Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Dread of Dehydration

Good Morning Cancer Patients and Caregivers;
Dehydration is one side effect that sneaks up on you when you are in treatment. Your oncologist and cancer treatment team will encourage you to consume mass quantities of fluids when you are being treated so you don't get dehydrated. When I was going through chemo treatment they even infused hydration into me so I wouldn't become dehydrated. With all the attention to dehydration and the consumption of mass quantities of fluids, I became dehydrated anyway,at the completion of the radiation treatment and continuous chemo infusion.

When I completed the radiation and continuous chemo infusion I was in the oncologist office for a check-up. He informed me I had become dehydrated and wanted me to come in the next day for an infusion of hydration mix. I told him I was going to the lake to recover and assured him I would consume mass quantities of my favorite summer time fluids. He insisted I come first thing in the morning and informed me that my self-hydration plan was insufficient to replenish the needed hydration I required. Begrudgingly, I came in for the hydration infusion that was completed in about an hour. Although getting hydrated kept me from leaving for the lake first thing in the morning, the effects of the hydration did make me feel better. So I left an hour latter for the lake and kept myself hydrated with my favorite summer time fluids.

I can't say I felt bad being dehydrated. The way I was shown I was dehydrated, the nurse pinched the skin on my forearm before my wrist. If the pinched skin remained pinched and vertical as mine did at the time, I was dehydrated. If the pinched skin returned to its horizontal position I was not dehydrated. What made the matter worse was I had been put on a meds to remove the liquids that were accumulating in my lungs so I couldn't tell if I was drying out from the meds or from the chemo and radiation, regardless of how much liquids I consumed. It seemed like another cancer conspiracy, I needed to consume mass quantities of fluids to stay hydrated during treatment but needed to take meds to remove fluids from my lungs. I'm sure the combination of treatment and the meds contributed to the dehydration.

There doesn't seem to be an easy answer to this problem and maybe there isn't one. Treatment can dehydrate you if you do not hydrate your system. I know I hydrated my system but apparently it was insufficient to keep from becoming dehydrated.

Dehydration is just another side effect to put on your watch list when you are in treatment. Consume mass quantities of healthy fluids (water, tea, Gatorade, coffee, milk, soup, shakes, et al) and be aware of the potential to become dehydrated. If you become dehydrated during treatment, it should not be from your lack of hydration but from the side effects of the treatment.

Stay strong, keep your sense of humor and never give up.