Have you ever trained for a big challenge? A marathon? The type of challenge where you have to be prepared, and be diligent with your training. The type where the more conditioning you have, the more ready you will be.
I went home from my first day of chemo, armed with my list of next-steps from my nurse. The list was simple. I followed it carefully.
Tip #1. Stay ahead of the nausea. She was very clear. Do not wait until you feel sick to start taking the anti-nausea medication. Take it as prescribed, and just don’t wait.
Tip #2. Eat small meals throughout the day. Simple snacks would do the trick. Crackers. Jello. Applesauce. Whatever. Nothing greasy. Just keep it simple.
Tip #3. DRINK WATER. Drink water. Drink water. Oh, and did I mention…drink water. She said my body would use the chemo, and then it was my job to get rid of it. Flush it through my system. Drink. Water.
Tip #4. Take extremely good care of my teeth. Interesting. I had never heard that one before. Since chemo’s job is to attack fast growing cells, they can affect those in your mouth. This can lead to all sorts of problems, so it is best to just be diligent about taking care of that department. Good to know.
Tip #5. Stay active. Get out of the house and stretch your legs — even if it means just walking around the block.
Tip #6. Call. If these tips aren’t working, just call. Don’t wait and suffer.
I clutched my little list of notes to my chest, as if it was strong enough to protect me. I was going to be diligent about following instructions. It was as if I was in training for a marathon. Training would not make the race day easy, but I would be prepared and conditioned and ready as I could possibly be to face the challenge ahead of me. I didn’t need to come in first place, but I needed to make it across the finish line.