• Starting chemo

    Asked by Lkeith on Sunday, August 11, 2019

    Starting chemo

    So scared of the unknown.

    22 Answers from the Community

    22 answers
    • Bengal's Avatar

      This is like nothing you have ever experienced. I know how scary and surreal this must all seem to you because I've been in exactly the same place. Hopefully your will find your infusion team as kind and supportive as mine was. No point in sugar coating because you will find out for yourself . This is not easy. But it is doable. There are many places to find support. Right here is a good start. Does your hospital or community offer a cancer support group? Advocate for yourself, don't be shy about asking specific questions .

      4 months ago
    • andreacha's Avatar

      Lkeith - I have never had the infusion chemo you are going to have. For my particular type of cancer, I was given an oral chemo regimen. But I do honestly know your fear. I waited to the last possible minute of the day I was to take my first capsule. I just knew something terrible was going to happen. It's not a walk in the park. Every person and chemo is different. You may not experience what others have and vice versa. Take a deep breath and tell yourself you will be just fine because you will be. Support is necessary for all of us no matter what the treatment is. You've come to a great place. But, as Bengal said, your Oncologist or Oncology Infusion Center should be able to provide you with other support groups to join. Just tell them what you need. There are many others on this site that will have advice on support groups. I'm sure they'll be in touch soon.

      4 months ago
    • Kp2018's Avatar

      I vividly recall being apprehensive and curious about the experience. My cancer center offered a Chemo Teach session which was incredibly helpful and allayed many of my fears before I ever went for my first infusion. Information from web sites like What Next prepared me in terms of stuff to take along to pass the time. I was lucky to have the option of going to a smaller infusion center that was less busy and had a kind of "family" atmosphere.

      By the time my 20 weeks of sessions were finished, I felt like everyone who worked at the center were supportive friends. I had a wonderful time selecting little thank you gifts for each of them.
      I love going back there for follow up visits with the oncologist. It's like a reunion with friends. (And I recall thinking after my first session that I never ever wanted to see that place again).

      I had adopted an attitude of "bring it on" relative to the chemo, being so determined to kill my cancer. Thankfully, I had few side effects (mouth sores being the exception). The oncology nurses bent over backward to make it as tolerable as possible. They truly were wonderful.

      So, if you can, be open and curious, warm, friendly and grateful. You didn't ask for this unique experience, but you might as well make the best of it. With luck, we'll never have this experience again!!!

      4 months ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      Sitting in the chair as the chemo bag was hung on the pole then hooked to my IV I remember watching the red fluid run down and hit my arm. It was cold and I had a million things running through my mind about what it was going to do to me. What exactly happened was I got sleepy quickly as the Benedryl kicked in, then I just watched the bag drip until it was empty. I didn't feel much or have any side effects until about an hour later. I did get sick when I got home, but that was 32 years ago and these days they have anti-nausea meds that prevent most from getting sick.
      Most of the time, the actual experiences aren't as bad as the rumors and myths. But, if you have specific questions about it please ask, also after you have your first treatment check back in here and let us know how you're doing and if you have any questions.

      4 months ago
    • cllinda's Avatar

      One thing to remember is that the nurses are there to help you. Always feel you can call them if you feel you need help. They are the ones that know their stuff and can help you get through sickness, and other things that comes along with chemo.
      Good luck as you start this part of the journey.
      Also, look at the blog posts about what to bring to chemo. It can be helpful.

      4 months ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      Here is an article we posted a few years back and is still good information today. It is "Be Prepared-22 Things to Bring to Chemo" it's one of our most popular blog posts of all time. Click this link for the article>> http://bit.ly/1E8wZmW

      4 months ago
    • Bug's Avatar

      Lkeith, I did not have chemo but a lot of folks on this website have said that it was a lot more doable than they anticipated. Thinking of you and sending very best wishes. Please let us know how you’re doing.

      4 months ago
    • happness' Avatar

      One thing I can tell you is don't hesitate to tell your team when you have side effects or problems. They are there to help you get through this. I had problems along the way, kidney infections, shingles, rashes, and the team helped me find solutions quickly. The last 2 rounds of chemo they gave me something to put me to sleep long enough to get through and it made it a lot easier. If possible be sure to have someone with you. It is a great help.

      4 months ago
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar

      Lkeith, good luck!! Praying it won't be as bad for you as you have imagined it will be!

      4 months ago
    • ChildOfGod4570's Avatar

      Oh yes, chemo can be scary. I know it was for me. I cried for days when they told me I would have to have it. Everybody reacts differently, and everyone has different coping mechanisms. One person might fear baldness and start wig shopping; another might stock pile their house with foods and supplements that would go easy on the tummy. I know with me, I had a rough time of it my first infusion but did much better after some adjustments were made. do not be shy about calling your nurse night or day. they're there for you to carry you through, and you become a priority while on chemo. If you need help, hey tend to get it for you "now" and not make you wait longer than necessary. One thing I did that helped with thrush and that icky taste was laying in a big supply of popsicles and other frozen goodies. HTH Please come to us if you have more questions or just want to vent. We're here for you. HUGS and God bless.

