Preparing for Cancer Treatment
If you have been diagnosed with cancer, it’s important to prepare for any potential treatment ahead. Even taking small steps can improve your sense of well-being and control. Here are some of the most important things to think about before treatment starts.
Learn More About Your Cancer Treatment
Now more than ever, it’s important you know what to expect in the months ahead. That’s where your RMCC cancer care team comes in. We will help you understand your diagnosis, explain your treatment choices, and address any questions or concerns you have. We will also provide you with resources to learn more about your specific type of cancer.
Make a List
During treatment, you’ll have a lot on your plate so it can be hard to remember everything. Because of this, it’s a good idea to plan ahead for what you can, jotting things down so they aren’t forgotten.
Start by making a list of all the things you normally do in a day or a week. Keep a notebook close by so you can jot down things you forgot to put on the list. Some examples include:
- Buy groceries
- Pack school lunches
- Take children to and from school and extracurricular activities
- Walk dogs
- Cook dinner
- Do laundry
Create a separate list of help you might need during your treatment, such as rides to your appointments.
Once you’ve put together your list, you can use MyLifeLine, now a part of the Cancer Support Community, to ask for support. MyLifeLine is a private online “community” that is offered in this region through Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers. Once you set up an account, you can create events and ask for volunteers. Events include items such as meals, rides, visiting hours, and caregiver relief days – which you can easily customize. Each event can be set as recurring, if needed, and you can designate the number of volunteers needed.
In addition to setting up a calendar, you can post updates, photos, and requests for financial support. All funds collected go directly to the patient through a private account they set up like PayPal or Zelle—without any funds going to MyLifeLine.
MyLifeLine is completely private, allowing only the patient or caregiver to share the site with others.
A strong and steady support network is crucial during this time. Throughout your cancer journey, you’ll feel mentally and physically exhausted, and will need the emotional (and sometimes physical) support of people close to you.
- RMCC offers support groups which are a great resource for information as well as a way to connect with people going through the same thing.
- Have friends or family help you with planning things out. An extra set (or two) of eyes can cover more bases.
- Contact friends and family or hire a housekeeper to assist you with chores such as cleaning, cooking, laundry, and more.
- If needed, hire a caregiver to administer medication on a regular basis or to help you with activities such as eating or bathing.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help! You might feel like an imposition but the truth is, it’s tough to get through treatment by yourself. People are almost always happy to lend a helping hand— but unless you tell them what you need, they can’t.
Practice Healthy Habits
Take note of your mental and physical health. Are you doing all you can to maintain your quality of life? Prior to treatment, make sure to eat nutritious foods and exercise if you can. For improved mental health, consider yoga, meditation, or talking to a therapist. It’s important to understand that how you feel during treatment can stem from how you feel going into it, so try to stick with these good habits as much as you can.
Prepare a Treatment Bag
If chemotherapy is part of your treatment plan, you might be uncertain about what to expect. One way to ease your anxiety, though, is to pack a chemo bag with things that will make you feel comfortable, well-nourished, and entertained. Some items to consider for your bag could include:
- Electronics and headphones
- Books and/or magazines
- Activity books (coloring book, crossword, mind games, etc.)
- Blanket and/or pillow
- Hat, beanie, or scarf
- Water bottle
- Favorite healthy snacks
- Nausea relief such as mints, gum, ginger chews, or peppermint essential oil
- Personal care products like fragrance-free lotion, lip balm, toothbrush, and toothpaste
Keep in mind that we at Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers are here to help. Be sure to talk with your oncologist or cancer care team about what to expect so you can prepare in the best way possible for your specific situation.