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First Chemotherapy Treatment—What to Expect

By Britta Aragon on August 10, 2009 | 54 Comments

We know your first chemo treatment can be a scary experience, to say the least, so we gathered some information to help you. Treatments vary, but these are some basics you can expect. Knowledge makes us strong, so take what you can use, breathe deep, and remember—you can do this.

Note: Since chemotherapy is usually given through infusions, that’s what we’ll talk about here. Keep in mind that there are other types of treatment, including chemotherapy creams, drugs given in certain areas of the body, pills, shots, and more. Check with your doctor for more information.

  1. Blood Test. Before treatment, you’ll have a blood test to determine your white-blood-cell count. Since chemo depletes white-blood cells, doctors want to be sure your count can handle it.
  2. Drug Preparation. Once your blood tests are approved, physicians prepare the drugs for administration. This can take some time—often a few hours.
  3. Eat. Most doctors recommend you eat normally, according to your regular schedule. The center or hospital will probably have food, but depending on what’s on the menu, you may want to bring your own snacks, perhaps your own lunch. Go easy on your stomach, and avoid fried foods, fats and sugars. A cooler is super handy, as you can take your favorite drinks, ice packs (see below), and favorite foods. Your first treatment can be an all-day affair, so go prepared.
  4. Drink. Marisa Weiss, M.D., president and founder of breastcancer.org, says before, during, and after your treatment, “keep up your fluid balance. Make sure you keep drinking before and after your treatment. Keep lots of drinks around that you enjoy, but not ones that are full of sugar.”
  5. Listen. To help keep yourself calm during the wait, you may want to bring along an iPod or something similar. Dr. Eva Selhub (author of The Love Response) suggests meditation CDs both before and during treatment. Studies have shown they can help reduce side effects. You may want to bring a book as well, notebook computer, or something to write on. Journaling or writing about your feelings and experiences helps you deal with them and is very therapeutic.
  6. The Room. When they’re ready for you, they’ll take you into the “chemo room.” First-timers usually get their own private room, but not always. (Veterans are more likely to share one with other patients.) You may be able to request where you want to sit. The nurse may show you around, give you a plethora of information materials, and then she’ll start your IV, usually through a vein in your hand or arm, sometimes through a “port,” which is a medical appliance installed just under the skin through which drugs can be injected.
  7. The Drugs. Once your IV is set to go, the nurse will start the drip. You may receive some pre-medications, like anti-nausea drugs, to help reduce side effects. Then the oncologist will administer the chemo drugs. These drugs are typically toxic to the skin, so the nurse may wear protective clothing. The entire treatment can take 30 minutes to several hours. Pillows, blankets, and other comforting things from home can help make waiting more bearable.
  8. Ice. You may want to take some frozen vegetables or ice packs for your fingers—they may help reduce nail damage from the drugs. Ice chips in your mouth may also help reduce mouth sores.
  9. Any Pain? The treatment itself is usually not painful.
  10. Side Effects? These vary from person to person. Many people experience few side effects. Assuming the best outcome is better than imagining misery. (Click here for more info on possible chemotherapy side effects.)
  11. Drive home. Most doctors recommend you don’t drive yourself. You could be drowsy from pre-medications or from the experience itself.

If you’ve experienced chemotherapy, please help our first timers by sharing your experiences.

Photo courtesy of Dyxie via Flickr.com.

Posted in: Your Cancer Fighting Journey


54 Comments to “First Chemotherapy Treatment—What to Expect”

  1. Ebenezer says:

    After having gone through my first ABVD chemotherapy treatment today, I’m now sitting by the dinner table, trying to force feed myself. The whole experience has been a lot better than I had anticipated. My cancer is said to be highly curable even though it’s a stage 4 Hodgkins Lymphoma. My young age(24) seems to be my greatest advantage at beating the side effects of my drugs and the odds of the cancer being terminal. So far the only side effect I have experienced since I received my first treatment 7 or 8 hours ago has been a little constipation which wS already an existent problem as I have been taking the narcotic drug oxycodon regularly to remedy a steady migraine. Apart from that I’ve noticed that my appetite has gradually decreased as the day progressed to night. I have no fever but there have been little indications of a fever onset like heat and some burning sensation at the back of my throat which might hopefully just be the sore throat I seem to have incurred since this morning before beginning my therapy. I’ve been starkly drinking a lot of fluids in order to flush the toxic byproducts of my drugs and I have drank several bottles of water a mixed fruit juice, a bottle of Ensure and I’m drinking my regular glass of milk before I go to bed. I don’t seem to be as tired though, I still feel like I can catch another movie eventhough I just got done with Denzel Washington’s “Unstoppable” The only fatigue I felt was while benedril was being administered to me through an IV during my treatment at whciu time I dozed and slumbered for few odd minutes until my caring kind nurses or my ever loyal and doting cousin woke me up for something or another. Apart from that I slept for about an hour and a half right after I had my se ond
    X

