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10 Items That Helped Me Through Chemo & Beyond

by Naomi Schwenk |

by Jessica Buscho

Abilitee Ambassador and Stage IV Colorectal Cancer Survivor, , lists her top 10 essential items for cancer treatment and recovery (including our very own Shoulder Snap Baseball Tee). Read on for more details, and let us know what comfort items you carry around in the comments below! 

1. Incrediwear Fingerless Circulation Gloves and Quarter Length Circulation Socks  These were designed for people with poor circulation (ie. diabetics), but a friend recommended them for neuropathy and/or cold sensitivity from chemo. They have allowed me to avoid this very common dose-limiting chemo side effect. On really cold days, I like to layer the fingerless gloves with my regular gloves. I’m pretty sure they’re magic but Incrediwear says they are “embedded with semiconductor elements to provide effortless comfort and exceptional durability.”

Incrediwear (Fingerless) Circulation Gloves

2. Dionis Unscented Body Lotion  This is so moisturizing and a bit thinner which makes it easier to apply than hand cream, and the unscented variety is sure not to offend your sensitive sense of smell during treatment. After treatment, there are so many great scents to try! It is made of goat milk and free from cruelty, parabens & sulfates; so you can moisturize worry-free! Dionis also makes a great unscented lip balm that is a favorite for many!

Dionis Unscented Body Lotion

3. Small Spiral Notebook & Your Favorite Pen This notebook can go from chemo bag to purse to pocket thanks to it’s small size. The spiral makes it easier to flip open and take notes quickly when your Dr. is talking at the speed of light! I love Black & Red notebooks because of their harder cover, great size and convenient strap that keeps my after-visit summary safe until I get home. Space pens are my favorite because they always work, won’t leak, and are nice and small.

4. Goodies to Keep Your Feet Warm — Erica Hager, owner of Bison Booties says, "staying warm starts in the feet," and she is right! If you’re like us and don’t wear shoes in the house (hello neutropenia) you’ll need an option for indoors and outdoors. I am partial to Bison Booties indoor slippers because they are mom-made here in the United States! They are super cozy, vegan and machine washable. The prints are carefully curated to appeal to everyone! My favorite is this inspirational blue pair. And it’s no secret that when you’re heading outside in the cold UGG boots are your friend. And if you take care of them, they will be a good investment that will last for years (my 3 year old ones look great!).

Bison Booties

5. Insulated Stainless Steel Tumbler  This will keep drinks the temperature you want them for hours! I use it for everything from water to smoothies and hot tea! My favorite cup, made by Bubba, holds a whopping 24 ounces but still fits in my car cupholder and is easy to hold. It also comes with a reusable straw if you prefer - whatever keeps you hydrated!

Bubba Brands Insulated

6. Satin Pillowcase  The softer, silkier, and smoother, the better when it comes to hair loss and regrowth. A satin pillowcase will be kind to your hair and head as you go through treatment and the regrowth phase after. These pillowcases come in every color and are custom made in Missouri, USA. 

Satin Pillowcase

7. A Heating Pad  Heat is my secret weapon for just about everything. It helps me warm up when experiencing cold sensitivity. Heat can also alleviate pain from disease or treatment. This heating pad has gotten me through pain from immune-boosting injections all while giving me peace of mind thanks to it’s auto shutoff and safety disconnect. I still unplug when not using and never fall asleep with it, but I feel better knowing that Sunbeam is doing their part to keep me safe too.

Sun Beam Heating Pad

8. Kari Grann Lip Whip  I was introduced to this brand through Lipstick Angels which is a wonderful nonprofit that gives cancer patients free pampering during treatment. This lip whip is light and not sticky or greasy and it comes in so many colors (including a colorless one!). It is free of parabens and cruelty and also made from organic and natural ingredients!

9. A Circle Scarf  Staying cozy during treatment is great, and if you experience cold sensitivity then breathing in cold air can be painful! I use a circle scarf in all seasons because even in summer transitioning to an air conditioned car or building can pose a problem. My favorite is this one from UC Davis Stores because it’s cute and represents my Alma Mater & favorite sports teams. Go Ags!

10. Abilitee Adaptive Wear Shoulder Snap Adaptive Tee  This tee is a favorite of all my nurses (and me too!) because the snaps are easy to use, make port-access a breeze and keep all my tubes and cords in place. The snaps are plastic which means they are good for all types of imaging machines! The fabric is oh-so-soft and the style is adorable! They come in a variety of colors and sizes for kids and adults; but, if you get this navy blue one it will look great with your UC Davis circle scarf!

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