Monday, 13 January 2014

Chemo isn't just Chemo!!!!!!!

Since my diagnosis on 30/09/2013 I have a greater understanding of cancer and in particular cancer treatments. 

Its important to remember that Chemo isn't 'one size fits all'. 


It is this point that needs highlighting.

A chemotherapy drug can be given on its own or as a combination with other drugs. 

Macmillan have a comprehensive list of each individual chemotherapy drug, how each drug is given and possible side effects.

The side effects you will experience will entirely depend on the chemotherapy drugs you're having. 

In a previous post last year, I mentioned that my treatment was a combination regimen called FEC which is specifically used to treat breast cancer. 

FEC is made up of 
F - Fluorouracil (5FU) 
E - Epirubicin   (Pharmorubicin)
C - Cyclophosphamide

I am on the highest dose of chemotherapy of this regimen. With my treatment it is the E that has caused the hair loss and I have more E administered that the F & C.

Here is the link to the combination regimen/treatments:

and more specifically FEC

Each cycle of FEC takes 21 days (three weeks). At the end of the 21 days you start FEC cycle 2. You have 4 to six cycles.

I am having 6 cycles of FEC

My last cycle will finish on 17/04/2014

I will then start a course of daily radiotherapy for 10-14 days about 4-6 weeks after chemotherapy (time frame of treatment to be confirmed)

Apart from the significant hair loss, FEC #2 has felt easier to manage. The first 7 days of each cycle is when the side effects seem to hit me, which have been hot/cold sweats,nausea and tiredness. 

On each cycle around day 3-4 I lose any ability to taste food and I am sensitive to smells (tobacco smoke/perfume)which make me gag.

FEC#2 has been easier than FEC#1. BUT again some people find treatment harder at the start, middle or end (completely individual). As the chemotherapy has an accumulative effect I will update you as and when.

I have made a positive change in my diet, cut out all processed food from my diet, only have one coffee as a treat in the morning and eat fresh fruit and veg/raw/juicing. I have also managed to exercise a little this cycle(#2).

I lose half a stone cycle#1 and have maintained a weight lose of 3-4 lbs through healthy eating and juicing this cycle. With Triple Negative Breast Cancer, they recommend that you maintain your weight during chemotherapy.

For the last two weeks, my skin has been baby smooth (chemo glow) and I have read that this is because the chemotherapy drugs remove all the toxins from your body. However last night I had a spot breakout.

Day 1-7   Side effects and drugs/injections given to counterbalance nausea and low immune system (stay indoors due to feeling rough)

Day 7-14  Avoid people/public places - low immune system (stay indoors or go for a walk)

Day 14-20 Fairly normal activity

Day 21 Next cycle

Thanks for reading peeps x

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