How did you prepare for chemo?

Posted by brighterdays @brighterdays, Apr 11 1:01am

Hello all! Starting TC chemo in a few days. How did it go for you? How did you prepare for it? What are some things you would have done to make it easier and more comfortable?

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I think the most important aspect of starting chemo is keeping a positive attitude. Try not to go on this journey with thoughts of getting sick or feeling bad. I would tell myself, I’m going to get through this with flying colors. I feel this helped me tremendously. I know it’s scary and you don’t know what to expect, but everyone is different and everyone Doesn’t get sick. I wish you all the best on your journey.


My husband went with me the first time, but after that I went alone. Ended up developing a friendship with my infusion nurse which helped. I packed a bag with my iPad, kindle for reading, a healthy and hearty snack. You can chat with other patients if that’s your personality or even take a nap.

Best wishes to you on your journey, Cindy


I took a chemo education class and bought things that I may need to help with side effects of chemo—prescription anti nausea meds, Gas-X, stool softener (colace), omeprazole, Imodium, mylanta, Benadryl, and acetaminophen. I wanted to have everything I might need if I felt bad. I hardly used any of these but felt better having them on hand.
I got Natracare cold therapy mitts and booties for to wear for Taxol to prevent neuropathy. Also got scarves, beenies and a wig because I knew I would lose my hair.
I had a longer time before starting chemo so had time to get all this together. I also dwelled on the side effects for a little while.
Chemo is definitely manageable and remembering that it is a tool to get rid of your cancer helps. Also, it ends! Stay positive. ❤️


Before treatment I read about all the potential side effects; made myself a chemo bag to take for treatments – ipad (book and games), knitting, healthy snacks, a lap blanket, candied ginger (in case I felt nausea). I think having the port implant was a big help because it left my hands free to keep myself busy during treatment. My husband took me for the first treatment to be sure I handled the treatment well and determine if someone would need to bring me to follow-up treatments, but I drove myself to all subsequent treatments. About 2 weeks after first treatment started loosing my hair – I have curly hair and it got really tangled after sleeping. I wish I had either cut it short before treatment or slept with satiny sleep caps to minimize the tangled mess – I just had my head shaved after that – fortunately it was winter so I just wore cute thermal caps.


You may also be interested in this related discussion that @roch started when she was about to start chemotherapy:
– Preparing for Chemotherapy

@brighterdays, what concerns do you have about starting chemo?

For everyone who has done chemo for breast cancer, what do you wish you had known?


A blanket, I wished I had known to bring a blanket. I brought one every treatment after the first.
@brighterdays the best advice I can give is to be mindful of short term work for long term gain. Chemo isn’t forever, as @marciapell says. Also don’t forget, you have us.😘


Here's what I was advised to do and it may help you. Make a calendar on your computer and make notes of your chemo and how you felt, for example, I would have to inject myself 2 days before chemo, day of, and 2 days after to help the bone marrow produce cells. I would write in when that was, what day chemo, and each day what kind of symptoms I'd have. That way, on the next chemo, you have an idea of when you feel up to doing things and when you may need to lay low. I've got a short sample below of my first week.

ALSO, when you have chemo, use plastic utensils. Using metal ones for some reason gives you a metal taste. I found that lemon drops I could tolerate and helped with dry mouth.

Also, if you get any type of cramping, use Gas X. Sounds dumb, but it will relieve cramping pain. My husband made a mistake and got extra strength Gas X one time and it nearly did me in….SO NOT EXTRA STRENGTH…LOL!!! In the beginning I didn't take it and then broke down and it made all the difference for me, but everyone is different and it also depends what chemo agents you get.

For infusions, I took in a nice cozy blanket and my Kindle to read while I was having the infusion. Some people take naps…you can listen for snoring in the chemo infusion room!!!

As to your hair and head….you'll know when it's time to have your head shaved. Your scalp will start hurting…not bad pain, kind of pinching. It also has that feeling when your hair starts growing back. AND, depending on your chemo, you may lose hair in your girlie area…let me tell you…that's a shock. The good part was the hair stopped growing on my legs and underarms!!!!

If you feel like doing nothing and just sleep and/or rest… go with that. My daughter started me up on "The Gilmore Girls" and I watched the whole series! I also read the whole series of "Virgin River" plus all the other books Robin Carr wrote.

Lastly, keep REMEMBERING that the way you're feeling today is not how you will feel a year from now so look to the future. All the best to you…you've got this!


I agree about being positive. Dress comfortably. I wore jogging pants and brought slippers so I was nice and cozy. Our clinic was on the cold side so they offered warm blankets but I brought a lap blanket with me. Bring a book or anything that interests you.
They give you meds before you start the chemo which help. Bring water with you or some people brought Gatorade G-2. Good luck on your journey and ask the nurses questions they are very helpful.


I remember the self injections I had to give – scared me at first; but they showed me how and I was good after that – didn't like it but it had to be done. I also kept a log of each treatment; what I received (cocktail mix and whether it was push or drip); I'd need to look at my notes but at some point I had constipation so I kept prune juice on hand and drank a small cup for a couple days to make sure I stayed regular. I also brought a Gatorade type drink so I stayed hydrated during treatments. It was also easy for them to disconnect the machine so I could wheel it to the bathroom with me. I was fortunate – I had a little fatigue next day after my treatment but rebounded after that; that and losing my hair were my only noticeable side effects.


1. Positive thinking. I visualized the chemo chasing the cancer and and killing it.
2. A blanket
3. Something to do. I crocheted or knit, read, eat if you can.
4. My husband came with me or another family member or friend they entertained me.
5. Sleep!

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