On Jan 11th I had my second chemotherapy treatment. Here is my honest account of chemotherapy for breast cancer. If you’re wondering what does chemo feel like or is chemotherapy painful, this is purely my experience on red devil chemo.
My Experience of Red Devil Chemo
The Second Chemotherapy Treatment
After the first chemotherapy treatment was so tough with the chest infection almost killing me (not much of an exaggeration), I was really hopeful that this time, without the infection, I would cope with the chemotherapy treatment side effects much better. That it would be easier. Although I had read about 2nd chemo worse than 1st for some.
I’d had mixed feedback on how the second chemotherapy treatment side effects measured up against the first. Some say it gets progressively worse with each treatment. Some say the first and second are the worst. Basically, it’s different for everyone.
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Related: Download my Chemo Appointment Reminder Stickers here.
I had decided to do the cold cap chemotherapy option again and despite it being unpleasant, it wasn’t as bad as I remembered.
I told one of my amazing chemo nurses, Deb (not her real name), that I was thinking of not doing it and embracing the baldness and she said that was a brilliant idea and was so encouraging. She gave me all the benefits of not doing it.
Five minutes later I’d changed my mind and told her I was going to continue with it. Deb said that was brilliant and again was encouraging and gave me all the benefits of doing that too.
Basically, Deb is amazing and so positive and will support me through all of my decisions – everyone needs a Deb :)
I actually managed to sleep through some of the session, which was quite nice for me and I imagine quite boring for Mr M who was at my side the entire time.
I got to meet two lovely mums who are undergoing chemo too and met a cute little baby boy from one of them.
Jessie (not her real name) found out during pregnancy that she had triple negative breast cancer. She started chemo whilst pregnant, then had her baby early and has now recommenced chemo. I think she’s amazing, just so strong.
At the end of the session I felt the cold cap not quite in contact with my scalp at the top and told Mr M I thought it wouldn’t work well this time round. Rather than feel disappointed, I actually felt relief. Like I had a good excuse not to use it next time. Not that I especially wanted to lose my hair, I just felt like that was going to happen anyway.
From what I can tell, it’s pretty much a given on my form of chemo, AC chemotherapy, that you’ll lose your hair.
AC Chemo – Red Devil Chemo
I want to take this opportunity to tell you a little bit more about AC chemo and what does chemo do. Some people think chemo side effects are limited to vomiting and chemotherapy hair loss. Unfortunately, for some at least, that is the tip of the iceberg. Although perhaps it’s a sign chemo is working.
I’ve had major internal struggles with how much I want to tell you about my chemo experience.
On one hand, I want to be completely honest, with full disclosure. On the other hand, I’m nervous about potentially scaring others who might end up undergoing AC chemo themselves. I would hate to add to the complications of chemotherapy horror stories already online. I wanted mine to be one of the positive chemotherapy personal stories too.
I’ve decided to share my experience fully but I caveat it with this: this is my experience and these are my symptoms. There is absolutely no guarantee that anyone else will experience things in the same way. The next person might have way less, or more, common side effects of chemotherapy on the body.
I want to be brave but I want to be honest too.
If you’re sensitive to reading about illness then please don’t read on. If you want to gain an insight into what I’m truly going through each cycle, please stay. This is the truth about chemotherapy for me.
FYI: I found a cooling towel really comforting such as this one in Australia, this one in the US and this one in the UK.
A little about AC Chemo and what is Chemotherapy like
- AC stands for Adriamycin (doxorubicin) and Cyclophosphamide.
- It’s nicknamed the “red devil”. I wouldn’t recommend Googling “red devil chemo what to expect”. Is chemo painful as it goes in? No it wasn’t for me. Does chemotherapy hurt? No, again, not for me.
- How does chemotherapy work and what is chemo? It’s purpose is to destroy cancer cells. As I’ve said before, my triple negative breast cancer diagnosis unfortunately has no targeted treatment – so they throw the red devil chemo drug at it as it’s the best (and worst) chemo there is.
My Second Cycle Chemo Diary
My after effects of chemotherapy started again the day after treatment, with severe nausea and heartburn. Thankfully I haven’t vomited. I had an upset tummy since the first day of my first cycle so I’m weak and dehydrated a lot of the time. I take two different pills and special dissolvable ‘wafers’ a few times a day to fight the nausea.
Then I ask my Oncology nurses how long after chemo will I feel better and they recommended keeping a diary. It kind of became my diary of tips for surviving the red devil chemo.
And I could use it to measure as I wondered do chemo side effects get worse with each treatment.
