10 Tips for Getting Through Chemotherapy

For the past 50 years, chemotherapy has played a crucial role in the ongoing battle against cancer, providing doctors and oncologists with a means to fight cancer at the cellular level. While chemotherapy saves lives, it comes with a downside in that there are numerous side effects. These vary considerably by the type of chemotherapy, but many cancer patients experience common things such as nausea and hair loss. Here are 10 helpful tips suggested by other cancer survivors on how to be a chemotherapy warrior.

 

  1. Cover in Style. Embrace your baldness in your own unique way. For some people, this means buying a high quality wig before or during chemotherapy treatment, while others pick out beautiful scarves and headwear, rocking their baldness with chic fashion statements.

 

  1. Fashion. Many patients find it empowering to let their inner fashion diva shine through while undergoing treatment. For example, wearing cute sporty leggings with a warm cashmere sweater can make you feel more positive than baggy sweatpants and a hoody. That is not to say the latter is not alright – you simply have to wear what works best for you – emotionally and physically.

 

  1. Pamper Your Skin. Pay extra attention to your skin because chemotherapy can cause it to dry out. Pamper yourself by rubbing a moisturizing body lotion on your skin and generously apply lip balm to your lips. Believe it or not, although you will experience increased dryness, chemotherapy strips the toxins from the skin, thereby leaving it as smooth as a baby’s bottom!

 

  1. Adapt Your Diet. Many patients experience weight gain because the drugs and steroids can wreak havoc on the metabolism. Adapt your diet as necessary to deal with weight gain, but don’t worry too much about counting calories. Some people find that it helps to avoid food with hormones or decide to follow a vegan diet, but you need to embrace a trial-and-error philosophy and find out what works best for you.

 

  1. Eat Several Meals a Day. Eating five small meals a day will help counteract nausea. A banana is a good food to eat if you are feeling queasy, as is ginger, which can be eaten raw, in the form of ginger ale, tea or candy. This Ginger Chew candy is one of our favorite ways to calm nausea. If you are struggling with nausea, ask your doctor to prescribe an anti nausea medication.

 

  1. Exercise. Even though it might feel like the last thing you want to do, mild exercise can help. Going for a short walk releases oxygen and endorphins that boost recovery.

 

  1. Knowledge. Educate yourself about your specific chemotherapy regimen before undergoing treatment, so you know what you can expect. It is fine to ask your medical team questions or do research yourself on reputable online websites, but don’t get overwhelmed by the details.

 

  1. Know Your Limits. Learn how to say yes, no, and ask for help when you need it. You may find that well-meaning friends want to visit when you aren’t up to it – or conversely, nobody has suggested stopping by when you could really use the support. Don’t be afraid to voice your needs and accept help when it is offered, such as when a caring neighbor offers to pick up a few groceries at the store.

 

  1. Positivity. Surround yourself with love by spending time with generally upbeat and supportive people rather than naysayers. Your spouse, family, and genuine friends won’t care what you look like because they love you and want to help you get through this trying time in any way they can.

 

  1. Future Focused. Look forward to a cancer-free future, not backwards to your diagnosis. That means not wasting time bemoaning your hair loss and viewing each completed therapy session as one step closer to getting healthier and strong. Celebrate how many chemotherapy infusions you already have under your belt rather than dwelling on how many more you must endure.

 

Related Articles:

Cancer Survivors Share Their Best Advice

Chemo & Hair Loss: A Complete Guide

Hair Loss During Treatments: Money Saving Tips

Tips to Help Your Loved One Cope with Hair Loss

Why Does Cancer Cause Hair Loss?

 

Please take a moment to ask any questions and leave us your feedback on this resource below.

6 thoughts on “10 Tips for Getting Through Chemotherapy”

  • Paula Monfalcone
    Paula Monfalcone February 27, 2017 at 7:44 am

    Thank you so much for making me feel beautiful with your unique headwear! Lost all of my hair after first chemo treatment. Still feel beautiful, because of your products. Thank you.

    Reply
  • Gail osbourne

    I start my chemotherapy journey today for ovarian cancer stage 3 and already have ordered my head covers. The information you supplied about hair loss has given me a different outlook on the outcome of hair loss, making me feel better as losing my hair would have been the biggest obstacle.

    Reply
  • Linda Bleakley
    Linda Bleakley July 8, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    Your site has been the best thing since sliced bread. Being in New Zealand we have limited availability of head covers and feel spoilt for choice with your selection.
    I have approached undergoing chemotherapy with a view to having as much fun as possible with head covers. I did manage to buy a great wig locally and have gone for a radically different style and colour - I feel great with it and puts a smile on my face. I do recommend to try something you've maybe thought of doing with your hair colour- take friends for their views and support.
    These tips are spot on. I also cut my hair short so the transition is not too traumatic. I have just shaved my hair as it was too uncomfortable to sleep with - felt like sharp pine needles and has made me feel more in control.

    Reply
  • Geraldine C.

    I love your selection on choices of headwear. I was clueless on what I was going to do about my condition. I have always since childhood had long thick hair and to all of a sudden to see it coming off like nothing was a bit depressing and scary. oh!! the culture shock of seeing myself bald and no longer have my knee length hair.
    but your website has given me hope and excitement of not thinking about the loss of my hair but the new and exciting changes I can see myself in.
    especially your tips and guides to "how to..." very informative and positive.

    thank you so much.. my coworkers even like the selection of everything you offer from wigs to accessories and they are not dealing with cancer. they want to also buy your products.

    Reply
  • Kim Mullen

    I was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer on Nov. 13 of this year. It was quite the shock !!! I have been very positive about my outcome and getting thru the treatments. I started losing my hair a few weeks after my first treatment. It was tough !! Still losing it as of today. I cut off 4 inches to make it look a bit better. Am getting to the point that I am going to shave it off completely. I am awaiting my wig and head scarf. Can't wait !!! I think your products are really great and the advice and information is great as well. Thank you all so much. I will recommend your site to my friends.

    Reply
  • Shelley Ward

    I was diagnosed with Stage 2 Breast cancer in Nov 2019. To say that my life has been turned upside is an understatement. I began losing my hair after my second treatment and began researching my various options. Headcovers has been such a blessing to me. Not only are the hats and scarves top quality, the are packaged so nicely, wrapped with a pink ribbon and each order includes a beautiful magnet with a scripture or a positive quote. This was such a nice touch! My faith in God is getting me through, along with a host of friends who love me, pray for me and even gave me a “Hattitude Party” where everyone wore hats and scarves to show their love! (Many were ordered from this company). Everyday I look in the mirror and no matter what I feel like, I make myself smile! I’m going to make it through!!!

    Reply
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