Monday, October 3, 2016

Chemotherapy- Listen to Your Body

I trust the wisdom of my body, now. But for a long time, I was disconnected from it. I ignored its whispers and I certainly didn’t ask what it needed.

How could God not create our bodies to be the outward extension of our spirit? My body speaks to me all the time. It moves toward what I like and moves away from what I don't like.

My body is SO incredibly wise. I listen to it. I believe it’s God’s voice and He tells me what I need throughout chemo, from what to eat to how many sips of water I should take. I simply quiet myself, and I ask my body, what do you need right now? Then I listen and follow God's divine wisdom.

"To listen is to continually give up all expectation and to give our attention, completely and freshly, to what is before us, not really knowing what we will hear or what that will mean. In the practice of our days, to listen is to lean in, softly, with a willingness to be changed by what we hear." 
- Mark Nepo

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Chemotherapy- Ways to Manage Side Effects

Here are some things I did during chemo that helped me make it through. Maybe these tips can help you!

Above all else, be proactive and stay hydrated!

Preventing Neuropathy:
·      Folic acid
·      B12

Preventing Mouth Sores and Caring for Your Teeth:
·      Brush teeth gently
·      Floss extra gently
·      Use a SOFT toothbrush
·      Rinse mouth after eating with ½ tsp. baking soda in 8 ounces of water
·      Brushed with Extra-Strength Oralive (2 oz.) from Ascended Health

There’s a prescription numbing mouthwash you can use if you get mouth sores. I’ve also heard that Biotene and raw local honey is helpful. Thankfully, I did all the things mentioned above and I never got mouth sores. Hopefully, you won’t either!

Dealing with Constipation:
·      Drink ¼  – ½ glass WARM prune juice then walk for a few minutes to get the bowels moving
·      Eat figs, prunes, dried apricots, dates, cooked veggies, fiber, etc.
·      I read that one tbsp. butter, ½ cup applesauce, and a ½ cup prune juice mixed together and warmed up before bed can help. I did not try this but it might work for you.
·      Take Colace. It’s a over the counter stool softener that’s gentle and effective.
·      Use a step stool to put your feet up when you’re on the toilet. Totally helps!

Preventing Nausea:
·      Take your anti-nausea medicine on time and/or as soon as you feel the FIRST inkling of that nausea feeling. I did not have nausea or vomiting because I listened to my body and took the meds when I started to feel it. I also had the Emend Tri-pack infused in me before my chemo drugs.
·      Eat small amounts throughout the day.
·      Eat before you get too hungry.
·      Eat dry foods, BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast). I ate a lot of organic chicken and mashed potatoes during the first week of infusion. It was easy on the tummy and comforting. 

Gas and Abdominal Pain:
·      Drink ginger tea
·      Massage your belly a few times a day

Prevent Nails from Falling Off:
Yes, this can happen on Taxotere. No funL Thankfully, this did not happen to me because my friend, Jurgita, gave me this amazing tip and I started using it at the beginning of the first cycle of chemo:
·      Onicolife Nail Drops. I put these on 3x a day and my nails did very well!

Remember, be proactive!! 

Monday, September 5, 2016

Finding Joy in Chaos

I never allow cancer to take my joy. I choose joy over the pain, fear, worry, and sorrow. It’s not always an easy choice, but it helps me get through the grueling treatments and brings me peace.

Joy is a prayer and I desire to spend each moment embraced in its beautiful bliss.

The choice is up to me. It really is that simple.

Throughout chemo, I found joy sitting on my front porch admiring our old knobby oak tree. Butterflies flitted and hummingbirds buzzed. I delighted in holiday decorating and baking. I also reconnected with the things that brought me joy as a child like dipping strawberries in sugar and writing poetry.

Our old knobby oak tree

What brings you joy?

Hummingbirds represent JOY

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Chemotherapy: Before & During Infusion Tips

The Day Before Infusion:
ü Drink LOTS of water! I drank a glass of water almost every hour.
ü Get on the Biomat if you purchased one. The BEST investment! (See my Biomat post)
ü Take a probiotic.

Before the Infusion:
ü Drink LOTS of water! It will help to flush out the toxins.
ü Get on the Biomat.
ü Eat a large breakfast while you still feel like eating.
ü Put on a quarter-size amount of lidocaine cream over your port about a half-hour before the nurse pokes you. You can get the prescription cream from your doctor. The lidocaine cream numbs the area. Use a Tegaderm patch or gauze and tape to make sure the cream stays on your skin. Thank you Andrea Hutton for that helpful tip! (See my review of her book, Bald is Better with Earrings)
ü Ask the nurse for the cold numbing spray (if they have it). It helps in combination with the lidocaine cream if you’re a total pain wimp like me.
ü Ask your doctor for the Emend Tri-Pack if you’re prone to nausea. I took this intravenously before they gave me my chemo drugs. I never threw up during chemo, thank God.
ü Bring a cooler with ice chips, popsicles, and snacks.
ü Bring a blanket for comfort and any other things that bring you joy. I brought a stuffed Minion my son gave me and the blanket my husband made me.

During Infusion:
ü Drink LOTS of water! (I see a pattern here…)
ü Suck on ice chips to prevent mouth sores. I think I never got them because I sucked on a lot of ice chips.
ü Suck on drops like Queasy Drops. They help with any feelings of nausea. Thank you my angel, Andy, for finding them!
ü Suck on a sugar-free candy or mint before they flush out your port. One time I forgot to do it and I had a metallic taste in my mouth thanks to the Heparin. Thanks again to Andrea Hutton for that tip.

You got this! You can make it through! Stay in faith!