The next stage in my recovery is to have 18 weeks of chemotherapy. I like a plan and so having looked at the things that need doing between now and November I have made one.
Part one is getting fitter for it. I have lost a lot of fitness and am just getting my energy back I am not as strong as I was and my underarms have become flappy. I have been doing the post op exercises that stretch you and now need to build strength and heart health. The plan for this will be alternated days of walking or exercise video.
Part 2 is to do with managing when I have chemo. The side effects of chemotherapy are many. The main enemies for me as I see them at the moment, things could change are:
Nausea and Vomiting – will have to deal with the meds with the doctors but to have a bowl, spare towels and disposables so no one else has to deal with it. My spare room is set up now so I can hide in there if I feel rubbish.
Tiredness: How tired is unknown but I will have to continue with pacing and allow for days when nothing happens. I will have a pile of small achievable projects if I feel up to them.
Mouth soreness and ulcers: So far I have been advised to suck iced drinks when having chemo but also store frozen grapes to suck on should I get sore at home. Also getting my teeth cleaned pre-chemo, getting some soft tooth brushes and alcohol free mouthwash as advised
Hair Loss: Assessing hats and wigs. Trying more wigs on Monday and then to make a decision and order it. I have booked onto the November Look Good Feel better Session at my local hospital. I am getting my eyebrows threaded next week as a prelude to them thinning themselves out to nothing.
Joint Aches and Pains: Already have these and have a selection of pain killers. Seeing as the main side effect of these is nausea I shall avoid. If I can’t manage it I will see the team pronto.
Risk of infection: Getting a high temperature means immediate admission to hospital for antibiotics. I will be avoiding gardening and other risky activities, crowds and friends with colds. I am also preparing an emergency admission to hospital bag which we can grab on the way out if it is necessary that I go in. I am intending to buy a thermometer in the next few weeks.
Skin and Nail problems: You have to avoid highly perfumed soaps moisturisers and so I will be using simple and E45 on my skin. I have been given hand cream and will get dark nail varnish
I am getting a bag together for chemo days which will have a book, notebook and pen, MP3, phone, hand cream and iced drinks.
In the meantime I will be catching up with my family before it starts, get together a list of questions for the oncologist next week, clear out more clutter and batch cook for days I can’t cook on.
I don’t know how Christmas will be this year but I intend to do all the shopping and card writing early just in case I am not up to it.