3 Tips for Getting Through Your First Chemotherapy Session

If you've recently been diagnosed with cancer and your doctor has scheduled you to begin chemotherapy, you're probably pretty nervous about your first session. That's normal. You've just been given a scary diagnosis, and you'll be walking into a treatment facility to receive a treatment that, while effective, is notoriously rough on the body. What's more, you won't really know how your body will react to the chemo until you begin the treatment, so it's hard to know what to expect. How can you prepare for that nerve-wracking first appointment? Here are some tips that can help.

 Drink Up

One of the things that you'll notice is that chemotherapy has a dehydrating effect. Drinking lots of water the day before your chemotherapy session will help make this effect less noticeable during treatment. You should also drink extra water the day after your chemotherapy treatment because it will help to flush the drugs out of your system, which can help you start to feel better sooner.

If you don't normally like to drink plain water, at least try to drink extra fluids of some kind on the days before and after your chemo sessions. Remember that fluids that don't contain caffeine or lots of sugar are generally considered to be more hydrating. Fresh orange juice or lemonade or decaffeinated tea are all good choices. You might also try making plain water more palatable by adding a splash of fruit juice for flavoring.

Write Down Your Questions

You should feel free to ask all of the questions that you want when you go in for your treatment. The staff members are used to it, and they should be happy to ease your concerns and make sure you're informed about your care.

However, while you may think of all kinds of questions the night before you go in for your chemotherapy, it's easy to get flustered when you actually arrive at the treatment center. Write down your questions as you think of them before your appointment so you won't forget to ask something that you really want to know.

Bring a Buddy

You may or may not decide that you want a friend or family member to accompany you to chemo all of the time. Some patients use their hospital stay as quiet time to catch up on reading or meditating and are happy to go alone, while others prefer to have company every time.

However, for your first session, you should definitely bring a friend. You don't know how you'll feel during and after the session. You may feel ill and not want to drive yourself home. You may feel unexpectedly hungry and want someone to fetch you a snack. You may just feel better with a familiar face to look at. Until you have an idea of how the chemo is going to affect you, you should bring someone supportive with you. Chemotherapy treatment centers always have room for a patient's chemo buddy.

Most importantly, try to bring a positive attitude. Remember that chemo is a very effective treatment for many people, and there's every chance that it will be effective for you as well! If you have have more questions or concerns about chemotherapy, get in touch with a doctor from a hospital near you, such as Sturdy Memorial Hospital, and put your fears to rest.