So I was perusing oncologynurseadvisor.com, as I am want to do. And came across yet another side effect of treatment I’ll need to worry about. Having undergone diagnosis and slash, burn, poison treatment for hormone-positive breast cancer, I consider myself knowledgeable enough about treatments to sometimes give advice. Not on treatment, mind you. I’m no doctor. But on ameliorating or dealing with side effects, yes. I can tell you that during my dance with the Red Devil (Adriamycin) I sucked on ice pops to keep the bloodflow slow in my mouth and lessen the risk of mouth sores. I can tell you I started putting 100% Aloe Vera on my breast a week before radiation started and every day after that. (Although the fun part of that is you have to wait until after the daily radiation dose to put on both deoderant and Aloe Vera–such fun). I can also tell you that I took glutamine supplements and stuck my hands in ice mitts (or bags of frozen peas) to lessen the chance of neuropathy with Taxol chemo.
And all of those things worked.
Or, maybe they did.
I didn’t get many mouth sores (could have been the Biotene mouthwash which I now give to anyone who I know is receiving chemotherapy or getting braces) and negligible neuropathy and very little redness or pain from radiation.
But was it the ice pops, Aloe Vera, and frozen peas? Or is it just me?
The problem with the illusion of “control” you have over the lesser-of-evils kind of treatment options breast cancer patients face is that all of that probably, I suspect, doesn’t matter. Some of us are just blessed with bodies that tolerate stuff better than others. We don’t actually know. And that’s just one of my frustrations with cancer. Most of the times its just shots in the dark. Even physicians probably don’t know why sometimes this works for a woman and sometimes it makes no difference.
Although, it could have been the yoga I did that kept away lymphedema and deep vein thrombosis that might have resulted from losing lymph nodes. Maybe I should thank Adriene instead of the frozen peas.
(and yes the image is the stuffed Red Devil girl1 made for me during treatment)