Cancer guidebook

by punchmommybelievesinlife


Resolved.  If you’re to get cancer you will need the following:

1. First and foremost, you should get cancer in the Fall.  That way, you can get through all of your treatment and spend your time in bed during the Winter months when it’s cold and dreary. Then you’ll start to feel better as the weather gets better. If you really want to do it right, get cancer in a part of the country where it never gets cold or snowy in the Winter. Then you can lay in bed with the windows open.

2. Comfortable clothes.  You’ll need somewhere to put all your Prednisone pounds so numerous pairs of elastic waistband pants or shorts are essential. Yoga pants work well for this too.

3. A nice bathrobe to wear in the hospital. Preferably one that will get you noticed, which goes a long way when you’re desperate for some Ativan or Marinol and there are no nurses or doctors around. Mine was hot pink with a pink bunny rabbit o the back.  It did the trick. I like your pink rabbit! Thanks, I’m not feeling too hoppy today though. Budump, bump, ching!

4. Thigh high socks to wear after your femoral line is placed because you can’t wear pants or shorts or anything for the rest of the week while you’re line is in. I was lucky enough to receive a pair of pink thigh high socks from a friend who found them essential in her pole dancing class. You too will find multiple purposes for thigh highs.

5.FUgg knee high boots. I seriously thought I would never own a FUgg boots. Sorry to all you FUgg lovers, but I never cared for them because, well they’re so Fuggly. But my opinion softened when I got cancer. They were soft, warm, and looked great with my hospital gown and hot pink bathrobe. They were so nice to put on when my feet were numb and tingly from chemo.

6. Things to liven up our hospital room and to make it feel a bit more homely. Little Man provided an endless supply of lovely paintings and drawings that he made for me. They really brightened up my hospital room and gave the doctors and nurses something to focus on during those awkward silent moments. Oh, what’s that? someone would say as they pointed to Little Man’s latest masterpiece, a purple and yellow painting done with mardi gras beads. Oh, that’s a picture of a turtle! I considered bringing in my table lamp because the lighting was so poor. The fluorescent lights did nothing for my already pale and greening complexion. Ultimately, I decided to pair down the number of bags I brought to the hospital, but I always made sure I brought two of our choicest pillows from home. DH said it was always a bad sign when patients brought their own pillows. It meant that they were planning on staying in the hospital for a while. The residents couldn’t get rid of me very quickly, which I think they figured that out early on.

7. Gossip magazines. Since I was nauseas or out of it most of the time, I had a hard time focusing on books and television.  The perfect solution was gossip magazines that I had shipped in from my personal hollywood insider, Sister2. It was great to think about someone else’s fabulous life and learn about their struggles in selling their seventh home or how hard it was to decide on a dress for some award show. And an added plus was that I could “donate” the magazines to the hospital when I was done with them. I slowed down on my donations when I saw the nurses reading the magazines instead of answering my call. There shall be no one playing around when I’M in the hospital!

8. Nice smelling lotion.  You’ve gotta have something to drown out the smell of Au de Hospital — blood, sick, and rotting plastic. Brother told me that my room smelled like rotting plastic and he was so right!

9. An eye mask. This was essential for all night time sleep and napping during the day. Your hospital room becomes a revolving door of nurses, doctors, and pretty much anyone else at all hours of the day and night. The best thing to do it put your mask on and pretend to be sleeping and for the most part you’ll be left alone.

10. Bring your own stash of drugs to the hospital. I know, I know. You aren’t supposed to bring your own meds to the hospital, everyone hates when you do that. But, sometimes you get desperate and the secretary at the front desk can’t track anyone down to help you. Your doctor is in conference, your nurse is at lunch, and someone is coding on the floor, but I need Ativan NOW! They refused to show me how to get into the Pyxis, where I know all my meds were neatly and quietly waiting for me, even though DH spent hours teaching them how to use Epic, which they had recently adopted and no one knew how to use. He is a Super User after all. He calmly and adeptly showed the nurses and even the doctors how to chart, print reports, and do all sorts of cool things that shaved minutes off of their day. The least they could do is let me help myself. It would save them a lot of trouble too. Oh well, sometimes you gotta take things into your hands and when I needed my drugs, I simply could not wait.

11. Make friends with the nurses. Sometimes they can be a real pain in the ass, but occasionally you get some really nice ones so seize the moment! First, chat them up often. Keep them in your room for as long as possible, that way you can make sure all your needs are addressed and if they with you long enough your chemo brain will ease and you’ll remember all of those questions you were dying to have answered but forgot the moment the nurse walked in. Also, if you and your nurse are friends, then he/she will be more likely to stow away a boxes of rubber gloves and face masks that you have to wear in public or let slip great unknown hospital secrets, did you know we have chocolate and vanilla ice cream cups? Um, no, how do I get my hands on one of those? I’ll bring you one, no problem. There is a god after all and he brought me ice cream!

12. Get your hands on the entire Entourage tv series. During the times when I was well enough to watch movies or tv shows, I always struggled on choosing what I should watch. Most comedies fell flat and I didn’t have the mental capacity to keep up with complicated story lines. I was also tired all the time so sometimes it was painful trying to stay awake to finish a show or a movie. I had never seen Entourage, although I know lots of people love it, and I learned that I had online access to the entire series so I thought I would give it a shot. I discovered interesting characters who have a hunger for life and making it in the rough world of hollywood, simple plots, short 30 minute episodes, and a million seasons that will most definitely carry you through the entire time you’re in treatment. It proved to be the perfect escape from my world.