I am not a doctor, these are suggestions or cancer and chemotherapy hacks I am making based on my observation and personal experience.
GET A PICK LINE
This is my number one Cancer & Chemotherapy Hack. If you are doing chemo then a pick line is a must. It is a small tube that runs up your arm and serves as a direct and easy access point to your blood/circulatory system. Your oncologist will most likely prescribe weekly blood tests and your chemo can be up 5 days in a row followed by 2 single shots separated by a week. Without a pick line you will need to get a vein poked for every injection. Ask your oncologist to prescribe you one if he/she does not talk about it with you directly.
Pros: No looking for veins, no painful arms, easy pain free injections, nurses will be very happy. I always get such a look of relief from them when they see the line.
Cons: You will need to have a home nurse change your pick line dressing weekly. Home visits are often covered by insurance, you will just have a copay. This is a very small con as you can ask the home nurse to draw blood and drop off your samples at the lab – it will save you a trip! Pick line is my biggest suggestion because I see so many people and nurses struggling to find veins for their chemo. Sometimes heating blankets need to be used, it just seems very unpleasant and makes Chemo even more uncomfortable. Copays are items you want to plan for when setting a GoFundme goal.
During chemo: Dress warm and bring a warm comfy blanket. Injection centers are notoriously cold and often have flimsy blankets that don’t do much. I actually wear leg warmers under my pants and still use a blanket.
At home: Wear layers! You are going to be cold. Don’t hesitate to wear layers and a hat. Head, hands and feet tend to run the coldest, plan ahead and make sure you have the right clothes. I recommend certified organic cotton socks, underwear, hat and scarf from PACT Organic (link gets you 20% off your first order). When choosing fabrics that touch your skin please choose organic fabrics such as cotton. Remember your immune system will most likely be compromised or low and the less toxins you expose yourself to the better.
Oncology injection centers often have snacks but most are all sugar. You want to limit or avoid sugar as much as possible. Sugar tends to feed cancer so the less sugar the better. Bring some hummus and organic crackers, some steamed veggies like green beans or broccoli. Other snacks I like in moderation are the organic antioxidant mix and Brazil Nuts from Nuts.com. Make sure to eat a max of 8 Brazil Nuts per day, no more. These are known to help fight cancer but can be less beneficial when consumed in excess. If you want to soak the Nuts for the next day in spring water that would be even better. Only soak what you will eat the next day.
Bring something to do or read. Many centers don’t have WiFi so plan accordingly. My center plays hgtv all day. While I enjoy a good fixer upper I also appreciate having options 🙂 I brought thank you cards and wrote a bunch each day, that helped a lot. It also helped keep me in appreciation.
The best way to have a good chemotherapy experience is to have a well nourished body. You are going to have periods of cravings and periods where you can’t really taste your food. This often leads to weight loss and poor food choices. The last thing you want to do is put yourself down or judge yourself negatively regarding food, it is going to be a little off for a while and that is ok. So what can you do to ensure a regular daily intake of nutrients when all you want to eat is a fried chicken sandwich? I highly recommend taking Juice+ vegetable and fruit capsules or gummies daily and continuing for the foreseeable future. These little whole food gems help you get the vitamin and mineral equivalent of 7-10 servings of different fruit and vegetables each day. These are not chemicals, they are freeze dried fruits and veggies, which your body will easily recognize and assimilate. This nutritional powerhouse will not only nourish your body but will help reduce chemo side effects and speed up your post chemo recovery. I also highly recommend they soy free shakes in place of ensure or boost! I wrote a whole article about these here: My Nutrition Secret
Recommended article after reading Cancer & Chemotherapy Hacks: 5 Essential Oils every Cancer patient should have.