Date: May 13, 2024

Packing for Chemotherapy

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Packing for chemo is personal to each person and their treatment. I definitely took more than I would have thought and more than I needed but I was always happy to have what I brought.

In my life, I am a carry-on girl, but when it comes to chemo I am a carry-on and checked-bag type of girl! Bless my husband, I know his jaw dropped when he came upstairs and found me "packing my bags!"

My sister and I never wanted to have cancer in common, but her going through this first helped to prepare me for my journey. The chemo I was going to receive had many side effects like neuropathy and hair loss. To help prevent neuropathy as much as possible I purchased mittens and booties which had ice packs to make my hands and feet cold and slow the circulation to them. The theory behind this is they will slow my circulation and then the chemo won't go to those areas as much.

In addition to the mittens, booties, and ice packs I wanted to try to save my hair. My sister wore a Digni-cap and I could not believe how much of her hair she kept. Unfortunately for me, my cancer center did not offer the same so I had to find another solution. While I did find several options, they seemed like a lot of prep and process. Not knowing if my husband would be able to attend each treatment with me we decided that we could not put that responsibility on a friend or family member.

There is no packing list for chemotherapy and so much depends on your treatment, but here is what I packed and brought to my chemotherapy appointments.

What I did find was a product called an Ice-Kap on Amazon. I decided to give it a try, and to get the timing right I based it on my sisters. That meant I would need to purchase three sets of freezer packs specifically for this "kap." As you can imagine, with all the freezer items, we had to take a cooler to chemo so my husband and I could switch out the ice packs as necessary.

If you are still reading and wondering how cold I was during treatment, this leads me to my next item, an electric blanket. This was a must and helped to keep me comfortable while I was receiving chemo and trying to a certain extent, to "freeze my extremities."

On top of that, I had some snacks, ginger chews to help with an upset stomach, drinks, a backup battery, and a misc bag of Kleenexes, wipes, aromatherapy rollers, and lotion. This misc bag was one of those things that I just threw a bunch of things in. Chemo days are long and you simply don't know what you will want or need. The first chemo gives you a little idea, but even though the process is the same during each chemo, each chemo is different.

I also would always bring either my laptop or my tablet to be able to watch and listen to movies while I was awake. Again, did I use everything every time, not at all, but it was nice to have things so that I could have the option while I was there for the four hours I was receiving treatment.

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