a person looks at an IV drip bag filled with chemo drugs

I Am Not Afraid of Chemotherapy

Four years ago I was a newly diagnosed patient, scared of the unknown and of my future with lung cancer. At first, I thought I was willing to do anything to try to avoid IV chemotherapy and try to cure myself of this incurable disease.

Treatment due diligence

I researched my treatment options, targeted therapy vs. IV chemotherapy. I also did what many people do when they are first diagnosed and unfamiliar with lung cancer and treatments of the disease. I listened to the advice of family, friends, and acquaintances on topics from change in diet to organic and natural alternative treatments.

Some were so far fetched, I didn't bother researching. Some sounded valid and I would look further into the subjects. I did my due diligence. I turned to the internet as I researched my disease and treatment options. I was careful not to get pulled into the hype of the cancer cure-all promises. I stuck to the scientific and medical facts. I learned to spot the differences between legitimate scholarly articles and editorials that were presented as if they were published in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology.

Adjusting my diet after diagnosis

Trying the dietary suggestions would have thrown my digestive system and whole body out of whack while denying myself simple pleasures in life, mostly harmless in moderation. I liked the occasional dessert. I enjoyed my Coke. I doubted Coca-Cola gave me lung cancer. One 12 ounce serving of Coke a day wasn't going to kill me. I even told the oncology nutritionist that she could cut off one of my pinky fingers before I considered quitting my Coke.

Luckily, all of my fingers are still attached. The only suggestion she had for me was to include more fruits and vegetables in my diet. Easy. I replaced my morning meal with a daily smoothie that included a banana, strawberries, blueberries, and baby spinach.

Do I invest my energy in "snake oil" solutions?

I discussed the idea of a high alkaline diet with high pH water with my thoracic oncologist. He said something that resonated with me. Many of the alternative and supplemental treatment options I was researching would put my body under unnecessary stress. My body was/is fighting and surviving stage IV lung cancer. I needed to consider if adding additional physical stresses on myself was worth the risks.

If I would have gone with most of the suggestions, I know I would have spent too much money on travel and buying specialty foods, water, and products I would put in the "snake oil" category. I would have had a world of other troubles on my hands besides lung cancer.

Making IV chemo work for me

Four years later, Western medicine has done me good. I still drink my daily smoothies and utilize a few essential oils from Eastern medicine. I am no longer scared of IV chemotherapy. I’ve seen the results of IV chemo I’ve learned from other patients and online support groups about IV treatments. Many, if not most, of the chemo side effects can be managed and tolerated through palliative care. I’m excited to have IV chemotherapy in my toolbox.

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