Laura Moses was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2016, aged 27. Here Laura shares the essentials that she took to her chemotherapy sessions in the hope that it will help others going through treatment.
"I thought I would share what I keep in my chemo bag. My siblings prepared this bag for me before my very first chemo session in June, and lots of things have been added to it since.
I find this bag very handy because you never know if you will be on the chemo ward longer than anticipated. For example, you might find yourself there longer if you need IV magnesium or a blood transfusion, so it is good to have things to keep you occupied!
My mindful colouring book of swear words
This gift from my wonderful colleagues is always with me for chemo. This is book is actually permanently in my handbag because I love it so much! The words (often very explicit) in this book remind me that I am pushing ‘Cyril’ out of the boxing ring!
A wide selection of games
Including some childhood favourites! They have not only kept me occupied during chemo, and in the hospital, but also at home.
I keep a comfy pair of trousers (on loan from my sister) and a hoodie (on loan from my brother) in my bag. The trousers are handy if I find myself on the chemo ward for a lot longer than planned, and the hoodie is handy when I have the cold cap on.
Jennifer Young mint foot cream
I got this product using the vouchers that my school generously gave me when I started my chemotherapy. Jennifer Young specialises in beauty products for chemotherapy treatment. I keep this is my bag because my wonderful auntie gives me fantastic foot massages, which I find very relaxing when having chemo.
A very cool bag (a gift from friends)
It's full of jelly beans and other sweet things. This comes in handy after I've had my premeds, two paracetamol, Lorazepam and my anti sickness tablet. This is because I have five minutes or so where I feel like I am drunk and often end up in fits of giggles! These few minutes take me back to my Birmingham University days, and the nights that proved I could not handle too much alcohol; one of which resulted in me falling asleep on the floor of a toilet cubicle in a club! For the purpose of this trip down memory lane, I have included a photo from that infamous night...
I find them more comfortable than shoes when you are sitting down for long periods of time. Grip on the bottom of shoes or socks is important on the ward as hospital floors are often slippery.
These are always in my bag because I have found music is very calming for me, particularly when I feel very anxious, and it feels like my heart is popping out of my chest.
Wooden comb, Paxman conditioner and soft headband
I have these because I am using the cold cap during the treatment. The nurses use the comb when they prep my hair for the cold cap and they put the Paxman conditioner on. The headband helps to make the cold cap feel more comfortable because it covers my ears and avoids them from freezing!
My siblings got me this journal before chemo began in June and started it with a childhood photo. It is now full of messages of support and photos. I keep it with me at chemo because I have met some very inspirational people on the ward, whose words of encouragement have been a huge help to me and they have written in my journal. This journal has become so important to me because in my low moments I can look at it, and it helps to give me the boost that I need.
I hope that sharing what I keep in my chemo bag can be of help to others. Without a doubt, this bag has been like a bag of sunshine that has helped to brighten up each chemo session. I don’t always use everything in it but knowing that I have it all there with me is always such a help."
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