Chemotherapy FEC Rounds 1-3

FEC 1 –  One down five to go 🙂 I will have 3 rounds of FEC and then 3 rounds of FEC/T 

I had my first of 3 FEC.  I was very anxious I tried diazopam and it seemed to have no effect on me whatsoever,  those herbal sleeping pills never seem to work either.  I was in the waiting room an hour,  there was someone else doing the cold cap when I went into the room and she was so positive.  I asked her if she had experienced and side effects during her three rounds and she said just tiredness! I later saw her walk off with a lot of hair so I’m hoping I follow in her footsteps! 

They asked me to dampen my hair in toilets and then added conditioner and a very tight cold cap filled with ice,  it had an extremely tight chin strap,  I looked like I was having a stroke at first but I managed to adjust it around a bit to take a pic for this blog. 

I  put in my earplugs and a headband to cover ears and forehead as the cap can be so tight.  I didn’t even have time to put my fluffy socks and extra Jumper on but my body didn’t feel cold just my head. First twenty minutes were hard but not as hard as I was expecting. 

My partner came with me and I was so glad he was there as we laughed about silly things together.  The nurse came over to fit a cannula and popped a vein yak thanks for that love! It now looks like this two weeks on.. 

The rest was pretty painless, I had five large syringes slowly injected into me over the space of an hour mixed with a saline drip.  The worst are supposed to be the red ones as that’s what makes you feel nautious here is a pic of the red devil or the strawberry margarita as I recently heard it being called… 

I read my magazines made fun of my partner and listened to music.  The nurse chatted away during the hour of punishment.  My biggest fear was my veins I could feel it going in it felt very cold.  I had been told that of the red injections spilled out they would damage the tissue in my hand and I would be rushed to James Cook hospital so I checked my hand a lot.  I felt pain and tingling in my forearm when I told the nurse she stopped and felt them she thought they were perhaps just cold and the feeling soon went away. 

Before I knew it the drugs were all injected. I had anti sickness drugs beforehand and I felt fine throughout,  succes!  I was itching to get the cap off mainly because of the tight chin and forehead.  When they took it off my hair was covered in ice.. 

I felt okay after this just a little nautious on the night.  I have been sent home with anti sickness drugs,  steroids,  one week long injections for me to take to help strengthen immunity and I have red wee for three days! I heard steroids could make me eat loads sleep less and a little loopy,  oh the joys! 

The experience wasn’t as bad as what I had in my head. I’m glad I managed to keep the cold cap on in a vein attempt to keep 50% of my hair through this. Next one in three weeks, i’m glad by treatment has started so the chemotherapy can attack any stray cancer cells that have wondered off around my body.  I also have a suspect lymphnode I need it to attack. As it will attack my ovaries I had a zoladex injection two days ago in my stomach to shut them down and hopefully give me an 80% chance of getting fertility back. 

Im appreciating life more than ever and realising how short life is to worry about the little things. I’m thinking of it as a lesson in life someone was trying to teach me. I hope to get through it all and be a more carefree person.  Let’s hope my side effects over the next three weeks are minimal and the next round is as easy as this one was. 

I told my sons school just so they were aware why I wasn’t picking him up as much or if his behaviour changed at all and they have been so supportive especially the receptionist.  This morning I received these flowers which I think she played a big part in arranging 🙂 

I then received these lovely flowers from a work colleague and his boys 🙂 

Side effects so far:

Tiredness,  headaches, feeling sick,  constipation (from the anti sickness drugs), slight stomach pains,  sore mouth,  bad skin on my chest.

I have low white blood cells and therefore I’m at risk.  If I catch a cold it can lead to pneumonia and if I get an infection it could be serious.  Days 7-10 are my lowest blood count days and when I’m most at risk. My family and visitors need to use anti bacterial gel when around me. For seven days after chemo I inject myself with more white blood cells… 

After days 7-10 my white blood cells have increased and I can go about my business but I still need to be careful and avoid crowds. A sign of infectiom is feeling unwell and high temp. 

Unfortunately on day 6 I was rushed to hospital as I had a pounding headache,  increased temperature and I was sick.  I was so pale and lips and tongue were tingling.  I couldn’t take Paracetamol as it brings your temp down! Affer a long wait in a separate room I finally got Dr’s to had give me the strongest form of antibiotics via a drip. My oncologist says they should just give me this straight away instead of waiting for blood results as it’s no harm to me if nothing is wrong. 

