If you have a lesson learned that you would like to share, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below.
- Find a cancer survivor role model.
- Create a medical binder.
- Have any outstanding dental work done and get your teeth cleaned before you start chemotherapy.
- My chemo regimen created horrible constipation which can make life miserable when you are trying to recover from chemo. Stay ahead of the issue by taking a stool softener every night whether you think you need it or not. You will need it! Eat a high fiber cereal in the morning (my favorite is All Bran Buds). Remember to drink lots of water.
- People told me not to eat what I enjoyed during chemo because it would not have the same appeal to me after chemo. That may be true for some people but it has not been true for me. I have lived by this simple rule during my chemo regimen: eat small portions of whatever appeals to you. Don't let yourself get too hungry. I found that if I went too long in between meals, I started to feel nauseous. Sometimes all I wanted was a peanut butter sandwich or a bowl of chicken rice soup. Whatever works. I would catch up on my nutrition and healthy eating habits a few days after chemo when my system returned to normal.
- Get plenty of rest. If you aren't sleeping a full 8 hours every night, ask your doctor for medication to help you sleep. Lorazepam has been a godsend for me. I sleep 10 hours solid every night and am never groggy. I realize meds work differently for everyone. Find whatever works for you and make sure you get your ZZZZZs.
- Along the same lines -- take naps whenever you can. I am not a nap-taker but that all changed with chemo. I wouldn't think I was tired but I would lay down on a Saturday afternoon to "rest my eyes" and the next thing I'd know - two hours had gone by. I needed the extra rest and didn't even realize it.
- Buy soft bras to wear after surgery. I bought a few bras that were a little larger (38 instead of 36) to allow for some swelling, weight gain and just give me a little extra room. I highly recommend this bra by Barely There or this bra by Bally.