We Laughed

11 Oct

Pink Ink…

Chemotherapy is the use of strong drugs used to stop the growth of tumors.  Chemo also kills cancer cells that have spread to other parts of the body.  The length of the treatment and the drugs given, depends on the type of cancer. Side effects include nausea, vomiting, hair loss, fatigue, early menopause, mouth sores, weight gain, and memory loss (chemo brain).

This is about all the information that a person diagnosed with cancer, receives.  And really, what more do you need?  Yes, I did hear the names of medicines I was given, but to this day, can’t pronounce them.  Yes, I had all the side effects, and them some!

Are you a caregiver, friend or family member who wants to do something to make chemo “easier”?  I’ve got the answer!  Create a chemo bag.  One of my closest friends gave me a bag that I took to every chemo appointment, and every surgery.   Often, people who have had chemo say they don’t want to keep anything from their chemo days.  Not me.  This bag has come to represent comfort for me, and my family.  Perhaps you can give someone this gift.

Inside the bag?

My chemo bag!

  • Blanket: It gets cold in the chemo suites.  Warm sheets don’t cut it.
  • Socks: Helps the feet stay warm.
  • Lemon or ginger sucking candies:  These help with the nausea.
  • Magazines: I could barely stay awake during chemo, but the magazines came in handy.
  • Potpourri bag or small scented pillow: This was the best thing in the bag.  My bag was filled with eucalyptus and lavender.  When a person gets chemo, the nurses must “flush” the needle with saline.  For some, the saline can cause nausea. (Me!)  The solution is usually holding an alcohol wipe under the nose.  The potpourri works MUCH better.  I still use mine whenever I have to have blood drawn, or an IV is inserted.
  • Journal: As the drugs course through the body, random thoughts come…and GO! Chemo brain kicks in pretty quick.  The journal is a place to collect random thoughts, make lists, etc.  I love to look back and see what I wrote during those 1st few treatments.
  • Small picture frame or book:  Most chemo suites discourage the use of cell phones. (so no pictures, or internet!)  I kept a picture of my husband and daughter with me.  Their smiles gave me strength.
  • Lotion and lip balm: Skin gets really dry!

 

Over the months, I added things like crackers, and my Ipad.  It may seem like a lot.  But chemo can last anywhere from 2 -6 hours, or longer!  Mine averaged 4.5.  Anything that can make the time go faster, or be more comfortable, is a bonus.

One more tip for the caregiver.  Immediately re-pack the bag when you return home.  Then the bag is ready to go the next time chemo rolls around.

I started chemo a year ago yesterday.

Time flies when you are fighting!

Tip for the Survivor:Don’t forget to thank your Chemo Crew!  They work hard to make a bad situation…tolerable!  Yesterday I took treats to thank my nurses for all the care and attention they showed me last year!  These are the people we scowl at, and throw up on.  Many times, the nurses are literally wiping up our blood, sweat and tears! By the time we are done with chemo, we just want to run and not look back. The least I could do was thank them for their care!

My Chemo Crew a year later!

Yesterday, as I walked away, I turned and said, “I hope I never see you again.”

Together…we laughed.

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