As soon as I made the announcement on Good Morning America with Robin Roberts that I had been diagnosed with Triple Negative breast cancer and had already began chemotherapy, I began receiving hundreds of emails and tweets from so many of you. You have given me many tips as to what helped you handle chemo and lots of advice for making this breast cancer journey. I so appreciate all of your well wishes and your advice.
One piece of advice I heard again and again, was to make sure to drinks A LOT of water and my doctors also told me that one of the secrets to handling chemotherapy is hydration. OK, so I am going to be honest here – I never was good at getting in my eight glasses of water a day – even before my diagnosis. I’m just not a good water drinker, I find it torturous. So I thought to myself, “how will I ever be able to drink enough water that is necessary for surviving my chemotherapy?”
I also know that when asked, “how many glasses of water did you consume today?” I always grossly over exaggerated! Not just because I was trying to pull one over on whomever was asking, but because I really thought I’d been better at it.
But now that there is so much at stake, I have to get serious about this, and I have to have a way to really keep track of my liquid intake.
To help me with this process, my fitness trainer, Beth Bielat, brought me some thin plastic wrist bracelets that she had ordered off of Oriental Trading. The package contained four different colors of the tiny flexible bracelets. Beth instructed me to put eight bracelets onto my right wrist and then each time I consumed another 8-ounce glass of water, I could move one of the bracelets to my left wrist. This way, at the end of the da…I really know if I’ve gotten the job done. It’s really an easy, simple and inexpensive way to track your water consumption.
Truth be told, most people don’t get enough water and it really is so important for good health. Why do we need so much water? Your body depends on water. Water makes up more than half of your body weight. Each and every cell, tissue and organ in your body needs water to function correctly and optimally. Water is essential for good health, period. Your body uses water to maintain its temperature, remove waist, lubricate your joints, make your skin glow, and keep your brain smart, among many uses.
You lose water through sweat, breathing, and urinating. The more you workout and sweat, the more water that needs to be replaced. Without the proper water levels in your body, the more dehydrated you become. There are lots of levels of dehydration, but to have optimal health, being hydrated is essential.
You know you are dehydrated when you experience these symptoms:
- Little or no urine, or urine that is darker than usual
- Dry mouth
- Sleepiness or fatigue
- Extreme thirst
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
- No tears when crying
You can bet that you are hydrated if your urine is clear and, for the most part, colorless. For most people 8–12 eight-ounce glasses a day works wonders. During chemotherapy I am shooting for 10-12 glasses a day and now that I’m using my “bracelet counting” method, I can see where I stand at any point in the day.
One tip - don’t let yourself get behind and then guzzle 6 glasses of water at 6 or 7 PM. I did this a few times and let’s just say I got up many, many times during the night. Bad plan, I now try to get most of my water earlier in the day.
One person who wrote me said she always tries to get two 16-ounce glasses into her before she allows herself her morning coffee. I have not been able to achieve that much, but now every morning when I pour my coffee I also fill an 8-ounce glass full of water, a little ice and a little splash of OJ. And I nurse that first glass of the day at the same time as I drink my morning coffee. Then I make sure to get another glass in by the time I finish breakfast. This way I already have at least two bracelets on my left wrist by the time I finish breakfast.
I highly recommend that everyone track their water, you can try this simple bracelet idea or any other method that works for you. It’s very easy to be fooled as to how much you drink. And remember that other forms of liquid like coffee, caffeinated teas, alcoholic beverages and soft drinks do not count; in fact, they may dehydrate you even further. Bummer, I know. Hope this helps as a reminder to you as to how important it is to hydrate and a fun way to track it!