- Keep a box of alcohol pads nearby. When you're nauseous, the smell of alcohol halts the nausea.
- Don't stop being you. Allow yourself to be angry and upset, but also allow yourself twice as much to be happy and positive and encouraged. Don't feel sorry for yourself and don't allow people to feel sorry for you. And do not, under any circumstances, allow toxic, negative people to cloud your mind or your space with their negativity.
- Allow yourself to get angry, upset, frustrated ... and don't ever feel bad about it. The people around you will understand.
- Don't feel like you have to be 'on' all the time. It takes its toll, and you need all the strength you can get. You'll figure it out for yourself, what your comfort levels are, but just try not to feel that pressure.
- Ultimately YOU are the one going through this. The bottom line is I was the only one who was feeling all the side effects from the drugs and rads, no one else. Many people will want to check on you, call you, wish you well, etc. After a while, it got old.
- Plan something big for yourself when your treatment is over. My thinking always was, 'Hell, when it's over, that's going to be reward enough!' But honestly, it wasn't, believe it or not.
- Set mini-goals for yourself, like, 'After the first week is over, I'm going to do XYZ.' Or buy yourself a small present or something. Trust me, it helps. A lot.
- Stay away from chocolate. Hard as that is, for some reason it makes the nausea worse, and trust me -- you don't want anything helping in that department. Folks told me that and I ignored it -- paid dearly for it, too.
- Don't just stay away from the chocolate. Definitely and absolutely no coffee! No caffeine at all. It dehydrates. You need as much water as you can drink. Chicken broth sounds boring and not very appetizing, but it's important that you drink it as well. Also, apple juice is extremely acidic, so no apple juice if you're nauseous. In fact, nothing acidic.
- You may get like a sunburn from rads ... ask the doc's office for Aquaphor if they don't give it to you on their own. It helps with the burn. I think they sell it at Walgreen's, too, and it's over-the-counter.
- Get Solarcane to help with the blistering, especially on the head.
- Get your teeth cleaned if you can, before you start treatment. They gave me a very strong fluoride rinse to help protect my teeth from the drugs/rads." Also, ask about 'magic mouthwash.' "It's VILE, but it does help. Ask about it."
- The "pleasant-tasting" bottles of barium used to provide contrast for CT scans can be made more pleasant by pouring in a liberal quantity of Nestles Quik strawberry-flavored syrup. It must be syrup. And I didn't find another brand at the Publix market I shopped in.