For the first week I can’t eat much and lost 3kgs which ordinarily would be great except I’m under strong orders from my Oncology team not to lose weight throughout treatment because my chemo dosage and plan is tied to my starting weight. Losing weight would mean the dosage of chemo I’m given it too high for my system to take.
On Day 2, my husband administers the Neulasta injection in my tummy. This will help boost my white blood cells and prevent me being hospitalised like last cycle with neutropenia.
I’m scared to death having read about the potentially debilitating bone pain the injection causes.
The side effects of chemo
How long do the after effects of chemo last? As the days go on, I feel slowly more and more poisoned. It starts on about Day 3, like that foggy-headed hungover feeling and gets worse each day. Add to that headaches – but I can’t take anything for them as I have to take my temperature frequently to ensure it doesn’t go over 38. If it does, I have to go to the hospital and they will authorise an ambulance if necessary. It’s that important.
My eyes are dry and itchy and my nose runs constantly. Every day is an endless cycle of blowing my nose, washing my hands, coughing, washing my hands, going to the toilet, washing my hands and so on. I have to use my own bathroom as the chemo drugs come out through my urine and I cannot risk my family coming into contact with them. I have to flush the toilet twice each time with the lid down.
Thankfully we have two bathrooms or things could get very difficult. I’m grateful for that.
I take a prescribed sedative every night from Day 1 because the steroids keep me awake all night otherwise – as does the anxiety and constant questioning of every potential symptom I’m feeling.
On Day 4 my body starts aching and my neck is stiff, making sleep uncomfortable. And sitting. And standing.
By Day 5 my hair is coming out like sheets of snow. There are no bald patches but piles of hair on the bathroom counter and floor. I spend all day pulling fallen hair off my clothes and neck. It’s all over the floor everywhere and Mr M kindly vacuums it away so I don’t have to see it. I start Googling hair growth after chemo.
My mouth is extremely dry and sore by now and I have painful ulcers. It’s as if I’ve swallowed a fireball and it’s burned and bruised my whole mouth.
Everything tastes like cardboard yet smells disgustingly strong. Eating is no fun. I’m now on an accidental diet during chemotherapy. Awesome.
On Day 6 my mouth and throat is really sore and Deb recommends I get Difflam mouthwash which helps to numb it. It makes eating even harder but at least the pain is gone. Deb has lots of great suggestions for chemotherapy side effects remedies.
I found a cooling towel really comforting such as this one in Australia, this one in the US and this one in the UK.
The black cloud
I dread Day 7 as I remember how down I felt during the first cycle and true to form, the black cloud descends. My red devil chemo worst days. I feel like a ghost in my own home, detached from everything. For two days I stay in my room, I’m too down to leave except to cuddle my babies but I’m too weak to play with them. I feel horribly guilty and selfish.
My immune system has plummeted and I’m so at risk of infection that I can’t go out. I can’t be in crowds of people or near anyone with even a cold. It’s lonely. It’s one of the annoying risks of chemotherapy.
I’m in a permanent state of confusion and memory loss. Everything is hard. All is not right with the world. It’s all wrong. What if chemotherapy doesn’t work?
I feel sad that my friends aren’t calling, that some friends haven’t called at all, haven’t even acknowledged that I had cancer. They are not my friends any more.
I’m angry that people think my ‘all clear’ result after surgery means we can all move on. I can’t move on, I’m trapped in this horrific treatment plan. I want it to end, I seriously contemplate not going in for any more chemo. If I just stop now, I’ll start getting better again instead of worse. I’ll stop poisoning my body to the point that some things no longer function.
I wonder if some people think a lumpectomy is minor surgery. Maybe that’s what I thought too, until I knew better. My scar and the piece missing from my body doesn’t look minor to me.
I feel angry
I’m grateful that I didn’t have to have a mastectomy. I’m terrified that if I end up having the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene, I will have to have a bilateral mastectomy and my ovaries removed.
When will the cancer ‘journey’ end?
Friends do call but I can’t answer the phone, I’m not happy enough to talk and my mouth is sore.
I feel an anger that I’ve never felt before. I’m angry that my cancer is triple negative – that it’s aggressive and fast-growing. That my treatment is a Hail Mary. That it will all be for nothing because the cancer will come back like it has for so so many others with triple negative breast cancer. Does chemotherapy cure cancer? Not necessarily for me. Although the chemotherapy survival rate is high enough for me to think chemo is worth it.
