Here are some of the tips I’ve picked up on my cancer journey…
For me, I always took my own clothes to wear at the hospital. They were way more comfortable and cuter than the barely closing hospital gowns. Also, I found anything with front closures was better than any over-the-head items due to my port access. I could unbutton a few buttons to have my port accessed, close it up, and just have a few tubes coming through my shirt, and it was fairly easy and comfortable for the day!
Chemo/cancer is a cold sickness, in more ways than one. Low hemoglobin counts, and hospital air can make it pretty cold. I always packed a few cardigans to be able to thrown on during the day and throw off during those pre-menopausal hot flashes! Bring hats and socks too- or ask your friends for some! Layers are your friends.
Cancer shouldn’t change your core. Wear the colors, clothes, jewelry, and everything else like you’ve always done. I’ve worn earrings since I was 10 months old. I continued to wear my earrings through treatment and made my earrings bigger and glitzier than ever before to account for my lack of hair.
Be royalty and sparkle!
A “Smiles with Styles” care cart brought me a tiara, that I promptly wore every day for rounds. I was a grown-up 18-year-old, that pretended my room was my castle, and had the residents address me as princess for the rounds. Your room is your castle. You should control who comes in, how you are treated, and what you want to do.
The Chemo Ready Bag
My mom has seven children (I’m the oldest), and I remember the circumstances surrounding four of them. She always had her packed hospital bag ready to go at a moment’s notice. My first cancer was a lot of outpatient, with weekly appointments regardless. I never knew when a normal Monday morning appointment could quickly turn into an overnight stay, so I had my own go-bag ready and in the trunk of the car. Here’s a few additional things that I threw into my ready bag to make sure that I was ready for the emergency inpatient stay:
Pillowcase- I had my own pillowcase that was softer and much nicer than the scratchy hospital ones!
Decorations- I had a few postcard sized pictures of my goals, family, and special memories that I kept in my bag. I could just tack them up with a piece of tape and make the space mine! It was helpful for me to have those reminders in my room when I could quickly get discouraged.
Diffuser- I always packed my apple cinnamon diffuser to keep over my bed, to try to dissipate the awful hospital smell.
Snacks- I hate hospital food, so I kept a stash of a few packaged snacks to tide me over till my dad could get good food from outside of the hospital!
All of the posts written for Elephants and Tea are contributed by patients, survivors, caregivers and loved ones dealing with cancer. If you have a story or experience you would like to share with the cancer community we would love to hear from you! Please submit your idea at https://www.elephantsandtea.com/contact/submissions/.