• So how does chemo work. Does it stop when it is out of your system. I am feeling real lousy and depressed. I wasn't on day one and two.

    Asked by Horselady46 on Saturday, October 27, 2012

    So how does chemo work. Does it stop when it is out of your system. I am feeling real lousy and depressed. I wasn't on day one and two.

    So how does chemo work. Does it stop when it is out of your system. I am feeling real lousy and depressed. I wasn't on day one and two. Will it get worse or will I swing back before the next one? Will the next one be worse? Can I still do what I like? So many questions.

    16 Answers from the Community

    16 answers
    • FreeBird's Avatar

      Here is a good little booklet on chemotherapy from the National Cancer Institute http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/coping/chemotherapy-and-you/page1/AllPages

      and some information from the American Cancer Society http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/treatmenttypes/chemotherapy/index

      almost 4 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      Very basically it works by killing cells. What side effects you have, when the start, how long they last, etc. varies based on a number factors include which drugs you are taking and at what dose, your overall health, your age, and other things. Generally though, once you have been through the first round, the subsequent rounds will result in pretty much the side effects and start and end times.

      almost 4 years ago
    • BuckeyeShelby's Avatar

      Definitely each person has their own "schedule" depending on chemo meds & their own chemistry. I've had 2 rounds so far. I'm ok the day of & the following day. Days 3 & 4 stink for me. Then it slowly gets better and I'm almost normal by day 6 or so. Mine are 1 every 3 weeks. Hope that info helps. And I hope you feel better very soon.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Cindy's Avatar

      It is different for everyone depending upon the type of chemo your taking and the side affect you have. For me, I was fine also for day one and day two after chemo. Then I felt bad for a few days and then started feeling gradually better until the next one. Mine were 6 treatments spaced 3 weeks apart. By the second and third week I was feeling pretty good after each of the first 4 treatments. Each of my treatments were a little worse than the previous one. After the 6th treatment, I felt pretty good after the third week. Although it took me about 9 months after the last treatment before I felt like doing any kind of exercise except swimming.

      almost 4 years ago
    • lynn1950's Avatar

      It sounds from other things that you have written that you are on a dose dense cycle. For many of us, days one and two are OK, we start feeling cruddy on day 3 through day 5, and then we start feeling better again until the next treatment.. For me, my treatments followed this pattern.

      Hang in there. Of course you can still do what you like! Just take it easy. No one knows your body like you do. Be careful not to pick up stray germs. Lots of handwashing!

      almost 4 years ago
    • princess123's Avatar

      I would have chemo on Monday and not start feeling bad until Thursday. Thursday and Sunday were my bad days. I am now on a different type and have a total different reaction feeling "yucky" all the time. It took me 3 months of chemo before it knocked the cancer down enough that I started feeling better. Make sure you take short walks or do something to keep active on your "good" days. It will help with the bad days.

      almost 4 years ago
    • SueRae1's Avatar

      My experience has been that steriods,other pre-meds and the cancer drugs, slowly built up. At first most of my emotionally issues started about 24 hours after treatment and lasted 1-3 days. Now I'm depressed, angry, bitchy just about all the time. I had a Pharma consult with a Psychiatrist who treats cancer patients. He joked about how steroids is what keeps him and his colleagues in business. One of the biggies for me is lack of sleep and low energy.

      almost 4 years ago
    • nobrand's Avatar

      I feel really lousy and depressed when my blood counts are low-- and they don't hit rock bottom during chemo, but in the time after the infusion. The lowest point, your nadir, depends on the drugs used in your chemo I believe. The cycles are designed to allow your body to recover to a certain level before the next infusion. It's so up and down-- I wish I could give you a straight answer about what to expect, but it's impossible.

      On days that you feel better, I would recommend still doing what you like :) Just pace yourself accordingly.

      almost 4 years ago
    • LauraJo's Avatar

      I had two rounds, a 6 week round starting over every Monday, and a 16 week round where I was on for 3 days every two weeks. The 6 week round didn't bother me too much, probably because it was a lower dose given out over a longer period. When I did the 16 week run, I would get chemo on Monday, and every Thursday morning following I would wake up & vomit. Just once, every Thursday...kinda like morning sickness. Other than that I was just really tired, so I tended to take a nap when I came home from work every day. Everyone's reaction is different, but I think it is important to try to stick to your normal routine as much as possible while understanding that you can only do so much. I only missed a day or two of work during the whole thing, but I DID go home an hour or so early probably once a week, thank you to my very understanding bosses. My garden looked like XXX. The dust bunnies took over my house. My husband and son cooked dinner a lot. Do what you feel you can do, but it you need to dial it back, don't beat yourself up over it. And as far as being depressed, part of that IS probably because you don't feel good, but you are going through a major major thing right now. It would be abnormal if you weren't depressed. Just keep in mind that every day, every treatment brings you closer to being cancer free.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Myungclas' Avatar