      4 months ago
    • Olneygirl's Avatar

      I finished Chemo a year and a half ago. It was a scary feeling when I began. I had a very supportive team at the infusion center who helped allay my fears. Just remember it is doable although a rough road. Ask questions and let your team know how you are feeling. They can help make you comfortable. God’s blessings and my prayers are with you!

      4 months ago
    • Olneygirl's Avatar

      One more thing! Lemon ginger tea was very soothing to me and my stomach. I couldn’t take Compazine for nausea and Zofran only took the edge off so that tea did me well. Again, God’s blessings and hugs!

      4 months ago
    • BuckeyeShelby's Avatar

      The worst part for me was imagining how bad it would be. It really wasn't as bad as my imagination painted. Wasn't a walk in the park. Be careful when reading lists of possible side effects. I can pretty much guarantee that you won't have ALL of them. Generally just a couple here or a couple there. I did lose my hair. I had severe foot, ankle & lower leg pain, that lasted maybe 2 days after each chemo. I had neuropathy, which is the gift that keeps giving over 6 years later. But I didn't do the nausea. I threw up once in 18 weeks. I didn't do metallic taste or have vastly different taste buds going on. All will depend on the exact type of drugs and how your body tolerates 'em. Hope it goes easy for you.

      4 months ago
    • Lkeith's Avatar

      Hi. Thank you everyone for responding, your help is phenomenal. Yes I believe I have a good medical team and a great supportive family. I am a worrier though, and need to change worrier to warrior!

      4 months ago
    • judithj's Avatar

      You GO Lkeith! We're all with you.

      4 months ago
    • Carool's Avatar

      Lkeith, I’m a worrier, too. I can’t add much to the great info already given here, except to say that you should keep well hydrated (something I didn’t know I should do way back when I had my chemo). Indulge yourself in every way possible. As others said here, chemo is doable. Wishing you as comfortable a treatment as possible.

      4 months ago
    • vjt558's Avatar
      vjt558 (Best Answer!)

      I’m down to my last 3 treatments then I’ll do surgery. I remember clearly being scared, anxious and worried. In the beginning I journal my thoughts (I’m not one to write) but I found it helpful. When I went to the oncologist in the beginning I had written so many questions for each visit, truly helped me understand the process. I wrote down all my blood counts. But what really helped me was having a praying family and making peace with my battle, I gave the whole process to God. I have a great oncologist team, they are like family and a large support team. Stay away from the negativity and social sites on FB, they will bring you down and give you unnecessary fear. This site is the only one I follow and the group gives awesome advice. Stay positive, stay strong you got this warrior!

      4 months ago
    • Boogerman's Avatar

      Like several that have posted here, I was scared to death in the beginning. My treatment facility didn't have a program that told us what to expect, how it worked, how long it would last and lots of other questions that I had. But I just asked the technicians/nurses that are administering the chemo any questions I have and they are pretty good about answering. I think that I also thought that it was going to be worse than it actually is.

      4 months ago
    • rachelarmom's Avatar

      Yes it is scary starting out. You will find that the nurses, doctors, and other patients are usually happy to answer any of your questions. You will see other patients napping during their infusions because it is a long (and boring) process. It isn't the nightmare that it was during the 70s and 80s. The doctors give you everything you need to stop unwanted side effects, like nausea. I even had complications and It's scarier knowing what might have happened. I just focused on following my doctors orders and taking whatever meds at the time and I was ok. Honestly treatment keeps you so busy with tests and appointments and what not that you don't have a lot of time to be scared.

      4 months ago
    • barbbigred's Avatar

      I had 12 treatments ... 2 days in a row ... 28 days between rounds ... took 6 months. It was much worse in my imagination than in reality. I literally said out loud ... Jesus - I cannot do this without you - please take the wheel ... and HE DID. I was really tired ... but throughout the entire treatment regimen I never once got sick. I only took 4 of the nausea pills in total. The incredible people who care for you ... are awesome. YOU CAN DO THIS! STAY STRONG!

      4 months ago
    • fluteplayer's Avatar

      I had to have it twice when my stage 1 turned to 4. had 2 ports . now possibly a third in my leg. I had the first in 1999 as they told me it would not return if I got chemo. Well they lied as it came back in 2011 and was told I only had 6 months left. Again another lie,thank you God.Awaiting for an appointment for my every three months pet scan to see if it is spreading. I think it is as my tumor markers are going up fast.It all is up to God.

      4 months ago
    • Goldquest's Avatar

      Don't try and tough it out when it comes to side effects. Take your anti nausea meds, antidiarrheal and all the other meds prescribed to you. One biggie...keep hydrated! I didn't and paid the price in low potassium which made me dizzy and uncoordinated to the point I fell several times. Then I found that ice water (I put water bottles in the freezer until almost frozen made me want to drink all the more. Plus popsicles tasted good, too) But in the end you'll realize that you are one strong woman!

      4 months ago

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