Good news about lymph nodes. My understanding of chemo before surgery is that is can reduce size of tumor and thus surgery can be less invasive.
As I said earlier, mine was part of a Mayo research project. It did show that a cancer antigen KI-67 decreased during pre-surgery treatment.
Five months may seem like a long time, but you will be surprised at how fast it went.
I used the 6 months prior to my surgery to improve my health. I wanted to be in best shape I could be prior to surgery. I exercised more, ate better, etc… Chemo may effect those options. Everyone reacts from chemo differently. I had very little side effects.