This may happen quite a few times during chemo as its likely I’ll get a high temp or cold within the next six months. I just prey I don’t get an infection of any kind. I don’t want this to be my last Christmas that’s for sure🎄 ladies in the same boat please pick up the phone if your feeling unwell and temp is high don’t mask the fever with Paracetamol. 

FEC2

This time was similar to the first however the nurse couldn’t find a vein and after watching her dig around I did felt faint and dizzy I said I think I’m going to be sick like now!! Luckily I wasn’t but was all just a bit too much,  I was so dizzy! They were very nice and brought me a huge fan to cool down. 

I had a problem later when the saline drip seemed to just slow down,  the nurse thought it was because I was too cold and offered a heat pad. I felt the medicine through my veins more but I have been told I have quite small difficult veins. When she flushed it with water it hurt 🙂 had a little cry as my veins feel so delicate and they were talking about adding a second needle,  I’m glad they didn’t and I am glad it’s over,  4 more to go :). 

I felt waves of sickness and very tired after the second round despite getting the better sickness drug! 

I had a lot of hair shedding on this round here’s a pic of me on hair watch… 

I would get this amount of a loss and more with every brush… 

My hair started matting in my sleep so I deranged it and washed it and used a hairnets at night this really helped and shedding slowed down after week two. 

FEC3

As FEC 2 was so bad I was dreading round 3 but luckily it wasn’t too bad,  my oncologist agreed I should have the cannula away from my weak vein that looked very red. I had it further up my forearm. I still felt the medicine pushing through my veins and it was a stinging feeling but I had such a good laugh with the nurse and a visiting student nurse. 

There was a moment where the nurse told the student nurse about the dangers of the red chemo and how it can split the vein and leak into my body meaning a trip to the next hospital for the antidote. I Ave heard this before but they said if it spilled on the outside of the skin not internally! Not the best thing to say during it goinginto my veins! 

I made it through and now it’s all done with the red devil. I move onto tax next which will take my eyebrows and eyelashes and give me achey sore joints and bones. Dressing it!  But happy to just be on a drip from now on. I’ll miss having to the nurse for an hour though. 

My veins are dark and bruised I don’t know how they will cope with another three rounds. 

The third was a hard one for me and often is for others it’s half way, I caught a nasty head cold and it stuck with me for nice days I also had headaches. It was near Christmas and I started to feel really depressed too which isn’t like me. I even started planning my own funeral. Because I was ill I was in bed researching and found out the type i have is more likely to come back in the first two years than any other. It is more rare and they are still researching it. If I reach five years it is less likely to come back than any other.

I dont get hormone therapy afterwards like a lot of women do (they get tamoxifen for ten years). If cancer comes back its often much more aggressive and harder to treat. I know women in the forum who have had it loads which shows you can overcome it if it comes back but there’s also a lot of announcements of young women with families passing. 

Basically I read too much on Dr Google and got really down. There’s people doing clinical trials and I haven’t been offered one and people with triple negative breast cancer (my type) on weaker doses of chemo for longer periods of time which makes me think I may be on the wrong treatment as my oncologist isn’t a specialist of triple negative. 

I caught a strong head cold and was so bunged up and surrounded by tissues every day then started getting strong headaches and was thinking it had gone to my brain (you get so paranoid).

I have finally,  finally, started to feel completely normal just in time for kierans karate party yay got dressed up had about 8 half ciders and a dance haha felt fantastic. Now I am feeling better I will feel like this till my next round and be on cloud nine so I plan to go on my works christmas meal and meet up with friends 🙂  yay until the next round on 21st December just in time for Christmas 😦 boooo I’m going to ask to delay it fingers crossed 

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4 thoughts on “Chemotherapy FEC Rounds 1-3

  1. Wow you are an incredible lady…keep positive and fighting. Our little girl is also fighting too and the steroids made her mash potatoe crazy and we call her Sargent Rosa when she is on them. We try to see our experience of cancer as a new beginning and now appreciate the small true movie moments in life. Sending you stregnth and love Johnson Family xx

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    1. Thank you so much my mam has told me all about your lovely little girl. I am on steroids and I’m wondering what they will do to me.. I appreciate life more and hope to be around a long time for my little boy. Thank you I wish you all the luck in the world to get her health back on track and live a happy healthy life xxxx

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  2. I’m so proud of you babe, you are so strong. 1 down 5 to go. I will stand by you and be here for you all the way and you will beat this. I love you xxx

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