4 tips for managing cancer treatment

Nothing could have shocked me more than being diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer in July 2016. The year I turned 54, I thought my biggest challenge would be seeing my only daughter off to her first semester of college. Now that I’ve had time to reflect, here are four things I’ve learned as I made my way through doctors’ appointments, scans and treatments. Bring someone with you At the time I was diagnosed, the only pancreatic cancer symptoms I had were two little bumps on my left clavicle. I thought they were swollen lymph nodes due to a bad sinus infection, so I went to my local doctor by myself. In retrospect, I should’ve had someone meet me at his office for the biopsy results. When you get a diagnosis like that, you need support. After that, I made sure to have at least two friends or family members with me at all times — whether I was seeking medical care here at home in Alabama or at MD Anderson in Texas. Take care of your body I already followed a mostly vegetarian diet before my pancreatic cancer diagnosis. But I ate massive amounts of healthy food during chemotherapy, because I knew it was important to keep my weight up during treatment. I kind of considered that my job, along with getting enough rest and exercising thoughtfully. One thing that really helped me out was meeting the kitchen supervisor at The Rotary House. He would check in with me every day to see how I was feeling, and then either make me a green smoothie or some other...