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Although a hard pill to swallow, my fiance and I were ready to fight this thing called cancer with a vengeance. If you missed the story read can read it in my post How to Take Care of Yourself When Your Loved One Has Cancer.
After his month-long stay in the hospital, he was released with chemo sessions scheduled every two weeks; 3 days of chemo, which starts at the chemo center and then infuses at home via pump over three days. After the three days of continuous chemo infusion, the chemo stops, and he is given an 11-day break for his body to rest. This cancer regimen is currently scheduled to last for six months.
Chemo day is what it sounds like — almost a whole day of chemo-related activities.
- We start early in the morning with lab draws to make sure he is stable enough for chemo.
- Doctors visit to see how he is doing with the chemo and make any adjustments to medications.
- Nutritionist exams how he is doing with food and offer any advice to improve or maintain his nutritional intake during chemo to keep him strong.
- Last but not least, chemo is started and lasts about 3 hours if all goes well.
After this routine, he is then released late after or early, even with chemo infusion through an infusion pump. After three days, we return to have it removed.
Since chemo day is literally a whole day ordeal, we make sure he has his bag packed and ready to go with all the things needed to keep him comfortable and entertained.
The following list of items we pack for chemo day may seem like a lot, but everything fits nicely in the backpack we usually carry for travel.
In the Bag
Scheduled and as-needed medications are a must to stay on your medication regimen and to treat any side effects that may flare-up during or after your chemo session.
Drink and Snacks
Since chemo pretty much lasts all day, water/juices are vital to keeping you hydrated. Food/snacks such as fruit, pretzels, gum, or candy help to maintain your strength and keep you from starving.
Chemo has the potential to cause severe nausea and vomiting. Always carry an emesis bag as you can not always predict when it may occur.
Chemo can be tiring, the hospital can be cold, or you simply may want to take a nap in comfort. A blanket can be a lifesaver when you want to get comfy.
A blanket may not be a logical piece to walk around in when you are outside of the hospital, so having a jacket on days when it will be windy and cold is a great idea. Or perhaps you may be more comfortable in your favorite jacket instead of a blanket.
Running nose, watery eyes, or use after vomiting tissue can be used for anything. Small portable packs are perfect for any bag.
Chemo day is just that… Chemo day. It starts early morning and lasts to around late afternoon or early evening. Wearing comfortable clothes helps keep you comfy during the process. Also, it may be a good idea to take an extra set of clothes as you can not predict how your body will react to chemo.
Chemo Carry Bag
We leave each chemo session with a pump that continues to administer chemo for the next three days, so it is essential to have the chemo bag so that we can have the means to carry the pump without getting in our everyday living as little as possible. You must always remember your bag as most facilities will not give you a replacement.
Journal/Pad and pen
Always remember your journal and pen as you may want to write about your journey. It will also come in handy on the days you can not focus. You can write questions for the doctor and the answers you may receive so that you can refer to it on a later day or time.
Chemo causes sensitivity. You tend to get cold in places you would not ever think. Pack yourself a comfy hat.
If you regularly wear glasses… Don’t forget them as you will be provided with reading material and besides you may want to read a juicy book or magazine.
As a side effect, chemo causes your immune system to be vulnerable, making it easier for you to become sick easier and quicker than a healthier person. Wearing a mask helps filter out many of the airborne and droplet bacteria flying in the air.
Hand washing is more effective at killing bacteria than hand sanitizer, but many times there is not a convenient sink to wash your hands with soap and warm water. So sanitizer is a great alternative.
Bacteria lurk places we can not see with our naked eye vision. Take wet wipes with you anywhere you go to wipe surfaces. Hospital furniture, food surfaces, bathroom doors, etc.
Let’s face it; our phones have become an extension of us. You can utilize your cellphone during chemo sessions to catch up with friends or family via phone call, text, or facebook during chemo just to let them know you are doing alright. You can also play games or watch movies to help the time pass faster.
Three or more hours worth of chemo, you need some entertainment, especially if you are not so sleepy. Once set up, you can watch your movies and play games if you dont want to use the battery life on your phone.
During chemo, there are many others around you, including nurses, doctors and other patients who are receiving chemo, so you want to ensure that you are entertained but not disturbing others who are also going through a trying time.
At times you may want to relax your mind, learn something new, or live in a fantasy world for a short time. Pack an exciting book or magazine to help you get into the zone.
Sometimes chemo causes a bad taste in your mouth or even bad breath. Mints help tremendously. They can also help with nausea.
Of course, you or your loved one may have different needs, therefore, you may need to include different things in your bag for chemo day so just think of this as a list to get your mind jogging. Whatever the case I wish you much luck in your journey. Remember you are stronger than you think.
Results may vary. Information and statements made are for general purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Her Own Health does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Her Own Health are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.