(1) You get blood drawn so frequently—in my case weekly—that you’ll forget to press hard on the spot the needle went in. You’ll want to just run out of there, and the nurse will forget to remind you to press that spot. Press it. Otherwise you get purple and green bruises all down your arm.
(2) Find a diet you like and follow it—I’m going for a version of the low-glycemic diet, detailed elsewhere on this blog as the “Mom Belly Diet.” Basically, you don’t eat carbs in the evening—no rice, no pasta, no bread, no potatoes, no pizza crust—so that you lose, or at least don’t gain. Why? Because women with breast cancer don’t waste away, even when they’re dying—they puff up. It’s the steroids but it’s also overeating. So find and follow some sensible diet you like. You might even invest in an anti-cancer cookbook. I just ordered this one, Rebecca Katz’s The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen: Nourishing, Big-Flavor Recipes for Cancer Treatment and Recovery.
(3) Remember the latest on anti-cancer foods—the three “Cs”: coffee, cabbage, and cumin. They’re all supposed to be hostile to cancer. So enjoy them.
(4) You’ll also find websites telling you differently. Ask your doctors if the inconsistencies drive you nuts, and remember that you’ll get different answers from different doctors.
(5) Think about, but don’t go nuts over, sugar. There’s a theory that going off the stuff starves cancer cells. My doctors think your body is going to have some sugar in it no matter what you eat. I usually restrict sugar to breakfast, when I have a tablespoon of it in my coffee or my oatmeal, or I have jam on my cornbread or muffin. Both of which have a bit of sugar in them.
(6) Chemotherapy does not go on forever. Four down, twelve to go, I tell myself. After next time, Five down, eleven to go.