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Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Best Chemo Smoothie Recipe Ever!

Most people know, if not by first hand experience then by common knowledge, that chemotherapy makes you feel like crap. You feel nauseated and exhausted. Even if you felt like eating, your taste buds feel like they've been burned or mowed over, and you have a sort of bitter and very unpleasant taste in your mouth almost constantly. Particular food smells and even the idea of particular foods can set your stomach reeling. I have been very, VERY lucky. My sister has taken it upon herself to do a ton of research and found for me The Best Chemo Smoothie Recipe Ever! Not to engage in the hyperbole so common in our time, but the recipe, found at the end of this article in (click here for article & recipe-->) Prevention Magazine as made a tremendous difference in how my body handles chemotherapy. Although I had the recipe for the smoothie before my first round of chemo, I figured I would only start drinking it if I needed it. Almost exactly 24 hours after my first chemo was administered, the effects of the chemo hit me like proverbial ton of bricks. I was suddenly exhausted, dizzy and nauseated. I drifted in and out of sleep and wakefulness for two days and remember very little of those two days from where I sit now. On day three, I ended up in the emergency room with a fever. Once I went back to work, I suffered from 'chemo-brain' and I would collapse at the end of the day. It took me a good two weeks to feel 'normal' again. Enter The Best Chemo Smoothie Recipe Ever! I started drinking it on day four or five post-chemo and it did help some at the time, but I kept drinking it - 20 ounces in the morning, 20 ounces in the afternoon, every day. My second round of chemo was much different. 24 hours after, I was still tired and did some drifting in and out of sleep, but during my times of wakefulness, I was lucid and I remembered what went on. All symptoms were much less prevalent. I went back to work and suffered no chemo-brain and no end-of-the-day collapse. It took me five days to feel normal. Round Two was more like a bout with a light flu. I am now nine days post-chemo and my energy level is amazing. I no longer collapse into bed and night and then have to drag myself out of it in the morning. I am able to exercise more. The Omega 3s in this smoothie are believed to enhance the effectiveness of my chemotherapy and the huge hit of vitamins helps my body stave off any infections. I truly feel like I've been liberated from the fog and am truly alive again. Although I did drink more water than I had the first round, the only difference between my behavior during Round One and Two was my blessed smoothie. It is somewhat costly and I think that people who live in remote areas might have trouble finding all of the ingredients, but I would advise anyone going through chemotherapy to do whatever they can to use this smoothie. Note: If you make enough of this smoothie that you are saving some for later, wait and add the flax and wheat germ to each individual serving. Otherwise, the grains soak of the liquid and the consistency is rather unsavory. It is truly health in a glass.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Offering Comfort

I had a conversation with my mother last night about how great the Gamma Knife is and how I'm glad that I don't have cancer back in the 1960s when so much of it was hopeless and really ugly. We talked a little about whole brain radition and I told her that if it ever came down to that, I don't think that I'd bother. I think that this upset her...not that I wouldn't bother, but that we were in the circumstance of even having the conversation.

So I guess my question for the day is how do you comfort the ones you love? Most people answer that since you are the one with the disease that your family needs to find other people to talk to or find comfort from. But just because you have cancer doesn't mean that you stop being a mother, sister, daughter, or whatever. Not that people should expect to lean on you 100% all of the time, but if you were one source of comfort in the past, why should that not continue, despite your disease being the source of discomfort? Am I not the same Ruth I was before I got the cancer? That Ruth would offer comfort.

I guess that's my answer.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Expiration Date

You know, I'm kind of tired of talking about cancer. It has become all-consuming and, although it can be interesting, I guess, and certainly enlightening, it also makes life very dark and myopic. I feel like I'm losing my sense of humor, which is not good. I'm hoping this realization is a turning point, mentally, and that I can make a grasp at normalcy. I'm tired of living my days swaddled in dread and anxiety. It's been almost six months since my diagnosis - isn't it time to lighten up a little?

Not to be trite, but we're all dying, essentially. It's just that people without a terminal diagnosis can pretend that they're not because no one has stamped them with an expiration date yet.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Chemo Teamo

My first chemo was back on February 28th. Dressed in cancer t-shirts and companied by my daughters and sister, we descended on the Robert Lurie Cancer Center. It all went rather smoothly for about 24 hours. After that point, my energies started to fade. I became majorly fatigued and nauseated and spent the next 24 hours fading in and out of sleep and wakefulness. The next night after my support team had left, I developed a fever. After a couple of calls to the doctor on call, I was directed to the emergency room where they took blood, gave fluids and determined that it was merely a reaction to the chemicals. They let me go home.

My second round of chemo was just last Friday and I was a bit more prepared. I had been drinking super nutritious smoothies for three weeks and I had hyper hydrated myself by drinking tons of water. I have been keeping up the water consumption since and did not have a fever this time. They did, however, have problems finding and keeping veins for the chemo, so I was informed that I will need to have a port installed before the next round. I was somewhat bummed, but everything I've read seems to indicate that people prefer it. So what the hell. What's one more scar?