Thursday, January 22, 2015

Blog On Chemo

If you find helpful stories about fighting cancer, send them to me like this one sent to me.

"Very soon after you find out you have cancer, you will be faced with chemotherapy. As bad as “chemo” is, the good news is that it seems to work better now than ever before at eliminating or reducing cancer in your body due to improvements in the amount of poison you can be given without your body shutting down.

The amount of “chemo” you should have is a guessing game of sorts because everyone’s body is different. The doctor figures out how much should kill you and then backs off of that strength a bit. While an exaggeration, there is most likely some truth to it. For me it is easier to comprehend what is happening to you in such simplistic terms.

In retrospect, the biggest problem I had with chemotherapy and radiation was not knowing what to expect. Because I did not know what to expect, I did things wrong and I was not as prepared as I could have been. While the process will never be easy for anyone, there are some things you can do that may make it easier or at least not make it worse.

You might wonder how it is possible for there to be things that you can do better than even the doctors who are trained to deal with “chemo”. Doctors and their oncology staff do care and try to help all they can. However, they are more reactive to your problems than proactive. This is because they have not had chemotherapy or radiation themselves. Also, each person is different and reacts differently. Only you know your own body. They see certain types of things happen to people, but they don’t know if those things will happen to you. They don’t always remember to tell you what can happen, or perhaps since they have not experienced them, they do not describe them in a way that causes you to be concerned and to react or plan properly.

My doctor and nurse were primarily concerned with the type of chemotherapy I would be receiving, delivering it and monitoring my health in the process. They were not as concerned with helping me AVOID certain types of problems or MANAGING them better. I am not suggesting that they did not care. They cared very much. But they were very busy handling lots of other patients. Their job was to get you set up, deliver the chemo, and send you on your way. They simply did not have time for much hand holding or discussions about what was to come. Much of my early helpful advice came from other patients who did understand and gave practical guidance on how to live through the process.

My cancer was a soft tissue sarcoma (liposarcoma) near my right arm pit. The tumor presented itself as a lump in my armpit. It was surgically removed with a wide margin.

Chemotherapy was set for six cycles lasting one week each (with about two weeks break in between cycles).Each cycle was one full week, 24 hours per day. I was dropped off and picked up at the oncologist’s office each day where I was given chemo and anti-nausea drugs by IV and after half a day sent home with a bag of chemo and a pump. I also was given thirty-some radiation treatments while I was on chemo. These began about a month into my chemo regime.

So, here is what I have learned. These are things that would have helped me personally with MY REGIME which might be different from yours, both in duration or types of chemicals used. Still, I truly believe that many of these things would help anyone and so I am listing them here for your review. Good luck."



  1. Life is certainly a bitter struggle, I think one of the greatest blessings is the ability to appreciate and remember the good things when we are in the midst of rough times, and to enjoy the good times when we have them. I suspect that a positive attitude is almost as important as the medicine.
    I guess this is a bit of a strange comment. Happy you are doing better.

  2. Best in 2 months Budde, thanks for asking. This is an undertaking like no other.

    Wrong word, undertaking. LOL


    1. Ed, you had asked for helpful advice or articles on cancer. When my dad was sick I read a lot on Dr Carey Reams work. He was an agronomist turned Dr. That's where I learned about the pH of the body. Look him up. Hope this helps. Any questions just reply here. Have a great day!