We asked our LMSDR Facebook group members for their tips on how to deal with chemo days.
KM: I brought popsicles. I got sick of sucking on ice and used them during infusion. It was a pain but worth it. Jolly Rancher candy helped with the metallic taste for me. Bring a good audio book. I was able to shut my eyes and just listen.
MH: Water…lots of water.
DLJ: Always take your Claritin to prevent the bone pain from the neulasta. Suck on mints when getting port flushed to help with the metallic taste.
LG: I take my fire stick so I can watch my own shows on their TV, my own pillow and blanket, a fan with bendy legs that I can wrap on the side of the bed, face wipes, chap stick, an insulated cup for my water, essential oils to wear/smell (if I can handle it) and snacks I enjoy.
TT: Go in with a good patient attitude. Take your favorite drink, earphones, and a charged phone! I used to take my bills and pay them while at chemo. I felt so productive. Also, don’t make any plans for after chemo.
CK: I suggest taking…
- Long charging cord for phone for when you’re there for 6-8 hours and streaming shows. Headphones.
- Lotion for the countless times of washing your hands.
- Uno or playing cards if you’re lucky enough to have your caregiver accompany you.
- Food & fluids
- A book or journal
- THC/CBD gummies saved my spouse couple of times when the pharmacy took longer than usual to send up the chemo meds and the nausea was setting in.
CU: For me it was my adult “diaper” bag. A change of inner and outer clothes, wipes, snacks, headphones, iPod with guided imagery recordings.
PL: Chemo and the other drugs may cause digestive issues. Also stress and apprehension. I always carried an extra pair of panties and slacks. Just in case.
ABJ: My Mom would have would have added to her chemo crap bag: mints, cough drops, iPad with Solitaire, Candy Crush and Yahtzee games, hand lotion, lipstick, her cancer binder in case anything came up, she would have all her documentation there in the binder. I know when she was done, she liked to have Popsicles at home.
MH: I take:
- Ginger chews (helps with nausea)
- Silk pillow if there’s hair loss, keeps me cool.
- Lots of water
- Tablet box/sorter as I’ve had lots
- Note pad to record how you feel, it’s easy to forget by the time the next cycle comes around.
ST: I actually recommend carbonated sparkling water. The bubbles help with nausea and it can be unflavored, so that doesn’t over power you. I found it helpful.
PL: I always carried Imodium in my bag.
LB: I have frozen gloves and socks I wear 10 minutes before and after the taxotere (or any of the taxols) to prevent neuropathy; layers of warmth because you can never tell whether it’s going to be stultifying or cold; stuff to do (kindle, iPad for me); headphones (by muting the world they help calm things down even if you’re not listening to music or watching TV, (I prefer the cushiony over ear kind); lots of liquids that comfort your stomach (also the hospital dry air dehydrates you) or at least a good water bottle that can be filled there. Chargers that can reach your chair/bed are really important.
AH: These are some of things I was told by others that have gone before me that would be helpful:
- Get a script for numbing cream to use 1 hr. before the chemo, to not feel the needle going in or out.
- Vaseline or Aquaphor, is best as a moisturizer, followed by Cerave/Euercin/Cetaphil in a jar works better than lotion. Moisturize often, especially after handwashing.
- Use gloves when washing dishes.
- Use a baby toothbrush and Sensodyne or Tom’s Toothpaste.
- A recliner chair is good to have.
- Lip balm with SPR.
- Use sunscreen when going out, possibly a hat.
- Use a nail strengthener on your nails. Moisturize cuticles often.
- Baking soda rinse or saltwater rinse 3 to 4 times a day, particularly after meals.
- For mouth sores, take Magic Mouthwash or a script mouthwash from your doctor.
- Pulling with coconut oil to help with mouth sores.
- Gel gloves or socks to help with neuropathy. Have 2 pair of each if possible.
- Eye drops for dry eyes.
- Thermometer to check your temperature.
- Emesis bags for vomiting.
- Sea bands for nausea.
- Try acupressure on your wrist for nausea.
- Plastic forks and spoons to avoid metal taste.
- SPF makeup can be used on face instead of the traditional.
- Smell peppermint or lemon oil for nausea, also drink ginger tea.
- Hydrocortisone cream.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
- Ice chips during chemo.
- If having trouble eating, put food in a blender.
- Mild soap.
- Heating pad and/or ice pack for stomach cramps.
- Take your anti-nausea meds on schedule!!!
- Force yourself to walk. Do your best to exercise.
- Plain protein powder to add to soups, smoothies, etc.
- Talk to your Dr. about constipation!
- Eat small meals; every 2 or 3 hours.
- Lemon drops candy or mints.
- Ginger Ale or flat soda.
- Eat more on the days that you can.
- Tell the doctor about every little thing that bothers you. It may not be important to you, but it could be important for them to know.
- Keep a daily journal.
- Rest, rest, rest!
SWA: my best chemo tips:
- Shave your hair before you start losing it.
- Paint your finger nails a dark color before you start chemo.
- Get your dental cleaning and work done before starting chemo.
Learn how to say yes, no, and ask for help when you need it.
- Relax. Take time to do the things you enjoy. Color in an adult coloring book, learn to knit, take hot baths or talk on the phone with positive friends.
- Rest when you need to but move when you can.
- Wear a shirt that makes it easy to access your port or spring for a “chemo port shirt.”
- Get a free seat belt cover to cushion your chemo port from Hope & Hugs.
- Set up a free Caring Bridge site to communicate easily with your friends and family.
- If people want to give gifts, suggest restaurant delivery services or Amazon gift certificates so you can pick out the books, items and movies you like.
- Cleaning for Reason offers donated house cleaning for chemo patients.
- Lyft gives patients free rides to chemotherapy.
- Warn people – it’s your cranky chemo day with these LMSDR t-shirts that help fund LMS research! Buy t-shirt here.