Going through chemotherapy can be challenging. Trust me, I speak from experience. Here are 10 items I wish someone had told me to bring when I went for chemotherapy. It would have made the experience easier for me.
10 ITEMS YOU SHOULD TAKE WITH YOU TO CHEMO:
1. A good attitude – You don’t want to be in this situation, but here’s the thing, you are. You need to have a good attitude. I know it’s hard, but try.
2. Layers of comfy clothing – The room will probably be very cold, kind of like an airplane (Maybe you could pretend you’re on an airplane going somewhere fun? Think of the chemotherapy chair like sitting in first class.). Even if it’s summer time, make sure you bring a sweater or jacket. The chemo can change your body temperature, so being able to shed a layer or put one on is helpful. Warm blankets will be offered and I highly recommend getting one, or many.
3. Warm socks – I always took my shoes off, snuggled under the warm blankets the hospital provided and put on cozy socks. Wear shoes you can slide into easily in case you have to go to the bathroom, which you will probably need to do. During chemo, a ton of liquids are pumped into your body and they’re going to have to come out eventually.
4. Something to keep you busy – Take your journal, knitting, crocheting, adult coloring books, crossword puzzles, reading material or whatever else inspires you or holds your attention. The key is to try to distract yourself. Do not focus on any of the side effects. The nurses will watch you closely, and should you have a reaction, which probably won’t happen, they’ll know exactly what to do. If you start to feel strange or something seems off, don’t hesitate to tell your nurse, but don’t sit in the chair and worry.
5. Chapstick – Or something to put on your lips.
6. Snacks – Bring snacks such as crackers, bananas, sliced apples, applesauce, healthy muffins or breads. Don’t eat anything rich or bring foods with a strong smell. I also wouldn’t recommend foods that are too sugary. Don’t let your stomach get empty but don’t eat too much either. It’s kind of like being pregnant. Except it’s not. Peanut butter crackers became my best friend.
7. Technology – It’s nice to have earphones and your device so you can listen to music or podcasts or even watch a movie. Ask about Wi-Fi before you start chemo. You might not have access.
8. Something to drink – Take a large cup with either water or hot tea. I always took a large Swell bottle with my favorite tea. This worked great because it would stay warm during my entire treatment. I was usually cold, and having a warm drink was soothing. While your hospital will probably offer water and other drinks, it’s nice to have a large cup so you don’t have to keep getting refills. Make sure you drink a lot, even if you aren’t thirsty.
9. Mints – Or hard candy, especially peppermint.
10. Make sure you can see – Don’t forget your glasses. If you wear contacts, you might want to take them out if you get tired (you will get tired) and want to sleep (you will want to sleep). Your glasses will enable you to see when you wake up from your nap. If, or should I say when, the drugs they administer to manage the side effects of chemo make you feel sleepy, don’t fight it. Let yourself sleep. The time will pass by faster.