Tiffany`s Twenty Terrific Tips for TC
I just wanted to share with everyone my tips for getting through TC chemo, which I think helped me a lot. My only symptoms were a touch of nausea on days 3-4, a bit of diarrhea, constipation, dry mouth, and fatigue. I never got sick.
1. During chemo and for several days afterwards, drink a LOT of water. I drank 3 liters a day from this bottle: http://www.amazon.com/Nathan-Big-Shot-1-Liter-Bott...
2. Ice your hands and feet during Taxotere. I used these http://www.amazon.com/Elasto-Gel-Chemotherapy-Hypo... and these http://www.amazon.com/Elasto-Hypothermia-slippers-... and never had any neuropathy or nail changes. It does make playing on your iPad or reading difficult with the mitts on, so I just listened to a podcast during that infusion.
3. Suck on ice as often as you can bear it during your infusions to avoid mouth sores.
4. Get the OPI Nail Envy and Avoplex cuticle treatment set here http://www.amazon.com/Opi-Say-Hi-to-Fortify/dp/B00.... Use the Nail Envy as directed, and apply the Avoplex twice a day or more often if you can remember. I kept 2 bottles of the Avoplex, one at work and one at home. Keep your nails very short to avoid snags and tears.
5. Get some Dixie cups and pre-fill them with 1 tsp of baking soda. I filled an empty 12 oz mouthwash bottle with about 3 tsp of salt and a 1/2 tsp of peppermint extract (for flavor) and poured some into the Dixie cup, swirled to mix, and gargled/rinsed with it in the morning, after every meal, and at night. I bought this mouthwash to take to work to avoid the mixing hassle, and I really liked it http://www.amazon.com/TheraBreath-Dentist-Recommen... Never had a single mouth sore.
6. Flossing during chemo can cause bleeding, I learned the hard way. I got a waterpik instead and used this to floss. Much gentler on the gums. I found mine cheaper at Costco, but here it is on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Waterpik-Aquarius-Water-Flos...
7. I got a value pack of extra soft toothbrushes at Costco, and bought this on Amazon to sterilize after every use: http://www.amazon.com/Oral-Stericlean-Portable-Too... I threw out the toothbrush and got a new one when I started each cycle of chemo. Clean toothbrushes prevent you from getting sick while immunocompromised.
8. Exercise every day. Seriously, even on bad days. Get up and go for a walk around the block. Every day go a little further. When youre feeling better immediately get back to your normal exercise routine. It helps so much!
9. Wear slippers around the house, especially if you have hard floors. This helps prevent neuropathy in your feet. And forget about wearing heels during chemo.
10. MOISTURIZE like crazy. After every shower, cover yourself in a high quality, paraben free, hypoallergenic moisturizer from head to toe. Moisturize your hands and feet every night, and wear cotton gloves to bed.
11. If you get dry mouth, especially at night, try these for sleeping: http://www.amazon.com/Oracoat-855933000517-Xylimel... They worked like a charm for me. During the day I sucked on hard candies or ACT lozenges.
12. Stock up on fresh fruit and bread for toast. On my "bad days," usually days 3-5, I really didnt want to eat anything besides fresh fruit, smoothies, and toast. Your mileage may vary, but this was the case for me.
13. Sign up for www.takethemameal.com and send the link to friends and family. This ended up being more for my fiance, who cant cook to save his life and I was not feeling up to cooking, but I also ate some of it when I was feeling better. The help was greatly appreciated, and the site is free and super easy to use.
14. Do something special that you can look forward to after each chemo, such as watching one season of your favorite show after every round on your bad days. For me, I downloaded the Game of Thrones game onto my iPad, which has 4 episodes, and saved them for my bad days when I didnt want to do much besides lay around. I played 1 episode after every round and it gave me something to look forward to, even though I wasnt feeling great.
15. If you have diarrhea, start the Immodium immediately, dont let it go. The bottle says only 4 per day, but my MO said up to 8 daily is fine. If you have constipation, Senokot helped me. Unfortunately every round for me was a different GI tract problem, so I never knew what to expect!
16. QueasyPops for nausea helped me a lot, and if you email the company at [email protected] and tell them youre undergoing chemo for BC they will send you a free box!
17. Also, start taking your Zofran the night of chemo and take it every 8 hours on the dot for 5 days afterwards. I never vomited when I kept this up, even though I felt queasy occasionally. I DID vomit when I forgot to take the Zofran after the first round, and learned the hard way.
18. The website http://breastcancerfreebies.com/ had lots of offers for free products and services to help. I was able to get free home cleanings through Cleaning for a Reason, a free high quality headwrap from Good Wishes (which I donated after I didnt end up needing it), a free bar of soap from Bethesda Skincare, a free bag of makeup from Look Good Feel Better, and sweet cards and gifts through the mail from Chemo Angels. All of these things were wonderful.
19. If youre interested in keeping your hair, I used Penguin Cold Caps with amazing success. While it was definitely a hassle, the feeling I got from keeping my hair was priceless. I felt in control, and I didnt look sick so I didnt feel sick. I could go out in public and be treated normally without stares, pity, or special treatment. That really meant a lot to me. And I was able to get financial assistance through www.ccaps.org. The cold wasnt fun but was bearable and totally worth it. I have a whole nother set of tips for cappers if youre interested!
20. Sleep naked. This helped with hot flashes, which I developed after round 3, and also apparently prevents yeast infections by helping maintain air circulation down there.
Thats all I can think of right now. I hope this helps. Any more tips ladies?