Chemo patients share tips on coping with treatment

Two New Brunswick women who have recently gone through chemotherapy sent me these tips.

Cancer patients who have gone through chemotherapy offer advice

For help with healthy eating, two New Brunswick women who have gone through chemotherapy recommend The Essential Cancer Treatment Nutrition Guide & Cookbook. (David Horemans/CBC)

Two women, Kathy Kaufield of the Saint John area and Diane Gauthier of Bathurst, sent me these tips after recently going through chemotherapy:

  • If you are going to get chemo, shop for hats/wigs before your treatment starts, when your energy is still pretty good. Wig consultants also like to see your natural hair to help them guide you to the right wig. "Buffs" from the Running Room are good head coverings because they offer UV protection and are lightweight and comfy. The Canadian Cancer Society has free wigs but you have to choose from what is there and can't order. They have tips to follow when choosing a wig.

  • Walk every day if you are able. Exercise reduces the fatigue of treatment by 40 per cent, according to a physiotherapist. Walking also helps reduce stress too.
  • Drink lots of water — two litres a day. It, too, helps with fatigue.

  • Be careful what you Google, especially when it comes to online breast cancer forums. The support can be good but often it can be overwhelmingly depressing when you see the folks who post there who have died or are close to dying. Information is good but keep in mind that everyone's case is different.You don't know their medical history or specific details, and health-care systems are different from country to country and even province to province. Get your information from trusted websites.
  • One day at a time. Don't look too far ahead into your treatment because it can be overwhelming. Listen to your oncology nurses, who are the angels on this Earth. They make everything less scary. Ask them questions.
  • Friends who want to bring food are always welcome. Food can be difficult if you have no energy to cook during chemo, and everything tastes weird. Ginger and lemon helped.