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Starting Chemo soon at 70

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GrammaSue View Drop Down
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    Posted: Feb 04 2017 at 9:59pm
I'll be starting chemo for TNBC sometime toward the middle or end of this month. Has anyone undergone these who may have been 70 or around that age when they began or know of someone who did and would be willing to talk about their experience? 

I'm a caregiver for my husband who is legally blind, more than moderately deaf and disabled from long term diabetes. I pretty much have taken care of him since 2005. 

I'm so afraid that chemo might rob me of the ability to care for him. His vision is so bad even if I passed out in another part of the same room he probably wouldn't know it. I have GOT to keep on going but I'm really afraid that I won't be able to. 

Since I don't know how chemo is going to affect me, there is so much that I don't know I'm beginning to panic. 

Help!
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aterry View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote aterry Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 05 2017 at 6:37pm
GrammaSue, I wish you the best with your treatment and care giving.  I started chemo at age 67 in November.  I had 4 rounds of AC and I've had 5 out of 12 rounds of Taxol.   I've been tolerating chemo fairly well but there are challenges.  I don't think my age has been a major problem.  Will you be treated close to your home?  I go to the Dubin center in NYC.  They are very supportive however it is a 2 hour commute for me to get there.  If you have an easier commute that will help.  I've just recently signed up for Blue Apron because I was finding meal planning to be a challenge. (the chemo has affected my taste buds). The more things you have in place that will help you cope, the better.  I'm retired with 2 grown children and do not have care giver responsibilities.  My husband has been helping me with my commute and some cooking at home but I do most of the home-making chores.
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GrammaSue View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GrammaSue Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 05 2017 at 6:59pm
Thank you so much for responding. Everything seems overwhelming right now.Confused
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote aterry Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 06 2017 at 12:40pm
It is very overwhelming at first.  There are many decisions to make.  There's a lot of information to absorb.  Will you be getting ACT?  Reading the posts of others who've gone through (or are going through) chemo really helped me.  Reading the tips sections helps. The experience varies.  For some it is difficult and for others very manageable.  Everyone gets side effects but they differ from person to person.  I did not get major gastro intestinal se's, except for a couple of instances of constipation. I have had a brain fog on some days--it follows a cycle, post infusion--but many patients do not experience that.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote *Nancy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 06 2017 at 7:34pm
GrammaSue,

I was 54 when I went through my chemo, so I apologize for not being exactly the right age for the type of response you are looking for. I think that chemo affects everyone differently. You might fly through it with little or no side effects. You might get hit with some bad ones. Unfortunately, you won't know until you go through it. I can assure you that physicians seem to do their best in trying to prevent side effects with proper pre-chemo and post-chemo medications.

The important thing is to be prepared. Ask for the help of neighbors, friends, other family members, your church. You may need meals prepared, light housekeeping, laundry done, trips to the store or the doctor or the pharmacy. Ask your doctor's office if they have resources that they can recommend. Whatever you can plan for now will be better than trying to figure it out once chemo has started.

I wish you well and hope the best for you.
P.S. I was drawn to your post because I just found out yesterday that I am going to be a first-time Grandma.
*Nancy
Dx March 2010, age 54, 5 mm tumor, Stage Ia, Grade 3, 0/3 Nodes, Ki-67 70%,

Lumpectomy April 2010, TC x 4, Rads x 33, Treatment completed Sept 2010, NED 05/16
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GrammaSue Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 06 2017 at 8:35pm
Well congratulations first time Grandma! You will LOVE it, I just know it! There is nothing like grandchildren to breathe new life into grandparents...they just bring so much joy it can't be contained! Smile

I've figured out that NOTHING is typical when it comes down to chemo. I've probably spoken to 20 people who've been through it or who had loved ones who did, and not one story is like the other - not even close. I suppose that is something I will just have to accept and take it as it comes. 

I'll be returning to the doctors office on Wednesday and I have a list of questions for them. I did find out that the American Cancer Society can provide transportation to and from my chemotherapy appointments and that is a relief. I'm hoping I might feel up to driving myself, but I'll do the first one with someone else driving until I have an idea what to expect. I'm more concerned about being able to continue to care for my husband and his needs; it's kind of like having a child in the house in some ways only because there is so much he can't do for himself. Sometimes I think he's more fearful of that than he is about anything else. I can understand it...and then I can't. Ah well, things are what they are.

Thank you for your kind and supportive words. So glad I found this site.

GrammaSue
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GrammaSue Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 13 2017 at 7:07pm
Well, I had a Muga scan and a CT scan with contrast today. I have to say, that was an interesting experience, especially with the iodine-based contrast at CT. What a weird feeling. 

Things are moving faster now. On Thursday I go to get the Mediport put in. The following Thursday is my first chemotherapy (provided all tests run today are OK). It seems that things are about to 'get real' real fast. I hope I'm ready for this....

I think it's seeing dates on the calendar, and getting information on the chemo drugs I'm to receive (Adriamycin; Cytoxan) now. Eventually they will add Taxitere (sp?) to the regimen and I'll get information on that drug when they introduce it. I'll be getting it every 3 weeks. 


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