Tomorrow’s the big day. For the past week, I have been a veritable walking pharmacopeia cornicopia. In preparation for this first infusion of Taxol and Herceptin, and under the guidance of my oncologist, I have started a full battery of nutritional supplements targeting potential side effects. Antioxidant and other supplementation during chemo and radiation has seen some controversy in scholarly circles and been presented sensationally in the media, primarily because it was thought to aid both healthy and tumor cells.
By popping a few extra pills, I hope to minimize the collateral damage inflicted by the chemo, making life a little less miserable. More importantly, it will also help me reap the full therapeutic benefit by preventing cessation or diminution of adjuvant treatment, both logical steps if the costs of chemo appear to outweigh the benefits. My daily intake to be continued ad nauseum (figuratively, hopefully not literally) includes:
1) L’Apéritif – Baby Aspirin + Amlodipine: The aspirin is actually a hold-over from surgery to prevent blood clots. I only need to take this little pink pill for a couple more weeks. The little hexagonal white Amlodipine is something I’ve taken for years, initially to prevent migraines and now to keep hypertension under control.
2) Le amuse-bouche – Ginger (1.1g): To prevent nausea. Capsules actually smell like ginger. I will also have ginger tea, ale, crystallized candy, and chews on reserve just in case.
3) L’Entrée – Acetyl L-Carnitine (2x500mg, twice daily): Supposed to be very effective at preventing or reversing peripheral neuropathy.
4) Le Plat Principal – Vitamin D-3 (2000 IU): Overall potential cancer fighter. Petite yellow gels should also keep bones strong.
5) Le Fromage – Calcium chews (total 1g + 400 IU Vit D + 80mcg Vit K): Just in case I’m not eating enough cheese, these should aid in preserving bone and tooth health, plus they taste like Tootsie Rolls!
6) Le Dessert – Glutamine powder (10g) + Omega-3 Fatty Acid (2.4g): Because the Glutamine is a bit chalky, I’m mixing it with plain yogurt to make it more palatable. Topped with 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed for the Omega-3, almonds, and raisins, it’s not exactly dessert, but not too bad as medicine either, especially if it’s effective in preventing neuropathy.
7) Le Café – Water (lots and then lots more): No caffeine allowed, remember? Water is crucial to disperse the drugs, detox my body and keep the machinery working while under repair.
8) Le Digestif – Vitamin B-6 (100mg): This little white pill carries a big promise in fighting off neuropathy.
In the words of Julia Child (a mastectomy and breast cancer survivor herself): bon appétit!
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