A woman reaches into her bag which has a tablet, water, and candy

Community Shares: Must-Have Items for Chemo Bag

Undergoing chemo is never something that people look forward to. But, with the right items, you can make an unpleasant experience much more manageable — and even comfortable. To find out what your must-have items are, we reached out on the AdvancedBreastCancer.net Facebook page and asked: “What is the number 1 item in your chemo bag?”

More than 50 of you shared what works best for you. Here are your top must-haves for chemo treatments.

Food during chemotherapy

Food was the number one response — however, everyone had a different preference for what they want to eat during treatments. Some of you like chocolate for comfort, and some like hard candies to fight nausea. Some of you like smoothies or Ensure drinks to easily get calories down. Some of you like salty snacks. Some of you like popsicles to help with the mouth sores that can show up as a result of the treatments. And some of you are eating just as you did before chemo. If you are not sure what is going to work for you, start safe and bland, as with crackers and Ensure, and slowly experiment to see what you can stomach, and even enjoy.

“Popsicles were in my bag for chemo!”

“Hard candies. Port flush makes me nauseous. I can taste it now. Have to have hard candies.”

“Water, fruits, salad, and nuts.”

“Crackers and Ensure.”

“Lunch — a salad. I always stop at Wawa for coffee, and usually just grab a to-go salad. Maybe a yogurt in the morning and a granola bar, or apple on the way home.”

Quenching your thirst during chemotherapy

Chemo makes many people especially thirsty, for several reasons. One, the side effects of chemo can include diarrhea and vomiting, which leaves someone dehydrated. Likewise, many people undergoing chemo lose appetite and thirst, which will lead to even more water loss. One way to stay feeling well is to keep drinking water and other decaffeinated beverages before and during treatment.

“Water. I get so thirsty!”

“Water, favorite munchies, and music.”

“Bottle of Sprite.”

Comfort during chemotherapy treatments

Cold environments tend to be more sterile, so of course many areas of the hospital are cold. But for chemo patients, this is especially uncomfortable. Wool hats and socks, and of course blankets help a lot. And we love the idea of an electric blanket! Plus, a blanket, electric or otherwise, adds a feeling of comfort and safety to an uncomfortable event.

“Blankets and socks! Infusion centers are COLD!”

“A snuggly blanket!”

“Electric blanket.”

Distractions during chemotherapy treatments

One pro tip for sure is to bring something to keep you entertained. An iPad or laptop works well, especially when the nurses can share the WiFi password to the chemo areas. Or, you can download a few TV shows or movies to the device so you have options for your visit.

“Laptop.”

“Ipad.”

Thank you to everyone who shared. We appreciate all these suggestions!

For those of you who haven't shared, comment below and let us know what items are in your chemo bag.

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