On pins and needles as I woke up today, had I changed overnight? Would I feel different today now that drugs were coursing through my veins? Woke up and actually felt good enough to do some errands and even saw a cheesy but cute movie, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. We (I am staying with my parents so they are bound to pop up here now and again) went to dinner and I found that I could only eat little bits. I was stuffed after two bites of salad and one sip of soup. Ah yes, my nurse told me this might happen – small meals a few times a day…that’s what she meant.
Advice, advice, advice – when seeking for that online and in books, it is hard to find exactly what will help you. There are books and blogs about people’s journey through cancer and chemo and recovery. That is all very worthwhile but it would be nice to have, in one place, a list of things to expect…so you feel like you have a handle on what’s about to happen to you…the down-low, the news on the street, the goods…yes… THE GOODS.
My well-wishers have been amazing and I really felt I wanted and needed to pay it forward. For anyone and everyone else going through any chemo or who knows someone who is, I thought it would be helpful to have some very personal “best bits” for beating anything that might come our way. Also some treats and stuff you might not have thought about before to enjoy during what will be, I am sure, a very dramatic time!
These Louboutins above, these sensible flats that I do wear all the time, are my old friends, well-worn. I know from experience that they provide comfort both inside and out. Hopefully, these small suggestions might do the same.
FIRST CHEMO SESSION GOODS:
In hindsight, I can tell you that the following made my first session less scary:
1. A friend: Try not to go alone to your first session, not matter how strong you are. It is beyond tiring and it’s nice to have someone to keep you company when you enter the fourth hour of the seemingly endless drama. Even if you don’t speak to each other.
2. An IPAD, Audiobooks or the TV: If you don’t have one, try to borrow someone’s tablet. Most hospitals have free wireless for their patients. It is much easier to read on a tablet with your one free hand. You can also download a whole series of Downton Abbey or any you might have missed and watch it during the sessions. Pick something your friend hasn’t seen as well. OR watch the TV that’s in your room. Now the hospital channels are pretty good and you might get distracted by an old Fred Astaire/Ginger Rodgers movie on TBS or the Joan River’s collection on QVC!
3. Trust the nurses: When the nurses offer you a drink, take it. The nurses have been doing this a long time and know what might help. Don’t be afraid to ask for anything. My vein was going crazy and the nurse asked if I wanted a hot pad, I had no idea what she was talking about but nodded meekly. That little hot pad made all the difference. She also spent about ten minutes massaging my upper arm, as she saw I was in discomfort. They know the tricks that help so use them.
4. Pre-Chemo chores:
a. See the dentist – Try and get your teeth cleaned beforehand. Chemo kills the most rapidly dividing cells and some of those are in your mouth. You can’t do this during chemo for fear of infection so do it now.
b. Get waxed or do your own – If you can pay someone else to wax your bikini line, do it. Or else have a friend come over and get silly doing it yourself – use Neat, Nair or shave. You feel sexy and, in case your hair falls out, it nice to feel sexy somewhere!
c. Color your toenails – supposedly your nails can change during chemo so do this before – see above about feeling sexy! Do it yourself as, again, you do NOT want to get any infections during chemo!