      They may have included steroids with your chemo infusion, in which case you feel great for two days. For me, when that wore off, I felt fluish and tired for a couple or three days. Then it was better. You'll definitely "bounce back" before the next round...it takes longer for the metallic taste to go away...it usually got better right before I had to go back, so I ate my favorite things then! The fatigue seems to be a little bit cumulative but not unbearable. It helped to keep active and resist the urge to just lay around.

      almost 4 years ago
    • SusanK's Avatar

      I think everybody is a little different as far as side effects and how we tolerate the drugs.I had six treatments of taxotere and cytoxan--with the steroids and ani-nausea meds thrown in--and I did okay until the last two treatments when there seemed to be a cumulative effect and they were very hard on me. It took about a month after the last one to really feel "normal" again. But throughout the cycle you will learn what you can and cannot do. Don't be hard on yourself if the things you previously did easily begin to slide a little--like your housekeeping. All of that stuff will wait for a day you have the energy to do it. Tears and depression are part of the process. Don't be shy about asking your doctor for some help. I never took Xanax before but it helped quiet my mind when I needed it during my treatment. I hope you feel better soon.

      almost 4 years ago
    • tnblondee's Avatar

      My worst days were days 3-5 after chemo, then I started bouncing back and was almost back to normal before my next treatment. I don't remember any of them being any worse than the other ones, you may just develope different side effects each time. For example, after the 3rd treatment I started having nose bleeds. So just listen to your body and do what you fel like doing, don't over do it and definitely do not go around anyone that is sick (i.e. cold, flu etc...) Good luck and God speed!

      almost 4 years ago
    • Snooks' Avatar

      I had 6 treaments spread over 18 weeks. The first week I felt horrible, the second week I felt a little better and the third week I was fine. Then it started all over again. However, after three treatments, my immune system hit rock bottom and I had to be hospitalized three times. The way your body responds to chemo differs with each person. While I was told to not come into contact with anyone other than my husband (because of my immune system), my best friend went back to work the day after her treatments. I would say do what you like until your body tells you differently. Good Luck and God Bless

      almost 4 years ago
    • fitzkc's Avatar

      I just had my 3rd treatment and I have found that I dont start feeling tired and out of energy for a few days then in a week I feel lousy and have to get a neupogen injection for a low white blood cell count. My treatments are every 3 weeks and the week before the treatment I feel pretty good. I classify my days as good days and great days. I thought I would be able to go back to work part time and have not been able to yet,.....hopefully soon I will be able to work some. Stay positive and keep the faith.

      almost 4 years ago
    • leslie48240's Avatar

      Here is a tip from my chemo nurse that worked for me...the day before, day of, and day after chemo, I drank as much water as I could. I was on meds to prevent nausea that worked. Steroids at one point made me .... uh, can't quite describe it...not myself, uncomfortable, agitated...so we cut the amount in half. With all these tactics...Chemo was ok. Still lost hair and had neurapathy (strange feelings and then numbness) in hands and feet...but all this corrected itself after chemo done. btw..I am talking about 18 months of 3 different protocols of chemo...the last one was every week for a full year. I am now 3 years clear and still "holding my breath". I think all of these things helped...hope it helps you too. Also...I did sleep a lot...I think it's ok to do that...our bodies need it. best to you, leslie

      almost 4 years ago
    • Nancebeth's Avatar

      I know it is different for everyone and a lot of the effects depend on the type of chemo you are receiving. I had the CMF cocktail every 21 days for 6 sessions. I would get the chemo on Friday afternoon so I had the weekend to recover and could go back to work on Monday. I usually felt pretty crappy on Friday evening but would rebound on Saturday. But Sundays were the worst days for me. I usually felt okay again by Tuesday or Wednesday. I would start feeling really good again a couple days before my next treatment.
      I worked every day throughout my chemo sessions and still lived as normal of a life as I could. I was very fatigued but I never had nausea. I had joint pain, so coupled with the fatigue I couldn't go to the gym or do a lot of running around, but the chemo didn't disrupt my life as much as I thought it would.
      It did get worse as my sessions wore on. By my last session I had blurred vision, chills, bone ahces, dark spots on my palms. I finished on August 17 and still have some of the side effects but they are diminishing. Although some of what I am experiencing now could be due to the Tamoxifen.
      My onc nurses told me the effetcs are cumulative so usually people feel worse as chemo sessions wear on.
      Good luck to you.

      almost 4 years ago

    Help the community by answering this question:

    Create an account to post your answer Already have an account? Sign in!

    By using WhatNext, you agree to our User Agreement, and Privacy Policy

    Read and answer more breast cancer questions.  Also, don't forget to check out our Breast Cancer page.