I want to scream that it isn’t fair, why is this happening, why me? Why don’t people understand how bloody harrowing this is? If they knew, if they could experience it for 5 minutes. I feel guilty for thinking that and I wouldn’t wish AC chemo on my worst enemy.
I resolve to cut some people out of my life when this is all over. To surround myself only with people who genuinely care. People who are positive.
I turn a corner
By Day 9 I feel brighter but balder. The hair is still a-falling. We go to the hair salon to get my head shaved. Despite almost having an anxiety attack when I get there, once the shaver touches my head I feel strangely elated. I feel that ‘liberation’ I’ve read about and I’m so thankful for that.
We laugh and joke about how I look like Annie Lennox, then Miley Cyrus, then Sinead O’Connor. I don’t look too bad really. Despite the steroid-bloated face, my pale and sallow skin and my sparse eyebrows and eyelashes. I look ok bald.
My new wig is fitted and cut and I leave feeling happier because I lost my hair on my terms.
On Days 10-12 I experience hot flashes constantly which leads me to believe I’m in early menopause. My Oncologist has already told me it’s fairly inevitable that this will happen and I will either come out of it after treatment has ended or I won’t. I’m thankful that my family is already complete. I cry for the women who haven’t started or finished their families that are going through this. I take on their pain and it makes me desperately sad.
For the hot flashes, I found a cooling towel really comforting such as this one in Australia, this one in the US and this one in the UK.
On Day 13 my period arrives a week late – like a surprise visit from an old friend. Even when I’m doubled over with the worst cramps of my life, I’m happy that I’ve fended off menopause for one more month at least.
On Day 15 my thumb nails start to turn black and I read online how all of my nails might fall off altogether through treatment.
The cycle ends
I feel better though and I hope I feel this way for the next 6 days. I hope to get stronger and more positive again as each day goes by.
Because in 7 days, I have my third encounter with the red devil. And all of this starts again.
And I just want it to stop.
On Day 16 I’m much better again. How many days after chemo do you feel better does vary for everyone. Despite the mouth ulcers, I feel quite good. And it’s a lovely sunny day outside.
I stand outside and feel the sun on my face and shoulders and it makes me happy.
I’m half way through the worst of it and I have 6 days to make the most of feeling well, to play with my children, to laugh with my husband and to catch up on all of the calls, texts and emails. People love me. They want me to to be here and I want to be here with them.
I’m grateful for the love and support of my family and friends who are helping me get through this. Thank you.
It’s truly horrific. I hate it. But it’s temporary. It doesn’t feel like it now but I know it will end. I put my faith in the high chemotherapy success rate. So far that has to be the one of the only real benefits of chemotherapy. It will work.
Two to go. What happens after chemotherapy is finished? What is life after cancer like.
** UPDATE – Jan 31st 2016 **
Just in case you missed my follow up post, I wanted to update anyone reading this one that I didn’t stay feeling like this for long. In fact, each day since I’ve felt better in every way and my family and friends have really rallied round.
I have my third AC chemo experience tomorrow and I’m doing everything I can to change my mindset about it. Instead of ‘poisoning me’, it’s killing off those cancer cells (if there are any left!) and helping me, not harming me. There is a high chemo success rate.
I know that I will get through it and after a few days I’ll start to feel like myself again. This too shall pass.
Related: Download my Chemo Appointment Reminder Stickers here.
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Remember, this is my own honest account of chemotherapy experience. Yours will likely be very different and I hope we are all breast cancer survivors x
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Are you doing red devil chemo? I hope my account of red devil chemotherapy treatment has helped you a bit – this horrible phase will pass x
I’m having my FOURTH Red Devil treatment on this Friday. Mine is a recurrence. I had a double mastectomy five years ago followed by radiation and then reconstruction. Mine was not supposed to come back! But here it is. Red Devil is the worst! I’m not sure the date on this blog but it seems like you are about to have your 3rd. My 3rd was my worst. I’m dreading the 4th. But it is also the LAST. And you are almost finished as well. Good luck to you, my pink sister.
Having my 4th Red devil Friday. Absolutely dreading it xx. My tummy hasn’t been great this week, bloated, nauseous etc. I think it is nerves and all that. After my 4th red devil we starting taxol. Not sure how that will go.
