What to Pack in a Chemo Bag
With all the pain and discomfort that comes with chemotherapy treatment, it can be difficult to get comfortable in the infusion centers where the drugs are administered. Not only are they often cold in the way that all hospital rooms tend to be, but patients stuck sitting in a chair during their treatment can become restless, bored, and uncomfortable while their medication slowly works its way into their system. Some patients pack a specific set of items in a chemo bag that they bring with them to treatment, items meant to make this process a bit more endurable. So what should you pack in a chemo bag? Oral cryotherapy device company Chemo Mouthpiece™ offer their suggestions below.
Packing Your Chemo Bag Before Your Treatment
Sitting through an infusion of chemotherapy drugs can be a drawn-out, uncomfortable process, but there are a few things you can bring with you to make the time pass more quickly and pleasantly. A patient’s bag of things they bring with them to treatments is often called a “chemo bag,” and each person’s bag tends to be a bit different. Below are a few of the most common objects people bring with them to their chemotherapy infusions.
A Comfy Blanket
Hospitals and cancer centers are notorious for being cold, cold places, which makes a warm, comfortable blanket a necessity for many patients. Not only can this help to keep you from getting chilly, but a fuzzy blanket can be a steadfast companion at a time when any source of comfort is more than welcome. For an extra feeling of safety and security, consider trying a weighted blanket, too.
Lip Balms and Moisturizing Lotions
As if the cold wasn’t enough, many treatment centers can be very dry as well. Bringing a nice hand lotion and some lip balm can keep vulnerable areas properly moisturized and help you to feel that much more comfortable.
Topical Pain Cream
For patients who have had a port installed for easier drug infusions, this is less of a concern, but for those who must have a fresh needle inserted for every treatment, a topical anesthetic can go a long way to making that step in the process much less painful. Products such as lidocaine, which is available over-the-counter, can be quite effective; apply the cream 30-45 minutes before the beginning of your treatment to give it time to take effect. And as with all medications you might use during your treatments, be sure to check with your oncologist or oncology nurse to make sure it is safe for you to use.
Snacks and Drinks
Though many infusion centers stock things to eat and drink, bringing your own stuff to munch on can ensure that your favorite snacks are on hand when you want them. Bring a drink as well, as staying hydrated and well-nourished is important during your treatment. Plus, the familiar taste of a preferred food or drink can help to lift your mood and take your mind off the less than pleasant situation and environment.
Numerous studies have shown that cryotherapy (cold therapy), the application of freezing or near-freezing temperatures to affect the body, is an effective way to fight mouth sores caused by chemo. By shrinking the blood vessels of the mouth while the chemo drug(s) is circulating through your system, you can limit the amount of mucotoxic chemicals that can reach the sensitive areas of your mouth and prevent much of the damage that might otherwise occur. That’s why nurses distribute ice chips for you to suck on during your infusion, though this is a less effective method of cryotherapy than some others.
Instead, try the Chemo Mouthpiece™, a specialized ice pack for your mouth, specifically designed to chill the entire oral cavity uniformly and deliver a more effective form of cryotherapy. Just freeze your mouthpiece at home before leaving for your treatment, then put it in the portable cooler and bring it with you to your treatment center. Everything you need comes in the Patient Kit, which includes two mouthpieces.
Books, Magazines, or Movies
Being confined to a chair for an afternoon – or even just for an hour – can be more than a little dull; bringing a novel, several magazines, or a device with access to movies or TV shows can help the time pass more quickly. If the Internet connection is unreliable at your treatment center, be aware that many streaming services allow you to download movies or episodes of shows ahead of time for easy viewing on the go. Don’t forget headphones, too!
Most of us have one or two possessions that help us to relax and feel at home, whether this is a stuffed animal, a well-worn sweater, or anything else that puts us at ease. Remember that the purpose of your chemo bag is to help make your treatments more pleasant, so whatever has that effect for you would likely make an excellent addition to your bag.
Fight Mouth Sores by Adding the Chemo Mouthpiece™ to Your Chemo Bag
Your chemo bag will be a very individualized thing, with items of personal significance as well as basic necessities to keep you comfortable during a difficult time. Including the Chemo Mouthpiece™ in your bag can help you fight the emergence of oral mucositis, a chemotherapy side effect many cancer patients experience, improving your quality of life well beyond the walls of your infusion center. To learn more about the Chemo Mouthpiece™ and how it can help you or a loved one, visit us online or call (866) 461-7518 today.