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  • Writer's pictureDanielle Bitton

The Chemo Chronicles: The Aftermath

I left the chemo room thinking I crushed my first session but 2 hours later nausea kicked in.

I was visited by a nutritionist who told me that all the food I eat should be prepared at home. So I thought I would get ingredients to make a healthy stir fry. I managed to stomach a few bites before my nausea and migraine got even worse. I took 2 sleeping pills and knocked myself out.

They send you home with loads of nausea meds but nothing was getting rid of my migraine, which I found out the next day, was due to the intravenous nausea meds I had during chemo.

Day 1 Wednesday (Post Chemo):

Usually, I wake up every morning and have a cuppa tea, English Breakfast with milk, but even tea tasted funny. I Managed to eat a piece of toast with cottage cheese and tomato and in the afternoon an apple. That night my brother came over to make me pasta as he arrived I told him I wasn’t hungry, luckily after popping a nausea pill I got my appetite back. He made me cream and mushroom alfredo linguine. I ate 2 portions it was so good. The garlic kept repeating on me however and I learnt my lesson, no garlic or spices for the week after chemo.

The thought of getting a juicer now seemed ridiculous if I couldn’t even think about stomaching vegetables. How the hell would I actually drink celery juice feeling NAAAAAR! (nauseous)

My mother knows what nausea feels like having been pregnant with me and all, she suggested good old Sasko Sam white bread! DO you know how long I haven’t eaten white bread for? A long time, decades! But good old Sasko was looking like the only friend I was gonna have in the fridge this week.

My mother told me about Kate Middleton who was nauseous for the whole duration of her pregnancy! How terrible, I thought, who would want to go through pregnancy like that? At that rate, I would definitely get a surrogate. Luckily my eggs are on ice and that's one less thing to worry about!

Day 2 Thursday

I started with some all bran flakes I literally had to force myself to eat.

Lunchtime came and I attempted to eat an egg as I needed some protein and after that stirfry, I was put off meat completely. Again barely managed to stomach an egg on white toast with cottage cheese.

I thought the Nausea was never going to end.

I was officially on the Chemo Cruise with chemo-pause (hot flushes) included in this once of a lifetime package deal. My itinerary is very exciting, jam-packed with blood tests, immune-boosting shots, heart echo tests and physio sessions after all my surgeries.
I'm not one for the buffet on board, I was hoping that my cheekbones would get really defined before I go bald, so I prefer to drink my calories in smoothies overlooking the blue ocean all by myself since I am in self-quarantine of course.

Jokes aside, as much as I have no problem losing 1 Kg, 2kg or even 3Kg for that matter, sporting that heroin-chic look, Kate Moss pulls off so well, that’s not the game plan here. It’s not cool to lose weight during chemo because it affects your immune system and lowers your white blood cell count, which makes you more weak and susceptible to catching other illnesses.

I wrote on a support group asking "will the nausea ever end?" and one woman replied that she took Cannabis oils and wasn’t nauseous at all during her chemo.

I had found a really good contact (dealer) and bought R6000 of Cannabis oils, CBD, and 2 strains of THC.

I wasn’t sure If I should send them back or if they were really going to work, so my “pharmacist” gave me some to try before I opened the other 2 bottles.

I took the trial capsule and fell into the most marvellous sleep, I woke up and I wasn’t nauseous!

I felt High and wonderful, as relaxed as I would have been taking the equivalent of 2 Alzams and I had an appetite.

I ate some leftover pasta and a slice of toast and cheese.

If you asked me a few hours ago to even think about cheese I probably would have thrown up. It was a miracle!

Cannabis for the win !!!! It really does work.
I've decided if I have to be high for the whole of chemo to avoid the nausea, then so be it!

I still have no desire to eat meat or anything sweet like chocolate, sweets or biscuits, only fruit, I guess my body intuitively knows what is the best form of nutrition for my healing to take place.

Day 3 Friday

The nausea had lifted thank god! However, my tummy still felt very sensitive as to what It wanted to ingest. Smoothies have become my best friend, Banana, Berry, Mango, oh and pineapple. Had one for breakfast.

