Sunday 28 February 2016

The Ultimate Pre-Chemotherapy Shopping List

I'm someone who likes to be prepared. So before I started chemotherapy I searched high and low for a list of things that I needed to have in the house, whether it be biscuits or fluffy socks, for when I started chemo. 

I couldn't find one.

So here's my ultimate pre-chemo shopping list. Get yourselves to Asda.

had 6 rounds of chemotherapy. 3 EC followed by 3 Docetaxel. Both chemotherapy treatments are very different so I'll mark on the list whether the item is for EC chemo (EC), Docetaxel (T) or needed for both (B).

Obviously everyone reacts differently to chemo but, hopefully, you will find the below list useful if you are about to undergo chemotherapy treatment. 

- Rich tea biscuits (great for when you're feeling sick but need some sugar) (EC) 

- Plain crackers (as with rich tea biscuits these are great to line your stomach with when you're feeling sick) (EC)

- Ginger biscuits (Ginger can help to relieve nausea. I'm actually not that keen on ginger and funnily enough this didn't change when I started chemo but I hear ginger really helps some people so it's worth having a pack in the house) (EC)

- Ginger flavoured foods such as Ginger tea, ginger beer and boiled sweets (as mentioned above ginger helps to relieve nausea so they are worth a try even if, like me, you aren't a big fan of ginger) (EC)

- Boiled sweets (to mask the horrible taste you get in your mouth with EC. My sweet of choice was Humbugs) (EC)

- Potatoes (All I ate was jacket potatoes whilst on EC) (EC)

- Cheese (oh how I love cheese. As well as potatoes this was my food of choice when I was feeling nauseous. I always felt better once I'd eaten) (EC)

- Comfortable clothes (such as leggings, baggy tshirts and hoodies etc for chemo days and just lounging round the house)(B)

- Comfortable shoes (as above) (B)

- Pineapple chunks (pineapple is one of the only foods you can actually taste) (B)

- Pineapple juice (as above for when everything tastes disgusting) (B)

- Flavoured ice lollys (preferably pineapple flavoured) (B)

-  Anti bac Hand Sanitizer (we used this by the bucket load! Stock up!! I'm sure this is one of the reasons I didn't suffer with infections whilst on chemo) (B)

- Anti bac Handwash (as above) (B)

- Magazines/books (the chemo ward can be pretty boring. My mum bought me a subscription to Grazia magazine whilst on chemo. The genius! I did find it very difficult to concentrate at times but it's still worth stocking up) (B)

- IPod or other device (music is a great alternative for when you're are struggling to read  magazines or books due to not being able to concentrate) (B)

- Fluffy/thick socks (my feet where freezing after tax) (T)

- Slippers (as above but also if you ever find yourself spending time in hospital with infections) (B)

- Comfortable dressing gown and pj's (as above for those impromptu hospital visits) (B)

- Hot water bottle (great for relieving Tax aches and pains and for cold feet!) (T)

- Bath salts (I used Radox and Epsom Salts to relieve the Tax aches and pains (T)

- Muscle therapy bubble bath (as above. I used Radox but I'm sure other brands are as good)

- Soft tissues (to mop yourself up when you lose your eyelashes and nose hair - I won't elaborate further!) (B)

- Soft toothbrush (I was quite lucky on the mouth front and I'm sure that was because I brushed my teeth ((and tongue regularly)) (B)

- Thermometer (to carry with you although the hospital may provide you with one) (B)

- Sleep hats (to keep your bald head warm. I got mine from eBay) (B)

- Sea bands (good for nausea. I got mine from Amazon) (EC)

- Wine (or your alcohol of choice for your 'good week') ((the third week after chemo/week before your next chemo)) (B)

- Drink plenty of water on chemo day, the day before and the day after

- Eat a fairly plain evening meal the night before chemo and the day of chemo. I ate plain chicken, mash and vegetables. (No one wants to puke up a curry)

- Try and get your wig (if you are going to get one) before your second cycle of chemo as you are likely to have lost your hair before then if you are having EC chemo. I went for my wig fitting a few days after my first chemo cycle, and although I wanted to throw up for most of the appointment, I was glad I got it sorted.

- Go to the dentist before you start as you can't go whilst you're having chemotherapy

- Ask your Oncologist if you can have a flu jab before you start chemotherapy 

- Consider having semi-permanent make up applied before starting chemotherapy. (I wish I'd done this) As you can't have this done whilst having chemotherapy 

- Listen to your body and rest when you need to (this was the best advice I ever got) 

If you are reading this list because you are preparing to start chemotherapy then you are probably scared shitless (I know I was). But trust me when I say that chemotherapy is very manageable. No it's not going to be nice in fact at times you are going to feel pretty rubbish but it is manageable and it will be over before you know it. 

You have probably already had literally (it certainly feels like literally at times) everyone on earth say 'Be positive' to you, which is of course great advice but there are going to be bad days. Days where the last thing you feel like doing is being positive...

...and that's ok too. 


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