What to Expect on Chemo Day

Posted by Sara Liyanage on 02 October 2017

Just a quick checklist list here:

  1. Wear something comfortable with easy access to your port, PICC line or cannula. You may find that you get hot and cold during the treatment so it is worth wearing layers that you take off/put on to ensure you are comfortable.
  2. Ask someone to take you and bring you home in case you don’t feel up to driving or if you need help on public transport.
  3. Take your hospital chemo book that the hospital needs to fill in.
  4. Relax. Try some of Sara’s relaxation tips.
  5. You may be sent home with more anti-sickness tablets and steroids. Make sure you know the instructions for taking these.
  6. Don’t forget your chemo bag.
  7. Drink lots and lots of water on the day and for 24 hours after.
  8. The time that you spend at the hospital will be significantly longer than the time you are having the chemo infusion. Much of the time is taken up with pre-chemo tests such as blood tests, weight, maybe an ECG (echo cardiogram) and such. You will also need to hang around waiting for medication from the pharmacy to take home. If you’re doing the coldcap then you’ll need to be prepared for that which can take a while. So allow for a much longer length of time that just the time of the infusion.
  9. Everyone reacts differently to chemo. One of our Twitter followers recommended taking a sick bucket in the car for the journey home just in case sickness happens before you arrive home. Don’t worry about this. It doesn’t happen to everyone, and the chemo team give you a lot of anti-sickness medication. But it might be best to be prepared. On the other hand, a lot of people find that there is a lag between having chemo and the nausea setting in – you can even feel ok for the rest of the chemo day and only feel nauseous when you wake up the following day. Everyone is different.

It will be OK! And remember that each chemo cycle is one down and you are closer to the end of treatment.

If you need to have immunity boosting injections – holding a bag of frozen veg on the area to numb it before you do the injection, is said to help (thanks to one of our Twitter followers for this gem of advice).

Note: Sara’s number 1 tip for someone about to embark upon chemotherapy or already undergoing it is to get a copy of “Braving Chemo: What to Expect, How to Prepare and How to Get Through It” by Beverly A. Zavaleta MD (available from Amazon and other book stores). For my full review of this book see Breast Cancer Book Reviews.

The information and content provided on this page is intended for information and educational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice.

Reviewed August 2021


Claire diagnosed in 2016
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