There are many wonderful blogs and articles, even full websites, dedicated to the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation. Most of these works cover the doctor recommended remedies. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure your doctor knows what’s what when it comes to your hair, skin, teeth, nails and even the infamous “chemo brain” fog.
Being a breast cancer (double mastectomy) survivor and being all too familiar with the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation, I’ve tried and tested many of these recommended products.
In a series of blogs I’ll go over all the major chemo and/or radiation concerns and share what’s out there (and there’s a lot) to help you heal the external you while you’re focused on the internal you. Each blog will go into detail and name names. Yes, real products that actually work, where to get them, how to use them and even how much they cost.
This is probably the most feared chemo side effect and rightfully so. It’s also the most misunderstood. While chemotherapy is different for each person – and hair loss is pretty common, it’s still an awful feeling when large clumps of hair suddenly fall out or are left on your pillow. It can be very scary, even traumatic. Not having hair (especially for women) is a constant reminder of what’s happening to your body. And isn’t funny how we all remember our hair as being our beautiful crowning glory –even if it wasn’t?
In the “Hair Blog” we’ll go over some cool things that might help speed the re-growth of your hair once your chemotherapy is complete.
Like many of you, I experienced all sorts of skin reactions from both chemo and then again with radiation. My problems ranged from rashes and cracked skin to blisters and peeling – even some bleeding. Not pretty and often painful.
In the “Skin Blog” we’ll explore organic skin care –available products that should go a long way to protect and regenerate your skin.
YOUR TEETH & MOUTH
Chemotherapy packs quite a punch. What I learned and according to Cancer.gov, chemotherapy often plants that punch right in the mouth. Xerostomia, also known as dry mouth, is a condition of insufficient saliva. Saliva, of course, aids in cleaning, neutralizing acids, speech and alerts us that we’re thirsty. Dry mouth can lead to an unclean mouth which invites cavities.
In the “Teeth & Mouth Blog” we’ll discuss the many options designed to keep your mouth happy and healthy. And with everything else you’re going through the last thing you should be dealing with is repeated trips to the dentist.
Not everyone experiences damage to their fingernails. However, many of you might notice superficial effects – ridges, breaking, thinning. Radiation is also a risk for nails.
In the “Nail Blog” we’ll chat about common issues of “chemo nail” and look into possible problem solvers for care and feeding (yup, vitamins are a thought) of your nails.
It’s tough to feel good about your looks when your eyelashes and eyebrows are gone, you’re bald, feeling bloated and you may even have reddish dry chemo-skin. The emotional reaction can be very difficult. And contrary to common acceptance, it’s not always as simple as throwing on a wig, using make-up or applying false eyelashes.
In the “Cosmetic Blog” we’ll look into makeup and cosmetics that just might help fight the blahs – which can go a long way (it did for me) to restoring a sense of self.
When I first heard about “chemo brain” or brain fog I thought it was a joke. Not true. Many patients, including myself have reported being frustrated with a type of cloudiness that can occur before, during, and after their treatments.
The “Brain Blog” will be a bit different; only recently have legitimate studies been conducted to try and clear up the confusion. We’ll investigate.
YOUR PEACE OF MIND
Pampering you. While medications for nausea, diarrhea, mouth pain and other side effects are often necessary, creating a resting place with cozy sheets and pillows to make your sleep comfortable is equally important.
In the “Pamper” blog we’ll discuss resources to hopefully make it easier to let go: listen to music, journal (if that’s your thing) or just figure out simple ways to relax.