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I am starting AC chemo this Thursday. How do you feel during the administration of the chemo? Does it make you feel strange or does it burn or anything? I'm pretty anxious about it.

Jonna Diaz Profile
Asked by

anonymous

Stage 3A Patient over 5 years
 
  • Sharon Danielson Profile
    anonymous
    Survivor since 2007
    Hi Jonna, so sorry you joined the club. I too, had 4 rounds of AC and felt nothing while it was being administered. They put something in my recipe that always made me take a nap. The infusion room is a place you thought would be sad and depressing. I was never in there when it wasn't somewhat of a party atmosphere. Always goodies to eat, and we were --all in the trenches-- together so there was a very funny.... "gallows" type of humor. I never dreaded my treatments because the sooner I completed then the sooner, I would get back to my real life. My hair started to drop out 2 weeks after my first treatment. I shaved my head with my horse clippers! My taste changed.... my favorite stuff... coffee and chocolate really tasted awful. I was NEVER nauseated. I felt like I had the flu.... achey 3 to 4 days after the treatment. After about the 8th day, I started feeling better and my life return to good. I had treatments every 3 weeks. All in all, it was just a process I had to go through. I stayed very positive and laughed.... a lot. You stand up to it, and march through the process. I can't predict how you are going to feel because we are all different. You WILL feel tired and you will have less energy but this will all pass. Be an advocate for yourself. If something doesn't seem right QUESTION IT!!!! I was always polite, never cranky with the staff BUT.... if I had a question, it better get answered. Hang in there.... you WILL get through this. We are all sisters in this crazy way. Please keep in touch with us.... we really want to help you through this. Take care, Sharon
    over 5 years Flag
    • Jonna Diaz Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 3A Patient

      Thanks so much for your encouragement. It is a big help. I am doing pretty well, actually. I do get a lot of anxiety before doctors appts and stuff though. Amazingly enough though the day of my mastectomy I was very calm. I am, however, having a...

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      Thanks so much for your encouragement. It is a big help. I am doing pretty well, actually. I do get a lot of anxiety before doctors appts and stuff though. Amazingly enough though the day of my mastectomy I was very calm. I am, however, having a lot more anxiety coming up to the chemo then I did before the surgery. I am soooo glad I found this website.

      over 5 years Flag
    • Jonna Diaz Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 3A Patient

      What type of bad reaction did you have with your chemo? That is one of the things that I am really concerned about.

      over 5 years Flag
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      I had a reaction to dexamethasone. That is a steroid they put in the recipe to keep me from being nauseated. It completely through me into a very deep depression. They identified it right away and took it out of my recipe for my second chemo. ...

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      I had a reaction to dexamethasone. That is a steroid they put in the recipe to keep me from being nauseated. It completely through me into a very deep depression. They identified it right away and took it out of my recipe for my second chemo. The 3rd chemo. somehow, the drug was put back in my recipe and I became nearly suicidal. The 4th chemo. I asked if dexa. was in the recipe and the infusion nurse said it was. I told her I was not to be given it because of my horrific reaction. She argued with me until I said.... "I am going to leave and will come back when you and the oncologist and my internist get this straightened out... I am not to have that drug." "Leaving" is probably the worst thing you can say to an infusion nurse. She immediately got a hold of ---everybody--- and when she returned, she said it was good I was so insistant. (duh). This is not to say you are going to have a reaction like that to a steroid..... this is just a lesson for you to learn about being your own advocate. Be aware of what is happening to you at all times. Question anything that doesn't seem correct. Ask about your medications you are being given. Mistakes are made. Question your reactions to your treatments. Never, ever, ever, be afraid to call your doctor's office! This is your body, this is your life. You GO GIRL! This is where you learn to put on those --big girl panties---. Take care, Sharon

      over 5 years Flag
    • Jonna Diaz Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 3A Patient

      Oh no...I will be taking that, as well. I hope I don't have the same reaction you did. This concerns me a bit.

