• What To Take With To First Chemo Treatment?

    Asked by eyewonder2 on Saturday, August 24, 2013

    What To Take With To First Chemo Treatment?

    My 74 year old family member will be receiving his first FOLFOX Chemotherapy treatment for Stage III Colon Cancer. What should he pack to take with him to the infusion center, usually how long is a first treatment, and what type of clothing, are snack foods allowed, are the pre-treatment meds meant to relax the patient, ... help us out here, he's A Cancer Newbie, folks!

    15 Answers from the Community

    15 answers
    • serenity101's Avatar

      I don't remember for sure how long my first chemo took, but it was a pretty long day by the time I had labs done, saw the doctor, and did chemo for several hours. Maybe 6 - 8 hours at the clinic all together, but I'm just not sure if I remember correctly. Some of the drugs need to be infused more slowly the first time, but can be done faster after that.
      They had some snacks and beverages available and provided lunch. They were fine with me bringing snacks and beverages as well. One clinic I know of tells patients to bring their own lunch because they are not attached directly to a hospital and don't have a cafeteria. If you call your clinic, they should be able to tell you their specific policies.
      The pre-treatment meds I get are to prevent nausea. I think they would give me medication to help me relax if I told them I needed it, but I have not.
      I try to make sure I wear comfortable clothes that give them easy access to my port (like a button-front shirt). If he doesn't have a port, they need access to his arms.
      What to take depends on him: something to occupy his mind and hands like a book, crossword puzzles, small knitting project or whatever he enjoys is helpful to have along. I think most centers have internet access available if he enjoys using a laptop or tablet. My clinic recently had some ipads donated for patients to use during chemo, but I don't know if that is common or not.
      I keep a pair of non-skid socks in my bag in case my shoes get uncomfortable, but most of the time I'm fine in a pair of comfortable shoes. I keep a mini-pack of my favorite "Puffs plus lotion" facial tissues with me, because they are gentler on my nose than what the clinic provides. I also keep a pad of paper and a pen, chapstick, and lotion with me.

      almost 8 years ago
    • flamingogirl's Avatar

      I had different type of therapy, but I was usually there for at least 4 to 6 hours. I always took a blanket as it was always cold at my clinic, even when it was over 100 degrees outside. Serenity is right about the comfortable clothing. I usually just wore jeans and a tshirt. I always brought my own lunch for the most part. My mom always took me to my treatments and would go get us something to eat sometimes. My clinic had snacks and drinks also. I also always had a book handy, word puzzle books, my iphone. Good Luck!!

      almost 8 years ago
    • ladyhawk's Avatar

      get him a cd player with mozart,,, stressfree beautiful music to listen to :)

      almost 8 years ago
    • ladyhawk's Avatar

      and a blanket, he may get the chills at times,, and my hospital did allow food and drinks,,, water works best to hydrate the cells for less nausea after chemo,, 3 to 6 hrs depends on cocktail they give him

      almost 8 years ago
    • IKickedIt's Avatar

      My chemo day lasted about 4 hours when I didn't have to see the doctor beforehand. They will always run bloodwork before the infusion begins to check counts. At my infusion center, that only took about 15 minutes. There are pre-meds given which may take about 15 minutes. They are a prednisone/prevent an allergic reaction, anti-nausea and if necessary, a drug to calm you down (I took that the first time, but didn't want it after that because it made me drowsy and I couldn't drive or go back to work). The actual FOLFOX infusion is 2-3 hours and then the portable pump is for an additional 46 hours.

      In my bag, I packed things to kill the time: magazines, puzzle books, backgammon board or work. I also packed soft food and room temperature beverages (cold beverages will most likely be painful due to the neuropathy and sensitivity to cold). I also packed slipped socks so I could take off my shoes and keep my feet warm.

      My infusion center didn't have wifi so I didn't bother to bring my laptop. I usually always had a friend come and sit with me and that helped passed the time, plus it allowed me to catch up with friends. Our center had tv's but I'm not a big tv watcher, but perhaps a laptop to watch a movie.

      Comfortable and warm clothing. I also brought my iPod.

      There is really nothing to be scared of. Of course, I was terrified my first treatment, but the infusion is no big deal. It's the next few days after when you're waiting to see how you are going to feel.

      Good luck. Once you have the first treatment under the belt, it will be a lot less scary. I started to look forward to my treatments because I knew each treatment was a step closer to the end of the nightmare.

      almost 8 years ago
    • CrazyHarry's Avatar

      Since I usually fell asleep, I didn't bring much. The center provided snacks and beverages as well as magazines, tv, and wifi. I brought my ipad and iPhone. But since I was usually heavily involved in an analysis of the back of my eyelids they didn't get much use. I did use them to listen to music and podcasts.

