Cancer patients face so many battles as they go through treatment.

There’s chemo brain and neuropathy and nausea to name some of the common problems.

One of the best parts of improving cancer care over the last few years is that cancer medicine has recognized that it’s just not about the medicine:  it’s about the side effects of the medicine that need to be treated too.  And to take that a step further, oncologists and oncology nurses have come around to understanding that it’s not always another medicine, that can help a patient get over a serious side effect.

I remember when Leroy was going through chemo, he never got really sick from the cocktail, but he did feel like he had a bad case of the flu a few days following treatment.  I was driving to work one morning, and a radio show host was talking to an oncology nurse about cancer care.  Coincidence or not, she mentioned how in her infusion room, she had packages of  spearmint gum  everywhere because it helped her patients fight off the nausea.  BINGO! I called Leroy to tell him and from that day forward, we had packs of gum in the car, in the kitchen, all over the house.  It worked.  Simple but effective…what else could you ask for?

I called a friend to check on his wife who has gone through some very difficult breast cancer treatment.  She’s been N-E-D for a while and there’s nothing better than that, but she’s had some long, lingering late effects from her meds.

Her doctors have tried alternative medications, thinking she just can’t tolerate the standard care but nothing seems to be working.

On a suggestion, she’s about to try something that sounds so far-fetched, it makes spearmint gum sound scientific:  SOAP

It seems according to some cancer patients and others who suffer from serious leg cramps brought on from medications, a bar of “Ivory” soap at the foot of the bed stops the leg cramps.  Is there a medical explanation for this?  Not to my knowledge.

I “Googled” it and sure enough, it’s there.

So, her husband is planning on stopping by the drug store on the way home tonight to pick-up some soap.

I am so full of hope that this works for her.  I know we need the big time cancer meds to fight this beast, but how great is it to know that a piece of gum or a bar of soap can give cancer pause?

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