It had never occurred to me before, but when you are in chemo you are not only prone to infection but actually are toxic to others for the first 48 hours after each treatment. I have to flush the toilet twice, wash my hands constantly and avoid bodily fluid exchange with others for the first 48 hours after each treatment for their protection, not just my own. These are things you never think about until they impinge on your lifestyle, and I feel a bit like Ned and Chuck on Pushing Daisies, for anyone that watches that show. It's a good thing my husband likes to hug, and that is safe enough under any circumstances.
Of course there are other issues, like sense of taste changing wildly. They suggest using plastic utensils, so we are getting a set I can wash seperately but are sturdy enough not to have to be thrown out after each use. They also say I need to segregate my towels and wash them seperately as well. We talked about getting a new set in poison green or red, but will probably just stick with the tan ones we already have, I just need to remember to do them in a different load in hot water after chemo days.
Much attention is given to mouth health in the literature - brushing, rinsing and avoiding bad tastes. My understanding is that chemo is delivered through the blood and therefore affects three main areas of the body: blood (obviously, and where my bad cells are being delivered), gastrointestinal (let's hope I can avoid blogging about the particulars there, although the mouth and taste stuff is related to this) and hair. The hair is pretty obvious, since so many people lose theirs during treatment. They warn me that I will probably not be an exception, but I'll tell you about my plans for that tommorrow. They have provided all sorts of numbers to call and hints to get through it, but I know I'm just at the start, so I'm trying to learn as much as I can up front. It's important to remember the chemo drugs are my friends, I need to allow them to work with me, since they carry the power to kill the bad cells. I think keeping that outlook will help ease the symptoms as well as allow the drugs to work to the fullest advantage, instead of thinking of them as another type of invader. I will do my best to relax into these things and take advantage of all alternative, complementary, visual, spiritual and medical options that can help. Thanks for reading!