Chemo Do’s & Dont’s

HIGHLY IMPORTANT INFO, READ IT ALL, TAKE NOTES, YOU’LL THANK ME LATER.

I’m sure you were given a ton of information like I was about
cancer & chemo but if you are anything like me, I wasn’t interested in
reading any of it at the time. The Do’s and Don’ts I’ve listed are things
you’ll probably be able to find in the information but I’ve tried to hit the
highlights here as well as some things I discovered along the way.

 

DO: Go home after treatment and rest up, especially your
first treatment. Everyone reacts differently to chemo and for me the first one
was the worst. So go home and get ready to just relax; your body may not react
very pleasantly to treatment so it’s better to be prepared for that comfy in
your p.j.’s with a good meal and some movies. After you find out how your body
reacts to chemo you’ll be better prepared for future treatments and you’ll know
if you have to go straight home or if you’ll be ok.

DON’T: Eat raw fruits and vegetables. Your white blood cell
count will drop after chemo and your body won’t be able to fight off everyday
germs anymore. The week after my first treatment I decided I would eat
“healthy” by eating salads and fruits like grapes and apples; well
that was a bad idea. I got very sick and after the fact my doctor tells me I’m
to stay away from foods like that. Anything not cooked or peeled can carry
germs and bacteria. So only eat cooked veggies and fruits that can be peeled
like oranges and bananas.

 

DO: Get some sippy cups!! I know that sounds crazy but my
mouth was so dry after chemo, which can lead to mouth sores (I’ve heard these
are very painful but luckily I didn’t experience this, I like to think this
trick helped), and my throat was sore so I was constantly wanting something
cold to drink, the colder the better. The problem with that is with chemo your
tastes change and you will never know what you want to eat or drink and most
drinks were suddenly way too sweet for me. I watered down my drinks to cut the
sugary taste in juices and Gatorades. Try having a variety of drinks ready to
go in sippy cups in the fridge, this makes for easy drinking without spilling
and will hopefully help you stay hydrated and cut down on mouth sores.

DON’T: Get mad at yourself if you have a lack of energy or
aren’t able to go like you used to. It’s difficult, but getting mad or
frustrated won’t help. Ask for help, lean on your support team to do things for
you. If they are a part of your support team then they obviously don’t mind
helping so use them when you can’t do for yourself. It’s not a sign of
“weakness” to ask for help and I understand the feeling of just
wanting to do it yourself but if you can’t you can’t and that’s ok. Just try to
stay positive and know it won’t last.

 

DO: Buy a toddler toothbrush. My gums became so sensitive
after chemo that brushing my teeth just became a painful and bloody endeavor,
however, I was not going to go without brushing! I bought a toddler tooth brush
and while it did take longer to brush, it wasn’t nearly as painful. Your doctor
or nurse may tell you about baking soda and water mixture to help with mouth
sores, but it also helps with dry mouth and keeping your gums and teeth
healthy.

DON’T: Forget to drink MiraLax. The side effects of chemo
for me were painful at times and I had to have a white blood cell boosting shot
after my treatments which were also painful. If you are taking pain pills while
going through treatment, be sure to drink a glass or two of MiraLax each time
you take a pill. Trust me, you’ll thank me later. I found it easiest to drink
with milk, but I prefer chocolate milk.

 

DO: Keep your body moisturized. Sometimes chemo can take a
toll on your feet. It didn’t happen to my until the very end of my treatments
but I think if I would have kept an unscented lotion and socks on my feet while
going through chemo it would have helped. Also keep lotion on your hands and
try to find a good chapstick without a taste or smell to keep your lips
hydrated as well. Another great idea to help keep you from getting dried out, a humidifier at night near you. This was a LIFE SAVER!!

DON’T: Forget to take care of your finger nails. Chemo can affect
your finger nails too, I was highly freaked when I heard this but I made it
through ok. Some things to know, if you have a habit of picking at or biting
your finger nails, stop now! This allows for bacteria to get into your body
which your body won’t be able to fight. Also, do not get manicures or
pedicures; I know it sounds like a great idea to help take care of your feet
and hands but you run the risk of the tools used not getting as clean as you
now need them to be. Instead, keep your nails short, but not too short, and I
do not recommend using colored nail polish; some people do.

I used Sally Hansen Complete Care, it is a little expensive but well worth it in my opinion, my
nails did great and the clear shine made my nails look nice. I used this on my
toes as well. And a side note, nail polish remover is not good to use on your
nails while going through chemo, it can be drying and cause your nails to crack
or split, to avoid this I just reapplied the clear polish without taking the
old off and it worked great.

Please leave any tips you may have that helped get you through, together we can help each other make it through this battle.
whitneyladd

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