Hats off to all the brave ladies out there xx
Sending you so much love for your treatment Kelly x x
Hi Mim thank you for your post I am sure you are helping a LOT of people I was just looking for some info on red devel and came across your post I would like to follow your blog but don’t know how to can you send me the info. Stay strong 💕
Thank you Frances – I’m so glad it helps and so much love to you x x The best place to follow me is here :) https://www.facebook.com/lovefrommim/
Hey, My mom is going through the exact same thing, down to being upset about friends not calling. My sisters and I and my mom vowed to cut certain people off wen she’s better. Your story made us feel like we have a friend on our side. We’ve been constantly been getting told that “breast cancer is so easy And common, don’t even worry it’s practically like a common cold” And family members called us out for overplaying the situation and being so dramatic. Can u believe it? If only they could step in my moms body for 10 minutes. My mom starts taxol next week and I was looking up what it’s like and it’s side effects compared to the red devil in hopes of giving her good news that it’s not bad at all compared to what she’s been through already. Then I found your post. Thank you so much for this. If you don’t mind I really want to ask you a few questions about your experience with taxol and the rest of the treatment after red devil. Please let me know if there is a better way to communicate with you. Thank you again for your words.
Thank you so much for this and yes, you are all not alone – despite it often feeling that way x and yes always ask away x
Hi Mim, you are not brave you are AWESOMELY brave I fully understand what you are going through as i am 45 and had a triple negative breast cancer that was grade 3. I finished my red devil treatment (which I had once a fortnight) my first and last were my worst. I wouldn’t wish it upon any one. I have my fourth dose tomorrow of the second round. I have this once a week and they have lowered the dosage by 25% cause of nerve damage to my fingers. All you can do is take one day at a time They told me the second round of chemo is smoother and for me it is. But still not fun. I wish you all the best keep positive attitude it feels better to laugh.
Thank you so much Hayley and the best of love and luck to you too! And yes, I found taxol much easier than red devil. And YES to laughing – it’s the best healing medicine, it really it :) x x
What is so interesting is how different everyone’s story is. Thankfully, I just finished my 4th and final treatment of Red Devil. I did the cold cap. I have probably 46 hairs left, but I kept my fringe (bangs). I think if the cold cap had been fitted better I would have kept more hair, but COVID prevented that. So maybe I would have kept 100 hairs, my hope is when they are done dosing me with chemicals it will grow back the same and maybe faster. I don’t have to shave my underarms and I have a bit of a Brazilian happening. Did lose a ton of my eye lashes. Luckily I feel OK most of the times. I avoid taking any anti-nausea pills. They make me feel crappy. I stopped after the first chemo. But I HATE the freaking port. Hot heated hate. It gets in the way when I lift stuff, sleep, swing my golf club and finally the seat belt. It looks like a bruised lump in my chest plus it hurts when touched or they hang the IV. I have been hospitalized cause I had no white blood cells, but I felt fine. They worry because I got a bit of anemia going on. I have the triple neg breast cancer and I am 60. Luckily, I am still working. That helps. I do get way more tired at the end of the day, but that is probably the anemia, which is kinda new. I start the ever-green chemo next Thursday. Kinda anxious because it is a change. But no Neulasta. After the shot even taking the Claritin I felt weird. Not right. I would either get the shot Friday afternoon or Saturday morning, didn’t feel decent until Monday. I do have to worry about Diarrhea issues. I have developed something of a spastic colon. So 12 freaking weeks of the Taxol. Then under the knife. Who knows. Just keep moving forward. What tears me up are all the younger women.
Hurray to finishing!! Ha yes, it was awesome to not have to shave everything :) Wishing you the absolute BEST of luck Jessica with the rest of your chemo and surgery – love to you x x
Jessica it’s nice to find someone close to my age with same triple neg breast cancer was good to read a bit of your story. Thanks for sharing
I found your blog looking for information on these Red Devil chemo treatments. Your story has educated me and made me realize all the things I have been blessed with and am so thankful for. My reason for searching is re-connecting with a good friend who has 2 young children; and he also has stage 2 lymphoma. He said they gave him 6 of these AC treatments and he continued to work every day while receiving them, and 6 days a week the past year since having them. He just found out last week that the cancer is back (last week is also when we ran back in to each other after not seeing each other in over 10 years). They are going to begin treatments on him again in about 5 days. I am determined not to let him go through this alone this time and to do as much for him to make this easier or more comfortable, without getting in his personal space, so I wanted to really do some crash studying up on what to expect. To know what he was going to be going through. Reading your blog has been the most helpful thing I have come across yet, by far. You are truly a strong willed lady, and a beautiful person. There should be many more like you in the world. Thank you for sharing your experience. You have helped so many people by doing so. I wish you much luck and many days !
