GIST Support Wiki

Miscellaneous tips

Tip from Louise: I just picked up a new supply of Gleevec and it reminded me that I've been meaning to write in, especially for those who are fairly new to managing this cancer thing.

When I get a new supply of any meds I MUST take, such as Gleevec, I put 2-day's worth in an empty pill bottle. If the doctor is late ordering a refill, or it's a holiday, or if my meds are held up for any reason, I have an extra 2 days before I need to panic. Makes life easier.

    • use the pills in the bottle and add new ones when you get the new prescription to keep the medicines fresh, so they do not get out of date.**


We have been getting a lot of information on how to store medication. It seems heat, more than cold can affect the potency of medications. We are told NOT to store medications in a bathroom, as the heat and humidity can change drastically when a hot bath or shower creates steam. Heat would be more of a problem for medications that are stored long term, as opposed to ones that are used regularly and then replenished. This is a container that can be used to store medications, but not sure why one would need a container that is waterproof to 100 feet.

Food for thought by Janeen: SLEEP DEPRIVATION

With your permission I've been kicking around ideas of how to occupy my brain while possibly assisting others at the same time. I came up with this idea to toss out some ideas, good habits, healthy recipes, and interesting information that may help a few on the list-serve from time to time. If this sort of thing isn't your cup of tea, then by all means just delete any post with "Food For Thought" as the subject title. No harm done and I promise I won't take it personally. (I'll never know anyway right?)

Sleep Deprivation The last months have been tough on us as far as sleeping goes. Both my husband and myself have found ourselves tossing and turning or just laying awake sometimes for hours. While there's certainly a lot to think about, one would really prefer to do that thinking during the daylight hours and not while waiting for the sandman.

Not getting enough sleep has been linked to so many diseases and inhibitions of healing that I've not bothered to list them. Suffice it to say; Without proper rest our bodies just do not function properly in any aspect. Healing, thinking, moving, mood, energy, all of these and more are affected by lack of sleep and conversely, they are effected by getting enough 'restful' sleep.

Some suggestions from friends included the old habits of warm milk and counting sheep. I mean really, when did anyone ever fall asleep counting woolly, loud, smelly animals jumping over an imaginary fence? What I discovered is easier for me, and it made sense so I've tried it for the last three weeks and I'm now only waking up two or three times during the night. And, I'm falling back to sleep much more easily. That's a big improvement from the 8 or 10 times a night in the past months where I've awoken for no apparent reason, only to lay there with my mind going a million miles an hour.

I found that "unplugging an hour before bed" helped immensely. Research has shown that our brain misreads artificial light as daylight. Melatonin (the sleep regulating chemical in our brain) isn't released since it's normally triggered by darkness. So, watching TV, playing (or working) on the computer or being in the presence of any light emitting technological tool can keep you awake and disturb your slumber. For the hour before bedtime these past three weeks we've turned off the TV, computer and, dimmed the lights. I've begun to get in the habit of showering at night which makes my body temperature go down after drying off. That makes me feel sleepy too.

Meditating or praying for 10 minutes before bed is also a fantastic way to relax. Repeating a phrase or word feels funny at first, but, after a few nights of trying, it became very soothing. My own little mantra is personal to me but you can come up with just about anything. A friend of mine says " Peace, sleep, come" humming on the 'M' in the word come. I've never meditated before but it was worth a try. I found that I had fewer headaches and my back pain reduced as well. A nice bonus!

I know sleep is a major issue for many people, other things to keep in mind is what and when you eat and drink before bed. A good rule of thumb is nothing after 7 pm. impossible for me but I'm making an effort. When your body is busy digesting food it's less able to really relax. Another one is alcohol, it's a depressant and a sleep disruptor. Myself, I've enjoyed a glass of wine and a good nights sleep afterward but if I switch to vodka, forget it, I wake up all during the night. Everyone is different and responds according the their own body and chemical make up. I know people who can drink coffee at night and sleep soundly, if I have a cup after 3 pm I'm up until midnight or later. Same with alcohol. The last tip my favorite. Read a boring book. Have you ever started reading a particular author and you just couldn't get through chapter three? Well now there's a perfect use for that boring bit of lackluster literary leftovers. Put that special selection by your bed and read a few pages each night, there's nothing more sleep inducing as reading something uninteresting.

Now I just hope no one prints this out and uses it to fall asleep by!