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clothing, food and miscellaneous items

LaCh
Posts: 537
Joined: Dec 2012

Any comments regarding comfortable clothing, food and "things that are useful to have around" during treatments? I know that these things are discussed in various other posts but was hoping for something all in one place. Thanks to all in advance.

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 3120
Joined: Jan 2010

Please check out the topic I just posted titled "Kicking Cancer in the Butt." I hope you will purchase the book I mentioned, as I think it will answer a lot of your questions.

Red Sox Fan
Posts: 2
Joined: Sep 2012

I found that the best relief from the itching and pain was obtained by pointing the shower head directly at the problem area. The doctor recommended sitz bathe, but I found this much better.

LaCh
Posts: 537
Joined: Dec 2012

Hey Red Sox Fan...
Not sure if I can do the shower head thing (it's not allowed--I rent) but had already thought of a spray bottle....do you think that'd accomplish the same thing?

islandgirlculebra's picture
islandgirlculebra
Posts: 139
Joined: Dec 2012

Things I found useful:

Soft clothing with no metal (danskin pants or sweatpants) so you are comfy and don't need to remove them when you go in for radiation treatments.

3M Cavilon Durable Barrier Cream is WONDERFUL for your radiated skin. (They gave me this in the hospital - not sure if you need a perscription for this or not).

Lidocaine Hydrochloride Jelly has a numbing agent which really helps. (Prescription also) I was told near the end of my radiation sessions not to use it before you go to be radiated cuz it could make the radiation burn you more. Use afterwards. I found it really helped at night when everything seems to hurt more.

Sitz bath - It was really amazing how much this helped - just soaking in warm water for 15 minutes really helped the pain of the radiated skin.

Dumboro soaks - This was done for wound treatment in the hospital - soak small pieces of material and lay it against your skin for 30 minutes or so.

Pudding, jello, soft comfort foods - the chemo can mess with your appetite and taste buds and cause mouth sores. I didn't want meat hardly at all - eggs are a good source of protein and my chemo Dr. recommended I eat them. And they recommmended drinking lots of gatorade to flush the toxins out and replace electroytes.

LaCh
Posts: 537
Joined: Dec 2012

Thanks for the suggestions; I've begun making a list based on others' suggestions (basically cutting and pasting the various posts found here) and did that with your entire post. Thanks.

AZANNIE's picture
AZANNIE
Posts: 396
Joined: Mar 2011

Boxer shorts

Ann

LaCh
Posts: 537
Joined: Dec 2012

Thnanks Azannie... Already do ((:-)

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 3120
Joined: Jan 2010

I highly recommend having some in the frig at all times for nausea relief. During chemo weeks especially, I would get out of bed and head to the frig to eat some jello. Having something on your stomach first thing in the morning can keep nausea at bay. It also adds additional fluid to your system.

LaCh
Posts: 537
Joined: Dec 2012

Hi mp,
I'm not much on jello but maybe yogurt, diluted if I need to... but the early morning something-in-the-stomach is a good thing to know.

sandysp's picture
sandysp
Posts: 852
Joined: May 2011

I had my treatment in the summer so this was kind of obvious, but I liked pointing a fan right on my burns and butt. Very comforting in the worst of it and the other thing is high potassium drinks. I wanted Gatorade first thing in the morning instead of coffee or tea (yuck!). Now I keep Coconut water in my refrigerator which is better for hydration and has no sugar or artificial ingredients.

You are just like me. I really felt better having everything I needed before things began. Also, did some one mention Biotene? Make sure your doctor gives you good medicine for nausea and mouth sores. Sometimes you have to ask for what you need, including pain meds (although this was not the case for me). Take pain meds if you need them and take Stool Softeners to off set the nasty side effects of hard stools. Maybe this was covered.

Anyway, you sound like you have a handle on things. You will be fine. Just go through it and you will get to the other side. As bad as radiation and chemo is, you can recover from it. Having cancer isn't an option.

