As mentioned in this post, I am having chemotherapy before surgery. This is to try and reduce the size of the lump and to see how it is affected by the chemo.

So far I have had two cycles with a third one coming up next Tuesday and so far I have been lucky and haven’t had any real side effects.

I have though lost all of my hair, well most of it. Some if it is hanging in there and I wish it would just all go; on my head that is.

I still have my eyebrows and eyelashes, but this could change and I am hoping they hang in there.  My biggest problem is that I am blind as a bat without my glasses and I can’t see very well when putting on my makeup.

Hello clown face!!!

My hair started to fall out pretty much 1 week after the first cycle.  My gorgeous hairdresser said that he would shave it off for me but unfortunately he took some time off over Christmas and I didn’t make it that far. It was coming out in huge clumps, matted badly or I was just leaving a trail wherever I went.

Poor hubbie had to do the deed and he hated every minute of it.  I have/had long thick red hair; I hated it, he loved it. It was so thick and I have no hair skills whatsoever so constantly struggled with it.

But it is mostly gone now and it feels good.  Hubbie has to every now and then attack it with the clippers as it is still growing – No. 1!

I have taken to wearing  scarves when I go out to cover up.  I would have no problems going bald, but not whilst it is looking like this.

Sydney is going through a heatwave at the moment so they can be quite hot so as soon as I get home from being out, off they come.

I was also lucky enough to go to a “Look Good, Feel Better” workshop yesterday.  Here they show you how to look after your skin, apply makeup (put on eyebrows if they go) and also how to wear different head things. Things like scarves, hats and wigs.

After trying on a wig, definitely giving these a miss – too bloody hot. Plus I don’t want the hassle of having to maintain them.

It was a good morning and we came away with some great goodies like Chanel makeup! Wow.

The other side effects I have encountered are usually within in the first week after have a cycle.

I get quite light headed and spacey, breathing feels like I am breathing through cotton wool (hard to explain), very tired and my heart thumps very loudly which I can feel and it keeps me awake or I find it hard to fall asleep.

I also find sleeping quite hard at night for this week and find myself wide awake around 3am. I usually get up and munch on a bowl of cornflakes. After a couple of hours I either go back to bed or sleep on the couch.

And the sweats!  I was only getting hot flushes prior to this, now I get full on sweating.  You can see it pool on my skin and it is just bloody awful.  Luckily it isn’t keeping me up at night. I do though carry a fan with me and a wet facecloth.  I have just ordered this towel and can’t wait for it to arrive.

Food tastes different and quite a few times I think I feel like something and when I actually eat it – yuck.  I find I live on grapes, anything potato – hello chips. Meals get small as well.

We are given anti-nausea medication that they say we must take whether we are sick or not along with other anti-nausea medication we can take when we want.  I have only taken 3 tablets so far and only cause I felt a bit off.

I try and keep my mouth hygiene up as chemotherapy kills everything and you can get quite bad ulcers and sores. I got two ulcers the second time around only cause I got a bit lax with my mouthwash. I got some ulcer medication from the chemist which cleared these up quite quickly.

(I am going to put a fact page up of things I have used or have been recommended to help others).

Constipation is the other thing I suffer from for a few days.  Yeah.. Movicol is my friend.

Once I get over this, the only real thing I suffer from is the tiredness. By the afternoon I am either ready for a nap or just laying down doing nothing. (read this article).

But once over this week, I am good.  I am sewing, shopping online, going out and doing things around the home.

When the heat isn’t blasting us like it has for the last few weeks, Hubbie and I try and go for a walk every day, which maybe via the coffee shop..

The next cycle is the last of the FEC, then it is 3 of the D.  This will bring a different set of side effects, so fingers crossed I will be ok.

My Oncologist is happy with me so far; my white blood cell count is excellent and kidney/liver function is fine.  Star patient.

Not being at work has really helped with my mental health.  Not having to worry about it has had such a good effect; I am glad I made this choice.  It was good one for me.

Well that is me for the moment.  We are heading up to the Central Coast to visit some friends next weekend and I hope to get a swing in the ocean before my next cycle.

I am also meeting up with Denise for the first time for coffee.  Denise lives near me and she was diagnosed just after me and we are going through the same treatment (I think).  Her and I are on the same Facebook support group and thought it would be nice to meet up and chat with someone else who is going through what we are.

Hope the new week is good to you..

Keep your face to the sun.

Stefanie xx

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