  2. momofbit says:

    Hi Ebenezer
    my son of 15 is also going for his first chemo tommorrow. He also have Hodgkins Lymphoma stage 2. We are very nevous. IT all happened so fast, early Dec took him to a doctor since he has a lump on the neck, GP do some blood test, says everything is Ok, bt recommends we see a specialist. we went and see the specialist, says nothing to worry about, but recommends we remove it. went into surgery on the 12th of Dec. few days later we get called into the doctors office, he is diagnosed with cancer Hodgkins Lymphoma, never head of that in my life. we are both scared. scheduled us to see an oncologist same day and the rest is history.

    I am so worried about him, he doesnt talk much, he seems pretty much himself, all he wants to know is when does the treatmeent last. he wants his alod life back. yesterday he went for a hair cut, to prepare for hairloss.

    He is still so young, its sad that he has to deal with such a huge cancer responsibility. he is worried about ability to eat Mcdonalds and his favourite foods.

    He has not told his friends yet, he is not sure he wants to tell. i am not sure if i should take him to theraphy or it will just scare him off.

  3. Breast Cancer in Phoenix says:

    I had my first chemo treatment (#1 of 4) on 2/2/12, it was on a Thursday. They gave me 2 pre-meds and then my treatment. They dripped it in slowly through my port. It took about 3 hours, due to the slow drip. When I left there, I went immediately to my plastic surgeon for my breast fill on my tissue expanders.

    The next day was Friday, and you go back to the same place and they give you a shot to boost your immune system. Saturday I felt fine, and then Sunday just a small headache from the shot. That is a typical side effect. Monday, I cleaned our entire condo for about 6 hours. Tuesday I rested and watched TV. Wednesday rested partial day, then ran errands and then Thursday had 2 appointments and was out of the home for about 8 hours. Friday, I watched TV and rested – not because of any side effects, but because I know I’m doing more than probably what I’m supposed to be doing. Saturday I cleaned and today, Sunday I cleaned out cupboards and organized.

    The MOST important thing the first 48 hours of chemo is to drink LOTS of water. I drank 60 ounces first day and about 53 the 2nd day. I sipped on ice chips during chemo and for the first 4 days at home, I rinsed my mouth twice a day with mixture of 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda into a bottle of water. I never got sores, nor nausea, nor loss of appetite. I was prepared and bought plastic utensils. But so far, the only thing that has happened was Diet Coke was a turn off for the first few days, so I had Ginger Ale during that time.

    My Oncologist said that actually food is not the priority during treatments. It’s hydration. He recommended either Smart Water, Gatorade or Pedialyte. I found Pedialyte pops, they seemed like a great treat.
    He said hydration first, then food.

    Hope this helps everyone!

  4. 2. momofbit says:

    My son is now on chemo 3 of 12 . He has been so strong and positive. I am very proud of him. He is responding well to treatment. Only has minor site effects – getting tired few days after treatment. School has not been badly affected, except for the days we go for chemo – which is once every 2 weeks. He finally told some of his friends and class mates and he says , it’s not really a big deal . Everyone still treat him the same. No special attention, which is something he was hopping not to happen.

  5. Pamela Mason says:

    Reading your comments (breast cancer in phoenix) gave me so much courage and comfort. I’ll be having my first chemo treatment on Wednesday. All indications are a positive outcome and minimal side effects from a 4 treatment regimen. I am so anxious, though. Onward!

  6. Helga says:

    I was delivered the news of my stage 4 cancer on Tuesday. I was completely blindsided by this news. It has apparently moved to my liver as well, ct scan today to double check my lungs. At 44, I have no history of cancer and no clue as to what to expect. I am devastated but determined. Thanks to those who have shared their experiences….

