How to Prepare Yourself for Your First Chemo Session?

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Besides risk factors such as family history, bad habits like smoking, drinking, etc. and environmental impacts, there are some medically unexplained causes of cancer. 

One such cause is the regular use of talc powder on the reproductive parts (no scientific evidence). In recent years, cancer patients worldwide have filed for talcum powder lawsuits against top cosmetic brands over the development of ovarian cancer.

While you’re trying to sink in these talcum powder cancer developments, in this post, we provide you vital information to help you prepare for the first chemotherapy session. 

Chemo is full of uncertainties – the results and side effects vary from one patient to another. So it’s next to impossible to know exactly how chemotherapy will be effective for you. Therefore, many of us are quite apprehensive before their first Chemotherapy session, and misinformation adds to the stress.

So, Let’s Prepare and Minimise Stress 

Pre-Chemo Consultation :-

What To Expect on The Day?

First thing first, you need to arrive on time. Upon your arrival, the blood sample will be taken. Meanwhile, you may need to fill out a quick patient consent form.

The blood sample makes the chemotherapy procedure individualised and there is likely a delay as the medical team waits for the results. The pharmacist will mix the chemo drugs under the supervision of your cancer doctor. After that, you’ll be finally taken to the chemo infusion suite. 

How do I Need To Dress?

Since you might have to sit in the treatment area for an extended period, it is important that whatever you wear is comfortable. 

A Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter (PICC) will be inserted into your upper arm. So, choose your clothing accordingly. For instance, come in your half-sleeves polo or if you want to wear a full-sleeves t-shirt, make sure it is loose to allow the nurse access to the PICC line.

It is perfect to wear a loose round-neck t-shirt. This means the nurse can easily pull it up to attach the Port-A-Cath device to your chest. 

Additional Recommendations: You can apply lip balm and lotion to keep your skin hydrated. However, avoid any perfume, deodorant or cologne since someone in the medical team may be sensitive to it.

At last, a day before the treatment, speak to your doctor to clear all your doubts regarding how you need to dress.

How Much Time Will It Take?

Chemotherapy sessions are long, and the duration varies from one patient to another. On average, the session is about five to six hours. Therefore, you require something to keep yourself occupied during that time.

Generally, most chemo infusion suites let a visitor stay with the patient. A friend or family member can be a great distraction to keep yourself away from the stresses and worries.

Some chemotherapy infusion suites have an LED screen for the patient. So, bring anything you feel can help you pass the time easily.

What All I Can Eat Before & After Chemo?

Unless indicated by the medical team before treatment, there are no strict restrictions on what to eat before the chemo session. However, it is advisable to maintain proper hydration and nutrition levels yet eat light before the first chemotherapy treatment. Avoid carbs-loaded snacks like chips or heavy foods.

A few good snack ideas:-

  • Granola Bars
  • Whole Grain Crackers
  • Hard Cheese
  • Nuts
  • Hummus

After the chemo session, it is important to have a healthy and balanced diet to ensure your body function optimally and have the strength to battle through the tough times. Opt for foods that are mild in flavour, nutrient-dense and easy on the stomach. 

Some healthy food suggestions include :

  • Oatmeal
  • Avocado
  • Eggs
  • Broccoli and Other Cruciferous Vegetables
  • Fish

What To Do After The Chemo Session?

When you are done with the first chemotherapy session, you may be ecstatic, emotional or exhausted. As soon as you reach home it is important that you adhere to the instructions given by the medical staff, which may include:-

  • Maintaining Oral Hygiene
  • Avoid Foods That May Be Undercooked Or Spoiled
  • Stay Active 
  • Eat Enough Protein and Calories to Keep Your Weight Up
  • Take the medications on time, have proper rest and stay hydrated.
  • You Will Need Close Follow-Up Care With Your Cancer Provider

Keep track of side effects, and report it to the doctor right away. The possible side effects of the chemo session are as follows:-

  • Loss Of Appetite
  • Physical Weakness
  • Skin Irritation
  • Hair Loss

Final Thought

Since you don’t know how your body is going to react to the Chemo drugs, it is a no-brainer to have a friend or family member to drive you to and from the cancer center, at least for the first time. 

By having someone by your side you’ll definitely lower your anxiety levels as you talk throughout the trip to the clinic. And, this keeps the mind away from overthinking. 

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