Survivor since 2012
Joanna, I know I'm kind of late on the scene but it looks like your first treatment is tomorrow. So I'll put in my 2 cents' worth.
I had 8 treatments of ACT (Adriamycin, Cytoxin, and Taxotere) every 3 weeks. I was scared to death. Since I was a kid and first heard about chemo the thought of it terrified me. But you know what? Although it is a bad experience it was never as bad as I expected it.
Here's mine: I had a port placed in my right upper chest. It was a short, painless experience. I don't know if you have one or not. The advantage was that they didn't have to poke around for a vein every time I went in for a treatment.
Before every treatment I would put a numbing cream on the port, 1 hour before treatment. I would cover it with that sticky plastic wrap so it wouldn't slide all over my chest.
When I went in I would sit in a very comfy recliner chair. They were grouped in 4's in about 6 "stations," with 1 nurse in each group at all times. There were a few preliminaries, like looking over your blood work, taking your vital signs, stuff like that. These nurses are absolutely wonderful -- they'll listen to anything you have to say and will give you advice, sympathy, whatever you might need.
Then they would poke the needle into my port. I wouldn't feel a thing. First I would get non-chemo meds like Benadryl and steroids, and sometimes just plain IV fluid if I was dehydrated. Then they would start the chemo. I always got the Cytoxin first, then the Adriamycin, then the Taxotere. Since it doesn't look like you'll be getting Taxotere (at least for now) I'll leave that out of the equation. But for me, that's when I would start getting very sleepy. I'd usually nap through most of it.
Each medication took about and hour to an hour-and-a-half, except for the Adriamycin. It's bright red and they have to hand-push it into your IV. Sometimes they'll try to cover it up because people can freak out about the color. It never really bothered me. They have to push it slowly and I got 2 giant syringes-full, so the process would take about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes. Drink plenty of fluids. The Adriamycin will come out in your urine and it's red or orange. Don't be worried. It goes away after the first 2-3 times you urinate, depending on how much fluids you drink.
After chemo I would go home and go into my "chemo coma," about a 5-hour nap. The first 3 treatments or so I bounced back within 5-7 days. Later on, though, I never really bounced back. They're giving you poison for a good reason, but it's poison nevertheless. You should expect to feel crummy. Your docs will (or should) give you whatever medication you want or need for whatever side effects you have. Just keep in mind that it doesn't last forever. I finished in March of this year and by late April or early May i was feeling like my old self again.
PLEASE continue to post as your treatments progress, if you feel like it. So many of us have been through this and can offer all sorts of advice. Best of luck!