Chemo must haves

Not really a thing you want to be doing in your lifetime,  shopping for chemotherapy side effects. Ever. But for some of us Chemotherapy will try and take over our lives for a short while. I have tried to make this journey as comfortable as possible and will try and preserve my hair as much as I can, so here is a breakdown of products that have already been tried and tested in a roundabout way and products that I will be trying throughout this journey and telling you all how I get on! I will start with hair bits and bobs first:-

Haircut Wether you are going to cold cap or not, I would suggest getting a haircut if your used to long hair. This is only if your chemotherapy will cause hair loss though. My hair is pass my shoulders, I will be getting it cut into a bob before the big day. I’ve been told by my consultant that the part at the back of your head that dips in (sorry don’t know proper word) is the part which is more than likely to shed hair, because the cold cap can’t quite reach the hair due to the dip. So keep your hair long at the back, like one length, don’t layer it up high.

Hair brushing  I Have been advised not to use a regular hair brush if cold capping, I have purchased a wide tooth comb from GHD, try not to tug on the roots of your hair when combing.

Hair washing/Styling Some people say wash your hair normally, I’m going to take advice from a lady that has successfully cold capped. She washed her hair every 10 days, sounds gross, but apparently the chemo drys out your hair, so I won’t be sporting the chip pan look (hopefully!) Never use any heat on your hair, just let it dry naturally. Use a loose scrunchie to keep it back (make sure your Bob is long enough to tie back) Use a shampoo and conditioner that is completely natural. Baby shampoo is a no go. It’s too alkaline. I have purchased A-KIN shampoo and conditioner, it’s quite pricey, But totally natural. I have tried this out already and have already found it quite drying. I will see how I get on, but may shop around for a paraben, silicone free shampoo, all singing and dancing.

Cold cap The nurses on the day unit will set all the cold cap machine up for you. You will have to spend longer having your chemo if using cold cap, this is to freeze the hair follicles prior to the infusion starting. I have been told that I will have the cap on 30 minutes before hand and 90 minutes after, successful stories say that make sure the cap is fitted well with a clearance gap of 2cm below the hairline on your forehead. If it starts to slip or you can’t feel the same amount of coldness around your scalp, then tell the nurse immediately. I will be using the Paxman scalp cooler their website is fab and has loads of hints and tips! Apparently you will loose 30-50% off your hair using the cold cap but should be OK to carry on with hair as it hopefully won’t make too much of a difference. I have pretty thick hair anyway, so hopefully I will cope with it. I have purchased a spray water bottle, to use with 50% water and 50% conditioner, try and buy a nice smelling conditioner as an extra treat. This will need to be sprayed on before the cold cap goes on, it helps take the cap off easier after its all been administered. I have also purchased a plain black towel hat type thing, my daughter has one for after swimming lessons. You just pop it on and button up at the back. The last thing you want to be doing is walking around the hospital with wet hair. Luckily for us, there are doors leading out on to the side of the hospital we can use, so I will wait there while hubby gets the car, just so I don’t bump into anyone with my towel in situ!

Comforts  so using the cold cap, it’s going to be very cold. People suggest wearing layers of clothing, rather than just a thick jumper, even in the summer. I have purchased a lovely soft grey fleece blanket, it’s silky smooth, to wrap up in whilst having the chemo. Take any hot drinks being offered and try to wear warm footwear. I have also purchased a 100% silk pillow case from Amazon for £19.99. When cold capping you need to protect your hair and at night time when your dreaming away this can be difficult. A silk pillowcase can minimise the bed head look and hopefully the knotting in the morning. I opted for the cotton backed case so it doesn’t slip from the sheet.

Nails  Acyrilics and Gel nails are a no go, this is because they already ruin your top layer of nails and chemo apparently does affect your nail bed. I have been advised to wear dark nail polish to minimise the sunlight going through to the nail. Heat doesn’t wear well when the nail beds are damaged. I have purchased some lovely nail polish in the O.P.I range called infinite shine 2. It looks like gels and goes on beautifully. I have also purchased some nail oil from beauty despite cancer. It’s a totally natural product and feels delicious. 

Deodorant/shower gel/soap Again, purchase things totally natural. You don’t want any scents in these products, nausea is a big issue when on chemo. I have purchased a roll on aloe Vera deodorant from green people.co.uk, it’s made without alcohol and pore clogging aluminium. It’s pretty expensive at nearly £10 but it will last approx 2 months. I’ve been using this since the mastectomy and give it a huge thumbs up! It’s the type of thing you can buy your teenagers as they first start using deodorant, because it’s so natural you can trust it won’t harm their skin. Shower gel you can buy from any store, I opt for the sanex 0% one, been using this since operation too, love sanex products anyway, so this one will always be in our bathroom.

Skin I used to always use any body butter or moisturising cream generally, but scent and natural products is key when having chemotherapy. Your skin will dry out and may become more sensitive. I have purchased My trusty sunflower cream from My trusty. This cream is A-Mazing! It can be used on all ages including babies over 8 weeks. It is free from parabens. It was developed by Salisbury NHS trust for patients recovering from burns and plastic surgery. It contains 5% sunflower oil and comes in unscented or lavender. I have purchased the lavender, it is £11.99 for a 250ml dispenser, it literally melts into your skin. You can use it on your face too! For my lips I have purchased a natural lip balm from Beauty Despite Cancer for £5. It’s a must have for pre chemo and beyond….

Everything else  Buy yourself Them shoes, or that bag. If it makes you feel better do it! I have purchased a wig from the NHS, I will splash out more on a wig if I do loose my hair, this is just an interim back up. I’m yet to purchase scarfs and hats as haven’t found any I particularly like and the fact I’m determined to keep my hair, so I may go down that road if needed. I would recommend some books or a kindle. I will certainly be taking mine.

For all those just starting out on the chemo train like me, good luck and Stay positive!

For those that have conquered that mission, if you have any more hints or tips please leave comment below.

**these items are not sponsored, all opinions are my own**

much love

Michelle X

 

 

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