All the best,
Sandy

LaCh
Posts: 537
Joined: Dec 2012

Thanks Sandy,
I actually thought of using a fan "down there," but don't have one of those small, hand-held ones lying around, and because it's almost winter now, there's not in the stores. I can probably set something up with a small standing fan that I use during the summer though. You're right, I'm trying to get everything all lined up now, while I can, because I figure I may be too sick later to do it. I'm trying to have a plan in place for every possible contingency, realizing at the same time that that simply isn't possible. But I can do these things now and may not be able to do them later. Biotene is easy enough to get and yes, I do have concerns about mouth sores. I can't take pain meds and will try to (or have to) get through without them. My take on this thing is that I can treat it as an opportunity to bring out the best in me. As for the more concrete aspects, I just see it as a walk through Hell that I'll eventually come out of. I'm more concerned about the long lasting or life-long effects of the cure. Seems to me that anal cancer is a crap shoot in more ways than one, if you know what I mean.

islandgirlculebra's picture
islandgirlculebra
Posts: 139
Joined: Dec 2012

Magic Mouthwash: Mouthwash you swish in your mouth and spit out. If they don't offer this to you, ask for it. It numbs your mouth for a while so you can eat more easily, and really seems to make the sores heal. As far as long-lasting effects: I do have soreness, stiffness and loss of flexibility in my thigh, groin and buttock muscles, I think from the radiation. I've heard other survivors say that yoga and weight bearing exercise helps. I also have to watch what I eat - high fiber foods seem to make bathroom visits frequent and urgent. I'm slowly figuring out what I can eat and what I need to limit. I can live with these side effects - they seem a fairly small price to pay for getting rid of that cancer. I do hope you have a plan for transportation. Everyone is different on how the chemo/rad affects them, but I can tell you when I was in the thick of it, I could not have walked for 15 minutes.

LaCh
Posts: 537
Joined: Dec 2012

Thanks islandgirlculebra, I'll make a note of Magic Mouthwash (if they don't have it, is it available elsewhere?)
As for transportation, there are only three ways home from what ordinarily would be a short distance; walking the entire way, walking two blocks and waiting for a bus or by cab. A taxi is completely impossible because of cost, the walking/bus combo may be possbile but waiting 15 minutes in the dead of winter for a bus might not be the greatest idea either. None of these ways is ideal but ... I'll have to see. I can't pay out money that I don't have and this entire situation is going to financially bleed me dry, so to speak. I believe that I'm going to qualify for financial help with the chemo and might not have an copays at all with those, but the radiation 5 days a week for 6 weeks and my copays for that will make cabs--the best of three bad options, I suppose--impossible. I've looked for transportation assistance but haven't found any. I'll keep looking but it doesn't seem to hopeful at this point. I'll do the best I can with what's available to me.

islandgirlculebra's picture
islandgirlculebra
Posts: 139
Joined: Dec 2012

You might want to ask if there are any volunteers who give rides to cancer patients for treatment in your area. The nurses who work in the chemo or radiation department might be aware if there are any. I always found the nurses to be wonderful, caring individuals. As far as the Magic Mouthwash, my chemotherapy Dr. gave me a prescription for it. The sores didn't happen immediately after I started the chemo, so it's probably not something you will have to deal with immediately, but it might be good to have on hand ahead of time.

LaCh
Posts: 537
Joined: Dec 2012

Good idea about asking the nurses; I'll do that, thanks and I'll also ask the chemo oncologist about Magic Mouthwash.

LaCh
Posts: 537
Joined: Dec 2012

Good idea about asking the nurses; I'll do that, thanks and I'll also ask the chemo oncologist about Magic Mouthwash.

danadani
Posts: 3
Joined: Dec 2012

During the worst weeks of the chemo my mouth and throat were so raw that the mucous membrane in my mouth and throat peeled. Lidocane helped some, but it was still pretty difficult to eat. The only things I could tolerate were Ensure, ice cream, and milkshakes. My favorite was freezing the Ensure in popsicle molds because the cold numbed the the pain. I also mixed the Ensure with canned coconut milk.

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

Qv, you will really greatly benefit from a handheld shower. I know you rent, but installing a new shower head is not difficult and You can always put the old one back on when you move out. If you can't do that, they sell a hand held shower that fitts on your bath spicket with a rubbery head that you can put on and off when you need it. They sell both in a hardware store. I did not use lotions during the time I was being treated because residue left on skin during radiation will make burns worse. I had minimum burns. Each body is different, but I did not feel that the treatment itself was hellish. It was not nearly as bad as I anticipated it would be. You can do this.

Every cancer center has a social work department. I would contact them for transportation issues. They can probably help you. I hope that you have some friends and neighbors nearby that can accompany you.

Hang in there! It is good that you are preparing yourself. All will be well. Keep the faith.

LaCh
Posts: 537
Joined: Dec 2012

Thank you Marynb. Yes, well, despite building-management rules prohibiting it, I've already installed a hand-held shower head and will speak to someone at the radiation facility regarding transportation (it's an outpatient facility so I'm not sure if they have social workers on staff). Thanks.

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