Hi Lana! Thank you so so much and also thank you for everything you’re doing to understand and support your friend. I know he’ll really appreciate this. I have everything crossed for him that treatment will be a huge success x x x
Omg. I stumbled across you blog in a search for info. I have just finished round 4 of AC. It was like looking in the mirror. I can’t even explain the emotion of seeing someone else had experienced exactly what I have. I hope your AC 3 and 4 are kinder to you than me. It’s been disgusting. But I made it. And now getting ready for Taxol. Thankyou for sharing. I am about to make my partner read it as he will be blown away that the struggle is not unique to me.
Hi Jenny! AC chemo can be horrific and it’s so difficult to explain it to others. But this was actually three years ago for me and almost a memory :) and once it leaves your system you’re going to be a brand new woman! Feel free to reach out to me at any time for a chat – you’re not alone at all x x
Thank you for sharing your story. I was just a kid when my mom was going through chemotherapy and couldn’t fully grasp how much of a toll it took on her physically, mentally, and emotionally. Thanks gain for sharing.
I’m sorry you went through that. Did it inspire you to become a doctor?
Thank you for enlightening us with your experience. A dear friend is going through her second round and it breaks my heart. But she is strong and am thankful for the information here because I want to be aware of what she is going through and be there for her the best way I can.
Cheers and big hugs! How are you now?
Lots of love to you and your friend – it can be such a hard time. Not everyone experiences it the same way and some are very lucky with few symptoms. I can tell you now that 6 months after chemo finished, I feel like a different person and so so much better. It’s hard to see past the treatment while you’re going through it but thank you for supporting your friend x
Hi Mim, Found your Blog while looking for info on side effects for 2nd treatment of Chemo, was a bit scary to say the least, but you came through at the other end so I suppose I will too.
So far worst has been the dry mouth like you have eaten a handful of flour, but that has now passed.
The Indigestion I have been able to manage with a health store product called ” Gut Relief” from Nutralife, you can only get it a a health food store, it’s pricey at $45 but is well worth the price. I also ended up with an infected finger from a small scratch, which I required antibiotics for, just so much fun.
Am feeling a bit tired by end of the day but am lucky enough to have retired, so can have a “Nana” nap if I need, have also had muscle pain, but just have to give in to the body when it tells me to. Oh yeah and the hair has been falling out for the last 3 days, feel a bit like Donald Trump at the moment, but am trying to get in touch with my hairdresser for the “Shave”.
I hope you have finished all your treatments & are well on the way to recovery.
Thanks for the Blog.
Thank you Christina and I hope you’re feeling well. It’s a very hard thing to go through but you will definitely come out the others side :) wishing you the very best for the rest of your treatment x
I only found your blog last week and I really wish I had found it sooner. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2015 and started the first of 4 AC chemotherapy on the 15th of December. Reading this really upset and touched me, it is like you were me, you wrote everything I felt and I only wish I could have put it into words as honest and eloquent as you did, maybe then the people around me would have had better understanding of how awful AC really is. But I like you survived the 4 AC and started taxol which is easier (it couldn’t be any worse). Your attitude is fantastic and I really enjoy your blog.
Oh thank you so much and, despite the circumstances, it’s lovely to hear from you. Email me if you ever want a chat – I hope your treatment is going really well :) x
How long after AC did you start Taxol
Hi Mim, from friends I have heard how lousy chemo can make you feel and to think that anyone has to go through that in order to get well again makes me shudder, but I have no doubt that it’s better than the alternative.
I admire your honesty, it can’t be an easy experience to share and I love your attitude. I hope round three is easier on you.