      over 5 years Flag
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Jonna, a reaction like that doesn't happen very often and as severe as I had is rare. You have "bigger fish to fry" so don't worry about that. Usually it makes people feel reall good, so mine was just a weird one for sure. Take care, Sharon

      over 5 years Flag
    • Jonna Diaz Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 3A Patient

      I am sorry that it happened to you. However, I am glad to hear that it doesn't happen often. I'm glad that they were able to get you some relief fairly quickly.

      over 5 years Flag
  • Lisa W Profile
    anonymous
    Patient
    Hi Joanna! I started my first chemo April 6 of this yr. it's hard to believe I have already completed 10! I did 4 treatments of the AC ( every other wk) then started the T (taxol) portion, which I have completed 6. I have 6 more to go. I'm on weekly treatments on T. ...... As for how it feels. What I have found on this board is that everyone is different...so my experience might be how u will feel......I have a "port" which I use a cream an hr before treatment. Helps numb the area. Then when Im at the hospital for chemo, I still have them use the cooking spray. Lol! Yes, just in case. ;) it's very quick and I don't feel it when the insert my IV. ;) my nurse then starts my pre-meds. It's about 4 bags of IV meds( benedryl, atavan, pepcid, anti-nausea med) then the A (red bag) then the C (clear). All of which for me were done through my IV. I did geek sleepy once my benedryl was given. my process was about 4hrs total once I got into my chair. I was so anxious my first time I thought I was going to pass out. But, I did fine and now I look "forward" to going. Only because I can say YES! I'm 1 more closer to being done. ;) I will say...drink lots while u are there, yes, the "red" chemo "A" does make u pee red. I drank so much while I was there I was also peeing alot too. Lol! When I was done w:treatment, I also had the nuelasta shot the day after. My dr suggested taking Claritin to help w/any bone pain I might have. I did, just as a precaution and did well. I won't go into side effects- as everyone is different. Ive been extremely lucky- I'm doing well. Staying positive really helps! Well...all in all...take each treatment 1 at a time. Listen to your body. You will have good and bad days. That's okay. I wish you the best! Keep fighting like girl...prayers and hugs to you my sister!!!! ;/)
    over 5 years Comment Flag
  • Tiffani Warila Profile
    anonymous
    Learning About Breast Cancer
    My experience with A/C followed by T was pretty much the same. The treatments room was always an upbeat kind of
    over 5 years Flag
    • Tiffani Warila Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Oops, wasn't finished... Upbeat place. I learned that I HATED the A part of chemo the most. Just the thought of it made me nauseous. I had the nurse put a towel over the med when she was pushing it through. I couldn't stand the sight. I never...

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      Oops, wasn't finished... Upbeat place. I learned that I HATED the A part of chemo the most. Just the thought of it made me nauseous. I had the nurse put a towel over the med when she was pushing it through. I couldn't stand the sight. I never slept during treatment, so I brought books, magazines, games etc. I believe that getting through treatment is partly a mental game, so go in with a positive attitude and you will be ok. Every time I was at chemo, it sucked, but I told myself that this is the new "routine" for the time being and it got me through!

      over 5 years Flag
    • Jonna Diaz Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 3A Patient

      Thanks Tiffani. What was it about the A part that you hated so much? Did it make you feel bad or was it a mental thing?

      over 5 years Flag
    • Tiffani Warila Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      It was both. That's the drug that makes your hair come out and I did not like that there was only 12inches going between the drug and my vein, that it was red, and that it was administered so fast. I realize that the other drugs are still going...

