Soon after receiving the news that I would benefit from chemotherapy, I began to research chemo and learned I could make the cancer detour easier on myself if I learned what should go in my chemo bag.
I found numerous posts on Pinterest about chemo bags. So, with the help of my family, I put together the biggest chemo bag I have seen in the chemo infusion room. Each chemo bag is unique to the patient, but there are certain things I have found help make time in the infusion room more pleasant.
My Chemo Bag Essentials
Family members have contributed to my bag. Because I get cold in the chemo room, I take a fleece blanket that my mother made me to keep me warm. Coffee Beans, the Build-a-Bear my youngest niece made me, keeps me company and has come close to celebrity status in the infusion room. Comfy, red sequined slippers from one sister keep my toes warm and pillowed. Encouraging words on smooth stones from my oldest sister and a friend remind me to have hope and to just breathe.
A few other things I include are reading material, music, snacks (especially saltine crackers for nausea and hard candy to mask the taste of saline when the port is being flushed or disagreeable medications start flowing) or a healthy lunch. I also take a journal and pen, art supplies to draw or color, hand wipes and sanitizer, and a mask so that I can go to sleep when the meds start to make me sleepy.
If you are wondering, “What should go in my chemo bag?” or have a friend asking that question, then I hope you find some of my thoughts helpful. Many have shared suggestions for how to prepare for chemo so you can easily find resources to support your loved one or yourself on your cancer detour. These resources have shaped how I decided what should go in my chemo bag. If you are on Pinterest, you may check out my Cancer and Chemo Board for some ideas I have found helpful.
Other Chemo Essentials
Two things I always try to take to chemo do not fit in my bag: a positive attitude and a smile for the courageous patients around me; the compassionate caretakers who do all they can to help me to be well; and kind, efficient office staff who ensure my care runs smoothly. I believe those two things might be the most important of all.