Chemo is a different experience for every patient, and I know for me, I had no idea what to expect, let alone what to bring, to my first treatment session. After I finished my hefty avocado toast (it’s jam-packed with potassium which is vital during treatment), I walked into the hospital with my laptop, headphones, journal and a handful of healthy snacks all in my Caraa sport backpack. Like anything else, I began to adapt to a routine before and during every chemo session. For example, packing your bag the night before is a minute, but critical detail, because, at least for me, there were some early call times and I felt exhausted and extremely slow.
I continued to add useful products to my chemo pack every session and now, having been through 5 extensive treatment sessions, I feel like I have a fairly good grasp on what to bring to make your chemo sessions, whether for one hour or eight, the most comfortable and relaxing as possible. Don’t forget to scroll all the way to the bottom for extra must-haves that aren’t necessarily sustainabily-focused, but what I believe are crucial to a successful chemotherapy session.
Radiant skin was an unexpected side-effect of my chemotherapy because the drugs were legitimately wiping all bacteria (good and bad) from my body, including my face. However, it’s inevitable that your skin will suffer. You’ll be too tired to complete every step in your ideal beauty routine and that is OKAY. Focus your strength and efforts where you need it most–kicking cancer’s ass. However, this refreshing face mist is a quick and convenient beauty hack to keep your skin refreshed, hydrated and flawless. The facial toner is jam-packed with vitamin E, antioxidants, shiitake mushroom and alpine rose that all work to defend your skin against damaging free radicals for a stronger and healthier complexion barrier. I primarily use this spray before my morning beauty routine, but this is a great product to throw in your chemo bag and integrate into your routine!
Cancer has taught me to dig deeper and fully research the products that I am using on my body– you won’t believe how many products are chemically processed and use refined ingredients that I can’t even begin to pronounce. RMS Beauty products are leading the way with, “formulated raw, food grade and organic ingredients in their natural state, allowing their living, healing attributes to penetrate and rejuvenate the skin.” Their RMS Magic Luminizer is one of my beauty go-to’s. This set of 20 individually sealed wipes are infused with their signature coconut oil and are a saving grace during chemo. Similar to the renewed feeling of taking off a day’s old layer of makeup, you’ll feel effortlessly refreshed and clean after a simple wipe down. I would sometimes rub them on my arms and body as a mini birdbath, if too tired to bathe that day.
It’s no lie that chemo takes a toll on you and your eyes. I was constantly exhausted and the dark grey bags painted under my eyes were a telling sign that I was being put through the chemo-wringer. However, these 100% Pure hydrogel eye masks are a saving grace! They are like a venti coffee for your eyes. They instantly tighten and brighten your under eyes and are extremely hydrating, “quenching your skin’s thirst.” In my opinion, eye masks are a fun and easy way to feel beautiful during chemo. I would sometimes do 3-5 a day, just for the heck of it! Some days, it was hard to look at myself in the mirror. It was almost like it was a different person staring back at me – bald, no eyelashes and barely any eyebrows. I treated and took very good care of my skin during treatment because, sadly, it was one of the only beauty components I had left to tend to. These eye masks ensure that you wipe away that tired look from your eyes during treatment. A top pick for me!
I spent on average 6 hours in chemo treatment, many days where much longer. I was always nauseous and tired so reading was not the right activity for me. I would sometimes watch TV/Netflix to pass the time, but again, I was always tired so wanted to close my eyes. That’s why headphones are a chemo treatment must-have. You can listen to musics, books, podcasts rather feeling forced to keep your eyes open. These eco-lux ear buds are crafted from real bamboo and have great sound quality. They also have a super chic design so when you are recovered and healthy you can rock them at the gym or on the streets.
Writing was, and still is, extremely therapeutic for me. It’s definitely not for everyone, but I think if you are going through a hard time (like dealing with cancer), I would highly recommend picking up a journal and writing down your thoughts or draw. I like to put my treatment behind me, but maybe one day I’ll want to look back if I’m having a hard time and remember what I went through and how I persevered. The Ogami Stone notebook is revolutionary because they are 100% tree free – yup, you read that right. These are the first notebooks made of REPAP – paper made entirely of stone. Experience a thrilling sensation as your pen glide across the silky paper – you’ll never want to put your pen down.
Kara’s Extra Chemo Must-Haves: