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I (48) was diagnosed with invasive ductul carcinoma  Estrogen positive Progesteron positive HER2 positive.  I am scheduled for chemo prior to surgery to shrink tumor.  I will start chemo tomorrow, taxotere carboplatin and herceptin.   When can I expect to feel symptoms?  Do most people continue to work?  That is my plan to continue to work and was wondering if I am being unrealistic?  
10 Responses
587083 tn?1327123862
I am sorry that you have been diagnosed wit breast cancer.
Chemo therapy side effects are certainly not pleasant and each individual will experience these effects differently...Some can continue working while others have a more difficult time to do so.
I am adding a link where you will find in details all the side effects and how you can manage the Chemo drugs that you will be taking.
Of course your Oncologist will also give you the best advice possible in treating any problem that might arise.

http://www.chemocare.com/bio/

Best wishes and good luck with your treatments.
Avatar universal
I just wanted to wish you luck with your treatment. I was diagnosed at 47 last May with stage 2 infilterating ductal carcinoma and DCIS. er/pr positive. Did not have the same treatment as you-mine was Taxotere and Cytoxin. Everyone is different and it is very hard to anticipate what your experience will be until it happens. I hope you get through this with as little discomfort as possible!
739091 tn?1300669627
I had side effects from my chemo the following day. Each person has different reactions to their chemo cocktail and not all have the same ones. I found that mine got a little worse with each cocktail. I worked all the way through chemo and radiation.

It's not pleasant by any means but you will do fine. Please let us know how we can help.

You can do this! :)
1119363 tn?1330359040
I finished  4 rounds of Taxotere, Carboplatin and Herceptin on March 2 , 2010.  I never missed a day of work, except for treatment days, but there were days I dragged myself through with the encouragement  and support of my co-workers.  My oncologists tell me that I had more and more severe side effects that most of their other patients.  So I have learned many coping measures for different symptoms.  You can send messages through this website and we will share what we know to help cope.  

Working depends upon what you do in your job, how flexible your situation is, how the meds affect you, and other variables.  Until you know, plan on keepin' on!

My experience was that side effects began quicker, lasted longer and got more severe with each treatment.  I also found more stategies that worked to mitigate symptoms as I went.  I had treatments every 3 weeks.  Infusions took 5-6 hours (Slow rates because I have a history of allergies.)  Side effects began about 4 days after the first treatment, the next day after the 4th treatment, and included nausea, constipation followed by diarrhea, tiredness, lethargy, not wanting to eat//tolerate most foods, dry nasal passages, cracked skin on hands and feet, funky nails (texture and color and later losing some toenails) and neuropathy - numbness/ tingling of my fingers, toes and face.  My hair fell out in the fourth week, but I had my hair clipped short in the 3rd so I didn't notice it until it was gone.  I slept most all the time I was not at work except when I went to choir practice for 2 choirs 40 miles from home.  
1119363 tn?1330359040
Put your oncologist's number on speeddial in your cell phone.  Let them know your side effects right away and they will give you coping strategies and/or prescriptions to help.  Don't wait and suffer needlessly.
I carried all my pills in a leather shoulder bag everywhere I went because stuff happened throughout the day.
I carried Ziploc bags with me in my pocket, purse and in a cup in the car (holds the top open for you - barfing in a car is tricky.)  Ziploc - easy clean up and disposal.  If you get the holiday printed bags you can't see it. :)
I carried a full set of clothes with me in the car.  In case I missed the ziploc and to give me added confidence when I had diarrhea.  Never needed them, but was glad they were there!
Most foods and their odors may turn your stomach at various times.  Just get the stuff that is appealing.  Many ladies eat a lot of pudding at first.  I lived mostly on chocolate/vanilla swirl pudding, cheddar cheese, large pretzels, bananas and watermelon.  On the couple of good days, I sent my husband in search of raspberries.  (It's hard to find good watermelon in Ohio in Feb.)  I lost 35 pounds on the chemo diet - not one that I reccommend, but a silver lining.
I talked frankly, but not graphically, with my co-workers, as they were with me during my waking hours and helped me cope.  When they say, "How are you?"  They want an answer.  I'd say, "It's a good day." or"I've been better." Their encouragement will get you through rough days.  One memorable afternoon, I was working with 6 men (mostly mid-20's age) and had eated a chicken nugget that sounded good at the time.  Alas, it led to about 8 trips to the bathroom in a couple of hours.  They knew, I knew they knew, and so I asked them to take turns reminding me as I left each time that I shouldn't have eaten the chicken.  We made what should have been embarassing, a moment to laugh over and it helped me more than I can say.  The best one spoke like a chicken and said, "Eat more beef!"  My motto for chemo was: Adapt and/or endure; with laughter.  Some days the smile was more of a grimace, but I got through and so will you.
Avatar universal
Thanks so very much for your encouragment!!!  I really appreciate it.  I actually did not end up having treatment last Wednesday had to have a mugs (?)  test first.  Get a port put in tomorrow and gonna try for treatment again Wednesday.    Hopefully I will be able to continue work. Thanks again for all your encouraging words.  LIFE IS GOOD:)
739091 tn?1300669627
The MUGA test you had done was to test your heart. The port surgery isn't too much of a thing but the port always creeped me out because it was right where my seat belt went and that just drove me nuts LOL

Sounds like you're good to go! :)
1119363 tn?1330359040
My port was put in December 17 and I sang a concert on the 19th.  Really not too bad at all.  I haven't had the seat belt thing, but I have a cat that thinks he should sleep on my chest that I constantly remove from there.  
The MUGA test is not much either (checks the pumping efficiency), except that you get to carry a card that says you have had a radioactive medical procedure incase you set off alarms at an airport or courthouse.  I have a friend that works at a federal courthouse.  Maybe I'll call and see if they want to do a drill sometime. ;)

When I started chemo, I found a quote by Winston Churchill from the never, never, never give up speech.  "These are great days."  Not because everything is going smoothly, but because, even in adversity, we pull together and become more than we ever thought possible.  We're with you.
Avatar universal
Well had the port put in Monday and except for a little tenderness and like you said Sue Young it bothers me wearing a seat belt because it is an my upper right chest.  Had my first chemo "cocktail" today ans so far so good.  Just wanted to thank you all for your kind reassuring words.  This forum is great.  Thanks again
Avatar universal
You two should have been included in previous post. Didn't mean to leave you out.  This Forum is truly a godsend.  Thanks Everyone
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