9 Things To Make Your Chemotherapy Experience More Comfortable
When you are going through cancer treatment, and more specifically chemotherapy, your health care team is there to make sure you are comfortable. You will have the luxury of your own private reclining chair along with medications to help manage side effects but bringing a favorite book, movie, blanket or friend can also provide comfort during your treatments. The number of chemotherapy sessions and duration of each treatment will vary from patient to patient and even visit to visit, but it is helpful if you bring some things to help pass the time and keep you comfortable while receiving treatment.
Many people don’t know what they should bring when they first come to a chemotherapy treatment. Review our suggestions below and choose a few items to bring to your next chemotherapy session. It’s a good idea to switch and bring different items, as well as some of your favorite items, at each treatment session. You’ll soon figure out what helps you best pass the time.
- Comfortable Clothes
- Patients generally wear their “street clothes” during treatment. Think about this when you get ready to go to your appointment. Think about your favorite comfy clothes, sweat pants, yoga pants, your favorite soft t-shirt or zip-up sweatshirt. Many of the infusion medications can make you feel chilly, while others can make you feel hot. It is best to dress in layers so that you can easily adjust based on how you feel. Also make sure that you dress so that your nurse can easily access your port. A V-neck or button up shirt works best.
- DMG infusion centers provide warm blankets, but sometimes you want small comforts of home, so consider bringing a favorite small blanket or pillow. Many patients pass the time by napping.
- Reading Materials
- Whether it be the latest edition of your favorite magazine, or the newest must-read novel, having something to read will help pass the time. Don’t feel like reading but want to indulge in a story? Try an audio-book.
- Load your phone or iPod with some of your favorite music to help pass the time. Or, download your favorite music streaming app on your phone and find some new favorite tunes. Don’t forget your ear buds or headphones!
- Download your favorite game apps to your phone and brush up on your skills. Tsum Tsum, Candy Crush, Clash of Clans and solitaire await! Or, if a friend or family member is coming with you, consider a favorite board/card game like Connect 4, UNO or Battleship. Many companies also sell travel editions of your favorite games. Puzzle books are also very popular.
- Favorite Hobby Materials
- Do you like to sketch, crochet or knit? Keeping your hands moving during your infusions will help you keep warm as well as help you make a dent in that project that you were never able to quite finish. Adult coloring books are also a great way to relax and decompress.
- DMG infusion suites have DVD players where you can pop in your favorite movie but you can also bring your iPad and stream your favorite movies or TV shows from Netflix or Hulu through the free Wi-Fi.
- Snacks & Beverages
- It is important to maintain a healthy diet while you are going through cancer treatment. DMG’s Infusion Centers offer light snacks and beverages, but you may want to bring your favorite snack. It’s also important to stay hydrated – try switching between water, Gatorade and other decaffeinated beverages.
- Friend or Family Member
- If you generally go to your infusion treatments alone, it might be a nice change of pace to invite a friend or family member. This is a good time to catch up and share your experience with a loved one. Also, having someone with you can help divert your attention from your treatment.
If you have any other questions before during or after your infusion treatments, don’t be afraid to talk to your oncology team members – infusion nurse, nurse navigator or physician.