• How to handle Chemo

    Asked by stacha1 on Saturday, December 1, 2018

    How to handle Chemo

    Please give tips for handling Chemo. I start Dec.11th

    19 Answers from the Community

    19 answers
    • cllinda's Avatar
      cllinda

      Read the blogs here. There are many blogs about what to bring to chemo, what questions to ask, and so much more.
      A few things to know:

      Call the doctor's office if you get a fever. Don't be afraid to call, even at night or a weekend.
      Drink plenty of water.
      Bring a sweater to the chemo lab. It's usually very cold.
      Use plastic cutlery so not to get a metallic taste.
      Ginger candy can help an upset stomach.
      If you like to crochet or knit, bring a simple project to work on.

      Get a power port.

      And feel free to ask questions here. Good luck to you. And I Started chemo December 12 2012.

      9 months ago
    • Junkadams' Avatar
      Junkadams

      I have been through numerous rounds of chemo
      Do not be afraid to ask questions

      9 months ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar
      GregP_WN

      This is the link to our "Beginner's Guide to Cancer" >> http://bit.ly/10BQKCi and Cllinda has a good answer, our Blog page has over 250 helpful articles on it on all aspects of dealing with cancer, many of them are about chemo/radiation. See the blog page here >> WWW.WHATNEXT.COM/BLOG or, just click on the word "BLOG" in the purple bar at the top of any page. We hope you have smooth and easy treatments.

      9 months ago
    • po18guy's Avatar
      po18guy

      Mostly read the consent forms that come with the drugs. Watch for the side effects, although you may experience few of them. Just keep well hydrated to help your body process and eliminate both the drugs as well as the dying tumor cells. I kept Zofran at the ready in case nausea appeared. My trick was not to swallow the tablet, but to allow it to dissolve under my tongue (like heart patients do with nitroglycerin pills), as the body absorbs it much faster that way. Any nausea would then disappear in less than 5 minutes.

      Eat! You may have little or no hunger, but eat out of a sense of duty if you must. Your body needs the fuel to fight. There are appetite stimulants that you can use short term if needed. Don't worry about a healthy diet right now. Get down what appeals to you and will stay down! If it is salads, fruits and vegetables, all the better. If not, don't stress over it. The dietician at the cancer center can advise you of the foods to concentrate on.

      Remain as busy as you can with life, but listen to your body! When it tells you it is tired, either rest or take a nap. Limit your contact with the public - especially young children in this cold and flu season, as your immune system will most likely be compromised during treatment. Keep a supply of masks and gloves with you for family/friend/neighbor visits, public trips (store, medical appointments, etc.). Frequent hand washing. Carry hand sanitizer and keep it in your home, car and purse.

      All of this is absolutely worth the effort. I have been immune suppressed for three yeart since my transplant and do not have my baby shots. I can catch anything (mumps, measles, polio) and the common cold lasts me three months.

      So, keep your guard up!

      9 months ago
    • Kp2018's Avatar
      Kp2018

      If your treatment facility offers a "chemo teach" session, take advantage of it and use every single suggestion offered. The oncology nurses truly know what it takes to manage chemo, and they're there to help you. Prevent, prevent, prevent adverse effects.

      If you already exercise, keep it up. If not, begin a mild exercise program now, and continue throughout chemo. It really helps.

      I enjoyed using meditation CDs and DVDs during chemo sessions. It really made the time fly by.

      My best to you during this phase of your journey.

      9 months ago
    • beachbum5817's Avatar
      beachbum5817

      You have gotten some good advice here. I just want to add that you take it one treatment at a time and don't be a martyr. If you need something, ask for it. Lean on us here at WhatNext. There is always someone who has dealt with just what you are experiencing. Keep us posted on how you are doing. Good luck. Take care.

      9 months ago
    • PrettyToes' Avatar
      PrettyToes

      I bought a box of gloves and always wore them when I went out... particularly to a grocery store. Those carts are full of germs! I might change them several times. I bought lots of sanitizer, and asked all friends and family to use it. Had some at front & back doors, coffee table etc

      9 months ago
    • ChildOfGod4570's Avatar
      ChildOfGod4570

      Another thing that hasn't been covered yet is if you have a pet, be certain to wear a mask and gloves when scooping out the litter box or picking up after a dog. Pets can be a blessing during this time. They don't mind your losing your hair or being in active treatment; they'll give you all the love you want! Just don't be surprised if they sniff you as if meeting you all over again. Your scent changes temporarily while you are on chemo. HUGS and God bless!

      9 months ago
    • cllinda's Avatar
      cllinda

      As mentioned above, a TEACH session is advised of offered. A nurse will go through side effects, explain when to call the office for fevers and other things, and give you a tour of the chemo venter. My nurse showed me the pods, the chairs, where the bathrooms are and that they had a microwave and small refrigerator. I was advised on what kind of food to pack. No odors from the foods were allowed because it could make your neighbors sick from the smells. Noses get sensitive during chemo. She also told me that one family member could be with you for the chemo. I'm sure each center has its own rules but I'm sure they will be similar to the place I went. They aim to prepare you for what's ahead. Hugs.

      9 months ago
    • Kp2018's Avatar
      Kp2018

      I'd like to add to beachbum5817's admonition, "...don't be a martyr..." I'm pretty stoic and not given to complaining about anything. When I began to develop mouth sores toward the end of the AC cycles, I knew they were an expected side effect, and decided to just take them in stride, and follow the chemo teach instructions to use salt water mouth wash. I didn't think it was worth mentioning to the chemo nurse or oncologist. But, they got worse - to the point that I could barely tolerate food in my mouth. When I finally mentioned (complained about) the problem, the team immediately brought out the "big guns" - the magic mouthwash and MuGard. Wow, what a relief! I felt very stupid for not mentioning it sooner.

