Top 10 Tips For Chemotherapy Day's
Updated: Jun 28, 2018
If you are new to chemotherapy it's good to know how to prepare for the day and my little tips will make you feel more relaxed and in charge of yourself at the hospital.
Chemotherapy day can be daunting for new patients. I didn't really know what to expect myself. I had an orientation day the week before I started, where I was given a tour of the facilities and the infusion room so I could see the layout and see what an infusion looked like. But the rest was a mystery.
Top 10 tips for getting through Chemo day
1. Bring a 2 litre bottle of water with you - you really need to keep hydrated before, during and after the infusion. Aim for at least 2 litres of water in the day, more when you get home. *Exception is if you have been told not to do this by your oncologist (but I can't think why).
Flushing through the kidneys is vital and staying hydrated will prevent constipation, which is a real issue with chemotherapy.
2. Wear a t-shirt if you have a pic line placed in your arm so there isn't too much fussing with hooking you up to the drip and washing the pic. If it is cold bring a poncho or blanket to wear on top.
3. If the pic is placed in your chest or stomach a button through shirt is ideal for easy access to hook up the drip and clean.
4. Set up your chair and accompanying trolley table, if you have one, before you sit down. Move the table to the opposite side of the pic arm/chest so you can keep the infusion area still. Place water on the table and tissues in case you get a runny nose, some do! Place your mobile phone there too, likewise if you have a book.
5. If your chair has a foot rest which moves up or down play with the setting until you are comfortable. It will be a good while in the chair so comfort is key.
6. Diversions are important, you could be hanging around before the infusion waiting for a spare chair to become available. I recommend a book, an audible book, games, writing anything really that keeps your mind off of things.
7. Get to know the nursing team, they will have lots of tips too!
8. Make sure to ask the nurses what to expect with allergic reactions (rare) before your infusion begins so you can look out for the signs and call attention asap.
9. A lot of new friendships are forged in the chemo room. If you keep bumping into the same people on the same schedule as you a good chat will keep you distracted and you could end up with a new friend or more by the end of your treatment.
10. Think of the time in the chair as quality 'me time', there aren't too many hours in the day when we have nothing to do so make the most of it. Sit back and relax.
**If you are a pro at chemotherapy trips please add some more tips by commenting on this post - we all need to learn from each other :)**
Clare's Bonus Tip
11. For those with breast cancer whose lymph nodes have been removed from your armpit - don't let the nurses take your blood pressure on the side where the lymph nodes have been removed, as this can cause lymphedema which is not what you want. I had to remind my nurses of this each time they came near my, lymph node missing, arm with their blood pressure kit!
What tips or advice can you give someone going through chemo? Add your answer to the comment section below. Every tip helps :)