My must haves:
1. Burt’s Bees Fragrance Free Lotion – I am SUPER sensitive to smells during treatment so fragrance free is a MUST! I always bring lotion with me to chemo because if I’m really uncomfortable my Mum or fiance can give me a mini hand of foot massage.
2. Chapstick – need I say more?
3. A journal and pencil to take notes- in case the doctor comes in or the nurse tells you something that you’ll want to remember. I never write the notes myself. A friend or family member takes them for me so that I can concentrate on listening. I also keep a running list of questions for the doctor in my notebook. I also try to talk to my doctors before taking anything like Ativan because I have a hard time remembering what’s happened once I take it!
4. Laptop and <not pictured> charger- When you feel okay, it’s nice to
stalk browse Facebook. Beware though, if you start to get nauseous, it’s time to close down the computer. The screen and how your eyes move on it can increase you tummy troubles.
4. Nook- I have a classic e-reader with ink display that is very easy on weary eyes. I can always read it- even when I’m nauseous- because of the way the screen is made. I love reading lighthearted stories like the Flavia de Luce series by Alan Bradley. The first book is my favorite: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie . I’m in love with my Lilly Pulitzer Nook Cover.
5. Headphones- I’ve been lucky enough to always receive chemo in a private room… but many chemo clinics have an open room with dividers in between patients. Headphones HELP, especially if a neighbor is having a rough time with their treatment (Read: barf noises are drowned out well by loud Mumford and Sons)
6. Some sort of hard candy or mint – I have ALWAYS tasted my chemo, heparin flushes, and saline rinses. My doctors say it’s got something to do with being young. Pro tip: I find it helps to keep my tongue in the middle of my mouth, not touching anything, when I get a medicine taste from an injection. It sounds weird but it totally tricks your taste buds into not tasting!
7. Lidocaine- I used this cream about an hour before chemo to numb the skin by my port. When it came time to access my port I couldn’t even feel the needle!
8. Something lighthearted to watch.
9. A button up sweatshirt can be easily put on and removed around an accessed port. To chemo I usually wore a cami, shirt with a wide open neck, and a button down or zip up sweatshirt. if you don’t have a port in your chest, make sure the sleeves on your shirt aren’t too tight to role way up.
10. A warm beenie. I always got hot/cold flashes during chemo. Also: a beenie is more comfortable to sleep with than a scarf that has a knot in the back.
Not pictured :
Pillow, blanket, hand sanitizer. All of these are probably available at your doctor’s office but if you’re as much as a germaphobe as I am… or if your counts are low… you can bring your own 🙂
FOOD. My infusion clinic is stocked with mild food like crackers and orders me a meal if I’m going to be there during a meal time. If you are nauseous, keeping a little bit of food like Ritz and PB in your belly can REALLY help. It’s also important to keep drinking non caffeinated drinks. ( My fave was seltzer water with cranberry juice in it, because it DIDNT taste like metal to me!) Ask to be hooked up to plenty of fluids if you’re having trouble drinking enough.