  7. narovia says:

    A very good friend of mine has started her chemo treatment today. She was diagnosed with B Cell Lymphoma Stage 2 on 1 March, this after doctors treated her for water retention after her leg started swelling(triple in size). A second opinion GP referred her for a CT scan early Feb and she was told she had a tumour in the upper leg. Have just heard that she has been hospitalised for her first chemo session. Is this normal? also I would really like to support her so any tips for friends and family will be welcome

  8. Britta Aragon says:

    I’m very sorry to hear about your friend, Narovia. It’s always so challenging when people we care about are going through cancer. I’m not a doctor, but I do understand that B cell lymphoma often does present with tumors in the extremities, like the leg, and apparently chemotherapy is a typical treatment. To support her, I would recommend that first, you just let her know that you care, and be that friend that truly listens to her. Other than that, I have other recommendations in the “caregiving” category of my blog, and on this post: http://cincovidas.com/7-ways-to-be-an-advocate-for-your-loved-one-with-cancer/. Little things like helping with the grocery shopping, sitting with her during her chemo treatments, treating her to a funny video night, or just bringing some joy into her life are all things friends can do. (For more information on all this, check out my book, When Cancer Hits http://cincovidas.com/cv-press/book/) I wish you all the best—let us know how she’s doing!

  9. shirley says:

    I am so glad that there is help out there. I feel so scared an it seems like my kids have turn away from me…jts so hard

  10. Britta Aragon says:

    Hi, Shirley. Rest assured—you are not alone. Everyone has their own way of dealing with sickness. Children, especially, can feel scared, particularly of their own feelings. Maybe they are worried about losing you, and are afraid to tell you. Maybe they just don’t know how to act around you, and so they avoid you. Your first priority is to take care of yourself and get well, but remember that you are still a mom. They look to you for direction and help when things get tough. You may feel that you have no strength to help them, but actually, when you turn your focus toward others, it can actually help you to feel like you’re regaining some control of your life. Of course, you know your family best. Listen to your heart and keep going. One day at a time. Don’t worry about the future. You can do it. We’re pulling for you!

  11. Imely says:

    Thank you all so much for your shared comments. I was supposed to start my first dose of chemo last week but put it off. Will actually be going in tomorrow morning. Now I feel a whole lot more confident.

  12. Mary Gilonske says:

    I was diagnosed with breast cancer a month ago. Stage 2 ductle carcinoma. I had my port put in last week and chemo starts on Monday. Im a litle afraid of the first treatment, but all the comments give me encouragement.

  13. Britta Aragon says:

    Hi, Mary. Of course you’re afraid! Who wouldn’t be, right? Chemo is scary, no matter how you look at it. Remember that the process itself is really no big deal. Just be sure to take something to keep your mind busy. As mentioned in this post, pack along music, books, a journal, a friend, and a blanket or favorite jacket to keep you warm. The hard part usually comes later, but try not to anticipate it. Chemo affects everyone differently, and I remember going out with my friends after my treatment and feeling fine. You may experience some side effects, but then again, you may not. Just be sure to watch over yourself, and check with your doctor on anything that doesn’t feel “right.” I’ve heard of cancer fighters who really suffered after their chemo treatment because they thought that’s just the way it was supposed to be. Not true! There are lots of things that can help with side effects, so ask your doctor, and make sure you have a good support network around you. Good luck, and try to relax as much as you can. ?

  14. Britta Aragon says:

    Hi, Imely. Can you believe how many people are going in for their first chemo treatment about the same time you are? If you think about it, hundreds, if not thousands, of people around the nation are walking the same road you are, feeling the same trepidation, experiencing the same cold fingers and twisted tummies. Remember that you’re not alone. Looking at the date of your comment, I’m assuming you’ve now gone through that first treatment. I would love it if you would write in about your experience. How was it? How are you feeling? What steps have you taken to take care of yourself? Your experience will help others!

  15. Sue Henry says:

    I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer on September 5. I had surgery on September 10 to remove my ovaries, fallopian tubes, omentum and a tumor the size of a grapefruit. My first chemo treatment is today, and oddly enough I’m very calm about it. I feel that the surgery was the worst part of my treatment and since I’m doing so well after that, I can do anything. My doctor has been so positive through all of this that I’m only envisioning a positive outcome. Stay strong everyone (and stay hydrated!!!!) :)

  16. Honey says:

    I was very moved by so many of your posts, my mom just started her first chemo of 4 last week for stage 3 breast cancer. She is 84 so I feel she is doing great so far but has been more tired then usual and couple of days that she was nauseous. Helga, How are you doing and my thoughts and prayers are for each an everyone of you!!

