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What to Expect During Your First AC Chemo Treatment for Breast Cancer

AC chemo for breast cancer

February 15, 2014

Journal Dump #016

My combination of chemotherapy will include: AC → T: doxorubicin (Adriamycin) and cyclophosphamide followed by paclitaxel (Taxol) or docetaxel (Taxotere).  Or in layman's terms, 4 rounds of AC chemo (given every 2 weeks); followed by 4 rounds of Taxol chemo.

I was literally scared to death to be given that first dose of chemo.  Especially when the most common terms for AC chemo is "red death" and "red devil".  The pictures and videos below show the fear - but I am here to tell you it was unnecessary.  Yes, there is a poison being injected in your body that will kill good and bad cells - but focus on the fact that the drug is working to kill the cancer - focus on ONLY that.

The main reason for waiting to blog until after the 2nd chemo treatment, was so I could give an accurate overview.  Yes, I felt like I had a major hangover for about 4 days after the chemo treatment.  I took a strict regimen of the anti-nausea meds and the steroids for 3 days after the treatment and they worked wonders.  I have felt nauseous on a constant basis but never vomited.

My side effects: (which are very tolerable, just annoying to have to live with) - nausea, tired and fatigued alot, metal taste in my mouth, all food tastes like styrofoam or cardboard, stomach ache, constipation, dizzy, bones ache, heartburn from hell, headache, very dry skin, dehydrated.

All the side effects lessen after the first week and a few days before I went in for the next treatment, I felt like myself again.  So the bottom line is this: the first week after the chemo treatment, I felt like crap.  The second week, I felt better and better every day and eventually was myself again.  I was told to be careful on the second week because my white blood count would be low and I could get sick easily.  I didn't restrict myself from going anywhere, just used common sense and carried around my little bottle of hand sanitizer. 

And if you are wondering about hair loss, my hair began coming out in clumps on day #15.  The day after my second chemo treatment.  One of the fantastic nurses at my treatment center told me during chemo that it would happen the very next day.  She was right on the money.  Pictures and video of the shaving will come in the next blog.  It certainly is different to look at yourself in the mirror -- bald, but again, not as scary as you might think. 

Here is a Chapter in my memoir and video of my brother shaving my head:

Lucia and Shelly sitting  in the waiting room on Chemo day one.  Sad day in general because it's the first chemo treatment and we have no idea what to expect, but also sad because we received our permanent badges to come and go, in lieu of the temporary visitors pass.

Shari is one of the most fantastic, energetic, positive and caring nurses (Nurse Practitioner) I have ever met.  I believe that some people just have that special connection, and although I haven't known her for more than a few months, I instantly felt a comfortability and trust with Shari.  I say this in past tense because sadly for me, I will not see her smiling face around the treatment center any longer, as she has moved to a different department but I hope she always remembers that she made an unforgettable difference in one cancer patient's life.



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My mission is to support and inspire you through your breast cancer journey, offering guidance and encouragement every step of the way.

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