Clea's Self-Care Essentials While Going Through Chemo

 I’m officially more than halfway done with chemo. I’ll start radiation in October and hopefully be cancer free by Christmas. Not only will this be the best Christmas present ever, it also means that my husband, John, is forced to take over all Elf on the Shelf related duties throughout the month of December while I relax in my recliner (aka Ruthie) watching The Holiday on repeat.  

Clea's Self-Care Essentials While Going Through Chemo

I won’t lie and say that treatment has been easy. It’s been hard. But the silver lining is that my worst days make the good days even better. I’ve never been someone who likes to take breaks, but cancer taught me to do so without guilt. Sure, I may need a nap, or a chair, or take longer to get from point A to point B, but by listening to my body and making self-care a priority, I’m able to show up where and when it matters most. For instance, to embarrass Stella and fully lean into my cheer mom truth: 

Which is why I want to share some of the self-care essentials that continue to guide me toward the light at the end of th
e tunnel. They’ve helped me and can help you, too! Not all of the items on this list are strictly for chemo patients but rather things that provide comfort on the cloudiest of days, whatever that means for you. Let’s get into it!

1. Ice Mitts

So, here’s a not so fun fact: One of the side effects of chemotherapy, specifically Taxol, is neuropathy (aka nerve damage). To avoid this, they recommend cold therapy, which is when these ice mitts enter the chat. I deeply dislike wearing them but they get the job done. They also make me look like that Bernie Sanders meme, which I guess you could say is a plus.

Ice Mitts ($34.99)

2. Ice Socks

Another cold therapy product that I deeply dislike but gets the job done. 

Ice Socks ($24.99)

3. Port Access Shirts

When all I have to do is unzip my shirt to get chemo, it’s less effort for me and also my nurses. Care + Wear is my favorite brand so far.  They are extremely comfortable, pair well with yoga pants, and come in a variety of colors. They even have a designer line from Oscar De La Renta. If I’m getting chemo, then I might as well make it chic. FYI: These shirts are also perfect for someone who is breastfeeding. 

Care + Wear x Oscar de la Renta Port Access Hoodie ($95)

Care + Wear Port Access Shirts ($53)

4. Satin Turbans

As much as I love my wigs, headwraps are easier to manage when I’m on zero battery. Not surprisingly, I have one in every color and it’s only a matter of time before I give them names and personalities. Stay tuned. 

SILKE London Satin Turban ($65)

Twist Headwrap ($10)

Velvet Headband ($11.93)

5. Barefoot Dreams Socks

If I tell you about a cozier pair of socks, I would. But I can’t. These are worth every penny. 

Barefoot Dreams Socks ($12.92)

6. Cozy Blanket

I give this one a 10/10 considering it keeps me warm when I’m wearing LITERAL ICE ON MY HANDS AND TOES. 

Cozy Blanket ($39.99)

Travel Blanket ($29.95)

Minky Couture Hugs Blanket ($109)

7. Cardigan

Much more practical than a bathrobe. (Sorry, Joanna!) Here’s my recent go-to. It looks and feels identical to Barefoot Dreams but is a lot more affordable! 

Barefoot Dreams Cardigan ($61.32)

Cardigan with Pockets ($41.98)

8. Queasy Pops

The plant extracts in these lollipops help reduce nausea. Not sure the science behind it but whoever invented them deserves some kind of award. Honestly, I suggest everyone keep a few on hand at all times.

Queasy Pops ($19.98)

9. Aquaphor

Chemo can also make your skin super dry, so it’s smart to go back to basics and stay away from anything with essential oils or a harsh fragrance. Aquaphor is my favorite because I’m all about an all-purpose solution. I use it on my entire body, even as a lip balm. Right now, I have my purse Aquaphor, my home Aquaphor, and a car Aquaphor. Thankfully, it’s affordable and available in multi-packs! (Side note: I’m weird about texture and thought I would hate anything that described itself as an “ointment” but I’m pleasantly surprised!) 

Aquaphor ($23.91)

Aquaphor Travel Size ($4.99)

Aquaphor Tub ($20.88)

10. Large Totes

Stoney Clover Lane is one of my favorite brands of all time. They sent me a personalized bag right when I started chemo and it makes me happy everytime I look at it. But most importantly, it fits everything I need to take back and forth from treatment. 

Stoney Clover Large Tote ($295)

Stoney Clover Mini Tote ($158)

11. Colleen Hoover Books

 It’s impossible to go anywhere these days without someone recommending Colleen Hoover books. So, here I am, recommending them. They are suspenseful and interesting, which makes them the perfect distraction. I read them all on my Kindle but here are links to the physical copies for the paper people:

It Ends With Us ($10.26)

Verity ($11.26)

Ugly Love ($10.40)

12. Snack Pouch

 I’ll never leave the house without my emergency purse snacks, specifically tortillas. You just never know! These are my go-to pouches for keeping food fresh and avoiding any spillage. 

Snack Pouch ($22.99)

Stasher Reusable Storage Bags ($65)

13. AirPods Pro

True crime podcasts have always been my favorite way to unwind. I listen with AirPods due to the fact that some people are disturbed by the gory details? Hm, can’t relate. Another plus: Since they are cordless, I can wear them under my headwrap and nothing gets in the way during treatment. 

AirPods Pro ($179)

Casetify AirPods Case ($35)

Silicone Case ($6.19)

14. Reclining Chair

My rock, my queen, my everything. We’ve been through some tough times together and she always has my back. Even though mine is a rental from a medical supply store, she’s family nonetheless. Linking one from Amazon if you want to go that route.

Reclining Chair ($179)

I could keep going with this list but I’m tired and need a nap. If you have anything to add, please share in the comment section below! And once again, thank you to everyone for your continued support - it means the world to me and my entire family. This community has been more of a self-care essential than any of the items I listed above. Love you, mean it! 

Thoughts welcome!

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

Lauren Linn (September 12, 2022 at 12:37PM)

God Bless you. I am coming up on my 8 years cancerversary. Be well and be kind to yourself.

Rosie (September 07, 2022 at 12:45PM)

Prayers for wellness. In this journey, may you find the blessings that are hidden along the path. Be perfectly present and at peace with yourself; it is a breathing exercise to relieve stress and empower you.

Lori (September 07, 2022 at 12:45PM)

Thank you for the list. I see my med oncologist for the first time on the 15th after I see the surgeon on the 7th. I have been wondering what I will need without making me look like I am setting up shop. Those lollipops look like something I will need.

Tracy (September 07, 2022 at 12:45PM)

I was just diagnosed with breast cancer. This is so helpful. I added many of these items to my cart.

Kerri (September 07, 2022 at 12:45PM)

Did you lose your eyebrows and eyelashes? You look fabulous!!! Can you share what you use if you did lose them? I’m assuming you did…but whatever you are using looks like you did not! For me, losing my hair was okay….but the eyelashes and eyebrows really made me sad:(.