What you should bring to your chemotherapy session

Whenever you go through chemotherapy, you can be assured your health team will make sure your physical comfort is a priority.

There will be medications that will be provided to help your side effects. Nurses will be sure to check on you often to make sure you are okay.

Chemotherapy infusion side effects varies from patients so we are going to suggest to bring a bag of items with you. It can ease any anxiety you may be feeling and keep you distracted. Here are SOME items we believe you should bring to your session’s:

  1. Reading Material: We have seen patients in the past bring books of poetry, journals, motivational books, novels, and prayer books.
  2. Music/Podcasts: We suggest you to load up your iPod and phone with music, meditation apps, and podcasts.
  3. Games: Bring a deck of cards, download game apps, or boardgames.
  4. Comfy Clothes: We suggest you wear comfortable clothes like lounge wear, yoga pants, cardigan with a zip up feature, and a beanie. Infusion can make you chilly so just bring layers. Remember to bring layers of clothing that you take on and off easily. It’s just to make sure they provide easy access to your port or your arm for the infusion.
  5. Pillow: We suggest bringing a comfortable pillow to help make you feel more at ease during your appointment.
  6. Writing Material: We have seen patients bring items like coloring books, Sudoku. and word searches.
  7. Movies: Download your favorite movies because it will help pass the time.
  8. Hydration: It’s extremely important to be hydrated during your infusion, but there are many more drinks you can drink other than water. Be sure to ask your nurse what other drinks you can drink.
  9. Personal Items: Everyone will be different, but some items you can bring include: toothbrush, your medications, socks, mouthwash (for dry mouth) and lotion.
  10. Hardy Candy: Some patients can get dry mouth so sucking on a hard candy can be an easy solution.

We also found some items to gift anyone going through chemo:

One More Chemo Down Empathy Card, 1 Card, $4.50, EmilyMcDowell.com

Chimes Original Ginger Chews, 1 lb Bag, $25.94, Amazon.com

Great Bay Home Ultra Soft, Fuzzy Sherpa Stretch Knitted Bed Blanket, Twin Size, $32.99, Amazon.com

Chemo Warrior Tote Bag, $14.95, CafePress.com

Women’s Dual Chest Port Access Shirt, $45, CareAndWear.com

Black Speckled Love Your Melon Beanie, $30, LoveYourMelon.com

Lymphedema Compression Sleeve, $14.99, Amazon.com

“I Am Strong” Teal Blue Low-Cut Notes to Self Socks, $12.99, NotestoSelf.com

S’well Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle, 17 oz, $35, Amazon.com

*Thank you everydayhealth for the suggestions.

Our Wish List

Help build a bridge by donating one or more of the following items:
Office Supplies:
 
– White copy paper
 
– Note cards
 
– Post-It notes (any size)
 
– Envelopes (any size, any color)
 
– Forever stamps
 
 
Survivorship Bag Supplies:
 
– Healthy snacks
 
– Hand sanitizer
 
– Refillable Water Bottles/Tumblers
 
– Hand moisturizer
 
– Soft body measuring tape
 
– Reusable Tote Bags
 
 
Please send these much needed items to the following address:
 
Bridge Breast Network
 
Attn: Wishlist Donations
 
4000 Junius Street
 
Dallas, Texas 75246
 
You can order online using AmazonSmile for even bigger savings and donations.

Support Groups & Cancer

Getting the news of being diagnosed with breast cancer can be one of the hardest moments in your life. Sometimes, we even see patients find that news harder than the actual treatment process. We know and can say that attitude is the little thing that can make a big difference.  However, no one said you have to handle this news and treatment process alone. 

There are so many support groups out there, and they can focus on a variety of topics. For example, some groups can help educate and explain what your body is going through. While other groups can handle the emotional side post diagnosis. These groups are going to expect you to share your feelings because they will include other people who know exactly what you are going through. We always recommend you open up to your friends and family, but studies have shown that some of the best advice one can get is from someone who is going through something similar. 

Support groups can be held in a variety of locations like in clinics, churches, homes, and more! Other groups can even offer more than just advice, like meditation to help ease the stress of the news. 

While we always encourage all of our patients to share their feelings during this difficult time, please keep one thing in mind: there’s no right or wrong way to share your feelings. Some patients are comfortable sharing their feelings in a group setting while others feel better talking to their friends and family. We also know this news can be difficult on your loved ones so please ask us about support groups for them!

Finally, talking to a patient navigator is a great first step in finding the support group that fits you. Don’t forget, ladies and gentleman, we are always here to answer your questions so please reach out if you have any!

Here Are Ways To Track Side Effects From Chemo Treatment

Whenever you receive any treatment like chemotherapy, it’s best to talk to your doctor about your potential side effects. It can be difficult to remember what you have experience when some effects include fatigue and fogginess. It’s always best to talk to your doctor to adjust your treatment to ease the side effects. They could add or change the timing of your medications or refer you to other clinicians.

Tracking Made Simple:

We suggest for you to take a daily log of your side effects and their level of severity. Here are some steps to set yourself up for success.

  1. Ask your doctor what side effects you will have and when they will arrive.
  2. List of who to call-It’s important to have these numbers steadily available.
  3. Print online worksheets: The American Cancer Society offers a free printable chemotherapy symptom worksheet that’s as simple to fill out as checking boxes. We suggest writing down these points:
    • All symptoms you’re experiencing
    • The severity of your symptoms
    • What medications you took for the symptoms
    • What you eat and drink
    • How much you sleep at night
  4. Bring your symptoms to every doctor appointment.

Tips for Exercising with Breast Cancer!

