- I wish I had a chance to visit the treatment area before that first infusion.( My surgery, port surgery and chemo were all within 10 days.) Ask for a tour. Ask if you will be in a clinic area or in a private room for your first infusion. Where are the nursing stations? How is the temperature in the room?Is lunch provided if you are there at lunch time?Is there wireless internet service?
- Wear clothing that is comfortable and easily accessible for the treatment. V-Neck shirts if you have a chest port-a-cath. Short sleeve shirts or shirts where the sleeve rolls up easily and won't cut off the circulation in your arm. ( I loved to wear yoga or sweat pants).
- Ask how long your infusion normally takes. My infusions were very long ( 5+ hours) so I used to pack a tote filled with things to keep me busy. You can only watch so much daytime TV. I found magazines better than books since I had a hard time concentrating. I also brought my I-pod to listen to music ( It also helps drown out the noises and buzzing machines.) Bring a cell phone to stay in touch with family- just remember not to talk too loudly so you don't disturb the other patients. Find out if your center provides DVR's or I-pads or if you can bring your own computer.
- My center provided pillows and blankets but I had a favorite fleece blanket I brought each time. Just a bit of home to make me feel more comfortable in the recliner.
- If you are nervous about a particular side-effect such as nausea ask your oncologist to prescribe something to take before you leave for your treatment. If you are really nervous and think you won't sleep the night before ask for a sleep aid or something to calm you down.
- If you don't have a port be sure to drink plenty of fluids the day before your infusion. Those fluids will help plump those veins and make it easier to find a vein. You'll want to drink plenty of fluids after your chemotherapy infusion too.
- In my case I received a sheet which listed each IV drug I was given at each appointment but if you are not going to be given this information make note of each drug the nurse gives you at your first treatment. Don't be afraid to ask what is in each of the IV bags and why you are taking it. Write it down. The nurse should ask you to check the name and date of birth on each IV bag to make sure it is for you.
- You most likely will be given some drugs to take at home after the infusion. Make up a chart with what drugs to take , dosage and when to take. If one is available ask to speak to a pharmacist. Make sure to tell them other drugs - prescription, over-the-counter and vitamins you are taking so that you won't have any drug interactions. Be sure to take the drugs on schedule.
- When you get home be sure to eat small meals frequently and plenty of fluids. If you are experiencing any side-effects like dizziness , nausea , diarrhea or constipation call you doctor and let them know.
- Find some comedy shows to watch, humor does make you feel better and less stressed.
Every Day is a Blessing!