthier than ever! I'm on tamoxifen and a cancer-trial but the side effects are minimal. It was a transition to go from "active treatment" to "moving on with my life"! It takes time. A day doesn't go by without me thinking about cancer in some way - I'm not sure if it ever will be forgotten, but I try to take all I learned from this, at times horrible experience, and apply those lessons to my life now. Wishing you all the best!

      over 4 years ago
    • karen1956's Avatar

      I had peach fuzz on my head about a month post chemo......I took pictures of my head each month for the 1st year.....it cam in "salt and pepper" and was cute...curly, but not too curly....and fine/soft like baby hair.....before chemo, I had very thick coarse wavy hair....after chemo it was sooooo soft....by two years it was curly and dhoulder length....longer if you pulled the curls out.....6 years later, my hair is still fine but relatively thick.....most of my side effects from chemo were gone in about 6 months....Life does go on and is good...You will get there!!!1

      over 4 years ago
    • JennyMiller's Avatar

      It is okay to be down in the trenches -- Being strong and positive all the time is hard work & causes you to keep a lot of feelings inside -- so, if you get down, angry or weepy, it is a way to let it all out and then you can go back into battle re-energized. I remember when I had two to go -- then one to go -- I was so excited to get that part of my journey behind me. I finished Chemo April 12, 2012 -- then had Radiation for 7 weeks. Eyebrows & eyelashes came back fast. By August, I had enough hair growth to go without my wig or baseball cap. By November, I had nice growth where it could be styled. It came in salt & pepper -- very soft like a baby's hair. I am now at the point where it needs to be trimmed/shaped but I just hate to cut even one strand. I had heard that it takes about 6 months for the Chemo to entirely leave the body and I agree. However, each day is better. It is good to get the treatment behind you. When I look back now, I cannot believe I did it -- that it was really me that sat in that infusion chair or laid on that radiation table. It seems like a dream -- well, more like a nightmare. I know that I am not the same person that I was before all of this -- and I never will be. However, that is not bad. An example -- this past Fall, I was so amazed by the color of the leaves -- either, they were more beautiful this Fall or I had a better appreciation of my surroundings. My skin is fine -- and my nails have finally returned to their former condition. I wish you the best --- and be sure to celebrate!!!!!!!!!

      over 4 years ago
    • SusanK's Avatar

      Hi. I have much to be thankful for, as will you. My last treatment was in April 2012 and it took six months for all the side effects to disappear. Hair came back with a lot of body and curls! Now it is straight again and I am missing those crazy curls. Nails are strong once again and healthy looking. I am feeling strong physically. The emotional aspect of recovery is tough. You sort of go through withdrawal when you have no more appointments to keep, and there's the worry of recurrence. However, as time marches on, so do I, and I worry less about recurrence and simply enjoy my now-uncomplicated life with my family and friends. I am tentative about calling myself a survivor, for some reason that I don't fully understand. I look for ways to help others going through treatment, like posting on the WhatNext website and getting involved in Relay for Life. You will soon reflect on your treatment and realize what a strong person you are, if you haven't already. Hooray for you...and all of us who have come so far!

      over 4 years ago
    • SandiD's Avatar

      There IS a light at the end of the tunnel, I promise! I am about 3 years from chemo and radiation. I thought I would never feel better after chemo, but I did! And I have cut my hair and colored it several times. It came in darker and curlier than normal but has changed back. It was actually fun trying new hairstyles as it grew out. I was a bit apprehensive when treatment stopped. I felt kind of ignored, but I am doing just fine, exercising, enjoying life, etc. You will too! I am a two time survivor. Good luck, you are almost there!

      over 4 years ago
    • Bug's Avatar

      Hi, Baldredhead. I can't speak to your question because I did not have chemo. I just wanted to tell you to hang in there - you're almost there. I try to remember what Dory in Finding Nemo said: "Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming." There is a whole community here pulling for you. The very best to you, Baldredhead.

      over 4 years ago
    • HollyGolightly's Avatar

      I finished my chemo in May 2012, and it is great to be finished. One thing i did not count on was the "fur face"'. But not to worry. It is fine facial hair on the side of you face and eventually fall out. Or you can shave it if it really bothers you. I had a difficult time finding my "new normal". And I really am still trying to figure that out. My hair is coming in very soft and curly. I get lots of compliments on it. And it is so easy to take care of!
      Enjoy life on the other side!

      over 4 years ago
    • jad's Avatar

      I finished my chemo in mid-January, now halfway through RT. Some of my side effects have disappeared completely, some are almost gone - and are livable. Big surprise though - About 4-5 weeks AFTER chemo, I got another side effect. Hopefully this, too, will go away. But I tell you this so you're not surprised. The chemo effects can go on for a while.

      I had originally thought a support group would be good, but I never got around to one. Too tired, or feeling too lousy. Now that the worst is behind me I think I support group would be even better for me now. Even though I feel quite well, have no problems with fatigue or chemo brain, the reality of the fact that I cannot ever be the same person physically that I was before is beginning to weigh on me. I'm having a little bit harder time keeping up my spirits now, than during the physical ordeal.

      I am lucky I live in an area where there is a multitude of excellent resources. I know I shall be seeking them out. I shall address hair briefly in another post.

      over 4 years ago
    • jad's Avatar

      HAIR - grrr. Always a problem for me. Years before my diagnosis my kids were telling me to wear a wig.
      I've always had thin horrible hair. And now that it's gone I can't wear the wig I have - it looks frightful.
      Way too much hair for me (even though it was supposedly thinned for me). I look like I'm wearing a dead
      animal on my head.

      So I don't wear the wig. I make do with pirate scarves and knit cloches. I think I may be wearing these for a long time to come. I cannot imagine my hair growing in very much at all. I would love to be delightfully surprised, but realize that may not be the case.

      So even though our society pays so much attention to hair, and hair styles being the defining character of a
      woman, I recognize that it is NOT so in my case. I will deal with this as I have with everything else in my life.
      And I thank God that I do have a life, and that I will continue to have one. That is the important thing - to me and my children and grandchildren. Hair is only secondary.

      over 4 years ago
    • Baldredhead's Avatar

      Thanks for the boost, What-nexters! I know all of this will be a distant, brief memory before long - I will make it through and will be so grateful when the chemicals I am given - I believe I read one is made from Chinese Hamster Ovary serum...(When does a person even try that one for the first time?) - are successful in making certain I never have to go down the cancer road again. I am grateful now for you all - You really lifted me up and helped me see the temporary nature of this struggle and the light ahead on the other side. Blessings to you all!

      over 4 years ago
    • Valentinegirl's Avatar

      Hi Baldredhead (love the name!). I also wanted to pitch in and give you some uplifting! Congratulations for completing 4 chemos! Only 2 more - good for you! I completed chemo on 11/1, and my hair is growing back slowly but surely. I've had long hair for almost twenty years, but I can't wait to ditch the wig and don a cute pixie style! As silly as this sounds, I was also very exdcited to see my eyebrows and eyelashes come back (my lashes grew back even thicker which was a big plus). I know that it may sound superficial, but I was so excited to put on mascara again and oddly enough, excited to go for an eye brow wax as my brows were getting thick than I wanted. The hair on my legs is showing no signs of return, and I'm not complaniing about that! I am embracing all of these silly little things! Now that I am done with chemo and radiation, I have lots more energy, and feeling more like my old self. Good luck with everything! I wish you much joy.

      over 4 years ago

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