Preparing for chemotherapy is dependent on the drugs you will receive and the manner in which they would be administered. The setting for chemotherapy also varies according to the clinic or the doctor who is treating you. You may have to have chemo in an outpatient clinic or doctor’s offices or your home or a hospital. Chemo appointments take time so you should carry some things with you to help you stay comfortable during and after your chemo treatment. Here’s a checklist of some things to do and some items you might require for your chemo treatment:
Talk with your boss
Some people arrange their chemo treatments according to their work schedule, but some need time off. You can talk to your boss how you can fit in the appointments. According to law, companies have to give time off for chemotherapy to their employees.
Ask the nurses or your doctor how you can prepare for your first session of chemotherapy. Usually, doctors ask the patients to have a good night’s rest and to eat something light, so that your chemo does not cause any nausea.
The treatment typically takes place in a cool room and hospital staff usually provides blankets, but you might feel better with your own blanket and a neck pillow might make you more comfortable. Wear clothes, which are comfortable and loose with sleeves you can roll up easily. Choose shoes which you wear easily after the treatment, when you may feel weak or tired.
Bring some snacks
As chemo sessions take some time, several hours in fact, you must think about food and drink. Though most centers have vending machines or a cafeteria, the food choice may be limited.
Have a friend or relative accompany you
Having a friend or relative (adults, of course!) with you during your treatment will help to pass time. Most centers usually allow only one person / attendant, to be with you during chemo.
Arrange the entertainment
There might be TVs, magazines, newspapers at your clinic which might keep you entertained. If not, you can bring your phone or laptop and watch a movie or videos, or bring that book which you’ve always wanted to read. You could utilize the time to take a nap or to sketch or to practice some relaxation and meditation techniques. Write in your journal or blog, if you like writing. Consider reading articles, exploring the web, or going through the pages of some impressive web magazine network to kill your time and of course, enhance your knowledge.
Stock up on groceries
Buy lots of fruits, yogurt, vegetables and some frozen food as you may not have the energy to go shopping after the chemo session. Remember to drink lots of water as staying hydrated is essential.
Have safe sex
Do not try for a child during your chemotherapy as these drugs may damage sperm. The drugs may be present in vaginal fluids and semen too, which could be dangerous for the baby, in case you conceive. If you’re having pills for birth control, use condoms too as extra precaution.
Get yourself tested
Do ensure that you undergo all the procedures and tests that your doctor has asked you get done. Blood tests, liver function test, heart tests and so on, to check that your body can receive chemotherapy. Any problem in the tests will indicate to your doctor whether he needs to reduce the dosage of chemo or whether you have to start chemotherapy at a later date.
Visit the dentist
Doctors recommend a visit to the dentist too, before going for chemo, to check for any infection. If you do have any infection, it can be treated which would reduce the complications during chemo.
Take precautions against side effects
You could discuss with your doctor regarding any side effects you may experience after your chemotherapy treatment. You might think about preserving eggs or sperm for use in future. Consider making arrangements to cover your head as a precaution for hair loss.
Your doctor will certainly advise you regarding the amount of work you’d be able to do after receiving chemo, but it’s best to know whether you would have to stay at home etc. You should find someone to look after children or pets, and help you get around. You should avoid driving, as chemo treatments are quite strong and may make you feel dizzy.