  17. Ronda T. says:

    I go in for my 1st chemo treatment. Diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma last week. I must admit I am a little apprehensive and nervous. I appreciate all the above comments on what to expect and some of the things that happen afterwards. I look forward to learning more from those who are going before me in this battle. Prayers to you all.

  18. Anita Blomquist says:

    Hi, I was diagnosed with Intraductal Carcinoma of the left breast in early September. I had a lumpectomy and node biopsy. It came back hormone positive, (3) node negative and stage 1. I had my power port put in yesterday. It wasn’t too bad. Unfortunatly, I have migraines. When I came home I took the hydrocodone prescribed and developed a massive headache. So, back to the ER last night. I woke up this morning feeling fine. I had my first Chemo today, Taxotere And Cytoxan. I was first treated with a steroid, regalin and an antinausea drug through my port. Then, they hung the Taxotere and Cytoxan letting one and then the other drip in to the port. At this point there is no issues, however, I am prepared for the worst…. but will be happy with the best! I forgot to mention the antiseptic smell and taste when they flushed the port with saline… strange. I did hydrate while I was there and after I came home. Still drinking…but slowing down. My tounge and the roof of my mouth feel are starting to little raw I am going to try the baking soda and and salt solution above.
    I will write again if, I develope any effects in the next few days.

  19. Britta Aragon says:

    Hi, Ronda. How did your treatment go? It’s always nerve-racking. I trust you made it through okay. Just be sure to be kind to yourself no matter what, and if something feels off, ask your doctor. You have to be your own advocate, so be sure that you’re assertive on your behalf. Best of luck!

  20. Britta Aragon says:

    Hi, Honey. My thoughts go out to your mom and you as you go through this journey. Fatigue and nausea are common side effects. You may try to help your mom to eat things that will help her energy levels, like fresh fruits and vegetables, frozen yogurt, and protein, if she can. Juices may work on days when she doesn’t have an appetite. Ginger tea may help with the nausea. Best of luck to both of you.

  21. Britta Aragon says:

    Hi, Anita. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience. Very helpful for our other readers. You may want to enlist the help of a dietician/nutritionist while you’re going through this. They can test you for nutrients. You may be lacking some, like magnesium perhaps? That could contribute to your migraines. Juicing may also be a good thing to look into, as that gets a lot of nutrients into your body quickly and in an easily digested way. Make sure you check your toothpaste—those with sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate can make mouth sores worse. Choose a more natural brand and be sure to be gentle. Let us know how you’re doing!

  22. Frank says:

    Hi My father is going for first Chemotherapy treatment of Myeloma stage 4 on friday, he lost a lot weight and he cant walk at the moment, my worry is the out come because he is 59 yrs old. he is focus and prepared in its mind for treatment and the family support him 100%. please anyone advise me on what to expect

  23. Britta Aragon says:

    Hi, Frank. I’m sorry to hear about your father’s myeloma. That must be very frightening for all of you. How wonderful that he has you with him, though. It’s obvious you care a lot about him, and it’s so important to have loved ones near when we’re going through these challenges. Everyone responds differently to chemo, so all you can do is wait to see how he does. My one piece of advice would be to listen to your father, and if he has problems, be sure to tell your doctor. Maybe people believe they’re just supposed to suffer in silence, and that is definitely not what you want to do. Take it one day at a time, and don’t be afraid to get a 2nd and 3rd and even 4th opinion if you ever feel like things aren’t going the right way. The most important thing is your father’s quality of life, and sometimes doctors can lose sight of that in their attempts to fight the cancer. Best of luck to you, and be sure to continue to watch out for your own health as well as you work to take care of your father.

  24. Patricia Jones says:

    I will be going in for my first chemo treatment this week. i have to have a hearing test first and a port put in. I have been diagnosed with Small Cell Lung cancer. all the tests showed it has not spread beyond the lung.
    all the tests have been grueling because they were done in a two day period.
    has anyone else had this type cancer and what treatments did they have? I will be having Chemo one day a week for 3 weeks and off two weeks.

  25. Tetet de Leon says:

    I’m 50 and a Filipina. Last Dec. 20, 2012, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. After 9 days I had my mastectomy and the nodes were positive so Pathologically I’m stage 3A. My Oncologists wants me to have my first session of chemotherapy 2-3 weeks from now. My husband I are both a little scared specially him because he can not bear the thought of me being actually injected with “poison”. But I assured him that more people were treated by this procedure. I told him I wanted to live long to see my grandchildren and grow old with him. I have a good support system in my children, my sisters (one is a BC survivor too) and friends who are praying for me. I believe God has a reason why this happened to me. I may or may not know but His wisdom I can not question. He is Almighty and he is good all the time. In times like this I can still say, to Him be the Glory, Honor and Praise!!!!

