9 Things to Expect When you Have Cancer
Cancer treatment is a crazy process which makes the patient feel crazy about themselves. They may undergo a lot of changes such as mood swings, loss of hair, various bodily changes and shift in personality which adds to their crazy state. Most of the cancer patients do not know what to expect while suffering from this disease. Therefore, I am listing down 9 normal things that cancer patients can expect.
Running from one place to another:
A cancer patient should know that their treatment will not take place at one single place. They have to run from the oncologist’s office to chemo lounge to the surgery center to the lab for a blood test. They may also have to visit the medical store and also emergency room again and again. If you are staying far from the medical center, then you have to make arrangements for travelling beforehand. You can refer to The American Cancer Society, who keeps lists of volunteers who are eager to help the cancer patients travel back and forth from their regular appointments.
Shots, needles, and lines:
A cancer patient’s life is surrounded by dozens of injections, needles and lines. Whether it is a lab tech or chemo staff, each of them will require access to your veins to give you treatments. Therefore, you need to be ready for various ins and outs. These ins and outs will be done multiple times specifically for taking your blood samples, blood transfusions or to give you IV fluids. You can definitely survive this by doing certain things that can help you. For instance, they may insert a medical device called a catheter. This device will remain for several weeks, months or even years. But it will reduce the number of needles which will reduce your pain and will allow everyone to have an easy access to your veins. You need to be careful and look out for signs such as severe pain or red lines around these entry points as they can indicate some kind of infections.
Most of the patients diagnosed with cancer experience fear which is triggered by an upcoming scan. After the cancer treatment process, patients have to visit doctors on a quarterly basis to get various scans and tests. Then there is a long wait for the results of the scan which can be very stressful for the patient. Get yourself ready for your approaching scan by thinking very positively. Imagine the scan machine is there to protect you from the disease and not as a machine who is going to announce the presence of some sickness. You need to understand that same thing never happens twice. Just because this scanning machine previously diagnosed you with cancer does not mean that this time the same thing will happen. Just remember, this scanning machine saved your life previously by helping you to diagnose this disease.
The Taste of hell:
Barium is a liquid which you have to swallow before the scans. It is a liquid found in a light bulb. It is usually given before scans, so that the doctor can have a clear view of the inside part of the body. This helps the doctor to identify the healthy and harmful cells in your body. Some doctors have started using another type of liquid which is tasteless. But if your doctor still uses barium, then motivate yourself to deal with the weird flavour that it possesses.
Major Body changes:
A cancer treatment is a package of various medications, surgeries and therapies which are followed by severe side effects. This is definitely going to take a toll on your body. During the treatment process, you may feel exhausted to an extent that you may lie down the whole day and do not move at all which will affect your body appearance. Severe loss of hair, excessive weight gain, loss of fingernails, paleness, face and body swelling are some of the normal changes that your body will undergo during the cancer treatment. So, be prepared and accept the changes. Keep reminding yourself that these things will vanish from your life once the treatment is over. For further help, you can visit this organization: “Look Good, Feel Better”, which will make feel good about yourself and will also help you to adjust with the changes.
During Chemotherapy, you will be given steroids which will have certain side-effects such as swollen face and body, mood shifts, increases appetite and insomnia. But at the same time these steroids will help you to fight with the cancer and will reduce inflammation. So make steroids yours “frenemy” for few months and be prepared for the side-effects which may take a toll on you.
Everyone shares something new with you:
This is very common where every second or third person wants to share a story of a person suffering from cancer. It may also include misinformation’s and myths attached to this disease. You need to calm down and avoid such conversations with other people. You can politely remind them that you are looking for some helpful information that can motivate and create a hope in you.
Everything becomes tasteless:
Due to chemotherapy, your taste buds will get affected. Whatever you eat will taste like a metal or a rock. This may freak you out and have a great effect on your appetite. You need to remember that during these sick days your body needs nutrition to deal with the treatment side effects. So no matter how it tastes, you have to eat. Just keep reminding yourselves that these side effects will disappear as soon as your chemotherapy is over.
Trust your Healthcare team who wants you to meet NED:
The ultimate goal of your healthcare team is NED – No Evidence of Disease. To meet this goal your oncologist, technician, nurses work together and help you go through this phase of your life. They hope you to meet and become close friends with NED. So develop a trusting relationship with them as you have to work as a team to achieve your goal – NED. Most importantly, remember in the journey to achieve NED you have to face certain hardships! So gather your courage and face this dreaded disease with great confidence.
So, as you are facing this dreaded disease, remind yourself of various people who have survived it and that you are likely to be one of them. Moreover, that day is not far away when your best friend – NED will find you and after that you will lead a happy and normal life. Until then, keep fighting and never let go!