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How to Prepare Yourself for Chemotherapy
The best way to prepare for the long and hard battle against cancer is by equipping yourself with knowledge and surrounding yourself with love, positivity, and strength. The days in the hospital or the clinic as you receive chemotherapy may be long but they do not have to be fearsome if you are well prepared to deal with the side effects and believe that you will come out as a victor and not merely remain a survivor. Here are some tips from experts about the ways you can prepare, the steps you can take to best tide over your chemotherapy cycles –
Equip yourself with knowledge
Before you start your chemotherapy treatment, be it oral medication, IV infusions, ports, or any other method of delivery, do discuss the specific choice of drug, its side effects, and the intended result with your doctor. The oncologists at Care Hospitals are among the best cancer doctors in India and are experienced at patient care. They will explain in detail the treatment plan and what you can expect at this time.
Manage your finances/insurance work
The most important part of getting through your treatment without disruptions is to manage your finances. Gather your funds for the treatment and inform your insurance company of your plans. Check with your employer if you are eligible for employee insurance plans. If you have medical insurance cover your hospital will help you with your claims.
Clear your schedule
It is important to clear your schedule and to take your mind off work and daily chores. Apply for medical leave if you are eligible for these. Pack a bag which contains comfortable clothes, towels and wipes, reading material, music, a notepad, all you medical documents, a snack, and some body lotion.
Most of us find it difficult to ask for help. You will be surprised about the number of people willing to come forward when we ask. Enlist the help of a family member or a friend to drive you to and from the hospital and to help you through the first few days. Similarly, it may help to enlist some help to take care of pet and entrust your partner or friend with baby care.
Plan regular household activities and stock up on groceries. You may want to cook a few meals and freeze them beforehand. It also helps to stock up on high protein snacks, fruits, and nuts to help when you feel very weak. It also helps to hire a domestic helper or someone to run errands on days you do not feel up to the job.
Visit a dentist
A common side effect of chemotherapy is oral sores. It is important to visit a doctor and go for a comprehensive dental check before you embark on your chemotherapy treatment. You will also want to avoid any possible infections during chemotherapy. It is important to ask your dentist about remedies and treatments for mouth sores during chemotherapy.
Consider buying a wig
Hair loss is a common side effect of chemotherapy. Many of those undergoing chemotherapy prepare beforehand and buy a wig that suits their style. You may also consider cutting your hair short before you undertake chemotherapy or at least buy a scarf.
Prevention and protection
It is important to remember that chemotherapy compromises the immune system. This means that you will need to protect yourself from germs and infections as you go through chemotherapy. It is a good idea to stock up on cleansing wipes and disinfectants. It is also important to educate friends and family to keep a distance when they are suffering from the flu or other infections.
It is important to address all your questions to your cancer specialist in Hyderabad or any other major city hospital. Some chemotherapy medicines may affect fertility. If you plan to have a family, it is a good idea to ask about this. It is also important to check with the doctor about practicing safe sex.