Monday, June 4, 2012

FEC Tips

Last week I started the second half of my chemotherapy experience, with my first doses of docetaxel and Herceptin. Over the three cycles of FEC that I had, I learned quite a lot about how to manage my side effects. No doubt you have already read a number of tips for how to survive chemo (and FEC) with your sanity intact - if you haven't then check the forums at breastcancer.org - there are tons of tips there. Below are my personal must-do techniques while getting FEC.

Homemade Lemon or Lime Soda is the bomb for overcoming that water-tastes-nasty syndrome. Sour Cherry candies and Gin-Gin ginger hard candies came in handy during treatments to mask nasty infusion tastes and smells.

Drink lots of water, measuring how much you are drinking. Two to three liters a day should suffice. I know I'm drinking enough water in the first two days when my pee is a more subdued Easter-egg colour.

Take your extra nausea meds as soon as you start feeling unwell. Some people respond better to Gravol/Dramamine than the prescribed optional med. Try your prescribed med first. If it's not working talk to your nurse about trying a different antiemetic. Whatever you do, don't go without antiemetics - that never works.

Regular conservative meals work well for me to also help control nausea. Other people do better with constant snacking.  My guess is that if snacking usually leaves you with an upset stomach, then snacking is less likely to work for you.

Tylenol helps with headaches. As always, check with your oncologist or nurse before taking anything else for pain. Always remember to check your temperature before taking any pain relievers, to ensure you don't have a fever coming on.

For some reason my nostrils tend to get really dry during the first week after chemo. To counteract that I use a saline and aloe nasal spray (completely drug free) to keep them moist and prevent nose bleeds.

As for the rest of your skin, moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! Otherwise chemo will turn you into Cassandra, the last human.

I found that drinking yogurt, kefir, frozen berry, and prune juice smoothies every day kept things regular, but not TOO regular.

Finally, in general I found restorative hatha yoga helps with all symptoms to a mild degree - perhaps even more so now with docetaxel.

4 comments:

  1. Oops! I forgot one biggie. Daily yogurt, kefir, frozen berry, and prune juice smoothies are awesome for staying regular, but not TOO regular.

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  2. Wanted to add something for you or any survivors reading in case mouth sores are an issue. Sucking on DGL licorice tablets helps to soothe and heal them. If you can't stand the taste of licorice, they also have a variety called 'German Chocolate'. But the actual licorice-tasting one seems to work a bit better.

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  3. Another great tip for dealing with mouth sores is manuka honey. Either the lozenges or if you can't find them freezing droplets of the honey to suck on. It might also help with the nausea. It also has the added benefit of boosting your immune system.

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  4. Thanks for the extra tips guys! I had minimal mouth sore issues so I never had to search for something to help.

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