What to Pack in a Chemo Bag

Hodgkin's Lymphoma Survivor
Friday, August 23, 2019 - 4:47pm

You have a lot on your mind when preparing for chemotherapy or any other type of cancer treatment. It's easy to forget some of the small items that will bring you comfort during your hospital visit. Here's a look at some of the things that I always pack to help me stay comfortable during my chemotherapy appointments.

1.    Wallet and identification – My driver's license and my Roswell Patient ID card (commonly known as a "green card") are typically asked for at the beginning of each appointment. I also always bring a small amount of money, just in case I need something.

2.    Hand sanitizer and medical mask – Your immune system is compromised when you're going through chemotherapy, so it's always a good idea to have a bottle of hand sanitizer and a medical mask on hand. You can pop the mask on quick if you're around someone who's sick.

3.    Tissues – For all the sad and happy moments that you might experience!

4.    Notebook and pen – Always good have a way to quickly write down information, instructions, and all that crazy doctor terminology.

5.    Extra layers – I like to dress in layers and bring a couple of additional warm items like a hat or sweater because as you go from appointment to appointment, the temperature of the rooms can fluctuate.

6.    Things to do – I always bring multiple forms of entertainment. I started knitting during my treatment and found an adult coloring book is a great way to pass the time. I also bring a book or magazine to read, and some games like Uno or Scattergories. It's nice to have a couple of different options, depending on how you're feeling.

7.    Lidocaine numbing cream – Don't forget your port-numbing cream and a small square of plastic wrap to cover the cream from touching your clothes until your port gets accessed. I put the cream on an hour before getting my port accessed. So often I would have to apply it at the hospital or on the car ride there.

8.    Lotion and lip balm – I have lotion and lip balm to stay moisturized because having chapped lips all day is such an uncomfortable feeling!

9.    Water bottle and snacks – It's always good to stay hydrated during your appointments, and I pack a couple of different snacks. I like to bring something salty, something sweet, and something bland so I have a snack for whatever mood I'm in. I also pack extra snacks for the people who come with me! Ginger chews are also great for getting bad tastes out of your mouth and to settle your stomach.

10.    Cell phone charger and headphones – Never leave for treatment without your phone charger! And I recommend bringing a portable charger as well, in case you're not near an outlet. Headphones are another essential so you can listen to music, watch a show, or if you just need to zone out everything around you and focus on yourself.