It’s been three years since I started chemo. Even now, July represents chemo month to me. Of course July represents many other and mostly summery things as well, but the memory of chemo is permanently branded into my mind’s registry of summer memories. That July three years ago was part of the summer that wasn’t.
The day I learned chemo was in my near future was a truly horrible day. The thought of willingly introducing toxic poisons into my body was terrifying, but not doing it was even more so. I felt completely cornered. I felt I had lost control of an awful lot and I realized there was more loss to come.
Mostly, I was afraid.
Hubby and I searched for resources to prepare ourselves for the unknowns of chemo. I remember the day we headed for our local book store and as I meandered down the medical aisles trying to appear nonchalant about paging through books about chemo, I knew I was a complete fraud; in reality I was terrified.
When I finally made my selection, I quickly handed it over to dear hubby and
begged asked him to please pay for it. I couldn’t even bring myself to go through the checkout line. That would be admitting I had cancer. That would be admitting I was about to face chemo. I couldn’t bring myself to do it. This alone tells you a bit about my state of mind at that time.
The book I purchased that day was a good one, but still it wasn’t what I was really looking for.
I couldn’t find that one.
What was I looking for?
I wanted to know more than just what to expect regarding side effects and such.
Sure, I wanted to know what to eat, what not eat, how to handle nausea, things to call my oncologist about, how to deal with diaherrea/constipation, fatigue, flushing and mouth sores – all that stuff.
But more than that, I wanted to know how to get my mind ready.
I wanted to feel more emotionally prepared before starting. Even though I knew everyone’s experience is different, I still wanted to read about it from someone who had been there. The physical/medical angle was covered; in some ways that was the “easy” part of preparation.
I wanted to read about the nitty-gritty reality side of things from someone who understood my fear about starting chemo.
I never found that resource.
I knew there were others out there in the same position. I knew there were others out there facing chemo. I knew there were others out there feeling afraid.
I knew I was not alone.
That’s how my book, Getting Past the Fear: A guide to help you mentally prepare for chemotherapy came about.
From the start, I knew what I wanted my book to be like and I knew what I wanted to cover in it.
First and foremost, I wanted my book to be the next best thing to sitting down with a friend who’s had chemo for a face-to-face chat about what the experience was really like. I also knew it had to be a quick and easy read for minds being flooded with thoughts of cancer and impending chemo.
Here are some of the topics I cover in my book:
Processing through the news you need chemo and acknowledging your true feelings
How to cope with losing your hair (not losing your hair is also addressed)
How to buy a wig IF you choose to buy/wear one
Questions to ask your oncologist before starting chemo
Why you should consider journaling and how to get started
What to expect on your first chemo day
Tips for taking care of yourself
Tips for tending to your partner’s needs
My hope is that all who read Getting Past the Fear will be able to face chemo for the first time feeling a bit more empowered and a bit less fearful.
Is it really possible to get past the fear?
Probably not, but sometimes a little bit of help makes all the difference in the world.
Have you undergone chemo or do you know someone who has/is?
How did you (or she/he) feel before beginning?
What’s your favorite resource about chemotherapy?
Click on image below for purchasing information
NOTE: Getting Past the Fear is now available in print! Click here or on the image below to buy.