It’s been almost two years since I breezed through 6 cycles of Esc. BEACOPP. I like to think that the less cancerous cells that we have in our body, the easier that the chemo becomes, but I’m probably totally making this up! I want to share with you guys a few basic tricks that helped me more so during the end of chemo, since I mastered all of the tips and tricks at the end, of course! Shocker.
- Before you go into chemo, about an hour before..take your nausea medication. I preferred Compazine (only thing that helped me). It doesn’t matter if you’re still getting zofran (I don’t think? But don’t quote me on that one lol) still take it! Walking into CTU used to make me legitimately nauseas. Looking at the food and even bottled water made me want to vomit. To this day, I can’t drink the Dasani that they served at CTU. So, take your premeds. Then, when you’re getting your chemo, still ask for Zofran IV AND Ativan. I’m not kidding you when I tell you that the #1 off label use of Ativan is for chemo nausea. If I didn’t get it in my cocktail, I would have single handedly thrown up on every person in CTU, and it would not have been pretty. By the way, I’m not sure if the manufacturer or Ativan is looking for Pharma reps, but I’m here if you need me! Kidding.
- Bring 1 large Gatorade with you (I like the blue flavor!), and a minimum of 1.5 Liters of bottled water (Fiji obvi! No, but I love it. Sometimes I’ll switch it up with Smart Water though.) I tried to drink aka chug these during my time in CTU, since I knew how much of a pain it is to even get water down afterward. I have another theory that if you pee out all of the chemo during and after CTU, your side effects will be less worse. So do that! And munch on some crackers. Don’t eat anything you enjoy eating, I made that mistake, now I associate my favorite foods with chemo. So I would bring things that I didn’t really care if I would ever have to see or eat again, like rice cakes for example. Bye!
- Don’t forget to drink your fluids! Pee all of those toxins out! Keep drinking as much water as you can through out the day, including a minimum of one Gatorade per day, but it’s critical that you do so ALSO while in chemo. It’s been two years since my last chemo, but word on the cancer street is that you can ask for IV fluids. Check with your center, but if I knew this, I would have asked for them all of the time!
- Continue taking your nausea meds (I took compazine every 6 hours) even if you’re not nauseas, to prevent the nausea from occurring. Ginger candies and ginger tea help as well. All ginger, everythang!
- Most people have to take Prednisone during their cycles and it’s the devil. I was on 65mg a day for 14 days, so you can imagine how wired I was. I would take two Benadryl in order to fall asleep about 45 minutes before bed time. Trust me, this helps. Otherwise, I would be awake for days and zoning off into space, seeing bubbles.
- I was also neutropenic EVERY single cycle. I always followed the rules while Neutropenic regardless of what my mother thinks 🙂 and I can’t stress enough how important it is to follow these guidelines. You probably know the drill, no fresh fruit or veggies, make sure everything is cooked, nothing with bacteria, nothing raw. One of my residents told me that 50% of people end up in the hospital because of Neutropenia. Wash your hands. Stay away from anyone sick. Wear a mask if you must venture out. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Seriously, if the wrong person even breathes on you, you’re S.O.L. Take your temperature often, and go to the ER if it’s 100.3 or higher. INFECTION kills patients, not chemo, and you have a long life ahead of yourself that you need to LIVE!
- Wear comfy clothes! (unless there are cute doctors at your center, kidding, actually not kidding) It gets pretty chilly in CTU, I would always bring a warm sweatshirt, socks, or blankets!
- Bring things to do! Bring your iPad, your phone, computer etc, anything that you can watch Netflix on! After treatment, you will eventually have to get back into the real world. Embrace the fact that you can watch as much Netflix as humanly possible, and it’s actually acceptable. I might be lying though, because some days I still spend 8 hours not moving, watching Netflix. I think it’s still acceptable?
- Journal! I journaled during every chemo. I love looking back and reading everything that I was feeling, because it just puts life into perspective, and helps me realize that things that I complain about now, were things that I would have never complained about during chemo. Trust me, you’ll want to do this.
That is all for now. Keep fighting, it may seem like the beginning, but it’s almost over! That was me in August of 2016!
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