Although I don’t Master in Chemo for another three weeks*, I think I at least qualify for a bachelor degree. As a true scientist I will here present a list of findings that could be useful to someone going into chemo; things I wished I would have known. (And to be honest, I really, really have been wanting to make a list at some point. Lists are cool.)
*OMG! I can’t believe there are three weeks left, only three weeks left!!
- All chemo journeys are different. I can not stress this enough. You might read a whole bunch about what to expect, but your experience will be completely unique. You will hear a lot of “this is what chemo is like” from people that have been through this, but it will not necessarily be true for you. It’s never going to be a walk in the park, but it is not given that all the worst things will happen to you, so don’t worry beforehand.
- Make sure you have someone to talk to. If you don’t have a very stable and reliable partner or some friends that you can rely on 100%, consider getting professional help. You should not deal with this on your own, cause it’s a heavy load.
- Chemo is in fact a gift. I know, not the one you been wishing for as a kid, but none the less it’s something to be grateful for. Treatment has improved much the last 30 years and though you could fancy a sweeter flavoured medicine, it could save your life.
- Keep perspectives. Try to see it from a less privileged position, in most situations you’ll be able to find someone worse off than you. It’s a cheap old trick and it works. This is to keep yourself from diving into self pity, because it’s definitely not going to make yourself more happy. But!…
- …if you do in fact get sucked into a void of self pity, it’s still ok. This chemo thing really sucks!!! In this case bullet 2 comes in handy, and then in time, you go back to bullet 3 and 4 again.
- Meltdowns. Chances are there that you will lose your shit at one point or another. Chemo messes you up seriously and you’ll be exhausted at times. It’s not you, it’s the chemo doing it. Hello, Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Chemo! Don’t blame yourself for being a bad person, but get back on track as fast as you can. This is where bullet 2 comes into play again. Bullet 2 is really important!
- A lot of rest doesn’t make you any less tired, so keep going. Push yourself and stay active. It’ll keep your mind of the nasty parts and it’ll keep you in better shape both mentally and physically. But!…
- …if you’re too tired to stay active despite good efforts and intentions, don’t feel guilty about it. Do something really nice for yourself; get comfortable and spoil yourself completely. Netflix and chocolate cake, a great book and miso soup, whatever gets you going. You deserve it – you have earned the right to do whatever you feel like, whenever you want to.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help and don’t try to handle everything by yourself. Stress because of daily duties are not what you want to deal with during chemotherapy, most likely you won’t have enough energy for it. If there are people that want to help, accept the offer. Cleaning, tidying, cooking aso, take all the help you can get. Seriously all.
- Things will go up and down, the worst days will get exchanged for better ones and they are not representative of the whole experience. Remember this when everything feels really difficult; there will be bad days, but not all of the time.
- You will get done with this, because it’s only temporary. Time moves inevitably, so that at some point this will be over!!! That’s just how it works – no matter how composed (or not composed) you handle this. And then it’s time to celebrate! I sure will!
- And oh my, I almost missed the most important; colors. You need bright colors on everything. That’s all really, just colors…forget everything else I wrote.