Many people ask God “why” when they find out they have cancer. I never ask Him that question, His word says “I have told you all this so that you will have peace of heart and mind. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows; but cheer up, for I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (Living Bible) However, there came a point when I ask Him “How?” That question came on the day I met with my new oncologist and one of the nurses. Being given so much information about different medicines, side effects and a time frame of a year, led me to honestly ask in prayer “How Lord? How will I do this for a year and still be living a somewhat normal life?” I got my answer pretty quickly…”.. Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit.” Zechariah 4:6 And. It. Was. So.I have come up with a list of suggestions and foods that helped me through chemo. I was fortunate to have people share most of these with me and want to pass them along.
Before you start chemo: You have to get this mascara! Brian Joseph’s Lash and Brow Gel…Mascara- product made especially to protect eyelashes and eyebrows from coming out during chemotherapy drugs…important to note, continue to use two months after chemo, mine all fell out then! That shows just how toxic the chemicals are that stay in the body after you are done receiving treatment.
Keep food in your stomach, very hard to do when experiencing nausea but necessary!
- Kefir, Probiotic Drink, every day, several times…it coats your stomach and also prevents mouth ulcers; I did this daily (my Mom made sure of it and I hated to see that glass coming in her hand, but I never got one mouth ulcer!) You can find it in the dairy section at Publix or Whole Foods.
- Black grapes
- Supplement drinks-Boost, , protein shakes, Ensure
- Peppermint candy
- Eat Iron-rich foods -I ate some type of red meat and usually spinach before my treatments
- Eat lots of fruits and vegetables
- keeping your numbers up is huge otherwise treatment is delayed or you may have to go into the hospital for fluids or nutrition, having someone in charge of your eating is good, you really can’t remember or have the energy to force yourself at times.
- Stock up on antibacterial soap, sanitizer and use paper towels instead of hand towels in this season, Ironically, I am in and out of doctors offices all day for my job, though I tended to only work a day or two, I was still exposed to the germs. I was extra cautious to use sanitizer and wash my hands, so a good lotion is good to have on hand as well,/( sanitizer dries out the hands)
- Rest is the best way to heal. Take the Ativan! As my friend told me when I worried about taking something to sleep “that should be the least of your worries right now, you need sleep and rest more than anything.” She was so right!
- Vitamin Water helps to override the metallic taste from the chemo
- Gatorade was also an option and I drank that some but for me it added a more bitter taste.
- Save your energy! Hire a housekeeper (atleast for a few months)for several reasons, of course a clean house makes a happy girl, but also a clean house keeps out germs!
- Exercise- for me that is what I had been doing for years and I got back to my two miles a day. Walk as soon as you can! Even to the mailbox and back; also the fresh air does your soul good.
The morning before I was to start chemo, Luke woke up with fever and ended up having both strands of the flu. My oncologist immediately put me on Tamiflu and told me to stay somewhere else a few days. I went to my parents house for the week after my first treatment and my Mother in law came and cared for my family at home. God set that up as the plan for the first four treatments. Even as hard as it was to be away from my husband and children, I was able to be cared for and mainly just sleep my way through those yucky treatments. After a few days, I would come back home and recoup until the next treatment.
One more thing I did after my first treatment was get a haircut in preparation for the “fallout.” I chose not to shave my head. I still laugh about looking in the mirror when most of my hair had fallen out and there were about three long strands still hanging on… I looked like Ebenezer Scrooge, so Abby helped me shave all “three” off!( my arms still weren’t working well at that point:))