Tips To Prepare For Your First Chemotherapy Session

Posted on: 13 May 2015

About 14 million people each and every year are informed they have cancer.  If you are one of these people, then an oncologist can provide you with information on your type of cancer and the types of treatments available to you.  A large majority of individuals with cancer are asked to consider chemotherapy.  Chemotherapy is a type of cancer therapy where cancer killing drugs are pumped into the body.  The oncology treatment is highly effective, but there are some side effects that may be quite bothersome.  Make sure to prepare for your first chemotherapy session to minimize how these side effects affect your daily life.

Eat Healthy Meals

It is commonly known that chemotherapy drugs cause both nausea and vomiting.  This occurs, because the chemotherapy drugs cause serotonin to be released in the small intestine.  This neurotransmitter, along with other chemicals released, force signals to be sent to the brain that indicate there is a harmful substance in the body.  You then feel nauseous and you may vomit.  This overwhelming feeling of nausea can stop you from eating healthy foods immediately after a chemotherapy session.  Good nutrition supplies the body with energy, and it helps you fight the cancer in your body.  This is why it is important to eat nutritious foods before you start chemotherapy.

Good Meal Plans

To make sure you are supplying your body with the nutrition it needs, consider changing your eating habits a month or two before you start chemotherapy.  Start planning your meals by choosing a lean protein like salmon, tuna, halibut, or chicken breast.  Protein is required to build and rebuild cells in the body.  Fish has the added benefit of providing you with omega-3 fatty acids that promote heart health.  

Pair a whole grain with the protein.  Whole wheat bread and rice are good options to provide the body with fiber, iron, zinc, phosphorous, magnesium, and selenium.  Add healthy fruits and vegetables as well.  Some of the healthiest and most nutritiously dense fruits and vegetables include pomegranates, broccoli, kale, blackberries, blueberries, apples, brussel sprouts, tomatoes, and avocados.  Drink a glass or either almond milk or regular milk to add calcium and vitamin D to your meal plan.

Foods to Eat After Chemotherapy

After you have started to eat healthy meals, make sure to stock your pantry with healthy foods that are easy to digest.  Bland foods are also a good option to reduce vomiting concerns after your first chemotherapy session.  Some foods to stock up on include eggs, tofu, applesauce, plain steamed vegetables, saltine crackers, soup, oatmeal, and vanilla pudding.  Eat several small meals after chemotherapy to reduce nausea, and make sure to drink plenty of water and ginger tea.  Ginger tea can reduce nausea and water will keep you hydrated.

Reduce Germ Exposure

It is imperative you limit your exposure to germs while you go through chemotherapy.  You can reduce exposure by visiting with friends and family the days and weeks before your chemotherapy begins.  Chemotherapy weakens the immune systems by damaging healthy cells in the body along with cancer cells.  Your body will repair itself, but an infection or virus can lengthen the healing process substantially.  You also may become extremely ill.  Viruses and harmful microorganisms are spread from person to person, so limiting your exposure to people will help to keep you healthy.

If your friends want to help you, ask them to share a meal that can be frozen for later use.  Also, ask them to allow you to rest until your first round of chemotherapy is over.

Clean Your House

Another good way to reduce bacteria and virus exposure is to clean your house thoroughly a few days before your first chemotherapy session.  Use soap and warm water to clean areas rarely touched or see only small amounts of foot traffic.  Disinfect areas touched often or exposed to garbage, food, or human wastes.  Use bleach to wash floors, toilets, sinks, garbage cans, and other germ infested areas.  Use vinegar to wash countertops, kitchen tables, and other surfaces that come into contact with food.