What to pack in your chemo bag

Heal - Article 02

From our experience, this is one of those tasks you’ll really wish you’d spent a little more time thinking about the night before. The truth is, chemotherapy infusions can take time and it’s worth popping a few things in your bag to prevent boredom and make the whole experience just a little bit more comfortable for you.

So, if your first appointment is coming up, or you’d just like to be better prepared for next time, why not consider bringing some of the following things along with you:

1. Easy Listening

This could be anything from an audiobook, to a podcast to your favorite music playlist. The beauty of audio is you can sit back, close your eyes and allow yourself to be transported to another world whilst the chemo does the hard work.

Similarly, a pre-downloaded TV series or a funny movie on a phone, laptop or other portable electronic device can be a great way to pass the time and provide a pick-me-up.

2. Comfort

Loose, relaxed clothing goes without saying, but why not also bring a pillow (neck pillow, arm support etc.) and a cozy blanket to make your experience all the more comfortable.

3. A Notebook

Whether you want to record appointments, jot down questions for your oncology team, or simply fancy putting pen to paper to doodle, journal or plan a holiday, the ability to take notes is a must! Smart phone note-taking apps can work just as well if you are more tech savvy or find yourself with only your phone.

4. Snacks

It might be a good idea to bring along some high energy nibbles such as a bag of dried fruit and nuts or a smoothie to top up your energy levels while you are there. Some people find sucking on sweets or ginger ale can help minimise feelings of sickness during chemo.

5. Games

Think sudoku, crossword puzzles or solitaire. A phone is great but sometimes it’s nice to have some screen-free time. Mind games in particular can be distracting and may even help keep ‘chemobrain’ at bay. 

6. Toiletry bag

(toothpaste, toothbrush, face spritz stuff, hand sanitizer / wipes)

Choose whatever you feel might help you feel fresh and happy. It’s worth noting that smell can be affected during throughout chemo, so avoid anything too strong.

7. A buddy

The emotional support from a friend or relative can be invaluable. Even if you each just sit and do your own thing, having someone else there can lift your spirits. If they can’t be there in person, perhaps you could schedule a call or video chat.