Chemo-Tip Kit: Countdown to Chemo

How to Prep for Chemo 5 Days in Advance

If you are getting chemotherapy every three weeks, here is a 5-day plan for getting ready. 

Countdown to Chemo PDF Resource. How to prep for chemo 5 days in advance by Zita Robinson for The UpLift Kit. For chemo patients.

Subscribe to receive a free copies of other useful resources as they become available. 

5 days before chemo

Organise your grocery shopping to be delivered the day before your chemo day.

Either place your online order or organise this with a supporter who is helping you with your shopping.

Consider including the following items which may help you in the days after chemo:

  • Bunches of grapes – wash and freeze
  • Lemons – slice and freeze
  • Ginger – dice and freeze
  • Sparkling water bottles – place bottles in fridge
  • Ginger tea
  • Cinnamon
  • Fruit for light snacks

4 days before chemo

Try and get through a few laundry loads today and tomorrow.

Make sure you include any clothes you plan on wearing to chemo. I used to wear the same outfit to every chemo infusion. I knew it was comfy and accessible for all the injections etc. I wore something different once and realised too late that the top was totally inappropriate as I couldn’t roll the sleeves up properly for my blood pressure check and the neckline was awkward for port access.

Also try and wash all your towels and bedsheets. This way everything will be clean and hygienic for you, which is especially important during the first week after chemo.

3 days before chemo

Organise your Pharmacy order today.

Either phone in your prescription list to your local pharmacy or ask your supporter to drop it in, and request collection or delivery tomorrow. This gives you an extra day in case they don’t have something in stock.

2 days before chemo

This can be a day of cleaning and cooking.

Try and ask for help with these things if you can. Save your energy where you can and avail of all offers of help!

Whoever does it, try and clean your kitchen and bathroom in particular. When you’re going through chemo, your oncology team will probably recommend that you designate one bathroom for your use after chemo. Try and make sure that this bathroom is spick and span before your chemo day.

During and after your chemo, you are highly susceptible to infection. Making sure that your kitchen and bathroom are clean before you go for chemo will help keep your risk of infection down.

If you can, try and do some batch cooking today. If you cook a few meals in advance like this, it can really help you. After chemo, you will be tired and probably feel nauseous. You will not want to cook so having a few meals in the freezer or fridge which you can easily reheat and eat will really help you keep your appetite and stay nourished. You could also avail of help here. If there is someone else in the house that can cook for you, or if you have a supporter who can drop you in pre-cooked meals, it really will make all the difference to you. 

If anyone has offered to do some cooking for you – take them up on it!

1 day before chemo

Have your groceries delivered today.

This way your shelves will be stocked for you for the next week at least. You don’t want to have to think about food after chemo if you can help it. Just having the fridge and presses stocked can help minimise all extra food thoughts.

Change your bedsheets today! There is nothing better than climbing into fresh, clean sheets. It’s one of my all-time favourite things. When you get home from chemo, climbing into your fresh bed will feel so good. You need all the rest and comfort you can get in the next few days, so make your bed as clean and cosy as possible. I used to toss on a few extra pillows so that I felt ultra-luxurious climbing into bed.

Take a few minutes today to pack your chemo bag. It’s probably still packed from the last infusion visit but check it today. Make sure you’re fully stocked with snacks, chargers, headphones, books, notebooks, and anything else that you like to bring with you. Make sure to bring a list of medications and side effects with you tomorrow to discuss with your oncology team too.


You can download this Countdown To Chemo PDF that I have designed to accompany this post for free. Don't forget that if you subscribe you will receive free copies of other useful resources as they become available!  

I hope this helps you get organised before your chemo infusions. I found it helpful for my mental state, to stay organised. It meant that when I was feeling my sickest, I didn’t have to think unnecessarily about food or prescriptions or running the house. And it also meant that when I started to feel a bit better and I was able to get up and about again, the house wasn’t in a complete heap, so I didn’t get overwhelmed.

“One day you will tell your story of how you overcame what you went through and it will be someone else’s survival guide.”

Brené Brown

If you have any other suggestions to include here, leave a comment or send me an email. I’d love to hear from you.

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