We are going to share some ways you can exercise whenever suffering with breast cancer. We suggest low impact exercise and luckily there are different kinds you can do! For example, here are some things you can do:

  • walking
  • yoga
  • Pilates
  • tai chi
  • dancing
  • bed and couch movements

Here’s some exercising tips as you go through treatment. And don’t forget to communicate with your doctor to ensure you’re exercising at the appropriate exertion level for your condition.

1. Feel free to exercise at your own pace.
2. Small movements are perfectly fine.
3. Practice restraint
4. Don’t worry about what others think
5. Remember that exercise has its benefits

The Daisy Wheel App Teaches You How To Perform A Breast-Self Exam In 8 Easy Steps

We have learned more than 50% of women diagnosed with breast cancer find a breast lump during a breast self exam versus a mammogram, a study published in the Journal of Women’s Health reported. This should tell you how important it is to perform breast-self exams frequently. There are many ways to find how to do this and even through apps! Today, we are highlighting the app called  Daisy Wheel. This app offers a variety of educational tips like how to perform a breast-self exam and even reminds you when you should take one!  We love how this app encourages people to do perform more breast-self exams.

Even if you are getting regular mammograms, it’s still important to perform regular exams.  “Data demonstrate[s] that individual U.S. women are almost as likely as healthcare professionals to notice the first signs of breast cancer. Even as women reach the recommended age for mammographic screening, they still frequently self-detect abnormalities that lead to a breast cancer diagnosis,” the study from the Journal of Women’s Health noted.

Download the app to get started and you can still learn the eight step breast-self exam process on The Get In Touch Foundation’s website or by watching this video.

The Get In Touch Foundation offers its Daisy Wheel Program free to school nurses and health educators across the country and around the world.

Know What Is Normal For You!

All breast cancer is not found by just feeling for a lump.  Some breast cancer such as inflammatory is found on the surface of the breast.  Other cancers may be detected due to unusual nipple discharge.  As a breast cancer organization we must make sure we are providing accurate information.  Please review the attached self- breast awareness information.  Let’s share this information noting Bridge Breast Network recommends a women  practices breast self-awareness and not just look for a lump.  Know your body, know your family health history, and know who to call.  The Bridge Breast Network is here to help.

5 Things Cancer Survivors Should Know About Their Mental Health

It’s normal to feel worried, sad, afraid, or even angry after being diagnosed with cancer. Some treatments for cancer also can affect your feelings or make it hard for you to concentrate or remember things.

Since May is Mental Health Awareness Month, now is a good time to understand that mental health care is as important as caring for your physical health during and after cancer treatment.

Chemo Brain Is Real!

You may have heard about “chemo brain.” Chemo brain describes problems with thinking (cognition, memory, attention) that may occur as a result of receiving chemotherapy to treat cancer. These concerns may affect patients during or after cancer treatments. Emotional and mental health problems that survivors may face—such as depression, anxiety, stress, and trouble sleeping—can all contribute to this and make thinking and learning harder. You could have difficulty learning new facts or skills, concentrating, or remembering things during and after treatment.

It’s Important to Talk About It—Even When It’s Hard

You may feel like it’s more difficult to talk about mental health problems, or you may feel uncomfortable talking about your struggles. Maybe it’s because your family members or friends don’t talk about mental health, your cultural beliefs don’t support having mental health discussions, or you feel you should be “strong” or “brave” and keep it to yourself. Nobody is wrong for feeling one way or another, but it’s important to understand that sharing how you’re feeling mentally is just as important as sharing how you feel physically. Talk to your health care provider about how you are feeling emotionally. You may also find that support groups for cancer survivors can be helpful places where you can talk to other people with similar experiences.

Be Patient—Getting Back to “Normal” May Take Time

You may be relieved after your cancer treatment is finished, feel empowered, or have a new set of goals that you are ready to pursue. But you may also worry about life after cancer. It may take time before you are able to do some of the things you did before at work, at home, or in daily life. You may depend on other people for help more than you are used to, and you may worry about money and about your cancer coming back. If you experience these things, be patient about getting back to feeling “normal.” Be open-minded about what your “new normal” looks like—and talk to someone about it.

You Can Do Something About It…

Talk to your health care team about how you feel—not just physically, but also mentally—before, during, and after treatment. They can refer you to health care providers who can help you manage these changes. Talking to experts about ways you can adjust is very important, because mental health problems can get worse if they are ignored.

…And So Can Your Health Care Team

Your care team can assess and monitor changes in your mental health and, when indicated, link you with mental health professionals who can address concerns through talk therapy, relaxation interventions, medication, and referrals to online or in-person groups with people who may have similar experiences as you, so you know you’re not alone in going through this. Your team can also give you tips for things that might improve your mental health, like diet, exercise, and getting enough sleep.

Together, your physical and mental health care teams can help keep you as healthy as possible during this time of uncertainty and change.

By Natasha Buchanan Lunsford, PhD from the CDC website. 

Nutrition Tips During Cancer Treatments!

  1.  Beware Of Changes In Your Weight: Chemo can cause unexpected gains and losses.
  2. Go Big For Breakfast: Hunger hits harder in the morning.
  3. Change It Up: Your taste buds are going to change so experiment with food.
  4. Don’t Dodge Family: You will need family support.
  5. Colors Of The Rainbow: Be sure to fill your plate with colorful veggies and fruits.
  6. Puree: Smoothies and soups are going to be your best friend.
  7. Snack: It’s important to intake as many calories as you can.
  8. Move: It’s important to move when you can. It will boost your appetite as well.