4 Ways to Prepare for Your Chemotherapy Sessions

4 Ways to Prepare for Your Chemotherapy Sessions

It’s natural to feel lost after you receive a cancer diagnosis. But you’re not alone. Nearly 2,001,140 are expected to receive a cancer diagnosis in 2024. That’s a staggering number. 

A cancer diagnosis is overwhelming, but it’s just the start of your journey. To combat the fast-growing cancer cells in your body, your doctor may recommend chemotherapy. While starting chemo sessions might be reassuring, it can also be scary and confusing. 

The chemo horror stories that you hear must further make you apprehensive. However, chemotherapy isn’t as scary as it sounds, and it’s important to remember that every person’s experience is unique. 

Anyhow, preparing yourself before your chemotherapy sessions can help you navigate them with ease. Here, we’ll discuss a few ways to help you prepare for your chemo sessions. 

#1 Familiarize Yourself With the Treatment

Not knowing how chemotherapy works will make it difficult for you to navigate the treatment. Certain side effects, such as fatigue, hair loss, and nausea and vomiting, are common among cancer patients. But if you are not aware of them, you might think something is wrong when it’s really the medication that is working. 

Ask your oncologist about the drugs you’ll receive, their intended effects, and possible side effects.  Additionally, research reputable sources online to supplement the guidance provided by your healthcare professionals. There is a wealth of information available online. You can educate yourself on chemotherapy by browsing websites like UCSF Health, NCI, and the American Cancer Society. 

Understanding how chemotherapy works and its impact on your body will help alleviate anxiety. 

#2 IV or Port: Decide Beforehand

When it comes to administering drugs, you get two options. One option is an IV infusion, whereas a port catheter is the other. The former is inserted in the arms, hands, legs, or feet, whereas the latter is placed directly into a vein of the chest. 

Deciding between the two is your call; however, we advise you to go for ports. 

An infusion has to be redone as many times as you go for chemo sessions, but a port can stay in place for months and, sometimes, even years. This makes ports a convenient option for chemotherapy patients. 

If you decide to go for ports, request your doctor to use port catheters of any brand except Bard. The manufacturer of Bard implantable port devices, Bard Access Systems Inc., is facing a stream of lawsuits in the wake of a number of patient injuries. 

A woman from Missouri, Patrice T., who was undergoing chemotherapy for colon cancer, developed blood clots due to the defective design of the implantable device. On February 10, 2023, she filed a lawsuit against Bard. Several other patients have sued the manufacturer of the device. 

Bard PowerPort lawsuits, TorHoerman Law explains, allege that manufacturing and design flaws in its implantable ports lead to catheter fracture. Per the plaintiffs, the pieces might migrate into their bodies, resulting in blood clots, chest pain, and blockages in the lung arteries. 

None of the suits have been settled yet. However, experts estimate that the Bard Power Port lawsuit settlement amount could reach over $100,000. To be on the safe side, it’s best to avoid Bard. Better alternatives and safer designs are available. Make sure to ask your doctor about them. 

#3 Bring Along Some Comfort Items 

Chemotherapy sessions can take anywhere between one and eight hours. Make sure you pack a bag for your session that must include all that you would need to make it comfortable. 

You might feel cold during the treatment, so consider packing a warm blanket to keep yourself warm and cozy. Don’t forget to pack healthy snacks such as almonds, smoothies, bread, or crackers to help manage nausea and maintain energy levels. 

Hydration is crucial, so pack a refillable water bottle to stay hydrated throughout the session. Also, bring medications prescribed for managing side effects, such as anti-nausea drugs or pain relievers. To pass the time, consider bringing a book, so you have something to read. 

#4 Freeze Meals Ahead

Nearly all cancer patients are affected by cancer fatigue—a condition in which you feel extremely tired or exhausted. After your chemotherapy session, you might not have the energy to make meals. Consider freezing meals ahead of the treatment. 

Choose recipes that are nutritious and easy to cook and reheat. Pasta dishes, casseroles, stews, and soups are great options. Double and triple ingredients when you make meals to create extra portions for freezing. Store foods in resealable bags or freezer-safe containers to portion out individual servings for convenience.

Also, choose low-sodium options to help manage any fluid retention or bloating that may occur during chemotherapy. Before freezing, allow cooked meals to cool completely to room temperature to prevent condensation and freezer burn. 

To wrap things up, it’s natural to feel anxious before your chemo sessions. But you’ll feel at ease if you prepare ahead of time. The above tips will help you navigate chemotherapy more smoothly and effectively, so follow them. 

Additionally, don’t forget to plan for transportation. Ask your friends or family members if they can drive you to and from appointments. This will alleviate stress and ensure you arrive safely and on time. Last but not least, remember that you’re not alone on this journey. Thus, reach out to your support network and communicate openly with your healthcare team. 

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