Go To Main TNBC Website


  New Posts New Posts RSS Feed - Starting TAC chemo - anyone else choose TAC?
  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Events   Register Register  Login Login

Starting TAC chemo - anyone else choose TAC?

 Post Reply Post Reply
Author
AnnL View Drop Down
Newbie
Newbie


Joined: May 04 2017
Status: Offline
Points: 15
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AnnL Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Starting TAC chemo - anyone else choose TAC?
    Posted: May 24 2017 at 12:39am
Hi, everyone! This is my first time posting, but I've loved reading all of your posts. Tomorrow I have my first of six TAC treatments, and I can't sleep since I can't stop thinking about it. It seems most of you have the 4 weeks of AC followed by four weeks of T. My oncologist recommended this for me as my best option even though she feels it's tough to handle. If it's too much, I can try a different regimen. I have Stage 1 with no lymph node involvement, but due to the size of the tumor and the fact that it had multiple places where it was invasive, chemotherapy is advised. I had a unilateral mastectomy five weeks ago. Can some of you tell me why you did or didn't choose TAC?

I work full time, but am fortunate that my children are grown and I have an incredibly supportive husband. I cut my hair super short last week and dyed it plum! I love it so much that once it grows back, I'm keeping it short and plum!

I'm feeling worried that I chose the unilateral even though an MRI showed no cancer in the other breast. Triple negative is just so scary that I want to do everything I can to fight it, and I hope I didn't make a mistake by not choosing a bilateral.

I would just appreciate advice from any others who chose TAC as well as words of encouragement. I feel like this is when it's finally sinking in that I'm battling cancer! It's hard to remember what life was like before I was diagnosed, and harder to imagine a life where I no longer think about cancer 24/7.

Sorry for the long post, but I just need to hear from people who can understand what I'm feeling - thanks for listening!

Edited by AnnL - May 24 2017 at 12:40am
Back to Top
vbowman View Drop Down
Newbie
Newbie
Avatar

Joined: May 24 2017
Location: South Africa
Status: Offline
Points: 2
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote vbowman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 24 2017 at 3:05am

Hi, Just finished TAC 4 weeks ago.

My Oncologist who is considered the GURU for TBNC in South Africa prescribed TAC.

First 2 were very easy, 3rd and 4th day after chemo was always the worst.

My 3rd round was very bad that’s when I realized that when I am feeling good I must eat a lot because on the bad days you just can’t get anything down, so at least you at a higher base than if you have not eaten properly for a few days.

From Number 3 everything tasted really bad, but the one thing that I could always get down  was Ice-Cream… not ideal but better than nothing.

Through all of this it really was chemo week that was difficult the other two weeks were pretty normal,

I worked, went out, and even did a few Park runs.

Good luck and stay strong and positive.
Back to Top
AnnL View Drop Down
Newbie
Newbie


Joined: May 04 2017
Status: Offline
Points: 15
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AnnL Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 24 2017 at 3:51am
Thanks so much for the reply, vbowman! I'm still awake, and I have to get up for work in two hours, ugh. I think it's a combo of worry and the steroids I had to take today. Perhaps I'll get a nap in during treatment. I'm working in the morning, and going to chemo after lunch.

When you said from #3 everything tasted bad, was that the rest of the time or just that week after chemo? I love ice cream, so that sounds like a good plan to me. I bought some Boost with extra protein thinking that may go down easily. Sort of like liquid ice cream :)

Congratulations on finishing up TAC! Best wishes for a rapid return to normal life!
Back to Top
SusaninVA View Drop Down
Senior Member
Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: Jun 19 2015
Location: Virginia
Status: Offline
Points: 147
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SusaninVA Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 24 2017 at 11:15pm
Hi Ann,  I had TAC for six sessions back in 2015.  My oncologist did not give me a choice, but I trusted his judgment.  I can relate to what vbowman says - the 3rd and 4th day were the worst for me, too.  And then the 5th day I would start to feel better.  It is so important to stay hydrated with water or ginger ale, or whatever you have a taste for.  Also, please try to eat three meals a day, even if small ones.  If you are working full time, can you take a few days off during your week of chemo?  That would really help if you can. Personally, I experienced the intense fatigue as the main side effect.  On days 3 and 4, I slept a lot.  Thankfully, I never had trouble eating, unless I went off the anti-nausea pills early.  It is important to remember that the chemo has a cumulative effect, so with each treatment, you may have a longer window of "bouncing back".  My nurses had me chew on ice chips during the infusion of the adriamycin to prevent mouth sores.  It must have worked, because I never did get any.  I underwent this when I was 56 years old and fared very well.  I remain thankful that I could tolerate this regimen, and it has given me peace of mind that I did everything I could.  (Although my oncologist did not mention Xeloda to give at the end of radiation as an oral chemo, and at the time, I didn't know to ask about it.)  I hope your first infusion went well. Please treat yourself with care and gentleness, and let us know how you fare. Sending you my best!
Back to Top
AnnL View Drop Down
Newbie
Newbie


