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Tips for Chemo

Posts: 1191
Joined: Dec 2010

I go to the chat room quite often. I am finding more and more people who have chemo but don't get chemo classes, may not post on discussion boards, and need the wonderful tips from wonderful people like you all that had chemo. My memory fails me too often and I can't remember all the tips you give here.

Could those of you who had chemo and found tips that are helpful, please post them here for me? I would love to share with others.

Please keep your responses short, short phrases, just the tips. I don't mean to be rude, but it would be easier for me to rewrite/copy &paste/ into a document to send new comers.

Thank you in advance to any that choose to help.

Angie2U's picture
Posts: 2992
Joined: Sep 2009

I didn't take chemo, but, the one tip that I have seen over and over is to drink lots of water and use plastic silverware.

Hugs, Angie

GwynD's picture
Posts: 5
Joined: Dec 2014

I just bad my 1st chemo treatment so I can use any and all tips. I was wondering if using plastic silverware is helpful for mouth pain? Thank you for your tips!!!!

Puffin2014's picture
Posts: 533
Joined: Jun 2014

The plastic silverware helps if you have the metallic taste in your mouth - not all chemo causes that, cytoxin and taxotere don't so I didn't need to use the plastic. My onc had me rinse my mouth and spit 2 or 3 times a day with warm water with 1/4 tsp baking soda in it that worked well.

Posts: 653
Joined: Oct 2012

I had 8 infusions of chemo over 16 weeks. Here are a few things that worked for me:
*Keep a journal, at least the week of chemo, so you can keep track of how you are feeling, what you ate, how much you drank, what meds I took and when, and anything else that seemed helpful to know. I used that to determine patterns for when I was apt to feel pretty good after chemo and when I was apt to not feel so great or have energy.
*Make yourself eat at least a little, even if you don't feel like it. I never was nauseous but I had times when I felt queasy. I knew I needed to eat, and I found that even when I was queasy, I could make myself eat something.

When I was doing taxol, I played mind games to make myself eat. At this point, even queasiness was not a problem. Food did not appeal to me. I found I did better if (1) someone else prepared my food; OR (2) I ordered out. Chemo days it did me no good to pack a sandwich for lunch. I sent my driver/companion out on a fast-food run. I really did better about eating, as a result. I ate "regular"-sized lunches.

camul's picture
Posts: 2541
Joined: Dec 2010

I have never had a class either and have had a lot of chemo.

Drink plenty of water/fluids, eat what you care hungry for. Remember what sounds really good today, may be what turns your stomach tomorrow, get plenty of rest (easier said than done as I have trouble staying asleep). Try to pace yourself, another thing that is hard for me, as I have a tendency to go, go, go, when I am feeling good, then crashed the whole next day.

Main thing is to listen to what your body is telling you! Stay away from kids who may be sick or have been recently immunized, and adults who may be sick. Do not feel bad if someone wants to come and visit and has kids, I got where I would ask if anyone was sick or if any one is just getting over something, my immune system is compromised already so I do pick things up easily. Be careful eating at buffets as they are not always able to keep the food at the right temperature and what may not affect anyone else, could get you a good case of the runs. Be careful eating raw fruits and veges.

And most importantly wash your hands often or use sanitizer.

Hope this helps someone else.

teresa41's picture
Posts: 466
Joined: Jun 2009

I drank lots of water and Canada Dry ginger ale for stomach. I used plastic forks and spoons. Lots of hand sanitizer I took my temperature often. And lots of rest. I also chewed a lot of ice before during and after each chemo I never got mouth sores. I also avoided strong smells. Odors made me sick.

Hope this helps


Posts: 653
Joined: Oct 2012

Don't hesitate to contact your med people if you are having some problems when you are home. I was reminded many times that if my meds for home to help me not be nauseous weren't working, I was to call them as there is no reason that I should have that issue (nausea does not equal queasy). They had other drugs they could prescribe. Other issues also should be brought to their attention. They are there to help you, not just give you chemo.

AngieD's picture
Posts: 504
Joined: Sep 2011

Drink lots of water every day but especially the night before and morning of chemo infusions. My nurses said that helps make veins "fluffy" and easier to get the IV started.

Use saline rinse several times a day and Biatine tooth paste to prevent mouth sores. Hold ice or an icy drink in your mouth while getting an Adriamycin infusion.

Call your cancer center 24/7 if temp gets above 100.4.

After 1 loose stool take 2 Immodiums.

If you take any pain meds, use MiraLax or similar.

Think of the chemo as wiping out your cancer, a good thing.

VickiSam's picture
Posts: 9080
Joined: Aug 2009

Remember to alert your Onco RN of any unusual
feelings at the time of infusion.

Have your Oncologist on speed dial == journal side efforts, discomfort,
and concerns.

