I have always been someone who worries about what to wear. Especially when deciding on what to wear to chemotherapy.
As someone who has a struggle matching colors, I often rely on the help of friends. I’m notorious for popping into their messages with outfit upon outfit, to see if it looks good. It wasn’t any different when it came to chemotherapy starting. I went straight to Pinterest and Google on what to wear.
Now that I have been through 7 cycles of chemotherapy, I have a better understanding of what to wear to chemotherapy. I hope this article helps you if you are about to go to your first chemotherapy or want to help someone you know. Here are five tips to consider when choosing that first outfit!
5 Tips For Dressing For Chemotherapy
1. Dress Comfortable
Comfort is the most important thing!! Make sure you are comfortable with whatever you decide to wear. You will be sitting in a recliner chair for a while, while you receive treatment. My treatment took about 3 hours to complete each time. In my head, I want to be as comfortable as if I am sitting on my couch at home relaxing.
I usually wear some leggings, joggings, or shorts with no buttons or zippers. Everything is super stretchy since I am sitting for an extended period. Comfort trumps everything else. Everyone’s definition of comfort is different; figure out yours and lean into it.
2. Easy access to your port or IV
To receive treatment, the nurse will need to access your port or put an IV in your arm. I had a port, and it was a lifesaver! If you will be receiving multiple cycles of chemo or in/out of the doctor’s office getting blood, get a port. You have to undergo surgery to put it in and take it out, but I think it’s worth it.
Your port is usually above your chest, and if you are getting an IV, it’s most likely in your arm. I wore v-neck shirts or slightly bigger t-shirts so they could be stretched where they needed to. If you are getting an IV, I recommend wearing short sleeve shirts so the nurse will have access to your arm.
3. Wear layers
Layers, layers, and more layers are your best friend! You never know the temperature inside the office until you get there. Even when you are there, your body goes from hot to cold the whole time. Plus, the treatment you are receiving will affect your body temperature. Fluids will make you feel colder, and having clothes or blankets to put on is very helpful.
Usually, the oncology office where you receive treatment has heated blankets which are amazing! I typically wear a long sleeve shirt, long pants, and a sweater cardigan/jacket. I also bring my blanket, which makes me comfier and warmer.
4. Make sure your pants are easy to take off and put back on
Once you sit in the chair to get your chemotherapy, you will be attached to an IV machine on wheels. In my case, I got about five fluid bags, including all the pre-chemo drugs and my actual chemo drugs. All those fluids going into your body will probably make you have to pee, and don’t hold it until you’re all done. You can unplug your machine, ask a nurse for help, and wheel it into the bathroom with you.
It can be weird to be still attached to the machine and try to go to the bathroom. I was super nervous the first time I had to do it. My advice is to wear pants you can easily slip off. I was already nervous about somehow ripping out my port access, so not having to worry about my pants was terrific!
5. Make it fun and be yourself!!
I am sure you can think of a million other things you want to be doing instead of getting chemotherapy. I tried to make it as fun as I could if that was even possible. My sister-in-law got me a fun wig that was colored purple, which I would wear sometimes. My nurses had to do a double-take sometimes to see if it was me! I would also wear fun shirts. My other sister-in-law got me ‘this is my cancer-fighting shirt,’ and I had one made that said, “Fight like Katie,” along with my hashtag #livingamidstlymphoma.
On my last day of scheduled chemo, I went all out. Not only was it my previous scheduled chemo, but it was my 33rd birthday! I wore my fun-colored purple wig, a fun hair accessory, and one of my shirts made for me!
I hope these five tips help you when trying to figure out what to wear to your chemotherapy appointments! The most important tip is to be comfortable! The whole adventure you are undergoing isn’t fun or fair. We don’t have much control at this time of our lives, but at least we can control what we are wearing!
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5 Tips On What To Wear For Chemotherapy