      My biggest recommendation is a prayer book or some religious prayer assistance so he can pray he gets through this easy with minimal side effects. First treatment left me with just about every side effect you can get. Second treatment was exponentially worse. The doc has made some well needed tweaks in the chemo which have made it much more comfortable.

      I'm coming up on 6/8 treatment.

      I only wish the best for him on his healing journey.

      almost 8 years ago
    • myb's Avatar

      Chemo day was quick blood work to check some blood levels to see if I could get chemo, see the oncologist to review my bi-weekly log and ask any questions I had. Then chemo started with some more bloodwork, then some pills, 1/2 hr IV premeds for nausea, 2 hr Oxaliplatin infusion along with saline and then hook up to a pump for 46 hours of 5FU. Then I could go home. Nurse came to my house to disconnect me.

      In the beginning I used to take a laptop as had wifi in the chemo treatment rooms along with some dvds to watch but that last all of about a couple of treatments. I was carrying it in for about 15 minutes of a movie before I would fall asleep. Then I just brought the ipod to sleep to. I always packed gluten free snacks with me so you are allowed to bring food. Then I started to bring a small pillow to sleep with because the hospital pillow is never comfortable. I would ask for a blanket as always cold.

      almost 8 years ago
    • zubsha's Avatar

      It takes about 4-5 hours Clothing should be comfortable, easy to access the the port and warm. Snacks are allowed and often provided He wont feel bad while he is there (except what anxiety produces) Snacks are great and many centers provide them. The cold neuropathy starts first so have gloves handy just in case the air conditioning is too much (just those cheap knit ones are fine). Black tea is constipating and so is zofran so plan on herbal tea if he uses tea (since room temperature or cooler drinks will become impossible to swallow). That night and the next morning he may start with jaw cramps when eating and hand cramps These will pass so don't panic that it is they are only going to get worse. Make sure he exercises even while wearing the pump and eats every hour or so (small amounts with protein). It really will make the side effects better. Glad Press and Seal is a good covering for the port site while the pump is attached if he wants to take a shower. Ask the infusion center for one of those plastic things they use to hold IV bags to poles that will allow you to hang the pump on the shower curtain rod outside the shower. Good luck it isn't fun but it isn't THAT bad and anxiety amplifies all the nausea so everybody stay calm and carry on.

      almost 8 years ago
    • RobbieFlores' Avatar

      Great advice! Everyone here has just about covered it. I took books an IPod and light snacks. And water. They provided blankets nice warm ones but I also took gloves. Good luck and please feel free to ask questions. Anytime about anything. :-)

      almost 8 years ago
    • LauraJo's Avatar

      All of these are good suggestions, but since it is summer, make sure if he goes in sandals, that he takes socks to wear during infusion...I was told if you can keep your body warm during the actual treatment, that helps to reduce neuropathy. My treatments lasted about 4 hours, and I usually went to work afterwards for a half-day, so they were NOT that bad at all. And since I was having 8 treatments, I took the Harry Potter books with me & read one per session....kept my mind off the whole thing. Good luck!

      almost 8 years ago
    • banzaicat's Avatar

      Comfortable and warm clothing...something to read for 3 hours plus. The place I go has snacks, but I bring drinks because of the cold sensitivity after first treatment. Drinking cold drinks will be immediately uncomfortable afterward

      almost 8 years ago
    • joyce1979's Avatar

      the first session was the longest --- from noon until 5 p.m. The nurses were getting me settled and explaining things, orienting me about things. I would take a blanket and wear warm clothes as it tends to get cold in there. There are small televisions by the infusion chairs, but pillows were available and lots of people took naps. Food was allowed and be sure to bring something to drink. No children were allowed in the area. I always took something to read or a puzzle to work on. God bless you.

      almost 8 years ago
    • Wilburn's Avatar

      My first treatment and the others (on fourth now) each was four hours, snacks are fine but the two treatment centers I use provide lunch and will charge $5 for a guest that wants to sit through the treatment with you

      almost 8 years ago
    • workit's Avatar

      Walking shoes - walk the halls during chemo infusion. Exercise raises systolic blood pressure, and tumors poorly control blood flow, more blood (carrying drugs) can then perfuse throughout the tumor(s). I rode a stationary bike during infusion.

      iPod play list: recommend comedy, as well as music that moves you.

      over 7 years ago
    • workit's Avatar

      Cardiology figured out 30 years ago to get patients moving. Should we get rid of the chemo infusion recliner? And, find something else to replace sedatives that can affect balance and prevent walking during infusion. The best thing we currently might be doing as a part of chemotherapy is when we are walking out of the infusion ward and elsewhere afterwards while the drugs are still in our system.

      over 7 years ago

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