  26. Britta Aragon says:

    I so admire your quiet courage and strength! Chemotherapy is always a little scary, but you’re right in that it’s helping a lot of breast cancer patients. I understand your husband’s fears, as well, and you sound like you’re doing a good job reassuring him. Make sure you have someone with you who can lend you strength as well! My best to you and good luck.

  27. Britta Aragon says:

    My father had lung cancer as well, Patricia. His had spread, though, and yours has not, and that’s always a good sign. Make sure you have a support group in place before you start your chemo so you have help with things like meals, grocery runs, and the like. I wish you the best!

  28. Pamela says:

    My husband (63 yrs old) was diagnosed with Stage 4 non small cell lung cancer in December 2012. It has spread to his bones, spleen and brain. He has his first chemo on Wednesday the 16th of Jan. His appointment isn’t until 2:30 and they said it could take up to 7 hours. I am scared to death not knowing what to expect when we come home after the treatment. We have put our faith in God and know he will take care of us. Prayers are wonderful thing, that is the only thing getting us through this very difficult time. Thanks to everyone that as posted on here, it has really answered a lot of questions for us. We will be praying for each of you.

  29. Britta Aragon says:

    Hi, Pamela. I really feel for you. Of course it’s scary and it makes it worse that you just don’t know what to expect. Your husband’s cancer sounds very serious and I completely understand how that can turn your lives upside down. Please be sure that you check with your doctor on any side effects he may experience, and realize that you can do something to ease any discomfort most all of the time. When natural remedies won’t work, check with your doctor about possible medications. My best to both of you!

  30. Nancy Shumaker says:

    On Oct 30, 2012 I had a double masectomy at my decision. Only expecting to find cancer in my left breast. On Sunday November 4 my 45th aniversary, my surgeon called and said they found cancer in six lymph nodes plus in my right breast. What a schock that was. Due to complcations with my right breast incision not healing I just took my first chemo treatment Wed Jan. 16. I was a nervous wreck as nothing had gone as expected throught this whole ordeal. With many prayers this once again has not go as expected. But for the good this time. As of now I have had no side effects. Finding this sight and reading it the night before chemo was to start relieved alot of my worry. Thank you for your help.

  31. Britta Aragon says:

    Hi, Nancy. Wow. I’m sure that was shocking news to hear. Fortunately you listened to your intuition and had both breasts removed. I wonder if they would have found the cancer in the other one as quickly if you hadn’t? Chemotherapy is never a picnic, but more and more women are successfully beating the cancer with the treatments we have today, and I am confident you will have a complete recovery. Do be kind to yourself, however, as the healing does take time—even long after the treatments are over. I wish you all the best and please let us know how you’re doing!

  32. Debbie says:

    I’ve been reading what I can about the side effects of chemo. What is this about damage to the finger nails? Is there damage to the nail bed? Do all chemo drugs do this? Has anyone experienced this and what have you done? I start chemo next week. To say that I’m fearful is a bit of an understaement. I’m trying to learn what to expect and what I can do to help myself. In October I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer, and after surgery in November, was staged at 1B, with a grade 3 tumor. Because of the delay in my healing, I am late in getting started with my chemo/radiation treatment plan. I am 54 years old, and in pretty good shape, for the shape I’m in. My faith in God is strong, and I know I’ll get through anything I need to do. But I also know God expects me to help myself and well as others. Thank you for everyone’s previous posts. I pray for you all, and appreciate all your helpful suggustions.

  33. Kat says:

    Hi how are you all doing girls ? Reading all your comments has made me feel so much better about the start of chemo. I was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma no lympnodes are infected thank god!! I start my first chemo treatment on Monday in day after tmr im pretty nervouse but happy to get this journey started Im ready to get my normal life back. Im on medical leave through my work will be until the end of all this i aplaud all those women who work through all this I myself emotionally can not do it. Any one have any bad effects from chemo im hearing all these good outcomes which is wonderful hope it happens to me but would like to know what others have experienced if not so great as well.