      The point I'm trying to make is that the suggestions from the chemo teach are great, but don't forget to heed the advice of keeping in communication with your chemo team. They've got what it takes to help you, but you need to let them know when you need help. You don't have to suffer!!!

      There have been wonderful suggestions about infection control, and I have little to add except that my oncologist said that the chief reason people die (yes, die) during chemotherapy is infection. That sure drove home the importance of infection prevention to me.

      A tidbit from my chemo teach nurse. If you like bananas, don't touch the fruit after peeling it. Who knows what filth is on the peel. Wash your hands right away after touching the peel. I had never thought of that before, even though I religiously wash all other fruits before eating them.

      Again, my best to you, and kudos for asking for input before your chemo begins!

      9 months ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      Every type of cancer has a different type of chemo so side effects are different. I had reactions to the anti-nausia drugs, So some symptoms are not from the drugs but from the remedies. I also had blood clots. You need to report every symptom to your Dr. By doing this you will avoid a tongue lashing by your Dr.
      Accept help when offered. Have an attitude of gratitude. Thank your nurses and above all thank your family and caregivers.

      9 months ago
    • omaalyce's Avatar
      omaalyce

      Check with your dietician or doctor about eating salads, I was not allowed to eat any salad during chemo or fruit that could not be peeled. Don't be afraid to ask questions at your clinic or to call them if you feel like something is wrong. After my first dose of chemo my white blood count got real low but I thought the extreme fatigue I was experiencing was normal, I had no idea it was my WBC. So, I waited a few days for my appt and when I saw the doctor I was immediately given fluids and continued with them for all of my chemo. I quickly learned to ask questions after that.My routine was chemo on Tuesday and fluids on Friday for the 16 weeks. If you start having mouth issues, some do, they can prescribe you a special mouthwash to help with that. Your skin may get dry so moisturize. The Taxol took my eyelashes, eyebrows and 8 of my fingernails. I learned later that when on Taxol you should keep your nails out of the sunlight-toes & hands. You can paint them a dark color and that has helped lots of ladies from losing their nails. If you do lose them they peel off and there is a nail bed that will appear. No one told me about this so when I started to lose them it was weird to me. I also had nose bleeds while I was on Taxol, many of us do. Remember when we lose our hair we lose it everywhere to include in our nose. These are the things I never even thought of before I had chemo and no one mentioned. I have neuropathy, I did ice my hands & feet during my Taxol infusions but I still have neuropathy. Icing is said to help possibly prevent neuropathy, if your clinic doesn't have ice bags, you can purchase inexpensive ones with elastic on them at Walgreens. The elastic helps keep them on especially your feet. Ask your doctor when you can get your eyes and teeth checked, some doctors like you to wait a few months after you finish chemo. Mash potatoes, pudding, rice, Ensure were my foods of choice, I really did not want much else and most food tasted blah to me. I have found that some food has never tasted the same since chemo and I can no longer tolerate some foods since finishing chemo-I finished chemo 14FEB2017. We are all here for you and remember we are all different and have had our own unique experiences. Your experience may be nothing like any of ours. All the best!

      9 months ago
    • cllinda's Avatar
      cllinda

      If you need Neulasta after chemo, see if they can give you the one they advertise on tv. The one that automatically administer itself the next day. I just remember wanting to stay in bed but I had to get up and be driven to the doctor's office just for a shot. Oh, how I would have loved the automatic kind. But it wasn't around six years ago when I had chemotherapy.

      9 months ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      A thought about chemo brain. Yes it is real and it might last a while. I found it was the part of my entire cancer experiance Here is an article to explain it: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chemo-brain/symptoms-causes/syc-20351060
      It is not so scarry if you know something about it. My advice is to write everything down. Post a checklist on your door include items like blouse, skirt etc. I arrived at an overheated church service and when I went to remove my coat I found I had forgotten my blouse. Now I have scared you I really didn't mean to you will make it through chemo

      9 months ago
    • omaalyce's Avatar
      omaalyce

      BoiseB you crack me up. I totally agree with the automatic Neulasta -it was awesome not having to go in the day after chemo for a shot. And chemo brain, yes, it is very real. I agree with BoiseB, write things down, make lists. I can walk out of a room and immediately forget where I was going. Some days seem to be worse than others. I have never forgot my blouse..at least not yet. :-) Reading BoiseB's message I remembered one of the things that helped me tons getting through chemo-a sense of humor. The first time I felt stubble on my head I couldn't wait for my husband to get home so I could tell him. His response...he rubbed my head and said, awww, my own chia pet.

      9 months ago
    • cllinda's Avatar
      cllinda

      I had chemo brain when it came to words. I would be talking to a friend and couldn't remember what the next word should be. I took some speech therapy and they gave me strategies to help figure out what to say. Sometimes I could get the first letter of the word and they helped me.

      9 months ago
    • Rustysmom's Avatar
      Rustysmom

      Lots of great information posted here. The scariest part of chemo is the time before you actually have it. While it can be uncomfortable, and you will likely experience a level of fatigue you couldn't have imagined, it is totally do-able, and the anti-nausea drugs are a big help, so take them on schedule, rather than waiting until you need them. You got this!

      9 months ago
    • CancerChicky's Avatar
      CancerChicky

      Lots of good answers, I'm glad I stopped by this one to read. I have learned a lot to help me get through mine hopefully. I'm hitting a wall and having a hard time going on.

      9 months ago
    • mtnrose's Avatar
      mtnrose

      Good info. Thank you everyone. I haven't started chemo...yet. Really not sure I want to. But, I feel learning all I can about it may help with the "unknown" a bit at least...though as has been said, everyone reacts differently to the meds.

      9 months ago

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