Efudex Users Like You
New experiences usually bring about a case of the jitters. When it comes to our health, however, new and uncomfortable experiences, treatment plans, and doctor changes can wreak havoc on our psyche. Dealing with a multitude of unfamiliar feelings and new faces is enough, at times, to push all the wrong buttons and send you careening into a chasm of despair. If you are a skin cancer patient facing Efudex for the first time, you likely have a lengthy list of questions and an even longer list of fears. You, my friend, are far from alone in your anxiety. Just so you are aware, there are growing communities of people just like you out there waiting to share this journey.
One of the first things you will be tempted to do upon being prescribed a course of Efudex is to search online for photos. (I would strongly advise against that--it’s easy to become quickly overwhelmed by the sheer number and intensity of some images.) What you might not think to do is look instead for support groups and communities focused solely on Efudex and its effects. Admittedly, Efudex support communities are not among the most readily available online, but there are large numbers of users just waiting to share their experiences with you.
Guidance for first-timers
A wonderful advantage of linking up with fellow Efudex patients is discovering you are not the only one who begins treatment with a laundry list of pressing questions. Once you introduce yourself, you will feel immediately welcomed and validated by others who know your feelings well and are more than willing to help ease you into the process. For instance, you may have never considered how to apply the cream--by hand or with a cloth. In addition to having your questions answered, you will find that fellow users are especially adept at asking you questions that may lead to a smooth beginning to your course of treatment. Communities of support are a godsend for anyone nervous about beginning several weeks of Efudex.
Tried and true tips
With any medication, there can be side effects, and Efudex is certainly no exception. From itching and burning to bouts of nausea and headaches, Efudex users have tips to share to make your treatment period more bearable from beginning to end. You will find that some patients swear by ginger for nausea while others suggest alternating between ibuprofen and Tylenol for headaches and the associated discomfort that comes with sore and tightened skin.
When it comes to bathing comfortably, your community will be able to offer you their best tips for cleansing tender areas of the skin and drying off with as little discomfort as possible. You might not have considered increasing your daily water intake, but members of your support group will be able to tell you that it is important to flush your system regularly during and following treatment.
Navigating the ups and downs
As an Efudex user myself, I was not prepared for my first round and was taken aback by the feelings of depression I had toward the end of my treatment. Had I not been a part of such an amazing Facebook support group, I am sure I would have thought I was losing my mind. Fellow users validated my feelings and assured me those feelings would pass--and they did. Finding a group of users who can help you maneuver the onslaught of emotions you may feel is like finding a diamond in the rough. Not everyone in your immediate circle will be able to relate to your treatment; not everyone will understand your complaints. Your support group will always relate.
There is so much to be said for finding sufficient support in the healthcare community, and support within the skin cancer community is more common than most patients realize. Reach out on social media, do regular Google searches for new groups, visit the All Things Efudex forum here on skincancer.net, and browse the comments of Efudex articles. Users like you are out there, and Efudex users like you want to share.
Do you check the UV index before leaving the house?