This deserves its own quick post. Here’s a tip for chemotherapy: It can be a nerve racking process, so if you need an outlet for your energy may I kindly suggest orange slices?
The idea was developed by my scientist husband in our kitchen lab while I was going through my vomiting spree. I couldn’t drink my Avemar without throwing it all back up; the taste becomes quite unpleasant (terrible) after hard core chemo. BUT it’s been shown to help, so what’s to be done?
Zsolt’s answer: Slice oranges.
After drinking the Avemar I immediately bite into an orange (think tequilla shot but orange instead of lemon) and gargle/spit the juice. This really helps with the aftertaste.
Also, the chemo was causing me to have superhuman smelling power – making trips to the hospital really difficult. How to cope: open that bag of oranges and start chewing. So what if the juice runs down my chin? So what if I smile at everyone with the peel in my mouth?
They probably call me the Orange Girl, because whenever it’s blood or chemo time I’m always in the waiting room chewing on the orange slices – I see them staring! And oranges smell too, only good. Citrusy. Hopefully I’m not making anyone nauseas.
Therefore, I’d like to award a gold star to Zsolt for his ingenious solution to my problem. Orange slices. Give them a try. (Bring tissues for the juice!)
Every morning I wake up and drink the most horrible concoction of wheat germ gross. Well, maybe it’s not exactly wheat germ – it’s a Hungarian thing that is meant to boost the immune system and help kill bad cells (aka, cancer cells).
Combine that with the chemo drugs and we’ll have a game of Pac Man. The little ghosty cancer cells (if they’re in my body still) will be floating around the grid stalking my healthy Mrs Pac Man with her pretty pink bow. But BAM – here comes a chemo cherry and now it’s going wild. She’ll gobble them whole, boosting up on immune system lives, and send them all to ghost prison where they die-die-die. In my game the ghosts never come back; I always hated how the nasty buggers were allowed to escape the centre box. In this version they are eaten and then disappear from the entire series. If you proceed to the next level it’s a breeze because all the ghosties have been eradicated, and Mrs Pac Man is welcomed to chomp in a healthy, cancer-free grid.
So I’m taking the terrible wheat germ stuff. Every morning I wake up and shoot it down with a quarter glass of almond milk. At first it was a twist in my arm, but now I’m beginning to own the habit.
My mom often talks about ‘owning your space’. I know others who do this well, so can imagine what she means – wherever you go, whatever situation, you make your place. I’ve been so anxious about entering the chemo room, with its numbered chairs and cancer patients, and I’m a little concerned that it’s the anxiety, not the chemo, that may send me into freak-out mode.
MRI and the dizzy dye was exactly the same. I had a mediocre peanut butter sandwich but that was no reason to faint on the nurses, almost take an ambulance ride, and vomit my guts up after the scan. It was all nerves. All nerves.
We’re practicing ‘owning spaces’ but it doesn’t come naturally. Another thing on my to-do list: visualizations. Every time I even imagine the treatment room butterflies start to flutter. Nerves again, needing to be conquered.
Honestly, I’m terrible at Pac Man. But with the supplements and drinks and treatments and consultations, I’ll jam that grid full of cherries. It’s time to go fruit salad.
Today I received a letter from the hospital detailing my entire chemo schedule. I even know what chair I’ll be sitting in for each appointment, and the length of time I’ll be there for (1. 15 hour and 1.45 after switching medications). There are, in total, sixteen sessions with the last session arriving just before Christmas (December 10th, 2010). This means that maybe, just maybe, I’ll be making it home for Christmas this year. It’s an idea that warms my heart.
But before running off to Canada with wrapped presents in my arms (oh, I am looking forward to that day), there are several things that must be done before chemosizing my life. Apart from visiting the local coffee shop while blatantly lacking a bra (and feeling damn good about it), I need to start Zsolt’s application for residence, find a wig, take a holiday, browse apartments and eventually visit the mastectomy store.
I’m very thankful for this time off from cancer. It’s been nice, and I think will continue to be nice. July 30th is ever looming, but the sooner it starts the sooner it is over. In the meantime I’ll just take a few deep breaths and keep calming myself down.