Tomorrow is one year since I started Chemotherapy. To be exact, I survived 20 weeks, 140 days of chemotherapy. Despite the fear of the word Chemotherapy, I knew I was going to be just fine through it because my mind was always set in a positive tone. I knew from day one I was not going to let this take me down. Because I was diagnosed with breast cancer stage 2, grade 3, my age just 34 years old, a family history of cancer, tumors that spread out in 4 quadrants of my breast and one positive node, I received one of the strongest chemotherapy regimens you could receive.
This is the Google dictionary definition, but as a breast cancer survivor my definition would be:
The treatment plan that will make your cancer visible for the world to see. It will be a total mental mind f*ck. Your appetite, body weight and appearance will change. Numbing cream and cling wrap will become very handy. Chemotherapy may leave you with post-traumatic stress from all the beeping the machine will do from the IV drips, will bring the experience of nausea to a completely new level and will leave you with a high chance of developing chemo brain.
March 13th. Dates become significant during a cancer diagnosis. In honor of my one-year Chemotherapy anniversary, I wanted to put together a helpful list for anyone starting out on this journey.
- What to pack for chemotherapy
- What to expect after chemotherapy treatment
- Hair loss. 12-17 days after first treatment for breast cancer patients, you will lose your hair. I did not explore cold cap options as I would loose my hair no matter what with my treatment.
MIND, BODY & SOUL
It is very important to remember the worst kind of cancer to have is, MIND CANCER. It will eat away from your joy, your daily self-confidence and your ability to get through this journey of breast cancer. Find your MANTRA and stick to it.
“ I AM HEALTHY. I AM STRONGER THAN CANCER. MY SOUL IS BEAUTIFUL.”
These were three of my daily mantras that I spoke every day and on days where I had no idea what was happening to my body. I tried to wheel my brain back to a quiet place to control the side effects that were happening and I had no control. Only thing I could control was my breathing and my mantras.
I cherish these songs choices sent to me from my friends and family. Music really has healing power. I named my cancer music play list BEAT IT! Just like my growing number of followers if you have a song that reminds you of us, please send it over to me at any time. Would love to add it to my list.
This is an entire blog post in itself. For chemotherapy days, specifically, I think it is great to eat a healthy meal before treatment. I always had something from each food group. Post treatment I would depend of soups. My chemotherapy nurse always told me if you could not eat “DRINK YOUR MEALS”! In addition, try to drink as much water as possible every single day during treatment.
HEALTH & WELLNESS
Visit your eye doctor, dentist and fertility doctor all prior to Chemotherapy. Prepare yourself with Aquafor, Epsom Salt, foot bath to prevent neuropathy, organic coconut oil, eye mask, and gel manicures and pedicures to prevent yourself from seeing your nails turning black.
Each treatment I always knew how I was going to prepare before with a theme and how I was going to celebrate after. Each day is a gift and with each treatment always remember to CELEBRATE YOU!!!
My biggest celebration was the day after my 16th chemotherapy treatment. My local friends and family surprised me on the first floor. They got me a huge pink Escalade limo to drive me home. I sang from the top of my lungs in that limo “ This is my fight song!” I felt so free and happy from every ounce of my soul.
My last piece of advice for anyone starting chemotherapy is to remember these words…
” THE ONLY WAY OUT IS THROUGH “
You are never alone! I am here to support you. Please reach out with any questions or support you may need.
Stay Strong. Love, Tara