I have been a horrible blog owner. I have no excuses other than just feeling crappy enough that I couldn’t muster up the motivation to type about anything other than how crappy I was feeling! I’m sure other cancer patients do not want to open a blog and read about nothing other than complaints from the cancer patient that’s writing the blog! Who wants to read about one problem after another?!! And I guess the problems are allowed if you provide a solution! I”m sure I’ll always throw some “bitching” in, because let’s be honest here, you can’t possibly deal with cancer and the treatments that come with it without finally getting to the point that you bitch about something or another!
To make this entry rather quick, I’m going to post some hints I gave to a friend of a friend on Facebook after she went in for her first chemo. May God Bless this young lady, she is in her early 30’s and has two small sons. It’s going to be a rough time for her dealing with two small boys while going the her treatment, so I’m sure she would appreciate all of the prayers she can get to help her through!
When Jackie complained that she couldn’t sleep a few days after her chemo, I shared my experience with her, with hope of providing her with some information that may help her. ……“As I’ve told you, I have been neglectful in updating my blog (I’m going to get to it hopefully Tuesday!). Everyone has different side effects, but I wanted to talk in the blog about the side effects that I had with each treatment, which for me were different each time. Some stayed with me the whole time, but I never knew what to expect next after each treatment. I’m hoping that even sharing little tidbits like taking the Claritin for a week after the neulasta will help other women going through this. I have always had sleeping problems, but it became so much worse (and i didn’t think it could get worse!) during chemo. Here are some suggestions I can offer that you might have already heard about, but in case you haven’t…..meditate and learn to do diaphragmatic breathing to help relax. I also use the apps Relax Melodies and Sleep Machine to play soothing music or sounds to help me relax. I was very blessed to not have the nausea to deal with as many do, but I took a nurse’s advice and took the nausea meds that were prescribed for me the second I got up whether I needed them or not. She said that was the best way in her opinion to stop the vicious cycle of nausea from getting a chance to start. Also, within a week of the first chemo, I started having extremely dry lips and skin. I had lip balm within reach constantly, and even developed my own body butter to help my skin heal. Another suggestion, if you don’t do this already, make sure to use a soft toothbrush, and you might even want to switch to a sensitive tooth paste. Rinsing your mouth with baking soda and water should help also. I never got the mouth sores that you will read about, but developed very sensitive teeth and sore gums. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much info at once, but as I type I’m thinking of more and more things. If you’re up to it, look for my blog update later in the week and maybe you’ll find more things that will help you. I’ll leave you with one more bit of advice today though. I don’t know what they told you about eating, but my nurse made a point of telling me the most important thing for me to do was get the calories in however I could. In her words, “If the only thing you can eat are milkshakes, drink milkshakes.” Most foods were absolutely disgusting to me so I had to take it day by day as to what I could force myself to eat (and that changed daily!) I also had a wonderful friend bring me a variety of hard candies such as lemon drops, mints, etc. to keep by my side to help with the taste you are left with after the chemo. I didn’t mean to write you a mini novel , just throwing out things that are coming to mind from my first treatment that might possibly help you. Along with lots of prayer, my daily mantra was “this too shall pass”.
When it came time to cut her hair, her husband and two little boys wanted to cut it. This is what I told her about my haircutting experience……“I had my husband shave mine. It wasn’t easy for him (or me for that matter!), so we ended up cracking one joke after another while he was doing it and laughed the whole time. The hardest thing was talking him out of shaving his head too! He finally agreed and has sported a pink “no one fights alone” bracelet instead since that night. As someone else said, it”s only hair!’
I’m going to end my entry tonight (or this morning by looking at the glowing red 2:50am on the clock on Greg’s nightstand, by sharing an experience that happened to me a few nights ago, that I also shared on facebook. I should come here first, type what’s on my mind, then lead everyone on Facebook back here to read it on my blog. That’s the ticket!!!
I was shopping clearance sales tonight when a lady caught me off guard since she was off to my side when I heard, “Are you battling cancer?” I looked up and immediately said “Yes, I am” as my mind immediately started going through the questions of what made her ask that, when the duh meter went off in my mind to realize the scarf on my head was the dead give away. (Quick change of subject, I guess I have perfected tying these suckers because I get compliments every time I go out on how cool my scarves look because of how I’m tying them. Go me and my tying skills! ;-)) Anyway, the lady that asked me about having cancer so graciously put her hand out to me, and began to tell me how she was now a 15 yr cancer breast cancer survivor after being diagnosed with Stage 4 Breast Cancer. She told me of her treatment regimen and who her Dr. was, who happens to be the Dr. that started the Space Coast Cancer Center that is my home away from home now. She ended up asking my name, sharing hers, then saying that she wanted to know my name so she could pray for me. She then gave me a hug, and ensured me that I will be sharing my survival story with others, just as she was with me. Who knew that the clearance isle of Marshall’s could bring tears and such encouragement?!
I told this story to Greg when I got home, and could barely get through it for the tears, and he could barely pay attention to the end of it for wiping his tears. I firmly believe God sent that lady to me to send me a much needed positive message at just the right time!
I must try to get some sleep, but thank you for taking the time to read my blog and I promise to be better about getting my experiences and tips up here to hopefully help others!
Always have HOPE, and Ladies, remember to Fight Like A Girl!!