10 Tips for Preparing for Chemotherapy

Preparing for your first round of chemotherapy can be overwhelming and nerve-racking. I found my care team to be the best resource for helping me prepare but also would have loved a simple list of items to help me focus my energy in a few places to calm my nerves. Read on for a list of 10 tips to help prepare yourself or a friend for chemotherapy: 
Pink note reading Breathe on a bathroom mirror
  1. Educate yourself: Learn about the chemotherapy drugs you will be receiving, their side effects, and how they will be administered. Understanding the process can help alleviate fear and anxiety. Make notes to bring with you to your first infusion to cover any questions. 
  2. Talk to your healthcare team: Ask your doctor or oncologist any questions you have about the treatment process, side effects, and how to manage them.
  3. Stay hydrated: Drinking enough fluids can help reduce the risk of dehydration, which can be a side effect of chemotherapy. Find our favorite water bottle along with other items to bring to your first round of chemo here
  4. Eat a healthy diet: A balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein can help keep your body strong during treatment. If you or a friend is able, make a few freezer-friendly dishes ahead of time to have on hand in case you're not up for cooking. Also, you might be surprised by what may trigger side effects like nausea which may lead to you not wanting a certain food long after treatment has ended (here's looking at you, steamed kale!) 
  5. Get rest: Chemotherapy can be physically and emotionally exhausting, so getting enough rest is crucial. Try to maintain a regular sleep schedule and make sure to get enough sleep each night.
  6. Prepare for hair loss: Many chemotherapy drugs cause hair loss. Consider purchasing a wig or headscarf before treatment starts, so you have it ready when you need it. I am partial to Madewell's bandanas and wore them daily during treatment. 
    Two people holding hands
  7. Set up a support system: Chemotherapy can be a challenging time, so having a support system in place can help. Ask family and friends for help with tasks such as grocery shopping, cooking, or childcare.
  8. Manage stress: Stress can impact your health and well-being, so find ways to manage it. This can include meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga. When I was able, I took a walk as often as possible. Fresh air and movement were huge for helping me manage my stress, even on days when I could only manage a few slow steps. 
  9. Keep track of medications: Chemotherapy often requires multiple medications, so keeping track of them and following the prescribed schedule is essential. Consider using a pill organizer to help manage medications. We love this mint pill organizer from Port & Polish.
  10. Take care of your emotional health: Chemotherapy can be emotionally challenging. Consider talking to a therapist or joining a support group to help manage anxiety and depression that may arise during treatment. For some self care tips and ideas take a peek at our Self Care Pinterest board here

What tips did you find most helpful heading into your first round of chemotherapy or what do you wish you had known ahead of time? Please share in the comments below!

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.