Joined: May 04 2017
Status: Offline
Points: 15
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AnnL Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 25 2017 at 5:17pm
Hi, SusaninVA! I appreciate all of the information - I'm a Virginian, too! I didn't have any weird reactions yesterday with my treatment, I was pleased. I took the Compazine before bed to make sure to stay ahead of the nausea, plus it helped me sleep after my steroid craziness! Today I've felt a little tiny bit queasy, so I'm continuing to take it. I have Zofran if needed as well. I'll try the ice chips next time - I am prone to mouth sores, so I'll do what I can to prevent those.

I have wonderful colleagues, so I will be able to take off work on the rough days. My treatments are on Wednesday so that helps since the 3rd and 4th days fall on the weekend. It also helps that I've saved enough sick days to hopefully get me through.

I, too, feel that choosing this regimen gives me peace of mind to feel that I'm doing all I can. I'm fortunate not to have to do radiation since I have no lymph node involvement. I haven't heard of Xeloda - what is that?

Again, thanks for your kind words and information!
Back to Top
SusaninVA View Drop Down
Senior Member
Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: Jun 19 2015
Location: Virginia
Status: Offline
Points: 147
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SusaninVA Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 25 2017 at 9:43pm
Ann, So glad to hear you made it through your first infusion.  Xeloda is an oral chemo pill which one study indicated made a statistical difference in survival rate amongst women who did not have a pCR (pathological complete response) after their chemo infusions.  You indicated that you've already had your surgery (I also had mine before chemo), so you will not receive a measurement of any remnant of tumor (if any had been left).  This information can help give more accurate feedback about how well the chemo worked.  It was explained to me that any tumor less than 2 cm, my hospital (Henrico Doctors) likes to do surgery first.  I didn't understand all of this at the time, so just went with the program.  So I may not have been a candidate for Xeloda anyway. Do you get a Neulasta injection?  Something that will help with that is to take Claritin the night before and 3 or 4 days after.  That will help with pain in the bones, which I am thankful to say I did not have.  I hope you will tolerate everything as well as you can.  With each chemo infusion taken, you will be one step closer to finishing!  
Back to Top
vbowman View Drop Down
Newbie
Newbie
Avatar

Joined: May 24 2017
Location: South Africa
Status: Offline
Points: 2
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote vbowman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 26 2017 at 4:25am

Glad to hear all went well, the bad taste was mostly the chemo week, towards the end it lasted 10 days or so. I am not a fussy eater so it was very frustrating turning down food that I loved. The strange part is I only knew I could not eat it when I put it in my mouth, so I would prepare food looking so forward to it and then could not get it down.

But what is important here is to eat.  At one point I felt chicken soup and ice-cream was saving my life.

Because it’s only 6 treatments when it starts getting bad you are almost done, and that really kept me going.

Glad to hear you have a good support system, I too was very lucky to have friends who stood by me every step of the way.  Work when you can,  that’s also a good thing, I found that kept  the mind busy, less time to google stuff and scare myself.

Take Care and all the best.

Back to Top
AnnL View Drop Down
Newbie
Newbie


Joined: May 04 2017
Status: Offline
Points: 15
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AnnL Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 01 2017 at 1:36pm
It's been a rough week, and I really appreciate your comments! I had a tough time with the nausea. The Zofran helped a good bit, but the Compazine did not help the break through nausea. Today is the first day I've actually felt like eating. Even though the nausea stopped by Tuesday, I've had no appetite, and everything tastes horrible. I do find that I can eat small helpings of plain vanilla ice cream and Lipton chicken soup, saltines, and plain Pringles. Vanilla Boost seems to help as well. Now I just feel like someone has a fist jammed up under my ribcage, and it's hard to get food down. My doctor said to take Nexium, so hopefully that will help. She's also prescribed an injection of Sustol (to replace Aloxi) during my chemo, a new anti-nausea medicine, and replaced the Compazine with Phenergan.

