How to prepare for your Cancer Journey

Beginning treatment maybe daunting and anxious time. Knowing how to prepare and what to expect during treatment can help decrease these feelings, as well as focusing on your mental health. Learning how to cope and reduce anxiety and depression can benefit you greatly!

By going into treatment with a calm and relaxed mind will help bring positivity and can even reduce some of the side effects created by treatment. Not knowing is what can make stress worse, so it's important to know how treatment will work, what options you have and what help you can get.

You may feel like you have no control, but you can get some control back. The more you know the more involved you will feel with your treatment. Start off by creating a plan for treatment with your doctor. Discuss the following points:

  • What will happen during treatment?
  • How long treatment will take.
  • What the potential side effects are.
  • What is the ultimate goal of your treatment?

Having a plan will lower your anxiety and answer some questions you may have.  You will also be able to plan around your day to day life to make things easier. But not all frustration and anxiety before and during treatment is actually about cancer, but about the practical concerns. It can become hard to come to terms that you might not be able to do everything, but always remember it is okay to ask for help!

To make life easier and more comfortable, think about how you will take care of yourself at home. What are the things you might need help with?

 Housework 
  • Plan ahead and prioritise things that need doing most.
  • Pace yourself and take breaks. Don't over do it, as side effects can become worse. 
  • Spread tasks out over the week. 
Shopping 
  • Ask family or a friend to help with the food shop. They can do it online for you, if you are not able to look at food due to nausea. 
  • Make a list before, so you do not waste energy or time.
  • Ask shop staff for help packing and carrying groceries to the car.
Preparing Meals 
  • Sit when preparing food. 
  • Prepare extra dishes or double portions of food and freeze them for when you need them.
Washing & Dressing
  • Have a bath, if you don't have the energy to stand.
  • Ask your doctor if they can give you a shower chair. 
  • Where clothes that are easy to take on and off.
  • Sit down when getting dressed or ironing. 
Ask for Help 
  • You might need to ask people to help with specific jobs, like picking up the kids, walking the dog or cutting the grass. 
  • You might need someone to drive you to and from treatments. You might feel fine after a session but this can change at anytime. The other benefit of bringing someone with you is for emotional support. 

 

Important Tip:

If you are having chemo, the first 48 hours after treatment, small amounts of chemotherapy drugs will leave your body through urine, vomit and other body fluids. It is important to keep these chemicals away from yourself and others in your home. Ask your doctor if you have any questions or check out our 'Chemotherapy Safety at Home' blog post.