Lillie Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, shares all you need to know on getting through chemo stress free.
If you're like me, you can tolerate almost anything as long as you know it's not going to go on forever. Just as labor pains have an end point—the baby is delivered—chemotherapy usually does, too. And although chemo is certainly no picnic, the good news is that most chemo regimens are shorter today than they were just 20 years ago.
Ease your fears
Compare chemo with taking antibiotics. Few of us hesitate to take antibiotics to fight bacterial infections. Chemo does the same thing to cancer cells: It kills them. Interestingly, a pathologist who looked into a microscope and watched how chemotherapy "eats up" and destroys cancer cells created the original Pac-Man game!
Preparation is key
Before starting chemo, you'll meet with a medical oncologist to discuss your chemo regimen. Prior to that meeting, be sure to get a copy of your pathology report. It will contain key information about your particular cancer: how big the tumor is, how aggressive it is and much more. Keep your pathology report handy with all your medical records. You may need to show it to other doctors in the future.
So get ready. You are embarking on a course of treatment that is designed to get rid of cancer throughout your body, wherever a malignant cell might be hiding.
Here are some questions you may want to ask at your pre-chemo consultation:
Lillie Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, is the administrative director of the Johns Hopkins Avon Foundation Breast Center. Ms. Shockney, a two-time breast cancer survivor, also speaks to audiences across the country and has written books about breast cancer. Now, she is sharing her advice with HealthMonitor.com.