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      It was both. That's the drug that makes your hair come out and I did not like that there was only 12inches going between the drug and my vein, that it was red, and that it was administered so fast. I realize that the other drugs are still going into your body, but it was from a farther distance, at a slower rate, and they were clear in color. After 2 treatments, it got mental. I would think of A and would feel sick- only till I thought of something else- so i knew it was all in my head. The good thing for me was that taxol was a whole lot easier (for me).

      over 5 years Flag
    • Jonna Diaz Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 3A Patient

      Oh, I understand. It is all so traumatic. The thought of the chemo has been much worse for me mentally than the surgery. I will just be glad to get the first (and the rest, as well) treatment behind me so that I will know what to expect.

      over 5 years Flag
  • blair greiner Profile
    anonymous
    Learning About Breast Cancer
    Joanna I understand how you feel. It does not feel strange. Do you have a port? The A (can't spell it) is red and will come out red in your urine. The C is clear. The A is in a syringe for me and the nurse pushes it through my IV it takes 10 minutes. I chew ice the entire time to prevent mouth sores and so far it has worked! Then the C drips in the IV for an hour or so. I have them do it slow because a sinus headache is a side effect if it goes in too fast. I also suck on jolly ranchers after the ice to block any additional taste that comes through. The taste makes me feel queasy. Otherwise besides blocking out the taste I don't notice anything until day 4 when I am slammed with fatigue. I also had constipation so I take miralax everyday. Everyone has different side effects. Just be sure to communicate well with your dr and nurse.
    over 5 years Flag
    • Jonna Diaz Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 3A Patient

      Thank you for your comments. I do have a port. The way you have described your treatments is also the way it was explained to me about my treatments. A will be pushed through with a syringe and then C will be with an IV drip. They also stated that...

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      Thank you for your comments. I do have a port. The way you have described your treatments is also the way it was explained to me about my treatments. A will be pushed through with a syringe and then C will be with an IV drip. They also stated that I would be given benadryl and something else for side effects before administration of the chemo, which will make me drowsy. I am soooo glad I found this website. I feel better to have someone else to communicate with that has already been were I am going. Thanks again.

      over 5 years Flag
  • Jonna Diaz Profile
    anonymous
    Stage 3A Patient
    Than you so much for your response! It sounds like we are having the same treatments except for the A (red) drug. I am going to be given that in a syringe, in about 15 minutes time. I wonder what the difference is in that. I am trying to stay positive. It has been getting harder to do but now that I have found this website I feel much better. I know that each person's experience is different but just communicating with others that have had the same treatments sure makes me feel a little more at easy. Thanks again and god bless you.
    over 5 years Comment Flag
  • Evelyn Heilbrunn Profile
    anonymous
    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!
    over 5 years Flag
    • Evelyn Heilbrunn Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      Oh, I forgot to add something. With the port none of the drugs ever burned or anything like that. I never really felt them going in.

      over 5 years Flag
    • Jonna Diaz Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 3A Patient

      Better late than never with your reply. You answered exactly what I wanted to know. I know that everyone is different but it actually makes me have a frame of reference of some type. I hope I have as good of an experience as possible with the...

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      Better late than never with your reply. You answered exactly what I wanted to know. I know that everyone is different but it actually makes me have a frame of reference of some type. I hope I have as good of an experience as possible with the chemo. I really just want to get it over with. The sooner I get it done the sooner I can move on with my life. I sure do appreciate your words. They have calmed me. This website is a God send. It is amazing. This is a horrible thing but I have felt so blessed in so many ways since my diagnosis. I have had sooo much support. I never dreamed so many people cared about me. How wonderful it is.

      over 5 years Flag
    • Evelyn Heilbrunn Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      You are so welcome. I hope you get some sleep tonight, and that after your treatment tomorrow it ends up not being as bad as you expect. Take a comfy pillow (and your own blanket, if you like -- they have plenty), something to read, knitting, or...

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      You are so welcome. I hope you get some sleep tonight, and that after your treatment tomorrow it ends up not being as bad as you expect. Take a comfy pillow (and your own blanket, if you like -- they have plenty), something to read, knitting, or whatever. Something to pass the time. Sunglasses can help too, because many of these rooms tend to have really bright lights. Also snacks or drinks of your choice. They'll have something but it may not be what you like. I always took a sandwich for lunch and some munchies of some sort. M&Ms were always there!
      Seriously, best of luck. Let us know how it goes!

      over 5 years Flag

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