10 things to pack in your chemo bag

Written by Jen Hardy on 15th June, 2022

Jen was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer in 2017

It took me a while to get my chemo list of things exactly right. My husband used to tease me that some people would be in the ward there with a wee carrier bag, and I’d be there with a hold-all, laden down with blankets and hats and spare clothes ‘just in case’.

So here we go, Jen's top ten things to pack in your chemo bag:

1. Comfy clothing

Joggers, leggings, tshirts, cardigans or hoodies with zips so that you can easily take them off and on as your temperature changes. You will have your blood pressure taken so try and wear something that is thin so the wrap can go over your arm, or something that is easily pushed out of the way. Remember you will be hooked up to your iv chemo so it will be difficult to pull things over your head to get them off.

2. Blanket

You may get a blanket on the ward if you need one, but there’s nothing like taking in your own special comfy cosy blanket to cosy under. I guess as well as keeping you warm, it can be a bit of a security blanket too.

3. Hat

My head is always cold so I usually have a hat with me at all times. If you start to lose your hair with chemo your head is likely to be more susceptible to the cold. So a hat will definitely help.

3. Scarf

My temperature used to fluctuate a lot so I always liked having a scarf handy. Comfort is everything when you’re having chemo.

4. Moisturiser and lip balm

Your skin will likely become a bit drier with chemo so it’s useful to have some moisturiser and lip balm in your bag that you can keep applying throughout the day.

5. Snacks

You can get peckish if you’re in for a while so treat yourself to some yummy snacks to keep you going.

6. Drinks

It can be thirsty work so take in something to drink. There will usually be water, juice, teas and coffees in the ward, but it’s always nice to take your own too.

7. Magazines

Get the easy to read ones, something with lots of pictures and not too many words. Chemo can be hard on your brain so take it easy.

8. Noise cancelling headphones

It can be a noisy place the chemo ward. Nurses and patients and machines. Teas and coffees and chatter. Top of my list was always my noise cancelling headphones. For when you just want to shut out the world, curl up and rest. And block out the noise, especially that beeping of the iv machines!

10. Phone/iPad/tablet

Watch a movie, listen to a podcast or an audiobook. Make sure to download them before you head in - sometimes hospital wifi can be a bit sporadic. Oh and remember your chargers!

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