My worst issue has been sleep! Since the first night I took steroids, I haven't been able to sleep more that 3-4 hours a night. I worked last Thursday and Friday, was off Memorial Day, and worked Tuesday and yesterday. I have officially crashed and burned! I know why sleep deprivation is a form of torture. My doctor said the chemo has thrown off my circadian rhythm and that I need to re-train my brain to sleep. She said it takes 4 weeks, but I can't deal with that! I already missed four weeks of work for my surgery and haven't begun to catch up after that. Thank goodness my coworkers are amazing and understanding, but I am beating myself up. Last night I tried the doctor's strategy -  I took 3mg of melatonin 1 1/2 hours before bed, I did not look at an electronic device for that time (no TV, phone, or computer), and each time I woke up in the night, if I wasn't asleep in 10 minutes, I got out of bed and went somewhere else to read, color, do a word search, whatever. I fell asleep at 9:30 because I was so exhausted, and woke up again at 10:15, then fell back asleep until 1:55 am. That was it. I was up the rest of the night. I did all the things she said, and each time I came back to bed...no sleep. Finally at 6:00 am, when I was supposed to get ready for work, I gave up and took a Lorazepam and emailed my boss that I would be out today. I was asleep by 7:15, and slept until 11:15 (but woke up three times in the middle and went right back to sleep). I still feel worn out, but I plan to take a short nap this afternoon, have a walk around the neighborhood, and try again tonight. I just feel like I'm stuck in a horrible cycle that I can't get out of, and I've never let my poor body rest and recover from the chemo.

I hope that I can get the sleep thing straight before my next round. I appreciate that she doesn't want me to use the Lorazepam because she wants me to train my body to do the right thing, but I just feel like I haven't had the chance to recover properly from the chemo. If I could just get some rest now so I could feel better, then I would definitely be on board with the re-training my brain thing! I hate medicine! The only reason I have Lorazepam is because my doctor prescribed it May of last year when I was having anxiety issues while dealing with my mom's failing health with Alzheimer's. He gave me 20 then, and I have 8 left, so I definitely don't abuse them.

Thanks so much for listening to my rant! I very much appreciate the support on this forum.
Back to Top
SusaninVA View Drop Down
Senior Member
Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: Jun 19 2015
Location: Virginia
Status: Offline
Points: 147
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SusaninVA Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 01 2017 at 10:22pm
Ann, I am so sorry to hear about your ordeal with nausea, and especially with lack of sleep.  That problem may not have an easy solution.  If you are open to acupuncture, it may be worth a try.  (I personally have not tried it.)  I would also encourage you to get a massage if that would help you to feel more relaxed.  If your workplace offers FMLA time, would you be able to take some?  I was fortunate in that I took a week off each time I had the chemo.  And I really needed that week.  I remember meeting a woman in her 30's who was in my pre-surgery class.  She had just finished the TAC and worked full time. (She had her chemo before her surgery.)  She also took off the week of chemo.  I know this may not be possible, but if it is, I strongly encourage you to do that.   I'm glad you are finding things you can eat and please eat even when you don't feel like it.  And keep hydrated!  I hope you can start sleeping soon.  Sending you good thoughts and hugs!
Back to Top
AnnL View Drop Down
Newbie
Newbie


Joined: May 04 2017
Status: Offline
Points: 15
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AnnL Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 04 2017 at 10:03am
I'm happy to say that yesterday I started to feel almost like myself! I was able to eat regular meals and, over the past few nights, have gotten some sleep. I tried the melatonin and something called Simply Sleep (I took a half dose), and I seem to have broken that cycle started by the steroids. The Nexium is helping the acid reflux, too. I'll have 1 1/2 weeks of feeling this way before the next round. I'm feeling positive, though, that with the changes in the anti-nausea meds, the next round will be better! I'll try the melatonin and Simply Sleep with the steroids - that may enable me to sleep while on them and not get me all crazy again. I'm keeping acupuncture on my list in case I continue to have trouble. I'm definitely open to trying it!

It's amazing what sleep and regular food does for the soul. I am on FMLA intermittently at work, it's my stubbornness that makes me go in :( I do plan to take off days around chemo next time. I just have to understand that I need to stop, focus on me, and leave work behind for the days after chemo. Then, I'll be able to come back to work in a better state of mind. I'm 53, not 23, and I need to admit that and take the time I need. I've always been blessed with good health, and I'm finding it hard to handle not feeling good. If that means being a little selfish and focusing on myself for a change, then so be it. I just need to realize that this is temporary and that I need to do whatever is necessary to get through it and come out on the other side cancer free. If that means being a little selfish and focusing on myself for a change, then so be it.

