I’ve certainly learned so much during my whirlwind summer of chemo. I heard a friend call it “COVID-Chemo Crazy Summer” and that felt fitting. It’s been a wild ride, but I’ve learned, I grew, I changed through it all.
Cancer affects so many of us, so if you or someone you know is going through it, please forward this along.
There can be JOY in all of this…self-discovery, new products, new ways to embrace each day. No matter what, No One Fights Alone. I’m always here for you. Xo
Here are a few tips and tricks that felt right to share with you all.
- Track Your Labs
- Prepare! For Hair Loss & Other Things
- Find Your Happy Place
- Stay Close to People Who Feel Like Sunshine
- Determine your Detox Protocol
- Explore a Spiritual Awakening
- Seek Options & Stay Curious
- Enjoy the Great Outdoors
- Treat Food as Medicine
1. Track your Labs
Use a spreadsheet, plot your values and keep track of all of your ongoing labs yourself. It’ll be much easier as you navigate future appointments, track blood cell counts and even pursue alternative doctors and treatments. Your labs hold the ticket to what’s actively going on and what your body is trying to tell you. Why not use this time to get really dialed into the real-time intel from each lab draw.
2. Prepare! For Hair Loss & Other Things
Even if you don’t need it, it’s best to get ahead of this common side effect. For me, it was finding a wig option that felt natural and comfortable and like “me”, while I was still feeling good. It’s no fun to do this while you’re feeling rough, so don’t! This should be a fun one. You get to transform into anyone you want to be. Purple Hair anyone?? P.s. I also did a virtual fitting and consult. Ask around if this is an option to avoid another in-person outing. I’m happy to share my referral too. Let me know!
Hair wraps, scarves and other accessories are also fun to shop for. Try some, return some, find a few you like and that also ‘mask friendly’. I found that a lot of the wraps took up space behind my ears that I needed for my mask. Something that the hair wrap community wasn’t thinking of when they made these. Who could have predicted that we’d be wearing masks + wraps?! So good to try out a few and find some that are comfortable.
I also pre-preemptively bought an eyebrow kit and got an Rx for Latisse from my doctor. Why not have tools available for eyelash and eyebrow fall out. I still kept mine, thankfully but always felt I had a quick Plan B if needed.
3. Find your Happy Place
A moment of zen, a place where you can find a peaceful mind and heart. Incorporate it into your daily practice now, so it’ll be easier and effortless when you need it most. There is nothing more powerful than being PRESENT during chemo. Especially when there is so much future projection of ‘what ifs’ and ‘what’s next’ going on around you. Stay focused.
4. Stay Close to People Who Feel Like Sunshine
One of my most favorite quotes but it’s all so true. You want to be near the ones who raise your vibration, who lift you up, who celebrate simple things with you. These are the people who will help rise your own healing energies! Stay away from the worry warts and constant problem-solvers. They will tail spin you into a negative circling of thoughts that isn’t really productive. Chin up!
5. Determine your Detox Protocol
Chemo comes in waves and cycles. So what’s your plan for the in between? Gentle detoxing when the time is right is critical to getting things moving again. I worked with my Naturopath to come up with several options – coffee enemas, detox baths, saunas, supplements specifically for the kidneys and digestive track. It’s a good idea to get ahead of this because you’ll want to do some clearing before each round. Give your body the fighting chance it deserves!
6. Explore A Spiritual Awakening
We all get in a funk, and especially during chemo. It’s a roller coaster of ups and downs physically, let alone mentally. Time to up your spiritual game. For me this meant staying close to energy healers and intuitive light workers. Those that have a deeper connection to the Universe and can help provide critical perspective, insights and how to dial into our own intuition. This is a fun experience and one that has provided me unfathomable benefit throughout chemo, but also before and still actively. Happy to share referrals! My own experiences have all been virtual during COVID. So options do exist to get the spiritual support you need.
7. Seek Options & Stay Curious
The doctors certainly provide a very scripted protocol for chemo and it’s one to keep everyone on track and fighting! Much appreciated. However, in the moments when you’re feeling your best, don’t forget to stay curious and to keep researching options. There are several adjunct options that complement chemo and radiation, as well as stand alone ones that can be considered for post-chemo care. For me, this led to a life-changing realization of the benefits of mistletoe & vitamin C infusions and to the Believe Big organization. It also led me to additional supplements and herbs, natural healing modalities, new people and new practitioners. I love a good book too! I recommend so many of my favorites on my Resources page so don’t forget to check them out! Remember, this should be fun and enjoyable so the minute it feels like “work”, stop and reset!
8. Enjoy the Great Outdoors
It’s so true. Nature is the best healing tool available and it’s free and plentiful, no matter where you live. I took up a small backyard garden and have been accumulating vegetable and fruit plants ever since. It’s fun to nurture your green babies and watch the fruits of your labor, without any expectation. I also started hugging trees, walking barefoot to the mailbox whenever possible and touched more worms and bugs that I ever imagined. Enjoy the sounds, the smells, get lost in the moment – no phones, no time block, no expectations. Take a deep breath while you’re at it 😊
9. Treat Food as Medicine
My last and final tip, but my most favorite one. It’s true – food is medicine. And it’s never been more important than during a chemo round. Everything you put in your body matters – to heal, to rebuild every cell, to nourish your good gut buddies. So be kind! And honestly, don’t listen to the rule “just eat what you can”. You really can treat yourself, sure, but your every day diet should be fresh, organic, living produce, a gentle nudge of organic animal protein and loads and loads of pure water. Eating should be joyous! So try a new food, find ones you crave and stay away from sugar no matter what. Check out my recipes if you want a little inspiration to get started.