  34. Lisa Higgins says:

    I had Transsphenoidal surgery in late January for a tumor in my pituitary gland. Unfortunately, they were not able to remove all of it. So now the next step is chemotherapy for pituitary carcinomas. I have never heard of anyone having to have this kind of chemotherapy for this kind of cancer and I’m scared. Is there anyone that has experienced this kind of treatment?

  35. Britta Aragon says:

    Hi, Lisa. I’m not personally familiar with this type of cancer, and I feel for you that you’re facing something that is fairly rare. I would advise you to definitely seek out a second and even a third opinion about your treatment, as it is a big step for anyone to undergo chemotherapy. It may be the best option, but if I were you I would want some additional opinions. You may also want to check the National Cancer Institutes sites for clinical trials, in case you may be a candidate for any of these. (http://cancer.gov/clinicaltrials) It’s your body and your life, so don’t be afraid to take steps to be sure you feel good about your decision. I wish you the best of luck.

  36. Britta Aragon says:

    Hi, Debbie. Here’s a tip—don’t think any further down the road than today, okay? If you try to tackle all the things that “may” happen all in one day, you’ll burn yourself out really quickly. You may have nail damage, but you may not. It all depends on the drugs they give you, the combination of drugs, and your own personal physiology. There’s no way to predict whether you will have nail damage or not. Rest assured that you can handle whatever comes your way, especially if you are willing to ask for help. Go to your doctor with all your questions—don’t be shy—and be willing to enlist the help of a naturopath, dietician, massage therapist, yoga practitioner, or whatever you need to feel your best. Of course you’re frightened—we all are when facing chemotherapy treatments. Focus on doing things that help you stay calm, like journaling, listening to music, painting, drawing, reading, walking, caring for a pet, talking with friends, watching funny movies, whatever it takes. Deal with the “fear” instead of anything and everything that may cause the fear, okay? And remember that what we worry about rarely happens—trust that you are okay, in this moment, right now, and you will feel better. I wish you the best during your treatment, and will pray for your speedy recovery.

  37. Laura says:

    Hi everyone! I’m 27 and was diagnosed with stage 2a Hodgkin Lymphoma on feb 7. The following day I found out I was 5 weeks pregnant. After speaking to my heamatologist and obstetrician, I was advised to terminate the pregnancy. I am heartbroken as we have tried for 2 years for this baby but I have a 5 year old already and he needs his mummy to get well, something that wouldn’t happen if I delayed the treatment.
    I am due to start ABVD chemo shortly after I have had a PET scan but I am scared stiff of what the treatment will entail. I have a phobia of feeling/being sick and for me that side affect is worse than actually losing my hair. Also I can’t stomach ginger for some reason and I know that it has been mentioned by others as a very effective anti- nausea treatment. Is there anything else out there that works equally as well? I have a very supportive partner and family but it doesn’t stop me being scared stiff of what I am about to go through and the side effects I will experience. Please can anyone help me?

  38. Britta Aragon says:

    Laura, my gosh. Talk about heartbreaking. Did you get a second opinion? Please read this article on ABC News about chemotherapy and pregnancy—a recent study showed that chemo did NOT put babies at risk in pregnant women. I wish you the best on that as I’m sure that is an excruciating decision to be faced with. http://abcnews.go.com/Health/chemotherapy-pregnancy-complications-study/story?id=17014354

    As for nausea and vomiting, if you don’t care for ginger tea, try the supplements—you can get ginger in vitamin-like supplements (500 mg day). If that doesn’t work for you, try making your own cinnamon and honey tea with a teaspoon of cinnamon and a tablespoon of honey. You can find other solutions in my book, “When Cancer Hits,” (http://cincovidas.com/cv-press/book/) but more important is getting ahold of your anxiety. I know it’s hard, but try living just one day at a time, and take the side effects as they come. Different people have different experiences, and you may not even have stomach sickness. Try to do some relaxation techniques like meditation, journaling, listening to music, or whatever helps you stay calm, okay? Good luck!

  39. aletta says:

    Hi ill be going for my first chemo on tuesday and reading all this comments make me realise that I’m not alone and gave me hope that ill bet this I’m glad that such information is accesseble for everyone anyway february 11 I was dignosed with breast cancer stage 2 on my right breast since that day I knew that God is with me all the way I’m stronger than cancer now I know what to do and stay hydrated

  40. Britta Aragon says:

    Hi, Aletta!!! Thanks so much for writing in and for your positive message. You’re going to come through this with flying colors, I can just tell. You hang in there and let us know how you’re doing. I hope your first treatment went okay. My best to you!

