Preparing for chemotherapy may cause you anxiety, but talking to fellow cancer survivors can help.
We asked our Facebook community for advice on preparing to start chemo during cancer treatment. Here's what our patients suggested:
Pack a bag.
- Bring warm clothing layers in case you get cold. Pack jackets, sweatshirts, scarves and warm socks. At MD Anderson, we have blankets available for all patients and a bed or recliner available depending on what type of chemotherapy you'll receive.
- Bring something to do. Patients recommend books, laptop computers or tablets. We provide television and Internet access for our patients. Many patients also suggest listening to music that makes you feel good.
- Include healthy snacks or chewing gum.
Stay healthy and strong.
- Take it easy.
- Don't compare your body to how it was before chemotherapy.
- Drink lots of water.
- Go for a walk every day, if possible.
- Try to eat something. Find foods you can keep down. Many patients recommend bland foods.
- Read the provided handouts regarding chemotherapy and its side effects.
- Try acupuncture to help alleviate pain and nausea. MD Anderson provides acupuncture in its Integrative Medicine Center. Discuss with your MD Anderson physician whether this would be beneficial and appropriate for you, and ask that an internal consultation request be submitted.
- Some patients recommended trying a variety of things to help with side effects including pickle juice, flaxseed oil, fish oil, ginger ale and tea tree oil. Be sure to talk to your doctor about any products, minerals or supplements before you use them.
- Keep a chemo journal. Track your medical team members' names and the dates your chemo is administered. Between infusions, write down how much sleep you're getting, what you're eating and how you're feeling.
Focus on the positive.
- Take along a small album with photos of your loved ones and favorite places. Looking at the photos may inspire you or help you build determination.
- Trust your doctors. Ask questions. Be your own advocate.
- Make a list of old friends. Call them or write them notes while you're having chemotherapy infusions to help pass the time.
- Form a support team. Bring a caregiver with you if possible, and make friends with your fellow patients.
What else do you recommend? Tell us on Facebook.