Come lunchtime, I managed to stomach half a bulgar cucumber salad from Woolworths and cheese on toast. Snack time Provitas/ rice cakes with cottage cheese and tomato

And another smoothie.

Day 4 Saturday

Today was a good day, I had no nausea!

As much as I love being quarantined, it was time to get out of my apartment.

It was a boiling hot summer's day and instead of walking in the blazing sun on the beachfront, my family (Alon, Gabi, my mom and Little Lulu) decided to go for a walk under the trees in the Glen Forest in Camps Bay. It was a wonderful family outing and so divine to be out in nature again and get my body moving as it had been a while.

I was told by my nutritionist that I shouldn’t eat out, as the number one reason for chemo patients ending up in the ER is food poisoning or Gastro as our bodies or way more sensitive. I was told to soak all my veggies in saltwater and use a scrubbing brush to wash fruit.

We were all starving after our outing, I worked up quite an appetite. My family was ordering from our favourite Greek restaurant “Mykonos” and I thought I would be able to stomach some Tzatziki, pita bread and some spanakopita. I called the restaurant to tell them the predicament I was in and that I needed anyone who was preparing my food order to use the strictest hygiene measures and wear plastic gloves. The manager who knows me well assured me all was in order. My brother made us a delicious tropical mango and pineapple smoothie to ease the hunger pangs while we waited for the delivery. The meal was delicious and I felt alive eating some of my favourite foods again.

I mean it really is the most exhausting task having to think about what to eat every day for lunch and dinner, don't you think? For one week I literally lived on chicken schnitzels and salad and it was the easiest go-to meal.

Well on chemo its way more difficult because you aren’t sure what you feel like anymore. For instance my favourite biscuits, not interested, I opened a jar of peanut butter around day 2 or 3 and wanted to vomit, but on day 9 I had some on toast. I couldn’t even fathom eating coriander (and I eat it on everything!) the first week of chemo or anything remotely spicy and on day 10 and 11 I managed to get back into eating chicken and had a Chicken Biryani meal from Woolworths.

So I’m learning to listen to my body, and give it what it needs and when it doesn’t know what it wants, Sasko Sam is my friend.

I Have been having my physio regularly and it’s really improving the mobility in my right arm, soon I’ll be able to paint again. What a great hobby to have especially with load shedding (When Eskom decides to deprive us of electricity, currently in stage 4 which means for 6 hours a day.)

I’m hoping my battery lasts while I’m writing this.

After physio on Monday, I met a friend for a walk to the park with my little Lulu.

I felt heartbroken as my puppy had forgotten me, I got no kisses and love and felt very jealous when she was so friendly to all the other people who passed by.

I mean she wouldn’t even look at me, I felt invisible.

I was not alone though my mom was also miserable as she was experiencing the same thing with her. We devised a plan to take her out the next day and bring treats with us.

The Next day I went over to my mom and was so excited to see her. Thank goodness she was as excited to see me. She jumped up on me and enthusiastically started licking me! Yay, I was back in the game! I told her to sit and she listened, such a good girl, so I rewarded her with a treat. She also took a turn for the better towards my mother and we were so happy to win the affection back of our little darling. We had a lovely outing to the park but I didn’t think I would be running so much, chasing this little bullet. You have never seen a dog this fast! Lulu has such a personality and was flirting with all the other dogs and having the time of her life running around like a lunatic for 2 hours. Mom and I sat there watching her with such Nachas (pride and joy)

I received the most incredible bouquet of flowers from a wonderful gay couple from London, I met at a friends wedding last December. I want to thank Victor and Kevin for brightening up my week with the most incredible flower arrangement I have ever received. Thank you ! <3

So all in all the first few days of chemo are the worst, day 4 and day 5 got better and by the second week, I was feeling back to myself. I hope I still feel Ok after the 18th, my next chemo session. Apparently, the hair starts to fall out around week 2 or 3, I haven't lost mine yet, but thinking of cutting it in a Bob or by my shoulders to help ease into it. I'm trying to look at it in a spiritual way like a rebirth, all very well in my head, but I know it's going to be traumatic when it happens.

In other news, I still have the Corona Virus to worry about

(my next post - but for now, I bid you adieu.

Love & Health


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