Chemo & Radiation Questions

I'm newly diagnosed, but since I am for certain at least a stage 2, my doctor told me chemo and radiation are in my near future.  I have some broad questions, I hope someone can answer:


1.  Can I go alone to chemo?

2.  How long does a chemo session last?

3.  Will I be tired the day of and after chemo?

4.  Does radiation start after chemo?

5.  Can I go alone to radiation?


I realize everyone's response is different, but I'd love to hear some people's responses.  Thank you.


You can go alone to chemo but it's a long day (up to 8 hours) so you may prefer some company. I remember being tired but also had a new baby so wasn't sure what was chemo and what was the baby ha.  I started my radiation the same day as chemo. Used to have it first thing in the morning then head for chemo afterwards. You can go alone to radiation, that's much quicker, only 15 minutes. 

Cara xxx

Everyone responds to chemorads differently. There have been ladies here who have spent a large chunk of the six weeks of chemorads asleep, and others who carried on working throughout! Most of us end up somewhere in the middle. 

1&2. You can go alone to chemo or take a friend. It's up to you. You'll be there for about six hours, so take a book, puzzles, some snacks/lunch, something to drink. (They'll have water & cordial but you might like your own thing too.) Take a shawl or something to cover your arm up while you are having the IV infusion, it does get draughty! There'll be other people there having chemo too, some might even be on a similar regime to you & you may find some allies! The chemo day is a long day, but I personally didn't find it particularly tiring. If you have a long journey to get there and back though, that could make it an even longer day & perhaps more tiring. Some ladies have children & families or other caring responsibilities before they leave and after they get back, which could make things harder.

3. I didn't feel tired at all in the first two weeks, but by week three I found that I was needing to sleep during the daytime which was a surprise. Don't fight it. If your body says 'sleep' and nobody depends on you to stay alive for the next hour, then you should sleep. It didn't interfere with my nighttime sleeping at all, I obviously needed it! Housework, chores etc can all wait!

4&5. Your chemo & radio plan will be unique to you. I would have my chemo and when the active chemo had been flushed through,  the nurses would ring down to radiotherapy and they would try to fit me in fairly quickly. (Everything was based in the same building.) Optimal treatment involves giving the radiotherapy within a certain number of hours of receiving the cisplatin, I don't think it matters whether that's before or after. You'll have chemo once a week and radiotherapy Mon-Fri daily. You go into radiotherapy treatment on your own, but my husband or a friend would sometimes come with me and wait in the waiting room. You may be asked to empty your bowels with a small enema before the radiotherapy (in a nearby bathroom I hasten to add!), as well as drink enough water to have a full bladder. (It helps them see what's what for the treatment, keeping your bowel out of the way.)

Top Tip! If you are coming to radiotherapy on your own and you have to travel far, it would be worth your while checking out where there are available bathroom stops on the way there and back. You may not need them, especially in the first couple of weeks but by week three, quite a few ladies find themselves needing to use them and it will save you a lot of stress having that information before you do need them!

Thank you, CaraSmile


Okay, thank you so much, Cheery1.  Smile

I went to chemo by myself and sometimes with friends or they'd pop in for a hour. I took stuff to entertain myself. My mp3 player and a book. Mind you I struggled with concentration during treatment so usually ended up with a magazine. The day can stretch out sometimes. Waiting for the bloods to come back to check if they're ok to have the chemo. I'd have xrt afterwards which was nearby to the chemotherapy but I'd usually be running late from chemo but they'd be really good about making room between the bookings. Out of 35 xrt sessions, I only had someone with me a handful of times as it is usually pretty quick.

The best advice I got for chemo from a nurse was to bring the biggest set of earphones and listen to music or something audio, I guess it was to not listen to too much of the stories going on around you, focus on yourself, it's amazing how one word sometimes can send you into a tail spin!!!! Chemo is a long day, bring water and I found jelly babies great!!! Sometimes it can feel chilly as you are sitting for so long so prepare for that, and praying your pet scan comes back with good results.......hugs........x


I drove myself to treatment everyday except for the brachy. My drive was 45 minutes there and back. I went alone on chemo days and actually enjoyed the day. Bring lots of snacks and a shall to keep warm. Chemo days were as follows

1hrs getting set up,2 hrs hydration,1 hrs cisplatin,1/2hrs of potassium,1 hrs of hydration... then down to radiation which was approx 10 minutes of no one else was there. 

Was not tired chemo days or next 2days after because of the steroids then would get tired on the third fourth day. 

I was always alone except for odd day one of my kids came with me for radiation for comapnay in the car. 

Any other questions don't hesitate to ask

good luck. 

Thanks, Pablito. Smile

Okay, great.  I hope to be as strong as you through this.

Thanks Bexter!