My friend Denise shares her suggestions for surviving chemo treatments at her site, Denise4Health. Here is an excerpt from her blog.
Okay, I now consider myself an A/C (Adriamycin and Cytoxan) chemo expert. Two rounds of the stuff makes an expert out of you in a fast hurry! Some things I learned that I hope you find helpful. Today I will concentrate on tips for chemo Days.
1) Drink PLENTY of water before and after chemo. I strive to drink a minimum of 10 – 8 oz glasses the day before chemo, the day of, and many days after. A/C dehydrates the body. You want to get the toxins out as quickly as you can. This definitely decreased my side effects.
2) Make sure you eat a light meal before chemo. Oatmeal with fruit works for me.
3) Wear very comfortable clothing to infusion days. I wear jogging suits that are lower cut or have front zippers so my port can be easily accessed without danger to the area. Plus, I see my Oncologist the same day so it’s always “strip to the waist” to check my surgery site.
4) My infusion of A/C takes 2.5 to 3 hours. It goes by quickly. Don’t be alarmed if this seems terribly long. It isn’t.
5) Chew ice chips while chemo is being administered. It cuts down on mouth sores.
6) Don’t be terrified when your chemo nurse comes all covered up to administer the chemo drugs – cap, gown, and gloves. They need to protect themselves, but it is scary to see, especially the first time.
7) Your first urine will turn red, like the drug. Don’t get upset. I was told to make sure to flush the toilet twice, putting the lid down, and sanitize the toilet as you don’t want to endanger anyone. At home I don’t let anyone else use my toilet. If that’s not possible for you, make sure you use sanitizing wipes on rim and lid of toilet and clean toilet as often as you can with a bleach-based toilet bowl cleaner. Wash your hands with soap and water FREQUENTLY. Sing two rounds of The Birthday Song while scrubbing.
8) Take reading material, laptop, or whatever you need to make yourself feel comfortable. My hospital will loan me a laptop. I really don’t do anything during chemo. I can’t seem to concentrate on other things, but maybe you can.
9) Usually the hospital will provide you with snacks. My hospital has bagels, popsicles and other items chemo patients can tolerate. If not, take your own.
10) After chemo starts winding down, try to relax. The first trip is terrifying. And the fear really builds up as you leave for home because you just don’t know what to expect. It won’t be as bad as you think. You will not have every side effect they have to tell you about, and you will make it.
11) I have an hour drive after chemo. Make sure you have someone with you. It is best if someone else drives for you to make sure you are okay. My chemo nurse said the anti-nausea drugs make you sleepy – not a good mix with driving.
My next post will concentrate on Chemo Tips for Home…