Preparing for chemotherapy and surgery can seem overwhelming on top of getting diagnosed and wondering how your daily life will change. There are many things that will change but I have to tell you that you will grow in ways you didn’t know were possible. I truly believe that God will only give us what we can handle. These are all lessons in life and we choose how we want to handle and learn from these experiences.
I want to share my journey with you and this is like therapy for me too because I love helping others. If my experiences can help you even a little that is awesome.
Here are some things that I did that have helped me through this journey thus far.
These items I used during chemotherapy and surgery. 🙂
After surgery and also during chemotherapy there may be times you are in bed and don’t have a lot of energy. I suggest getting a little Amazon echo dot. It is awesome you can ask it to play music, tell you jokes, use it for timers, and to turn lights off and on.
This is the Amazon echo dot we have. You can check it out Here
This gadget was given to me by my Dad. After surgery he had the echo set up with a plug that is compatible to the echo. So at night I could turn on and off my lamp and my range of motion was not great after surgery.
Then he hooked it up to one in his room and had it connected to a radio and when I asked it to communicate with my Dad’s echo it would turn on radio and he would know I needed him.
It was awesome. Great thinking on my Dad’s part.
- You can check out the plug HERE This plug worked great but it covers both plugs and can be quirky at times. You have to reset sometimes. But, honestly it is a lifesaver especially during recovery after surgery or when you are feeling super tired from chemo.
- Now this plug my father has at his house he upgraded a few of his plugs and he really loves them. I like them because they don’t block both plugs on outlet like the one I have. It does not need to be reset like the one I have. You can check it out Here. It is just a matter of preference. Plus this one is less moolah!
If you have pets you may want to check this out. I made a review on this product. During chemo you can still pet your animals and love on them but they suggest finding someone else to handle their litter, etc. This product is amazing because you don’t have to touch the litter at all.
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We have had it for a couple of months and it has been amazing in our house. The downfall is it is a pricey unit but when you don’t have to worry about changing the litter besides the bag it makes a huge difference. It also contains odor and it is great for multiple cats in a household.
- If you have a dog don’t allow them to lick you as they can wind up giving you an infection during chemo. I did not allow my dog in my bed during chemo or surgery. We kicked her out when I was having surgery so she didn’t accidently paw my masectomy area.
- My husband or daughter walks the dog or we just let her out in our backyard and my husband cleans the dookies up from the yard. (he,he)
We can still enjoy our pets we just have to take some precautions.
I wanted to protect my liver and immune system as much as I could during chemotherapy and after surgery. I spoke with my oncologist about what supplements he would allow me to continue to take and you should too. Here is what I did to keep my liver healthy.
When I was overdosed on Benadryl from a facility, I had major issues with my liver and my liver enzymes were elevated. I went to a Dr. of Chinese Medicine and he told me I needed to work on getting the ALT and AST enzyme levels down into the teens to keep my liver healthy. He recommended I eat Goji berries.
I have to tell you Goji berries are very bitter and they are pricey. I was going through about 3 bags a week and they just weren’t lowering the enzymes fast enough. I then found a Wolfberry drink that has amazing essential oils infused into it also. This supplement did the trick and helped support my liver. My enzymes returned to the teens on just 2 oz a day.
However, when I started chemo I upped my intake to 4 oz a day. But, after my 2nd round my liver enzymes started to climb again they went up into the 20’s so I increased my intake of the Wolfberry supplement to 6 oz a day. My liver enzymes returned to the teens again, YAY. You can check out this supplement HERE It is amazing and I have friends also having results and increased energy from taking this supplement. AMAZING! I won’t go without it ever again.
My family and I love this product. After, my 3rd round of chemo I added Nitro to it with Chlorella and Vitamin D3 and it was a nice super charge for me. It made me feel so much better especially after chemo. I love that it is a food source of nutrition. Here is a great video explaining more, too.
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Another supplement that was important in my regimen was Beta Glucan but this is the only brand that was recommended by my Doctor. Beta Glucan is another supplement to support the immune system. I only took 1 500mg capsule a day.
Ubiquinol supports healthy heart function and being that I am Her2+ I am being given a medication called Herceptin that can damage my heart. So my Dr. recommended Ubiquinol. I took 50 mg a day and am still taking this supplement.
Coffee Enemas I did after day 4 of chemo. Coffee enemas cleanse the liver and keep the liver clear of toxins. I only did one coffee enema daily in the morning. Here is my blog post on coffee enemas. These are amazing.
