Unfortunately, Chemotherapy appointments can be long and unforgiving.
Whether you’re a just starting or well into your treatment, we’ve listed out some essentials for your infusion visits.
For your entertainment: A good book.
There’s nothing quite like passing the time with an escape to a mystical land or within a hot & heavy romance. Whatever your fiction (or reality) of choice may be, books allow you to enter a world outside your own. Pro tip: dive into a series so you can jump from the end of one story to the start of another.
Harry Potter is always a safe bet for the magic-lovers out there. If you’re partial to gripping psychological thrillers, anything by Colleen Hoover will have you glued to the pages. If you looking for more facts and information about cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery, we have a number of books written by Professor John Boyages all about taking control. Finally, if you’re less of an escapist and want to use your time to research how to best manage your treatment side effects, we love Carolyn Katzin’s The Cancer Nutrition Center Handbook. It’s chock-full of practical and positive tips for minimising side effects and maximising resilience during these challenging times. If you like all your stories in one place, a Kindle is a worthwhile investment!
Music or a podcast: Create a playlist of your favourite tunes that motivate or inspire you during treatment. Podcasts are quickly growing in popularity and it’s no surprise why. They allow your mind to drift away without putting the strain on your eyes that reading does, which can increase exhaustion. Plus, there’s so many genres available right at your fingertips–crime, drama, comedy, relaxation. There’s truly something for everyone.
A Journal: Journaling is a great way to sort through your thoughts. Going through treatment is a confusing time and it’s sometimes difficult to find people who relate. Writing about your experience can be a cathartic way to cope with the difficulties of treatment. It sounds cliché but jotting down a few things you’re grateful for can lift your spirits. Whatever it is: writing on your blog, in your journal, on Instagram, or Facebook will help the time pass. Share your story with others
Games: Travel games are perfect for Chemo. We love Sudoku, crosswords, mad libs (!!) even video games. If you can grab a friend to accompany you to an appointment–even better!
Comfort is Key
The last thing you want to do is figure out what to put in your bag–we’ve made that list for you.
Blanket, Socks, Sweatshirt, and Sweatpants– Patients who have been through treatment recommend bringing extra clothes and blankets to keep warm. No one likes being cold, especially at the hospital. Being comfortable and having a blanket that reminds you of home will allow you to stay relaxed instead of being on edge during your time in treatment. Pro-tip, make sure your port is easily accessible. Wearing a sweatshirt with a zipper is best for this reason and it will be easier to take off if you get hot.
Ice Cold Gloves and Socks with Bag – If you are looking for a convenient way to apply icy cool temperature to your hands and feet whilst you undergo your cancer treatment bring along your ice cold application may provide relief from neuropathy as well as other ailments. “The researchers found that the hands and feet that wore the frozen gloves and socks had less loss of sensitivity to touch and temperature than the hands and feet that didn’t wear the frozen garments*"
Sleeping mask or hooded sweatshirt– The best and “fastest” way to get through treatment is sleeping! Bring a mask to cover your eyes or a hood from a sweatshirt to block out those awful, fluorescent hospital lights. This will help you drift away into slumber.
Snack– Snacks may or may not be provided by your infusion centre but it is not a bad idea to carry some along especially if you are going alone with no one to fetch you some. You do not want to go hungry!
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate– Hydration is key! Hydration will help with nausea, diarrhoea, dehydration, and dizziness, which are side effects that you can experience from chemo. Chemo can also sit in your body and hurt your kidneys and bladder if you are not hydrating enough to flush it out of your system. If you find it is hard to get fluids into your system, ask your infusion nurse if they can set up an IV with fluids. Water is great, but beverages enhanced with electrolytes are definitely better.
Enterade- We know hydration is key, but so is rebuilding and repairing our bodies. Enterade is a clinically proven medical food that helps alleviate diarrhoea, nausea, weight loss, and dehydration. Enterade is unlike protein shakes or sports drinks because its ingredients help to rebuild the villi that are in your gut and restore barrier function while also keeping you hydrated. Enterade is sugar-free, unlike most sports drinks, which is vital when managing diarrhoea as sugar is known to exacerbate GI distress. Click here to shop.
by Katie O’Grady