Taxol Infusion Day 4

Ready for chemo treatment 4/12! Thanks to my brother, sister, and extended family in Orlando for the marching family shirts. We love them! (Jordan will be getting his in the mail from us very soon!)

What I Take to Chemo Treatments

One of the questions I had in the beginning of the chemo process what was I needed to take with me. The first treatment day I took so much!

Now, I am down to a small bag. I wanted to share what I believe is needed and the main reasons why.

To start off, ask your facility what is provided. Mine has blankets, have heated recliners,1 and some snacks. They offer protein shakes, gingerale, sprite, multiple fruits juices, and of course ice water. They also oftentimes have small snacks such as peanut butter or cheese crackers. All facilities are different, but from what I have seen in the support groups is that these are fairly common snacks offered.

A small snack and lots of fluids is critical even during the infusion process. You are in the infusion room for a while. Shorter treatments are a couple hours, like mine, but some can last all day. They do allow you to bro my food and meals, just ask their specific rules. Strong smelling food are discouraged because they can cause nausea for others close to you!

Comfortable clothes are important. Dress in layers! Be prepared to freeze or roast as you just never know. I typically end up wearing PJ pants and a TShirt. The jacket almost always comes off on the first few minutes! Fuzzy socks are great because your will be able to prop your chair up or some have you laying in bed and it’s nice to kick those shoes off!

As far as entertainment things to bring…I suggest one or two things to occupy your time. A book, crochet or knit project, or electronic device. For me, there is a lot going on around me with up to 24 patients in the room with you. I prefer to bring my iPad, pop my earbuds in, and drown out the noise around me. Most faculties will have free WiFi for patients. Ask them!

For those recovering Taxol, it is highly recommended you put ice on your hands and feet during treatment. They will offer ice packs but they are just ziplock bags and melt quickly. They also don’t cover the entire hand or foot, just fingers and toes. I suggest purchasing some before your treatments begin. They can be pricey, about $25 for each set, but O searched Amazon Marketplace and found both the hands and feet set for $15!

One final thing I will say is that getting as close to a window as possible will help relax you. I am grateful that my clinic had an entire wall of windows and I have gotten a chair beside it every time. (6 treatments)

That is basically all you need! The first time around I brought so many things to keep me entertained as well as a blanket. It was just too much! I now have a small-ish bag and everything I take fits in that one bag. So much more convenient! Below are some pictures I took today at my treatment. If you have questions, pop a comment below!

This blog is intended for information and awareness so please share with anyone you feel could benefit from raw and real experiences of my cancer journey.

God > Cancer

Word of the Month – Gratitude

Chris and I help teach on Sunday mornings in the children’s ministry at our church. Each month we have a word that we focus on and with November being the month that Thanksgiving falls, we are talking about gratitude. I thought I would take a few minutes to discuss what Chris and I are grateful for since this journey began.

But first, an update. I am currently sitting at Texas Oncology receiving my third AC chemo treatment. Last week I came in for my treatment as scheduled only to discover that my white blood count was too low to do the infusion. They want the white blood count to be at a 3.5 or higher and I was sitting at a 2.6. Our only real option was to postpone treatment for a week. While this was a minor setback, it is small in the grand scheme of things. My body was allowed an extra week to recover and clearly it needed it. I spent the week resting. I had a rollercoaster sleep pattern. I slept a great deal for the first week or so after chemo. Then i went several days with little to no sleep only to fall back down and sleep for several more days solid. I believe this is the hardest part on my family. When I’m sleeping Chris takes on everything. When I’m awake I feel up to doing a few things, but tire out quick. Just when I think I could go to bed and sleep the insomnia sets in and i’m up until 5 am.

Other than fatigue and crazy sleep patterns the side effects have been minimal. The pre-meds they give me prior to chemo are wonderful and prevent a great deal of the side effects associated with chemo. So much research has been done to improve breast cancer treatment, but there is so much more that needs to be done. I pray that in my lifetime a cure for breast cancer and other cancers can be found!

Now for the actual subject of my post. Gratitude. One definition of the word I found said it was a “warm feeling of thankfulness”. I like that. I wanted to take a few minutes to thank some people who have helped us thus far.

First, our family. Parents, siblings, aunts and uncles have been wonderful. Whether it’s coming to clean my house prior to surgery, coming to take care of my kids while I was having surgery, sending gift cards for meals, gifts that are meaningful and some that bring much needed laughter, my family has been there. They are constantly checking on me as well as everyone else in the house making sure we are okay. Asking what we need an offering to drop everything and come to help if needed. I have known for a long time they were awesome, but this past few months have shown what family is all about. Oh, and did I mention some shaved their heads and beards in support of my first chemo treatment?!? But I am not just speaking of my blood family here, I am speaking also of my “in-laws”. I actually hate that term. The day I married into Chris’s family and my brothers married I gained moms, dads, sisters, and brothers that mean just as much to me as my biological ones! I love you all!

Second is our church family. Wow! Seriously, all of you rock. Starting well before my surgery you have been in constant prayer. I have felt them. With most of our family being so far away, you have filled a gap that we so greatly needed. So many reach out to us to check on us. So many speak to Chris on Sundays to make sure we are all okay. In addition, starting very shortly after my surgery you took on feeding our family. For three solid weeks you provided meals for us every other day. It was always delicious and fed us for far more than one meal at a time. Each meal may have filled us physically, but it also filled our hearts with love. There have been very sweet gifts, gift cards, cash, and notes that I will cherish forever. When we stepped into the church building a little more than four years ago for a visit we had no idea the impact you all would have on our lives. Even before the cancer diagnosis you have taken care of us and been, truly, a family. We thank God daily for all of you!

Finally, friends. People from as far back as high school have reached out, called, texted, and sent cards. These truly do lift our spirits. All of this has made me realize just how vast our community of support is. There are times I am, for lack of a better word, overwhelmed, but not in a bad way. I have found so much joy throughout this journey and that is thanks to everyone in our lives being there for us.

Through all of you our boys are being taught what love and support means. They are seeing that even in the midst of a battle there can be joy. Though we may find ourselves in darkness that there are always people there to be the light we need. When we feel weak and scared there are others to hold us tight and calm our fears.

As we move into the Thanksgiving season, please know how truly grateful we are. Our hope is that we will one day be able to bless some of you in the way you have blessed us.