You have been diagnosed with cancer, and one of the first things that pops into your mind is asking, “Do I need chemotherapy?” Chemo is not always needed, but when it is, there may be a few things you need to do. Preparing yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally is important.
Check out my tips below!
Make your doctor and dentist appointments
You may need additional check-ups prior to starting chemotherapy. If you need any blood work or other tests, getting those done before chemo would be ideal.
Seeing your dentist for a cleaning and any dental work that would be needed is essential. Chemo can be hard on your mouth and you will increase your chance of infection. Therefore, dental work should not be done while you are undergoing treatments.
Having someone accompany you to your appointments would be a must-do in my opinion. Oftentimes, you will appreciate having that support person by your side. They can help write notes, ask questions to clarify, or just be there as your personal shoulder to cry on.
Other times, it may be best to have someone drive you to and from your chemotherapy injections in case you have any side effects, such as sleepiness.
Talk to Your Boss
Chemotherapy can be difficult on your body. You may have numerous side effects, ranging from nausea to vomiting to fatigue. It’s important to talk to your boss at work about your options.
How many days can you miss? Do you need to find someone to replace you on your sick days? Will the Family Medical Leave Act be beneficial for you to look into?
Consider Help at Home
Help at home could consist of childcare, meals, and basic household chores. If you have children, arranging carpools to and from school, playdates, and maybe even extra help during the day may be necessary.
Preparing freezer meals ahead of time will help eliminate the “I’m too tired to cook” mentality. At times, your friends and co-workers may set up a meal train (bringing food to you on a scheduled basis) for you.
When you don’t feel well, cleaning is the last thing on your list to do. Vacuuming, dusting, cleaning the bathroom, and doing laundry are chores that could be tiring. Consider asking a friend to help. If you would rather have a professional come clean, there are some amazing programs out there that will support those seeking help during cancer treatments.
If you only take one thing away from this list, this one is the most important. Preparing yourself mentally for the rough road you are about to embark on is key. Keep yourself positive. Once your attitude becomes negative, you start doubting. You allow the pain to seep in. It becomes harder to crawl out of the dark place.
One of my favorite quotes about positivity is from Gandhi:
“Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior. Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.”
Angela Banker is a mother, a wife, a daughter, and a sister; she is also a young survivor, a caregiver, a supporter, and a fighter. She was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 33, and found herself empowered to share her story to raise awareness about breast cancer. Angela participates in Relay For Life, started the Sisters Beating Breast Cancer page to inspire others, and continues to "fight like a girl" with the hope that her daughter will never have to hear the dreaded words, "You have cancer."