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Common questions about Chemo!

Chemotherapy or chemo is a systemic therapy in which medications destroy cancer cells in your body, Chemo may be used alone or along with other medications or therapies such as such as surgery, radiation and biological therapy to slow or stop the growth and spread of cancer, Most often Chemo is given By IV or injection, a cream, or liquid capsule or pills and can be placed through out the body, Chemo can also be given by a pump either inside or outside the body.

Chemo is usually given in cycles, Some people will have a port placed by a Doctor so you don’t have to be poked so often.

Chemo is a cocktail of two or more chemo drugs.

Chemo treatment can be for any length of time, Your Doctor will give your plan of care. Chemo can last a few hours to most of the day. Everyone is different as far as symptoms and also depends on the medications given.

If you choose to skip a session, your cancer cells can continue to grow.

Some chemo patients can continue to work throughout chemo and always remember you may be able to shorten your days.

It usually takes a few weeks after your last session before you start to get over any symptoms you may have.

Usual test run to have Chemo, Your Hemoglobin- This is the protein in red blood cells that helps carry oxygen through out your body.
White blood cell counts- Help your body fight against infections. Platelets- enable your blood to clot.

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A Secret for Surviving a Rough Day.

A Secret for Surviving a Rough Day

About a year ago, I wrote an article on how to turn an unpleasant experience into a pleasant one (“How to Mindfully Turn a Mindful Experience Around”). I often rely on the practice in that piece to help me cope with life’s little irritations. But what can you do when, given the way a particular day is unfolding, that strategy is not in the cards? I’ll describe one such day in my own life and then share how I dealt with it. Hopefully, you’ll try it when your next rough day rolls around.

A few months ago, I woke up not having slept well the night before. Despite feeling lousy, I knew I had a doctor’s appointment that afternoon with a specialist whom I needed to see. Not only that, but I’d have to drive myself to the appointment (about 45 minutes each way), because my husband had a longstanding obligation he couldn’t cancel. At least, I thought, I’d be able to take a good long nap before I had to leave for the appointment.

Unfortunately, at about 10 a.m., I began to feel pain in my bladder. Within minutes, I knew from past experience exactly what was happening: I was coming down with a bladder infection. I know the signs well. My primary care doctor and I have worked out a protocol for handling this when it happens: I have antibiotics on hand; I begin taking them once I’ve collected a urine sample to take to the lab sometime that day.

First, I realized there’d be no delivering of a sample today. The appointment with the specialist was in the opposite direction from the lab—and in a different city. I couldn’t go both places on my own. So I sent a note to my primary care doctor, explaining why I couldn’t provide a sample and immediately began taking the antibiotics.

Second, they don’t begin to work for at least eight hours and, until then, I’m in considerable pain. I have pain pills I can take, but I didn’t think I should since I wasn’t sure how even one pill would affect my ability to drive safely. I’d have to put up with the pain, and this meant there’d be no napping before I had to leave for the appointment.

Bottom line: I was in terrible shape and saw no way to turn this unpleasant day into a pleasant one. At one point, I began to panic as I found myself thinking: “I can’t cope with what’s going on. I’m in pain. I had a bad night’s sleep. I can’t nap. I have to drive myself to and from this doctor’s appointment. How will I ever make it through this day?”

Then, thankfully, the title of a Beatles song came to mind: “A Day in the Life.” I took a deep breath and said to myself: “You’re all right. It’s just a day in the life. You’ll make it.” As soon as I said that, the panic subsided. I stopped mentally fighting the exhaustion and the pain. As a result, I could feel the tension in my body and mind relax, and I knew I’d be okay. Yes, it was setting up to be an extremely unpleasant day in the life but it was only one day…and it would pass.

As a bonus, this new perspective led to compassion arising for how terrible I felt. I began silently speaking to myself with kind words: “This is a hard day. Your body is not the enemy. It’s doing the best it can. Be gentle with it while it’s in pain and remember that soon you’ll start feeling a bit better.”

So, the next time you think you can’t cope, try gently saying to yourself, “It’s just a day in the life; you’ll make it,” and see if those words help you the way they helped me on that most unpleasant of days in the life.

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