4 Must Knows Before Starting Chemo

These four must knows come from someone who’s been there. I wish someone would have mentioned these things to me before I started chemo instead of half way through. Please keep in mind I am not a medical professional so please discuss the below with your doctor. Everyone reacts differently to chemo treatments and not all chemo works the same. One person may be able to breeze through chemo while another may have a very hard time. The tips below are to help you through your process and hopefully make it a little easier.
  • Sleeping Pills: Talk to your doctor about getting a sleeping aid if you are having trouble sleeping. Anyone facing a cancer diagnosis can understand how this can keep you up at night. If you’re worried about getting addicted, discuss that with your doctor, they can give you a low dose and try to only use it when you feel you really need it. Sleep is an important part of healing and also processing the diagnosis mentally and emotionally so be sure to bring it up to your doctor.
  • Anxiety Medicine: Treatment, surgery and doctors appointments can stress anyone out and it’s better to go ahead and get help for your nerves rather than be a basket case. On my second chemo treatment I was so nervous and stressed that I even made the nurse administering my chemo nervous; not good….it was actually that nurse who went to my doctor and said “she needs something”. I am very thankful this nurse did this and it helped with all my treatments, appointments and surgeries. I was on a low dose anxiety medicine that just took the edge off and let me be calmer about what was going on. I do want to mention that I did not feel “drugged” or “out of it”, just calm and better able to face what was coming.
  • Numbing Cream: If you have a port-a-cath for your chemo treatments then your doctor would have prescribed you with this cream, my purpose in mentioning it here is to stress its importance. I recommend setting a timer on your phone to remind you to put your cream on one hour before your treatment or what ever amount of time your doctor recommends. I suggest keeping this cream on you at all times so you don’t forget it, carry it in your purse or in your car. I’ve found Glad Cling Wrap to be great for covering the cream after applying so it doesn’t get all over your clothes and it’s easy and painless to remove.
  • Nausea Pills: These will also be prescribed by your doctor. Typically when you are receiving chemo they give you nausea medicine with your chemo, so they will let you know when to start taking the pills. Set a timer on your phone for every eight hours, or the amount of time your prescription states. Doing this will help keep you from getting sick so every time your alarm goes off, take a pill, even in the middle of the night. I continued taking my nausea pills on this schedule for 3-4 days after treatment and I didn’t get sick.

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