Thousands of people across the UK have chemo every year and we know it is natural to wonder what to expect. We've received several emails at Live Better With HQ asking us for tips on what to bring to chemo and what to do whilst there.
My oncologist provided everything I needed in chemo-from a blanket to a bag to carry all of the little personal things I wanted, but wish I'd had a checklist to remind me of things I forgot. - Sharon
In response, we asked members of the Live Better With community to share with us what they find helps to get them through treatment sessions. We also spoke to a range of experts, healthcare professionals, and charities. The result is a straightforward "Chemo Checklist", which is quick and easy for you to refer to before each session.
Getting some of these things together might ease your anxiety about going to your first chemotherapy treatment and make your more comfortable. - Margaret
The free "Chemo Checklist" includes tips on how to make your chemo sessions just that little bit more comfortable by bringing a little bit of home to the hospital and to help the time spent at treatment sessions go quicker, such as:
- bring your personal electronic devices with preloaded films, books or music playlists to help pass the time and relax your mind
- wear loose and comfy clothing (ideally layers) as, much like the weather, the temperature inside the hospital can also be difficult to predict!
- maybe bring slippers to change into whilst you’re there - don’t worry you won’t be the only one in slippers as it’s a common tip that’s been shared amongst our community
- keep your strength and energy levels up whilst undergoing chemo, so you can use this time as the perfect excuse to snack on your favourite treats!
All this advice, along with many other tips, can be easily accessed in our chemo checklist.
Great idea! When I was having my chemo I also found taking ear plugs a must, had many a lovely long and peaceful snooze. Another essential for me was my tablet so I could read, browse social media or send emails in between my sleeps and chats with other patients and medical staff! - Nic
Judy told us how her family help with her anxiety before treatment. Judy's 7-year old granddaughter Heather has a toy rabbit comforter called Squidgy and gave Judy her very own version called Squish to keep her company at chemo. Before each session, Heather also gives her grandma an envelope with two key rings with funny photos of her and her sister Freya and a message on the back. The messages have included: "Hey cancer, you've picked the wrong Grandma", "Go away cancer - GO GO GO!", and "Fighting cancer and still brilliant". Judy said, "I find I'm actually looking forward to the others now just to see what's in the envelopes - and so are the nurses!"