What I Learned From My Breast Cancer Care Team
Get tips from the professionals who always have your back.
Chemo infusion nurse
“Consider a port"
“My infusion nurse explained that having a port put in your chest would spare the veins in your arm and allow doctors and nurses intravenous access any time it was needed,” says breast cancer survivor Jennifer Chudy Simon, from Long Valley, NJ. “After doing some research, I decided to go ahead and have the surgical procedure done. I have always been grateful to that nurse. It so happened that, because of dehydration, I needed fluid transfusions on days three and four after the chemo infusion. If I had not had the port, I would really have suffered, and there is a possibility the damage could have been permanent!”
“It’s okay to let your moods do the talking!”
“For about five days after receiving chemo, I’d feel angry and just not myself,” says breast cancer survivor Denise McCroskey from Oregon, OH. “Nurse Lynn told me I was having mood swings because of the steroids given before chemo. ‘Be patient with yourself. It will go away,’ she said, adding, ‘Take advantage of it, too! It’s the drugs talking, but some people need to hear what your mood swings have to say.’ From that day on, I was much easier on myself. And I was also able to warn others about my seesaw emotions.”
Oncology massage therapist
“Oncological massage can ease neuropathy”
“My cancer center offered free hand and foot massages during chemotherapy,” says Betsy Busby, a breast cancer survivor in Austin, TX. “It was such a nurturing and relaxing experience that I scheduled regular massages with the oncological massage therapist, Geri Ruane, a few days before chemo and a few days after. She explained that oncological massage, which is gentler than the usual deep-tissue massage, can help with circulation, improve sleep and ease neuropathy!” To find a certified therapist near you, check with your healthcare provider or the Society for Oncological Massage (s4om.org).