Thank you so much Debs – it’s definitely feeling a little easier this round in lots of ways x
It’s not bloody fair, mate. But we’ll get there. I’m so sorry your ‘friends’ haven’t contacted you. It’s weird how sometimes you don’t feel like talking to people, but you don’t want to be abandoned either. Nothing more I can say except you know that I do understand what you’re going through xo
So so true! You totally understand lady x x
Mim, my love you ARE amazing. Thank you for sharing, for your honesty and for your courage. I had absolutely no idea how truly horrific chemo is. We’re ALL rooting for you and I tell you this, when this is all over and you’ve kicked that cancer’s ass, it’s the cancer that will be saying a few hail marys ;-) Sending much love. X
Oh thank you thank you lovely Katie!! x x
Thank you for sharing your story. I appreciate your brutal honesty. I am praying that round three is going better than rounds 1 and 2. I am hugging my babies a little tighter today. #TwinklyTuesday
Thank you so much! I had round 3 on Monday and so far, so good :) x x
Oh Mim, I don’t really know what to say. I’m glad you’ve told the truth of your experience because, you’re right, for those of us who haven’t been through this, we don’t really understand. For reasons I’m not going to bother you with, I was treated for something with one of the chemo drugs a few years ago & it made me very ill, I kind of extrapolated from that that to actually have chemotherapy with heavy and repeated doses of a full cocktail of those drugs must be pretty horrendous, but even so I would never have guessed at the full extent. I don’t understand, but I’d like to try, so I think you should keep sharing as much as you want to. You’re so brave, and you’re right – it isn’t fair at all. I hope that your third treatment went as well as it can do. Lots of love xx
Thank you so so much – I really hesitated but I’m so glad I shared. I had my 3rd round this Monday and I already feel so much stronger in dealing with it – hoping that continues! x x
This is incredible. Truly. Your honesty is breathtaking. I wish I knew what to say, I wish I could convey properly how brave you are for sharing such a harrowing experience but I don’t have enough words. Thank you so much for sharing this experience and I wish you so much luck for the rest of your treatment xxx
Thank you lovely – and you DO have the words :) x x
I’m just starting to get to know you through our SU group, and I can’t believe you’re going through this. Your honesty and pain brought me to tears. I’m hoping all the best for you.
Oh thank you Christine – it’s all going to be just fine, I know it :) Can’t wait to get through the chemo though! x
I don’t know how you manage to write such beautiful words about something so truly harrowing. And it is…even though as you say, it’s only for 6 days at a time, it is awful and you are so brave and so strong that I am in utter awe of you. I feel so so sad that you are having to deal with this but I equally feel that if anyone can kick it’s arse, it’s you. Thank you for sharing your brutal and honest account of your treatment. I don’t think anyone could have any idea of how awful it is but more people should. Love you lady – thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday
Oh thank you beautiful! Thank you thank you – I will absolutely beat this! x x
What a beautifully written post Mim. I think that you are wonderfully inspiring and probably the bravest woman I know. It’s dark and ugly and unfair but you are standing tall and doing everything you can to get through the other side. I think talking about it is a very positive thing as my mum couldn’t do this and struggles to communicate her feelings about it with us.
Sending so much love to you. X
Thank you so much lovely! It’s so so easy to fall into negativity with this and even to depression, so easy. Being positive is such a huge challenge at times but it’s what will help me through in the end. I’m going to win :) x x
Bless you Mim… Wish I was there in person to give you the biggest hug xx You have been very much in my thoughts along with my Auntie.
A very honest account of what you are going through. It’s so true that the perception of chemo and its side effects are pretty much zoned into the sickness and hair loss thing. Which is not necessarily the case. Sat with tears in my eyes.. You can do this Mim! sending you lots of strength honey xx
Thank you lovely lady x x I hope all is well with your Auntie too x x
Oh Mim, so accurate, so shit and yet so beautifully written. keep strong chicken 2 down 3 or 4 to go. Sending so much love and strength to Oz. PS I bet you make a beautiful George Dawes ???? Xx
Thank you lovely – I know you know how I feel x x
When I read a post like this it really does put life in perspective, I truly hope that you beat this. You sound like an incredibly brave lady and I think you are right to share the harshness of the treatment you are enduring. I’m sure you will bring strength to others too. x
Thank you so much! I’m definitely going to beat it :) x x
I am sitting here with tears rolling down my face. You are such a brave, inspiring, wonderful woman. I can’t even begin to imagine what you are going though during this time but your strength, determination and sheer power will get you through this. Your an inspiration and I’m sending you and your beautiful family all the love in the world right now xxxxx
Oh thank you so so much, that really means such a lot! x x
You really are amazing. I’ve been following your journey and I would like to hope if I’m ever in the same situation I would possess half the strength you do.
Oh thank you Fern! I hope you never have to – I wish no-one would ever have to do this. Thinking of my little family gets me through more than anything else x x
Mim, thank you for writing so honestly about your experiences of this illness and the treatment that goes with it. I feel as though I have learned a lot and take away from it new found knowledge that helps me in understanding more about how my own friends and family who have been affected by this bastarding thing. Your words are courageous and inspiring – I can see them helping so many people about to start their battle or who are already on that ‘journey’.
Enjoy these next days with your family in the sunshine, and the biggest of well wishes for the next lot of treatment.
x x x
Thank you so much Faye x x we’re definitely making the most of these few days :) x
Oh Mim. You are so brave for sharing this – I knew chemo was something horrendous but I didn’t really know, you know? It probably sounds stupid, but I really wish we lived closer so I could be there for you (and that fits with the lovely comment you left me today, so I’m on my way, ok! ;)). I hate that you are going through this, you are brilliant and inspiring (even if you don’t feel it, I promise you, you are). Keep going lady, you’re doing wonderfully, and I always thought you would look great with a shaved head (I’m not kidding). Sending all the love and strength I possibly can xxxx
Oh thank you lovely Lou x x x hee hee I’ll have to share my new ‘look’ soon! x x PS move to Aus!
