Updated: Feb 4
When you go for your chemo consultation they will give you all the information you need for your infusions and a lot of information you don't need. This information is much like the binder you get from your surgical oncologist detailing every medical facet you ever wanted but none of which you will use to answer the questions you ACTUALLY have. I felt like chemo was the most daunting part of this entire journey and the one part with the least amount of REAL information. I think it was all the unknown and the inevitable things that could and would occur. Would I be sick? Would I lose my hair? Would I need help? Would I get mouth sores? Would I be able to eat? There are so many unanswered questions and I felt like each person I polled (and there were many) on their own chemo side effects - each one was so different except one constant among the group- MOUTH SORES.
Cancer treatments kill cancer cells but chemo especially also can kill healthy cells including the cells that line your mouth causing mouth sores. I had never heard about this side effect until consultation day and that is when I started to ask others. The consultation nurse assured me that they have plenty of popsicles for me to suck on while chemo was being administered and ice cubes to crush and hold in my mouth to help prevent or really to make the mouth sores that would occur, especially with Taxotere, not so bad. Cooling the mouths internal temperature constricts the blood vessels inside the mucous membranes. Others suggested I get Biotene and use as a mouth rinse that also helps to sooth and heal mouth sores once they occur. Like with every part of this journey I started to do some research prior to Round 1 of chemo. It was in that research I ran across a website for The Chemo Mouthpiece. I had never heard of this or known of anyone that had used them. In fact- this was a new product.
In reading the site I found out that The Chemo Mouthpiece is essentially an ice pack for inside your mouth. Unlike the ice cubes or popsicles the oncology team gives you, the mouthpiece cools your entire oral cavity evenly. The kit is made in New Jersey (YAY USA!) and the kit you order comes with 1 chemo mouthpiece, 2 insulated sleeves (like a Koozie), 2 cleaning brushes, 1 insulated stainless steel cooler, 1 carrying bag and 2 ice packs (see photo above). All you need to do is put the mouthpiece and ice packs in the freezer overnight and place in the cooler on your way to chemo the next day. Once you get to chemo be sure to ask your oncology team when the Taxotere or whatever chemo you will be having that can cause mouth sores will be administered and place the mouthpiece in your mouth prior and throughout that administration. The mouthpiece fits in your mouth like a football mouth guard. I would use the mouth piece as soon as they started the Taxotere portion of my chemo keeping my entire oral cavity freezing in hopes of no or minimal mouth sores.
To channel my inner Sophia with The Golden Girls...picture it: Oncology 2020...Dignicap, frozen football mouth guard looking thing and mounds of blankets...I looked ridiculous! As if it was not bad enough to look like this I had all the chemo nurses coming over to ask me what the mouth guard was- and I mean ALL the chemo nurses- even from the opposite rooms. Of course this was usually during the process while it was in my mouth which made for a game of charades trying to describe what they were since you can not talk with them in.
Out come of looking this ridiculous: 80% of my hair was kept with the Dignicap (WIN) and ZERO...yes ZERO Mouth sores (UNBELIEVEBALE WIN!)! Even the nurses could not believe it. No one gets away with zero mouth sores with Taxotere! I can not recommend this product enough. My full endorsement does not come just with the outcome but really starts from the beginning. Not only did I get a sweet email from Chris Rowland with Chemo Mouthpiece thanking me personally for the order and assuring me I would have the mouthpiece in plenty of time for my April 16, 2020 infusion but he went on to ask me how long the infusion would be (mine was 4-6 hours) and sent me an additional set just to ensure I had plenty of icepacks (they stay cold for about 45 minutes) to avoid mouth sores for such a long infusion! Who does that?!?!?! I will tell you who- a company who believes in their product. This is a MUST have for chemo and I give it a 10 out of 10!