There is too much to learn about chemotherapy! Simply explaining it to my kids becomes a science lesson, that I think I understand...but in all honesty, the realist in me thinks it's pretty much a crap-shoot! Two long appointments with the oncologist helped us decide which path to take, and that journey begins this Friday morning! The poison will drip into my IV and flow through my bloodstream in hopes of killing any stray cancer cells. In the process it also kills a lot of healthy stuff too (collateral damage.) The chemicals specifically target growing-oriented cells, like hair, skin, fingernails, and soft tissue. Maybe my kids can follow me around with a vacuum cleaner?
We got to see the chemo room and meet some of the people who will be guiding us through, which takes away some of the mystery, but we know there are more surprises along the way. I wonder if anyone would mind Skrillex cranked on my Ipod? (Okay- only a couple of the songs!) And... will I be able to nap in those comfortable reclining chairs? (Sleep deprived shift workers think of sleep first!) All along, the waiting and not knowing what to expect has been the hard part, so it's almost over.
Did you know you should get dental work done before having chemo? Our doctor advised that, and while getting a crown re-glued last week, the dental assistants gave me a home fluoride kit, because chemo can damage your teeth! Didn't know that until the visit to the dentist. Now I will do fluoride treatments every day to prevent it. Like wearing sunscreen on a long walk on the beach, right?
That makes me realize how lucky I am to have a lot of new friends who've been down this path before. Dozens of people on this unique team are willing to offer advice to this rookie! One shared a trick to chew on ice chips while getting chemo to cut down on mouth blisters. Another advised to take the anti-nausea medicine BEFORE I feel nauseous. My sister-in-law said walking every day is what helped her get through chemo. Thank you all for those tips and many more! I will try many of them, and be a little more prepared for some of the more startling symptoms. (Like "flame-throwing diarrhea" described by one survivor!)
I still plan to be my normal, stubborn, smart-aleck, upbeat self through all of this (or at least in public.) And I know my support team is immensely strong! We leave straight from the hospital to head up to Heber for a few basketball games that evening. I'll let you know how it goes!