Saturday, 4 March 2017

HOW TO PREPARE YOURSELF FOR CHEMOTHERAPY

Chemotherapy is likely to upset your family life and normal routine. Making a recovery plan in advance can alleviate stress and reduce impact of chemo on your emotional and physical health.


Chemotherapy is not a once- only event. It involves a lifetime of commitment. It is a lifelong journey- and like all other journeys, it needs planning to avoid a bumpy ride. While impact of chemo varies from person to person, here are a few practical suggestions to prepare for the impact of treatment:

ASK QUESTIONS:

Discuss procedure with health care giver: When you go to meet your doctor, you can ask him or her following relevant questions:

•    What are the chemotherapy medications I have to take?
•    What side-effects can I expect from medication?
•    Will it cause hair loss?
•    Do I need medication to reduce side-effects?
•    Will I have to deal with prescriptions?
•    How much time will I need to spend at the clinic?
•    What is average cost of chemotherapy in India?
•     Can I eat before coming for treatment?
•    What to do with my regular medication?
•    What medicine should I avoid?
•    Who to contact if I face any problem?

PREPARATION FOR CEHMOTHERAPY:
  •  Visit the dentist: this is a must, if you require dental work. Medications for chemotherapy can increase risk of infections and one must avoid dental work during this process. The dentist may also give you advice on how to deal with mouth problems caused by chemotherapy.
  • Conduct a Pap smear:  In case you are a woman preparing for chemo, it may be good to conduct your yearly pap smear before the treatment. This is to avoid faulty results. At times, chemo can impact the cells of the cervix from 6 months to 1 year following chemo.
  • Arrange for a wig: If you are likely to lose hair after chemo, arrange for a wig in advance. This is much easier before therapy.  You can get a stylist to arrange a wig that matches your natural hair. Sometimes wigs can be covered by insurance. For this you will need a prescription by your doctor recommending ‘cranial prosthesis’. For a wig, get references from cancer care center.
  • Arrange help from loved ones: Many chemo therapy drugs may cause you to be sleepy. In addition, chemo has different impact on people, so you cannot be sure about how you will feel. So it is best you arrange for a loved one to drive you home after treatment and help you with home needs like baby sitting or dropping children to school.
  • Arrange for comfortable clothing; for your chemo sessions, it is good to wear comfortable garments. If chemo is administered through veins in your am, wear a sleeveless outfit.
  • Apprise your boss: Discuss your treatment with your boss. Ask for flexible timings. Seek official help for availing insurance. Ask how you can arrange finances for chemotherapy treatment cost in India. Ideally, you should not quit your job as you will need the finances. If you have a financial crisis, discuss with a social worker.

These are some tips on how to prepare for chemotherapy.

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