Chemo Companion Pocket Guide

Author: Shannon Miller

Early on I received this great little pocket guide from my physician at SouthEast Gynocologic Oncology Associates.

It can be overwhelming the amount of materials to read through if you’re going through surgery, chemo and for many, radiation as well.

I love this pocket guide from Merck Oncology called the Chemo Companion Pocket Guide. It’s filled with quick tips and a great outline of what to expect.

A few of my favorite tips at this stage:

  • Never start chemo on an empty stomach. (This morning was an english muffin with peanut butter and hot tea (decaf). Not terribly easy to get down on a queasy stomach so I may need to try something new tomorrow.)
  • Pack a “chemo bag”. Fill it with magazines, books, laptop, cell phone, crafts, pictures and anything that makes you feel comfortable and will keep you occupied. Many of the rooms are a bit chilly so don’t forget to bring a pillow and blanket. Make yourself at home and you’ll feel less fearful.
  • Write on a calendar how you are feeling every day. You will soon see patterns to help predict how you will react and you will know what to report to your doctor.

Other great topics covered are fatigue, foggy chemo brain, dental care, pain, nausea, vision changes and skin, nail and hair issues.

However, my favorite part of the book is the last chapter on laughter. According to the Chemo Companion Pocket Guide there is now an abundance of research and literature on the benefits of laughter:

  • It decreases the level of stress hormones in the body
  • It increases the antibodies that fight infection, thus strengthening the immune system.
  • Another major benefit of laughter is the increase in endorphins, the body’s natural pain killers, which are even more powerful than morphine!
TIP:  So don’t be afraid to laugh. Surround yourself with good (and funny) friends and let them know you want to laugh. Find funny movies to watch and books to read. Get to it, whatever tickles that funny bone!
TIP:  If you’d like to take a look through this book or order your own copy, you can find it at: Chemo Companion Pocket Guide
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