21 May 2014

How To: make chemo suck less

Last month I shared some of the things I liked to keep in my hospital bag during chemotherapy. As you know, my melanoma treatment had two parts, one month of daily infusions at the hospital and eleven months of shots at home. I thought a good follow on post would be to share some tips and tricks for navigating chemo at home
Reminder :: I'm speaking in generalities here, since every cancer, every patient and every treatment can be different. 

|| Water Bottles || Keep water stashed everywhere! It is more important than ever to stay hydrated. This is two fold, you need to be hydrated for health reasons, but also to feel decent. 

|| Restaurant Gift Cards || When your friends and family offer to help, suggest they purchase random restaurant gift cards. Your appetite will likely be wildly unpredictable or non existent  Gift cards will work better than prepared meals, because who the hell knows what you will be in the mood for. The gift cards will give you a variety of options! Added bonus = you won't have to smell the food for an extended period of time. ;)

|| Bad Calories Are Better Than No Calories || Within reason, of course. Your body needs calories to function. If a day comes down to zero calories OR eating a small order of french fries from McDonalds, you go get the fries! Obviously, if you are eating french fries every single day as your only form of nutrition, then you should reevaluate. 
|| Reward Yourself || Set small goals for yourself. Sometimes getting through the day without going completely ape shit is a challenge. Small manageable goals are the name of the game folks. Wake up before noon. Eat two normal meals. Shave your legs. Anything goes! Reward yourself for meeting these goals.
|| Gratitude || I'm not just speaking to the spiritual kind (although you are alive and fighting...someone is to thank for that opportunity.) I'm talking about showing gratitude to those who are walking with you in this journey. Show them that they are appreciated! Not only do they need and deserve this, but it will help you to feel "normal."
|| Leave The House || This was one of my daily goals. I needed to leave the house in order to feel normal, even if I was just running up to the gas station or taking a drive, leaving the house was key. 

|| Exercise || The first step here is to accept the fact that your former definition of excercise no longer applies. As long as your doctor says its ok, do something physical daily. My Schatzi was great for insisting that we go for a walk. You'll feel better, promise. ;) Thanks endorphins!

|| Sleep || Duh! You are literally poisoning your body. Not only are you exhausted, but your body needs sleep to heal. Do it! 

|| Listen || Listen to your doctor! Follow their instructions. Keep it simple, stupid. Also, listen to your body and communicate effectively and regularly with your doctor. This cancer treatment business is a team effort. 

|| Go Through The Motions || Above all else, fake it 'til you make it! Fake "normal." This is so very important to your mental health. Shower. Do your make up. Get dressed. Run errands. Whatever your normal is, do it if you can! 
Do you have any tips and tricks to add?
As always, I'd love to talk shop! Feel free to email me anytime :: MarryMintAmanda@gmail.com

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