“Coping with chemotherapy”

Chemotherapy

Ingrid Copperman was diagnosed with ovarian cancer earlier this year. Here she shares some of the coping mechanisms that have helped her through her treatment.

“I am 48 years old and in June 2016, I had a hysterectomy to investigate a borderline ovarian cyst.  Following surgery, I was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer. In August, I commenced an 18 week chemotherapy programme, which I recently completed.

The chemotherapy has been mostly okay, but every few weeks it hits me quite hard, so I employ the following coping mechanisms. 

Hair

I have been very lucky that the cold cap has been successful and I have kept my hair. However, it has thinned out and I want to look after what is left. 

I discovered Daniel Field organic and mineral hairdressing, with his range of hair loss prevention and safe hair colouring products. So whilst having to endure chemo, I don’t have to put up with my (grey) roots coming through. Having my hair done is a great pick-me-up.

I may have hair on my head, but the rest of my body? Well, let’s just say, many people pay good money to achieve the results of chemo on body hair!

Ingrid Copperman small

Make Up

I've never worn much make-up... until now. Now, every morning I have to dedicate time to recreating my face by drawing on eyebrows and using eyeliner to define my eyes and make me look vaguely human.I've treated myself to some 'good' make up (MAC’s Veluxe Brow Liner and Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil), which makes the daily ritual so much more bearable.

Clothes

My operation has left me with a 'swelly belly' and the chemo has caused some weight gain, so I booked a personal shopper at House of Fraser and set myself a budget for clothes more suited to my new size and shape. Although this is hopefully a temporary state, for the moment I feel so much better about how I look.

Meditation App

Glenn Harrold’s Relax and Sleep Well app has been a lifesaver. At my weekly chemo sessions, as the cold cap goes on, I zone out listening to his Mindfulness for Relaxation meditation, which takes my mind off those first uncomfortable twenty minutes. Nurses at my hospital are now recommending this to other patients using the cold cap.

Meditation app

TV

I binge on endless episodes of Friends on Comedy Central, but my real guilty pleasure is a daily dose of... Homes Under the Hammer!

Jennifer Young Products

After my op, a friend sent me a hamper containing Jennifer Young’s Defiant Beauty products, which is the most luxurious and natural organic beauty range I have come across.

Facebook

I have always been a prolific Facebook user but since the op, and going through treatment, it has become my lifeline and the perfect way to keep in touch with my friends.

I have set up a closed group page, restricted to my closest fifty or so friends, and this is where I post regular updates about treatment, results and how I am feeling generally. My cancer is restricted to this page, leaving my main page free for more general status updates and comments.

Sex

This is usually the last thing on my mind but I have found that the physical act not only relieves pain and discomfort but is also a stress reliever and aids sleep, thanks to the endorphins released. Enough said...

Click here for information, advice and support for younger women diagnosed with ovarian cancer.