What's in your chemo bag?

I am due to start chemo on 15th Feb, 4 x EC and 4 x T ( not sure if that is the correct terminology!)

Would love to know what is in everyone’s chemo bag, what do you take to your sessions that you can’t do without ?

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All my own cold cap items… comb, towel, bulldog clip, spray, conditioner, spare top! Also phone and charger, book, notebook and pen, my booklet that hospital gave me, my ‘be brave’ stone and amethyst guardian angel, heated blanket, water bottle. I think that’s it! I don’t take snacks as I’m fasting 24 hours before and after treatment. Oh… lip balm! And hand cream! Hope that’s helpful! Good luck with your treatment. xx

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Thank you so much, that is helpful.
Can I ask you about your fasting regime as that is not something that has been suggested to me by the hospital.

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Hi

I took snacks even though the centre said you would get food if in over lunch, but you would only get some if you arrived by 11am. Water bottle, phone, book, iPad, headphones (can be noisy, some people like to talk others like to zone out), diary/notepad and pen, chemo diary (in case there is anything you wanted to mention),

I saw others bring comfy socks, and blankets.

I cold capped for 12 weeks and still found the ward too hot (Sept to Dec). If cold capping you may need a hairband and a light weight cap/hat to wear home. Velindre provided the conditioner and water spray bottle to damp hair, although I did donate some and hair bands, leaflet said it would a pack would be provided but that hadn’t happened for sometime.

Good luck with your treatment. Don’t forget to join the monthly chemo starters groups🥰

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I’d recommend a flask of hot water and tea bags so you can make your own when you want. You might want some at different times than on offer in hospital.
I also brought an electric hot water bottle which was great when I needed to heat my arm before the cannula was inserted and when the cold cap made me feel too cold.

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Thank you so much for all the info. X

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I took my iPad for games and Facebook and to keep family updated.
I took some sweets (they gave me drinks, biscuits and if there lunch too)
A water bottle, tissues and a crossword book and pen.
I didn’t have the cold cap.

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It won’t be! Some studies show it can minimise side effects and improve its effectiveness. That’s why some people try it. As a regular 5:2 doer, I know there is no way I could’ve done a full fast and steroid munchies were vicious.

All I took was my bog standard handbag and its contents, along with my tablet and earphones and notebook. Download any TV programmes you want to catch up on before you go. My Kindle and Readly apps provided my reading if I preferred that.

Good luck. I hope it goes smoothly for you.

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Hi Shona,

No it won’t have been suggested by the hospital as it hasn’t been approved and wouldn’t be suitable for everyone. If you Google ‘fasting during chemo’ you will see a lot of research and evidence around it plus personal stories. The main reasons are: it protects your healthy cells as they go into shutdown/repair mode when no food/glucose is available. It also makes any cancer cells more vulnerable as they aren’t so smart! But ALSO, it reduces the toxicity of the chemo and mitigates side effects. On a 3 weekly regime, I believe a 3 day (72 hour) fast would be the magic number but as I’m on a weekly schedule for 12 weeks, not eating for 3 days out of 7 seemed a bit dangerous! I decided to fast for 24 hours before chemo and 24 hours after. I fast from midday Thursday to midday Saturday, with treatment being Friday. The good news is I have had not one single side effect. Not one! (Apart from constipation for 2 days but that is caused by the anti-sickness meds). I hope that’s helpful! All the best with your treatment. Sarah xx

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Sorry… I should add that my oncologist and team know I’m fasting and her words to me today were ‘That’s fantastic if that’s working for you!’ and was very positive. Other oncologists might not be so keen, depends on their views and what they know. I reckon, it will start to be recommended in a few years as a way to make chemo more gentler on the body. It’s hard on day of chemo as I have to sit there and watch free sandwiches, tea and biscuits walk past but then I remember how much I hate to be sick! The good news is, I eat really well on the other 5 days and slip in an extra meal a day. I also drink 3 litres of water per day and am doing lots of walking. Hope that’s helpful!

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Thanks so much, that is really interesting and so glad it is working for you.
I have a meeting with my oncologist next week, so definitely going to ask about this.
Fasting is not something I have done before. Not sure how I would cope with that especially with a hungry household. Xx

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Yes it’s definitely hard around food and I miss my morning coffee but it does get easier. I’m very motivated to continue as I am unexpectedly living a very normal life outside of chemo. Google Dr Mindy Pelz and also Valter Longo too as they talk a lot of sense. I’ve read on here that oncologists can sometimes dismiss it but then it’s because they haven’t heard of it (yet!). If you can’t manage 48 hours, the most important time is the 24 hours before chemo so maybe you could do that before then eat the day of chemo, after 4 hours or so? Good luck with whatever you decide. I’m going to eat normally for my last treatment as a test to see if anything is different. I may well regret it! xx

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I didn’t take anything especially different as found my mind and concentration couldn’t handle tv or music at the time. Just make sure you’re comfortable and have clothing layers. They are long sessions sometimes but as long as you have your phone or wifi you’ll be fine. Good luck x

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I downloaded films and mini series from netflix to watch. I did also take some things to read but found watching stuff took less concentration and was enough to distract me from what was going on. If you’re going to wear the cold cap then wear extra warm clothes and take a jacket to wear. My hands went blue my first time due to being cold. Good luck x

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Hi Sarah_123, thanks for all the info you’ve shared and fantastic you e had no side effects. Can I ask if you cut out everything including drinks when you fast? I’m looking to try the 24hrs prior and see how I get on with 24hrs after but not really aware of how much to cut out and if this includes water?
Thanks :blush:

Blanket - because i was having cold cap. A magazine as pages are easier to turn one handed. Banana easy to peel. Apple or pear, and biscuits. the nurses will make you a brew or two. My own conditioning shampoo, put on before cold cap. A turban head twoel to dry my hair after the treatment. others had their mobile phone and or tablet.
A list of questions and note book to record anything important, as sometimes seen by my oncologist before or druing treatment. I also asked for the copy of my bloods results, so i could monitor levels.
Once first 10 mins over - getting used to the cold, i could settle and even sleep.
Ps they provide the pillows. If you have cold cap you may be in a room on your own, i took advantage of looking out of the window.

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Hi sammybp,

Sorry for the late reply. I’ve just spent the last 8 days in hospital with a picc line infection and blood clot in my arm. Horrendous!

So, with my treatment being midday on a Friday, I fast from midday Thursday. I think the initial 24 hours is the most important as that’s when your healthy cells shut down and go into repair mode. Yes, I absolutely drink loads of water! Since starting chemo, I’ve been drinking 3 litres of water per day, every day. I also drink peppermint tea, ginger tea, any tea as long as no milk. I always have a slight headache on Fri morning (not surprising!) but not hungry. I used to do 24 hours after but now I fast ‘the day of’ and continue eating normally on Saturday morning so probably around 44 hours in total. Just do what you can do. I think even the 24 hours before, if nothing else, is the most important window. I might test this as I come to the end of my treatment to see what would happen but don’t want to rock the boat at the moment! I hope that’s helpful.

Sarah xx