I'm scheduled for the Look Good, Feel Better session at Henrico Doctor's Hospital in a couple of weeks. I'm looking forward to it! Thanks, again for your advice and for listening.
Back to Top
SusaninVA View Drop Down
Senior Member
Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: Jun 19 2015
Location: Virginia
Status: Offline
Points: 147
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote SusaninVA Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 04 2017 at 11:58pm
Hi Ann, I'm so happy to hear you are feeling more like your old self again and getting some sleep.  I hope the new anti-nausea meds will make a difference next time.  If ever there is a time for you to be selfish, it is now!  You cannot be expected to do your normal routine right now, and it will be several months before you can do everything again.  Like you, I had never had any major health issues; it is difficult to think of yourself as a "patient" and acknowledge your limitations.  But what you are going through is serious, and most people are going to be very supportive of you doing what is in your best interest. The level of fatigue from chemo is unlike any I had ever experienced, and there is a cumulative effect with each infusion.  (It is common to have chemo-induced anemia towards the last infusion.)  I am glad you will consider taking off some days after each chemo.  I'm glad you mentioned Henrico Doctor's Hospital!  I had my surgery there (Forest Avenue) and felt I was in good hands.  Lots of good people there!  You are right - this is just temporary, and right now you need to treat yourself with kindness and gentleness.  Don't push yourself to do too many things - right now just getting through chemo is your priority!
Back to Top
AnnL View Drop Down
Newbie
Newbie


Joined: May 04 2017
Status: Offline
Points: 15
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AnnL Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul 31 2017 at 5:21am
Just thought I'd let you know how things are going with my chemo. Four down, two to go! That sounds so good!!! My blood counts have been fine, but because I'm having issues with neuropathy and mucositis, my oncologist has cut my dose back 10%. She said that there is no danger in doing this - that I am still getting enough of the drugs to be effective. I had my 4th chemo on July 26, and I do seem to be doing a bit better this time. Still have the neuropathy, but at least it's not worse. I can feel the beginnings of the mucositis, but it doesn't seem as bad as before. I do notice an increase in fatigue, but I think that's to be expected as you continue with chemo.

Hopefully I can get through these next two sessions with little trouble and be that much closer to getting back to my new normal! I think the thing that bothers me the most is that last time my taste buds never really bounced back. I don't enjoy eating anymore. I think the mucositis wrecked my taste buds, and they're going to take awhile to recover. Hopefully that will happen once I'm totally done with chemo.

Thanks so much for your advice while I've been dealing with this. It has been so helpful! I've found many things to be grateful for while I've been going through this. The support of friends and family has been amazing. I've enjoyed not having to shave my legs all summer, haha! Actually, I've been surprised to find that losing my hair has been the side effect that has bothered me the least. Most of all, I've learned that I have an incredible husband who I wouldn't trade for the world. I truly consider myself to be one of the lucky ones!
Back to Top
SusaninVA View Drop Down
Senior Member
Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: Jun 19 2015
Location: Virginia
Status: Offline
Points: 147
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SusaninVA Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 02 2017 at 1:36pm
Hi Ann,
So good to hear that you only have two more to go!  Sorry to hear about the neuropathy and mucositis (I had to look that term up!)  Hopefully, those symptoms will subside with the 10% change in dosage.  With the mucositis, did you get sores in your mouth?  You are so right about the increase in fatigue with each chemo.  I hope you are able to enjoy eating something.  I remember getting a lot of enjoyment out of milkshakes (ChickFilA was my weakness!).  Normally, I will treat myself to one or two milkshakes a Summer, but when on chemo, I had several more than that!  I am so glad to hear of the support from your friends and family.  You really realize who cares about you when something like this happens. And I am one of the lucky ones, too.  My husband kept our household running (our son was a Senior in High School that year) and I'm so thankful for his love and support.  I remember the cancer chaplain at Henrico Doctors telling me that some of the husbands leave and my heart goes out to those women because they have to deal with two cruel blows instead of one.  Thanks so much for the update, and I hope you can finish your next two chemos with flying colors!  You are almost done!
Back to Top
 Post Reply Post Reply
  Share Topic   

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down

Forum Software by Web Wiz Forums® version 11.05
Copyright ©2001-2016 Web Wiz Ltd.