A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic

Learning the ropes of chemo: What should you bring?

Bag with chemotherapy comfort items - Learning the ropes of chemo: What should you bring?

Cancer care specialists recommend bringing several types of items to pass the time during chemotherapy.

People who’ve had chemotherapy treatment know the routine but if you’re just starting out, you may wonder what to bring to your first few sessions.

Experts say the most important thing to bring isn’t a “thing” at all, but a support person.

Why a support person?

“We encourage our patients to bring a loved one or a friend who can take notes, drive you to and from the sessions, ask pertinent questions and help out in any unexpected way,” said Candy Strey. She’s a Marshfield Clinic oncology nurse practitioner who meets with patients to plan treatments.

Strey said it’s helpful to have a person with you who can help carry things, get what you need and just be there to notice if you’re not feeling well.

Food is good

Amber Mews, a registered nurse who administers the cancer-fighting medications, said you should bring something to eat since “our average treatment time is two to three hours,” Mews said. “Some sessions can go for eight hours or more.”

Besides obvious things like a book or music, Strey and Mews recommend bringing:

  • “Comfort” items like a favorite pillow and a light jacket, but not pull-over clothing like sweaters because they’re difficult to put on and take off with IV lines
  • Electronic devices like laptops, CD or DVD players or tablets since they provide entertainment or you can get work done
  • Hobby items like sewing or crocheting, coloring books or games like Sudoku
  • Prescription medications you’ll take while undergoing treatment, but make sure staff is aware
  • Hard candy or gum for use when IV lines are flushed, since you may briefly get an unpleasant taste in your mouth
  • Booties or slippers since it’s possible to get cold feet during chemo
  • An overnight bag in case you need to stay a night in the hospital

Do you have other great ideas about what to bring to chemotherapy treatment? Please share them by making a comment on this post.

Chemotherapy packing list - Learning the ropes of chemo: What should you bring? from Shine365

2 Comments
  1. Apr 21, 2016
    • Kirsten Shakal, Shine365 Editor May 5, 2016

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