Seasoned veteran – 5 of 6 done.
BIG DISCLAIMER – I am not a medical person atall – never will be so these gems are my own and not verified atall by anyone!
1. Take a big bag to the oncology department – and make it a bag that you will throw away once it is over – in the bag pack the following:
Tissues, a bottle of water, hand cream, hand sanitizer, boiled sweets, salty crisps, newspapers, magazines, i-pad, ear phones, a pashmina to keep the shivers at bay, warm socks (take shoes off you are in for a 4 hour at least session), money if you have to pay car parking (grrr – but I didn’t have to pay – love Cheshire West Council for that), hats and head scarves, glasses if you wear contacts.
2. Make a diary note of each session so you know how you felt when you were in the midst of a session, as the memory is a wonderful thing and blanks all the bad bits quickly – but if your chemo nurse knows you turned orange, had mouth ulcers, thrush, sore hand, sickness, sore legs then she / he can help you – if they don’t know they can’t re jig your prescription.
3. Take a friend – do a crossword, plan holidays, oggle Right Move – or what ever floats your boat – 6 sessions from 0800h to 1400h is 36 hours – that’s the equivalent to a very long bus journey – so make it a good friend!
4. Buy ready made meals for at least a few days – I was lucky enough to have a Mum who sent me a freezer load of Donald Russel stuff – amazingly tasty and good for you and better than average supermarket – and mates who turned up with home made stuff too
5. Buy snacks for the first few days – the anti sickness drugs work by settling everything down but also triggering appetite (I think) so I was super hungry really acutely for an hour or so and eating helps the room stop spinning – nuts, chocolate, twiglets, fruit – whatever works – get it in ……seriously I made the mistake of not eating for Chemo 1 days 1-3 and felt worse – other bus rides I stuffed my face til the 4th day and then appetite returned to normal
6. If you get a sore hand from the injection cannular thingy ma jig then warmth worked for me – ask them for a hot bag whilst the drip is dripping in. Then when you get home keep it warm – I made a sock / arm cover out of a pair of warm wollen tights as wanted warmth but not restriction. Then once you feel a bit normal start swinging your arms around like a lunatic to get the swelling down.
7. Go for a walk. Take a friend. By chemo 5 I can do 15 minutes maximum and feel like I have concrete in my feet – but I feel better for doing it and by day 10 I feel normal again.
8. I bought a new tooth brush and toothpaste for every chemo session. I chose a kids one as my mouth was so sore I couldn’t cope with adult size. And the pink princess made me smile despite having a tongue the size of a flip flop.
9. Moisturize all the time – fingers, cuticles, toes, face, feet – all of you – those drugs suck every bit of water out of you.
10. Embrace the Chemo Tan – I matched headscarves and clothing to my orangey glow which thankfully only lasted a few days.
Maintain a sense of humour. The Chemo drugs are killing. each. and. everyone of those nasty cancer cells.
No one died of chemo – people die of cancer.
Not me – Fight this Fight – One more to go……………..I’m a coming attcha………