  41. linda davis says:

    Just finished my first round…3days….and I am so sick at my stomach…I am taking 2 different pills but can’t seem to feel any better..

  42. Britta Aragon says:

    Hi, Linda. Hang in there. You will get through this. Have you tried ginger tea? You can also try ginger supplements before your chemo treatment as some studies have shown them to be helpful. Chamomile tea is another option. If it gets too difficult, ask your doctor for some anti-nausea drugs. The main thing is to take care of yourself and don’t give up. There are always other options out there to try, and it’s important to feel as good as you can. Best of luck to you.

  43. J.G. Alaniz says:

    I am starting chemo tomorrow, Monday, May 20, 2013 for ocular lymphoma. I was treated w/radiation daily from Jan. to Mar. 2013 for a tumor behind my rt. eye. I then developed a hard bump under the same eye. I had a scan of the orbit of the eye but the bump was NOT tested. It is ASSUMED that it is the same lymphoma. I was told to take Prednisone this past week and I am taking two treatments, Cytoxin & Cytarabine (slow drip) Mon. and Rituxin on Tues. Two treatments a week every 4 weeks for 6 months. It was upsetting that I have to travel twice a week rather than getting it done once a week. I was told that that would be too much on the body to do it all on the same day. Is this right? Thanks.

  44. J.G. Alaniz says:

    J.G. Alaniz says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    May 19, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    I am starting chemo tomorrow, Monday, May 20, 2013 for ocular lymphoma. I was treated w/radiation daily from Jan. to Mar. 2013 for a tumor behind my rt. eye. I then developed a hard bump under the same eye. I had a scan of the orbit of the eye but the bump was NOT tested. It is ASSUMED that it is the same lymphoma. I was told to take Prednisone this past week and I am taking two treatments, Cytoxin & Cytarabine (slow drip) Mon. and Rituxin on Tues. Two treatments a week every 4 weeks for 6 months. It was upsetting that I have to travel twice a week rather than getting it done once a week. I was told that that would be too much on the body to do it all on the same day. Is this right? Thanks.
    I was hoping to get a reply to my comment above, dated May 19. I had my 1st treatment today, May 20. All went well except I think I ate too much when I got home. I feel warmer than usual & wonder if it’s normal.

  45. Britta Aragon says:

    Hi, J.G. As I’m not a doctor, I hesitate to tell you what’s “normal” or not in your treatment for ocular lymphoma. I can tell you that breaking up treatments to give the body a little at a time to recover “is” normal, but whether it’s the “right” treatment for you or not is something you need to discuss with your doctors. I will urge you to get a second or third opinion if you feel you need it. It’s always good to find out from some other doctors what they think about your condition. I’m glad to hear you were okay after your first treatment, but please feel free to check with your doctor on any questions you may have. Never hesitate. That’s what they’re there for. Good luck.

  46. Loreen Ware says:

    Hi my name is loreen I’m 53 years old and have been diagnosed with infilltrating ductal carcinoma Stage 2, march29th 2013 Finding out was so frightening! it’s been a long road to this day. First I had a biopsy, which as soon as the needle went in I bled profuslu, so lets just say LOTS of bruising. Then I had may 3rd 2013 a lumpectomy and sentinal node biopsy, 6 out of 8 nodes removed popped positive :(. Then did not get a clear margin! So opted for a mastectomy done June 6th 2013! healing is going well but my top half of my body feels like a combat zone! I had my frist chemo treatment July 16th 2013 1 out of 4 3 week treatments, Taking (cytoxan)and Adriamycin. So far so good, have a yucky taste in my mouth and kind of foggy but that’s all, i think the side med, for nausau are doing more to me then the chemo drugs! I take severals little cat naps and then I’m up to all hours of the morning on the computer and watchinh tv. My family husband and son at home have been amazing and my support system friends and such have been Awesome,I facebook alot cause it’s seems to calm me and talk about how I’m feeling, but right now I feel like the luckiest girl in the world, Let’s just hope it stay that way! I love all of your comments and ino on this matter good luck!

  47. Britta Aragon says:

    Loreen, thanks so much for writing in about everything you’re going through. I’m sure this will be really helpful for our other readers. A diagnosis is definitely frightening, but it sounds like you’re doing great facing each of the challenges cancer is throwing at you. I’m so glad to hear you have a good support system—it’s so important. Please do keep us updated as to how you’re doing!

