On the day of my official breast cancer diagnosis, Dr C presented me with a book. I call it my "How to Not End Up Dead from Cancer" manual but that really isn't what it's about. The book presents information and resources for each stage: everything from how to tell your loved ones to treatment options to what to pack for the hospital to dealing with the after effects is detailed in that book. At first, I focused on the surgical options and the chapter on radiation therapy and pretty much ignored the rest. Last weekend, I stopped avoiding and read.
The section on chemotherapy was hard to get through. For one thing, I haven't fully come to terms with it. I feel fantastic ~ it's hard to make myself believe that I need this treatment that will make me sicker than I have ever been in order to get better. How do I get better than fantastic? Mostly, I think I'm just plain scared of the whole thing. I imagine that's normal but it sure doesn't feel good. I had to read a page or two, do something else for awhile, read another page or two, do something else, yada yada yada. I did get through the whole chapter eventually.
One of the things the book advises is a dental checkup, to make sure you don't need any work done during treatment. Chemo wipes out a lot of your natural immune system. Dental work can release all kinds of bacteria into your bloodstream that your body won't have the resources to fight off. So they suggest you go in for a dental check right away and take care of any necessary issues before you start chemo. I figured I could do that now, while I'm still on medical leave.
Well, I called the dentist today but the receptionist I spoke with didn't seem to know anything about having a checkup before chemo. She's been there for years ~ am I really the first client who asked for a pre-chemo checkup? She did make an appointment for me, so I guess I'll see what the dentist has to say when I get there.
Since I was on a roll, I also called my favorite hair salon and made an appointment to get my hair cut. I spoke directly with my stylist. When she heard that I was most likely going to have chemo she told me she's help me come up with a plan to transition to short hair over the next couple weeks. She was very sweet about the whole thing ~ she didn't make me feel silly for not wanting to lose my hair. She also told me that the salon has a private wig studio in their lower level. I've gone there for years and never knew that.
I'm glad I finally read the book. I always feel better when I know what I'm up against. I'm glad I found some things that I can do, now, instead of just sitting here waiting.