So far things are going pretty well after my 2nd AC treatment last week. I caught up on plenty of sleep, forced fluids and attempted some short walks. I feel better today and according to my lab work, my white count is looking good this time around!
As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been working on my mindset around everything cancer, and as positive as I may come off on here, I forget to share that there are very real moments of anxiety and sadness that come with a cancer diagnosis. It’s important to me that I don’t put on a false front that “even though I have cancer, I’m totally fine.”
Yeah. There have been a few breakdowns here and there, especially this past week when my hair started falling out in big clumps in the shower. That’ll make a girl cry for sure. I have always been one to try different cuts and colors in my hair, but going bald wasn’t exactly on my list of things to try in my 30’s.
All jokes aside, it was a pretty emotional experience so I asked my husband if he’d shave it for me. Mind you, this is his first time using clippers and he nailed it! Taking control of the situation really helped ease my mind. Also, phone calls with your bestie and making inappropriate jokes really helps!
Here’s a few tips I’ve learned for chemo-induced hair loss:
Wash with baby shampoo for several weeks before hair falls out. My oncology APRN recommended this and I think it’s helped to reduce scalp sensitivity with the hair falling out.
Cut your hair in stages if you don’t feel comfortable shaving it right off the bat. I ended up loving my short pixie cut and it gave me an idea of what styles I can try as my hair grows back out!
Use coconut oil or lotion to moisturize the scalp after shaving and give yourself a little scalp massage to relax while you’re there!
Play around with fun head wraps, hats, and wigs OR just rock the bald look and show off your cancer warrior status. I just ordered some super cute, high quality head wraps from The Wrap Life and highly recommend (Click the link for $5 off your first wrap)!
Unofficial advice: Google pics of “bald female celebrities” and know you can rock that look too!
One more reminder as I wrap up today – It’s time to #FeelItOnTheFirst! Do your monthly self breast exam – it takes about 5 minutes and could be the most important thing you do all week! If you’re not sure what to look for or how to do one, check out my earlier post here!
Just got home from #2 of 4 AC treatments – that’s halfway done with the red devil! I’m so thankful to have had a relatively easy go of it with my first round and hoping this time goes smoothly as well.
Because my white blood cell counts tanked so hard last time, my oncologist decided to reduce my dose by 10% today. We’ll also do the normal dose of my udenyca injection tomorrow to boost those little WBCs right back up.
I was laughing at myself as I left the house today – it’s the first day in over a week that I’ve been in the car and definitely the first time I’ve worn makeup in like 2 weeks…what can I say? Quarantine life suits me!
I thought I’d talk a little bit about what I like to have on hand at home during chemo recovery for those of you who are also going through it or know someone who is. It’s really important to stay hydrated, eat enough calories, and manage side effects as best I can. Like Beverly Zavaleta said in her book, Braving Chemo, “You will not get a trophy at the finish line for having endured the worst of the side effects!”
Water! I make infused water or green tea, too. You can add a sugar-free flavoring if water tastes bad. I pretty much just continuously refill my 32 oz. water cup throughout the day so I can help my liver & kidneys detox the chemo meds.
Liquid IV – this is a super delicious electrolyte mix that you just add to water. Water alone isn’t always enough to replenish your body, so I usually have one of these drinks per day for at least 3-4 days after chemo.
Easy to make meals like soup or leftovers. BUT, be careful with leftovers! Be sure they’ve been refrigerated no more than 2-3 days and that they are reheated well to avoid any stomach upset or catching a foodborne illness!
Ginger ale, ginger candies, or ginger tea to help tone down any nausea.
Guided meditations or time set aside for meditation/prayer to help ease anxiety. I like the Calm app and am just about to start a free 21-day Deepak Chopra meditation series (they occasionally offer new 21-day courses, but they do have their older ones available for purchase as well). Check it out here.
Pilates/yoga mat – I always set aside time to move my body in some way. It helps my mind relax and helps to detox the chemo as well. Usually, for the first several days exercise looks like some light stretches on my mat or going for a short walk in the evening. HIGHLY recommend!
Entertainment – Netflix, books, journal, coloring book – whatever floats your boat! You’ll have a lot of time to kill.
All of my usual prescription medications and supplements – chemo now is made SO much easier with these medications (thanks, Zofran)!
My coworker gave me the Braving Chemo book after I was first diagnosed, and I would definitely consider it a great gift for anyone who’s going through chemo. Beverly Zavaleta is a physician who also went through breast cancer and has excellent tips to prepare for chemotherapy. It’s a super easy read and a quick reference guide for any side effects that may pop up.
Hope you all are having a great week! Wear your masks!