An Intro to the 'Most Organized Girl in the World's Guide to Chemo'

(I am as bald as a baby bird under this hat)

Just got punched in the stomach by hurricane chemo? Been there, done that. Did you know I made a bunch of guides?!?

The Guide

CHEMO - WHAT NOW?!?

CHEMO SHOPPING

CHEMO DO * CHEMO DON'T



So, I'll admit that my cancer has flared up my OCD (hard) - I'm not sure that this is a medically recognized side effect of the disease but hey, let's go with it. I feel incredibly out of control in my life in so many ways right now, why not control the things that I can in fact control? Right? Right. Yes, the next months are going to be challenging but, right now I have some time to try to get some things in place so that I can be as comfortable as I can possibly be while all of this stuff is going on.

When I discussed the things that I am doing with my doctors and nurses, they were impressed with all the steps I had taken (and in fact dubbed me with the aforementioned title, one which I am incredibly proud of) and in turn, encouraged me to share all this preparation with other who might benefit from it. It's true - some of this information was in fact hard won and it has taken me hours to put all this research together, so why not share? I hope that if you know anyone who might be going through something similar, you will consider sharing this.

The following is what I wish I had in one place when I got my diagnosis on August 3, 2012. Please note, I am a very active, social, semi-neurotic, mildly-vain 29 year old, and this has a lot to do with my own personal fears around this experience. What I have to say may not be for everyone but, if there's something you have a question about, that I didn't answer here and that your doctors didn't answer, don't hesitate to reach out to me and I would love to help!!

Please note: I am in no way an expert in anything medical, and my "beauty" and what I like to call "comfort knowledge" comes from my mother's profession, countless obsessive reading of magazines, and pouring over the internet (and we all know how the internet is always true right?) so please, please, please run everything by your doctors/nurses first (like I did) and make sure to always pay attention to your body, your needs, and your values when you are making decisions about your care.  Also, please note that every cancer (and every chemo cocktail, and everyone's reaction to these cocktails) is different so nothing here is intended as predictive or, I hope, will scare anybody - in fact, I have read about chemo patients manifesting "fake" side effects because they expected to feel a certain way, even if there was no actual physiological reason for the symptoms. So thing #1 to prepare: A POSTIVE ATTITUDE. If you think you are going to be OK - you are that much closer to being OK.