  48. cathy says:

    Hi. I have a brother that has been diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer and only weighs 50 kg’s, he is 48 years old, and we worry that he might not be a suitable candidate to start chemotherapy but I believe he is going for a blood test and then chemo will start 2 days thereafter. He had a bit of the tumour cut away in an operation 1 month ago and has recovered quite well but they doctor say that there is a huge tumour still behind the pancreas and some of cancer has spread to liver. What are the chances with chemo treatment as i believe there are other tablets that he can take if he is not a suitable candidate? would love to hear more thoughts from everyone.thank you

  49. Britta Aragon says:

    Hi, Cathy. I’m so sorry to hear about your brother, and I can definitely understand your concerns. My recommendation would be to get a second opinion, and even a third and fourth if needed. Chemotherapy is not always the only option, though I can understand why the doctors are suggesting it if the cancer has spread to the liver. I would also suggest looking into the Oasis of Hope Cancer Treatment Centers. (http://www.oasisofhope.com) They are in Mexico, but they have a great reputation for treating the whole person rather than just the cancer, and may have more information or options to offer you. I feel for you both and you’ll be in my prayers. Light and love!

  50. cathy says:

    Thank you so much for the helpful information you have provided indeed, as you get so many other recommendations that one should look at rather than chemotherapy, but you dont know if its just a pyramid scheme, money making as they say only natural ingredients are being used and is believed to kill the cancer and then theres a company in America that has won 9 noble prizes for their products (natural ingredients). My brother started his first chemo treatment today and went well, so I believe he will be going again next week for the the next treatment, we pray that he continues to be strong and fight it. Thanks once again for all your advise and prayers, Im going to look at those sites you suggested. Warm Regards Cathy (South Africa)

  51. Sarah Luebbe says:

    Hello to All,
    First of all I would like to let everyone know that my prayers are with you all.
    My Sister-in-Law has Lung Cancer. She started her treatment yesterday (10/8/13).
    She will be going through raditation 5 days a week, and chemo once a week for eight weeks. She was told that she would start loosing here hair. So she is going to just have it shaved off. She is such a strong person. I have been looking on line to where she can get a wig for little or no cost. She lives in Tumwater Washington. She only receives about $800. a month. Any ideas where to search? Thanks

  52. Britta Aragon says:

    Hi, Sarah. I’m very sorry to hear about your sister, but wishing her strength and healing as she goes through treatments. Please see my post here on finding a wig—I suggest those salons that are most likely to be helpful. (http://cincovidas.com/where-to-buy-your-wig-tips-on-choosing-a-savvy-salon/) Also, this post lists a number of places where you can donate your wig once you are done using it—these are also places that you can find one for less money. (http://cincovidas.com/done-with-your-wig-after-cancer-treatments-donate-it/)

    Good luck!

  53. Michael says:

    Hello anyone,
    My wife has breast cancer at the age of 55 and has had all her tests, the Doctors are saying that she has to go through Chemo but she is not sure that she wants to, the many side effects are an issue with her and me, the Doctors say the Chemo is to make the lump smaller for surgery, if there will be surgery anyway why can’t Chemo be skipped, we are not sure how to proceed at the moment, not enough answers, very hard decision to make for my wife, what happens during the Chemo treatments, will she be in bed all day everyday, we just don’t know what to expect or who to ask, if she wants to skip Chemo and go right to surgery will the Doctors do that, please let me know as much info as any of you can give because as of today my wife is leaning towards doing nothing at all but waiting to die at home, she is terrified about the Chemo treatments
    Thanks

  54. Britta Aragon says:

    Hi, Michael. First, let me extend to you and your wife my sympathies for the diagnosis, and wish you strength and hope as you go through this process. I can’t provide a doctor’s advice for you, but I would tell you to PLEASE get a second and perhaps even a third opinion. You need doctors who will discuss your options with you in this situation, and if the doctor you have is not open to doing that, you must find another professional who is. Search other cancer centers in your area and make an appointment for a consultation. I would also recommend you talk with some other organizations that focus more on natural treatments, such as the Center for New Medicine (http://www.cfnmedicine.com/) and the Oasis of Hope (http://www.oasisofhope.com/). It will take some time, but this is your wife’s life we’re talking about. You need more information before you can make a decision. Don’t give up hope yet. Breast cancer survival is very high—over 90 percent these days. This does not need to be the end of the road. Good luck!


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