There were nights during chemo that I would feel really bad. I would jump in a detox bath to help pull some of the junk out and make me feel better. My body doesn’t detox well and this has been a part of my regimen even before being diagnosed with breast cancer. I didn’t add essential oils to this bath just the other goodies for detox after chemo treatments. 🙂 I usually waited until day 4 after chemo if I needed the bath.
Help from family and friends
This part was really hard for me. It is difficult to know what you will need assistance with and every treatment you may feel different, I sure did.
This is how things worked out for me:
- My best friend would come up on the weekend after I recieved chemo. ( I received chemo every 3rd Wednesday) She would come up on a Saturday and help me by vacuuming my house and mopping the floors etc. I had a lot of issues with my arm during chemo with lymphedema. (mild, but enough that it was uncomfortable)
- My Mom and Dad would come once a week or every other week to help my daughter with laundry and my Dad would go to store to pick up odds and ends for me. This was a huge help. A happy organized kiddo is a happy mommy. This Mom for sure, lol.
- I would do all of my shopping and do my best on what I might want to eat or tolerate after chemo prior to leaving. I travel 3 hours to treatment to a top cancer clinic in Florida. It is so much easier when you do this and get your family situated too and then it is easier for them to assist you.
- Have different beverages you can drink, water may not taste that great to you. Or water may be all you can drink ,lol It just depends on you. Remember to eat small amounts throughout the day. You may need help on down days after chemo. It’s ok let your friends and family help you. If you don’t have many people to assist you during the day like me have things pre-made or in containers so they are easy for you to get on your own.
- It’s ok if you don’t want to chat with your friends you are healing and your body is going through a lot right now. Give yourself grace and rest.
- Find a friend that will go for a walk with you. Walking is so great to keep the body moving and getting those toxins moving on out. I didn’t have this but my hubby and I would go to the beach with our dog sometimes and walk her along the beach. I love the beach!
- Please understand that your friends are all going to react differently to your diagnosis. Some will be there for you and some won’t. You will learn who your friends are and that is ok! Most important is that you concentrate on your healing and no drama!
Just know that this process is trying at times and you will get through it. There were days I just wanted my normal life back but I have to tell you that I would not take this diagnosis away. I have learned so much about myself and have been able to bring my relationship with God closer.
I have worked on emotional healing along with the physical healing. I will do another post on the emotional healing work I have done thus far.
Please know this too you will get through. Just one day at a time. Only God knows! It’s what we do with our time and how we impact and help others that matters.
This was a very heart touching story and I can relate I’ve had my fair share of chemo and radiation plus surgeries so……posts like this can be encouragement for others curious or going through that fight. I will be sure to share and post in a special fb group I’m in for cancer patients, survivors etc.
Thanks for your inspiring post Francine, together with your very practical and useful tips. I’m glad that your diagnose taught you more about yourself and brought your relationship with God closer. Thank you
Thanks for sharing all of these really personal details, but helpful tips, on how to survive chemo and utilize the many available tools – friends, family, supplements, animal care, technology. Sounds like you are a pro and are helping many people who need guidance!
Hi, Very unique site. The help available is far reaching today. Your Dad was very smart to help in many ways. The cemo treatment is not an easy one and all the help given make the road a little easier to take. Interesting about not letting the dog lick you. Hopefully you are on the road to wellness. So strong to be sharing this information with everyone. Good luck and well done, Thanks for sharing, Deanna
Yes, Dad’s can be very practical. Those items helped so much with my comfort. Yes, it’s crazy about dog but their tongues carry a lot of germs and your immune system in compromised while on chemo. Thank you and I have just finished chemo and have 1 year of immunotherapy, radiation, and a clinical trial to complete still. But, the chemo can make you so tired and and feeling yucky. So happy that chapter is finished.
Hello. May I ask what made you decide on chemo after your visit at CMN?
After surgery there was still residual under my clavicle and lymphatic system in my neck. Plus, I’d be able to get into a clinical trial for dendritic cell therapy.
My wife and I met you at Moffitt last week, as we both waited for our appointments. Thanks for sharing your story there, and here, and I wish you all the best as you move forward with your treatment plan.
It was so great to meet you both. I hope you are doing well through all of this. It is great that you are doing all of the research. That is such a help. I’m here if she ever needs to chat, you too. 🙂 Maybe I’ll see you up at Moffitt.