What to Expect
Once your treatment begins, your care team will be giving you a detailed list of symptoms and signs to watch for depending on your condition. While everyone’s cancer journey is different, there are some common experiences that many patients share.
Your appearance may change
If you have cancer and are about to undergo chemotherapy, there is a chance you will lose your hair. While you will feel upset by your loss of control, whether you can maintain a healthy body image after hair loss depends a lot on having confidence, a positive outlook, and the support of loved ones.
You might experience “Chemo Brain”
If your treatment plan involves chemotherapy, you might be troubled by a foggy memory. It's not yet clear that chemotherapy is the cause of concentration and memory problems in cancer survivors, but you should know that difficulty in this area is not uncommon while undergoing treatment. When you go to your doctor’s appointments, consider bringing a journal to take notes. Or bring a friend who can help you remember all the list of medications and terms your physician is describing. Remember to take it easy during this challenging time, and don’t tackle projects that will result in stress.
Your appetite may be affected
Your form of treatment may disturb your sense of taste. Food can lack flavor or taste too sweet, salty or metallic. These changes are temporary and will get better with time. While undergoing treatment, do what you can to get a healthy caloric intake and meet your body's protein, vitamin and mineral needs despite your changing appetite. Have a friend or family work with you to plan meals ahead of time, and to ensure you are eating quality ingredients.
The people around you will amaze you
When someone you love is diagnosed with cancer, there is no limit to your empathy. Allow those around you to help any way they can. When your friends, neighbors, co-workers, or family members make themselves available, don’t be afraid to delegate tasks and ask for what you need. The love and support you will receive will be astounding.