Some Helpful Advice for Beginning Chemo

Published: 03 Apr 2018

The lead up to your first chemotherapy session can be scary.  In this blog we’ll try to give you some helpful first-time ideas to help you prepare and, most importantly, stay positive!

Pre-treatment prep

Firstly, get organised!  Fill in your diary, create a timetable, and make lists – putting things down on paper can help get your thoughts in order.  Prepare a bag in advance with everything you’ll need to take to your treatments.

If you are Cold Capping don’t forget to prep and cool your Cold Caps and have all the accessories ready.

Know the times, adapt your schedule – understand that your chemo treatments can affect you over the course of a few days.  If you have work, speak with your employer about times.  If you have social events, take account of how you feel after chemo and if you are too tired, give it a miss.

Ask a friend or family member if they can accompany you to your treatments – you can feel absolutely fine after treatment, or you may be tired and feel unsafe behind the wheel.  Either way, it’s always good to have a supportive friend by your side.

Read up on the info

In the run up to your first treatment, try and digest as much info as possible.  Write questions down that you need answers to – make notes or get your friend or family member to write them down for you during your session.

Information can easily be found – we have a whole library of blogs and there are many, many more online (such as American Cancer Society, Macmillan, etc).

People’s experiences are a great starting point – these can add some reality for what to expect – find blogs or videos on YouTube, there are millions of people out there with similar experiences to yours and they can give you comfort by grounding your worries in reality.  Why not check our Chemotherapy support group?  It’s a great place to find other people’s experiences and advice.

Find hobbies and ways to pass the time and take your mind off treatment

Chances are you will be occupying yourself for extended periods of time during and after your chemo and Cold Capping.  So why not try out a new (or old) hobby?  We have some ideas on our website and will be adding more soon.

Find a new book or podcast series – why not read that new murder-mystery trilogy you have sitting at home?  Or dive back into Harry Potter which you haven’t read in a while.  Take a look at our bogs here and here for more ideas.

Re-watch your favourite TV series or find a new one on Netflix for your rest days after treatment. 
Learn to cook new recipes.  Your eating habits may be in for some changes over the next few months with the effects of chemo, so why not learn some new recipes that will compliment your circumstances?  Find some ideas here.

Put yourself first

You may be used to a busy lifestyle.  If so, it may be the time to slow down.

Ask for some help around the house to lessen the load.  If you are raising children and feel too worn out, see if your partner, family member, or friend can help look after them.  If you can afford it, you could consider childcare.

If you have a demanding job, speak to your employer and try to lessen your workload.  See if you can work from home.  You can try to arrange a day or two off per week, or even the duration of your treatment, if this is possible and affordable.  See our blogs on this topic here.

Socialising can be draining.  If you don’t want to see anyone because you’re exhausted, don’t feel bad turning them away.  Getting your ZZZs is important – your friends and family will understand. 

Stay positive!

These are just a few tips for first timers.  As your treatment progresses, you’ll find what works best for you.  Stay positive!  Lots of people have walked in your shoes and come out stronger than before.

If you would like to read up on anything extra, check out our other blogs and join our Chemotherapy Support Group – there are loads of active members discussing all manner of things to do with their treatments and sharing their own tips and tricks.