Oh gosh I can’t imagine what it’s like or what you’re going through. You are inspirational and I am in awe. Sending all my love and best wishes to you xx
Thank you lovely, that is so so nice of you x x x
I feel so ignorant having read this. I knew it was awful but I had no idea about using a separate toilet and the potential for early menopause and fingernails falling off. I feel insanely guilty I didn’t realise just how harrowing chemo is when a University friend was going through it.
Thank you for writing this account. I feel like I understand much more now (though, I suspect it’s the sort of thing you can never really understand fully without going through it).
Good luck for your next one and I wish you and your family all the best.
Ah you wouldn’t have known, that’s part of the reason I wanted to write about it though, to try and share what chemo is like for some. Remember mine is AC chemo and your friend might have been on a completely different (and hopefully not as harsh) chemo. It’s all individual though. Please do not feel guilty for something you didn’t know x x x
I read this last night and it made me cry, I’m still thinking about it this morning. You’re so brave for writing about it so openly when it must be such a scary time. I wish you all the best with the treatment, fingers crossed the second set is not as bad. I’ll be following you blog and updates.
Oh thank you Claire x x please know I am feeling MUCH better since writing the post, it was very therapeutic and the worst of my side effects have definitely gone for this cycle :) Bring on the next one! x
I’m really sorry you have to go through all this repeatedly, Mim, it sounds like such a lot of suffering. I have never understood before what’s it’s like to experience cancer and chemotherapy but your posts are a real education and I know they’ll help me to be more understanding and empathetic if a friend or family member ever has to go through this (god forbid). You’re doing a brave and brilliant thing by removing some of the mystery around cancer treatment.
Thank you so much Robyn, I would love to be able to help others understand more for if they or their family have to go through it. It’s so difficult to articulate it sometimes but it means a lot to have your support x
Oh Mim, I read your post and I could hear the pain in your words, the sadness and the anger. You have been through so much and it isnt even over yet, but survived. You are so strong and so brave. I’m glad you have shared your experience with us. I had no idea just how awful and exhausting chemo is. Thank you for opening my eyes. I’ve been following your posts and will continue to. I hope that knowing some of us out here are following your story and care x. Emily #TwinklyTuesday
Thank you so much Emily, that means so much to me x x
I don’t know what to say. You are one brave lady and you are and will fight this! Thank you for sharing your journey. Sending you loads of love #twinklytuesday xx
Thank you so much – that is the perfect thing to say :) x
You are incredible! Thank you for sharing! I hope the next round of chemo is easier for you xxx
Thank you so so much Kim! x
Honestly you are so freaking brave!!! Your insight will no doubt be very helpful for those that are going through it!
I hope you have more light than dark days and don’t forget there are so many of us on twitter to give you some words of encouragement when those dark clouds just won’t piss off!
Thank you thank you thank you so much!
I am glad you have written this. I used to work in oncology and you have no flipping clue how people are feeling. I used to say try and eat this, drink that but if they feel like you do, then I bet they wanted to tell me to F**k off. It’s an awful thing to go through but you will get there and look back when it is over; more positive (esp if you have cut the people out who haven’t called) and be an inspiration to so many others.
Two to go…keep that in your mind xxx Lots of luck xx #twinklytuesday
Oh I bet they loved you there :) Thank you lady x x
Dear sweet Mim, there are no words but know we are all rooting for you. Wishing you an easier experience third time around. Much love and lots of hugs xxx
Oh thank you so so much lovely, that means the world to me x x
Bloody hell I just want to give you a huge hug. I am so angry that your friends haven’t called- too right they aren’t your friends anymore. I think you have absolutely done the right thing sharing the full story here as if it were me searching google for answers I would want to know. Lots of love to you and a big hug for your husband too, sounds like he is a marvel. xx
Oh thank you lovely! He really is :) x x
This is such a brilliantly written post. I feel your anger, but also your pain at going through this bloody awful thing. As you’ve said, knowledge is power, and any one going into this will find this post immensely helpful.
Also, deb sounds amazing! This path might be awful, but there are some bloody good people along the way too.