Please note: a list of possible side efforts, which should be presented to
you before your first chemo infusion

It is so important to remain and continue hydration, water - water, and more
water. Splash in a little lemonade, cranberry juice -- or prepackaged crystal
light, or Lipton Tea into your water as an alternate to just plain water.

Herbal Tea's also work for a change of pace.

If you are getting the neulasta shot -- Please ask your Oncologist about taking
a benadryl -- or claritin -- which many of us === swear by -- as they help alleviate that
'just run over by a truck' aches and pains - some of us experience from the
neulasta shot.

Ask for prescriptions for nausea and vomiting -- as well as diarrhea.

Plastic silverware is a must --- helps with that metallic taste we get that
comes with chemo therapy.

biotin toothpaste and mouthwash is a daily essential
(available at most Target's or Walmart's).

To help prevent mouth sores -- suck on ice chips during all chemo treatments.

Food is subjective -- depending on your personal needs and taste buds .. What
taste good or was tolerable 1 week -- changed for me, the very next. I could not
tolerate any foods with sugar, i.e. ketchup, or cola's.

Whole grains, potatoes, and fruits sit better with
most folks compared to meat, fat, and spicy dishes. Small custards (like egg
custard, corn custard, pumpkin pie custard) might go down easily and provide
protein and needed calories.

The old fashioned/original kind of oatmeal tastes a whole
lot better than the instant kind, but that depends if you have the time and
energy to make it.

Precook small snacks or meals, and freeze.

Rest when you can, as some chemo queens have bouts of insomnia -- Oncologist
can also provide prescription to help you sleep.

Take goodies to entertain yourself during your infusions -- games, books,
friend, a snack, IPOD, laptop ...

Vicki Sam

tommaseena's picture
Posts: 1771
Joined: Feb 2009

Vicki Sam--that wasn't 2 cents that was worth a hell of alot more than that. HA-HA Just kidding---wealth of information.

I not only used plastic ware I also tried to cook in glassware when I could.
Always keep plastic ware in your purse or car--not all restaurants have plastic ware--I found that out and I nearly kicked myself in the butt for not having plastic ware with me.

Claritin--big must---I have been off chemo and Herceptin since 7/2010 and still use claritin everyday--and when I miss a couple of days I know it--bones hurt like I was run over.

I used to do housework differently as well and still do it that way--seems easier--one day I would do the bathrooms, next day living room, dining room, next day bedrooms--you get the idea---before treatment I did it all in one day--not anymore--I want to be able to have time to myself and my son everyday so if I do some cleaning each day it doesn't seem so bad.

For meals--I preferred spicy stuff because I couldn't taste anything so the spicier the better. I would cook several meals on Sundays and then freeze. I ended up cooking meals for myself and then other meals for my son because he couldn't eat the spicy stuff.

If people ask you for help--take them up on the offer--I didn't because I am stubborn and did do it myself. If they want to cook a meal for you and send it over-let them.


Gabe N Abby Mom's picture
Gabe N Abby Mom
Posts: 2415
Joined: Sep 2010

Drink lots of water...I can't stress this one enough.

Pepcid AC (or the generic) for heartburn...check with your onc first.

Chemo is cummulative, fatigue and other side effects can build as you have more treatments. So rest when you need to...don't try and "push through it"

Exercise when you can...even if it's only a walk to the end of the driveway. A little exercise when you have the energy will give you even more energy.

Eat small amounts frequently, whatever appeals at the moment. I had more nausea when my stomach was empty, and less when there was something in my stomach.

If help is offered, accept it. If people ask how they can help, give them a couple of suggestions...mow the lawn, vacuum, a ride somewhere, take the kids, fix a meal.

Remember to thank your caregivers. They often like suggestions for how to help too. In many ways this is harder on them than it is on you. They often feel helpless, and they worry.

Have fun and do things you enjoy when you're feeling good. Don't let chemo steal your joy.

Every thing else I can think of has already been mentioned.



tommaseena's picture
Posts: 1771
Joined: Feb 2009

I remembered one or two more things that I did:
When my hair came out and there was still some rubble after shaving those little pieces can hurt so I used a lint brush(tape type) to take those little buggers off my scalp.

Moisturize--skin can dry out.

VickiSam's picture
Posts: 9080
Joined: Aug 2009

I forgot about that rubble left on our scalps after hair loss.

The things we forget as times goes on!

Vicki Sam

Gabe N Abby Mom's picture
Gabe N Abby Mom
Posts: 2415
Joined: Sep 2010

baby shampoo on your scalp after hair is gone.

VickiSam's picture
Posts: 9080
Joined: Aug 2009

you may also want to try neutrogena - T-Gel shampoo ..

Posts: 1191
Joined: Dec 2010

bumping up


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