Lots of love xxx
Oh thank you Megan :) Deb is so so wonderful – my whole Oncology team is :) x x
Mim. I want to hug you. It’s not a horror story, it’s your experience and as you say, it is different for everyone. I believe that knowledge is power and although you don’t want to scare future patients, knowing what to expect for me, would be helpful.
What can I say other than you are amazing. I believe that knowledge is power and although you don’t want to scare future patients, knowing what to expect for me, would be helpful.
Thank you lovely :) I completely agree that knowledge is power too x x
You are an absolutely incredible human and thank you for sharing this. I am so in awe of your bravery and your strength. Sending you so much love, light and many more big hugs. xoxoxo
p.s. your new hair looks amazing!
Oh you’re so lovely thank you lady x x x ha ha my new hair needs a trim :) x x
Oh Mim – it is such an horrendous time and I know exactly how you are feeling. All I can say is, I got through and I don’t think I was anywhere near as strong as you – so without a doubt you can. One of the best things in my life was ticking off each session and counting down to the last. 2 down for you – keep strong. Like you, I quickly learned who my true friends were. You learn a lot going through something like this and you will be a stronger person for it, although I know it doesn’t seem like that now. If you can, try and eat small amounts (even like a ginger biscuit) often. Ginger can help with nausea sometimes although I know how metallic and disgusting everything tastes. On week 3 try and get as much fresh air as you can as I think this really helps. Well done for being so brave about your hair! It’s so much better than the distress of it falling out. Sending lots of love and good luck for your next treatment, Mim. xx #TwinklyTuesday
Thank you thank you Sara, I know how you understand x x I love ticking off the sessions too – it feels like such a long way off but I cannot wait to get to the last one and give it a big TICK! x x
Hang in there Mim. Kym and I were moved by your account and admire your courage. We are so sorry that you have to endure such horrible treatment, but you are on the downhill run now. Sending you all our love and best wishes. Kym and Roger XXXOOO
Thank you so much to both of you, that’s just so lovely of you to think of me – I AM on the downhill run! x
Reading this I really wanted to comment. You have really done the right thing in sharing your treatment. It sounds really hard what you are going through but not because of the way you have written it but because that is the way it is and I think it is great that you have documented it.
You are really strong and brave lady and I think that your honest account will not only help you, because it is so empowering but others too :-). Thank you for sharing xx Ps Debs does sound amazing and lovely!
Thank you so much Emma, that is just such a lovely thing to say :) ‘Deb’ is amazing, I wish she could be my cheerleader every day :) x
I have been quietly following your journey and can’t tell you how strong I think you’re being. I think you did the right thing sharing everything like in this post. You haven’t written it in a scary, it is just how it is. I probably don’t have the words for you but sending lots of love. xxxx
Oh thank you Rachel, I was so worried it might be scary for others x x
I’m so happy that you decided to give a full account of your chemotherapy treatment. I had no idea what it entailed fully for you physically and mentally. I knew it was called the ‘red devil’ and now I know why!!!
I think the way you’ve worded it is sensitive and I think it will help a lot of people that are going through it/may have to go through it/help family and friends understand more if they know someone who’s going through it.
You’re incredibly brave and giving an honest account will definitely help you and anyone who reads it.
Well done as well for going to get your head shaved, I bet that was so empowering for you.
As they say ‘no pain no gain’! I hope that your next round of chemo are a little easier on you.
Thank you so much Laura for your lovely words :) You’re so right about no pain, no gain – it will totally be worth it! x
This made me cry. Tears for everyone going through this and awe for the strength and courage you all have. Everything I want to say to you feels like a cliche, or feels empty because I have not walked in your shoes so cannot truly understand. My thoughts are with you Mim. x #twinklytuesday
Thank you so so much Claire, what you have said is more than enough and it means such a lot x
Honestly – I don’t really know what to say, but I always read your updates and I didn’t want to read & run again. I think you are an incredible and strong woman and you are going to kick its ass. I won’t pretend I can even imagine what this is like for you, but you are amazing. Hoping the next two go easier on you. Keep going x
Thank you thank you x x I will keep going, I’ll get to the end and I know it will be so worth it x x
Wow….. I am really not sure what to say here. Your increadable. Your increadable not only for being able to face that, but for being able to put it into words that tell us the honest truth of chemo without making it sound like a horror story or a pity party. I can only hope that your next two sessions will be no worse than that, and that it does manage to kick the cancers arse. #TwinklyTuesday
Thank you so so much Tracey – I desperately didn’t want it to be a horror story – in the grand scheme of things it’s only a few days but it seems like an eternity at the time x