Bladder Cancer Must-Haves
I participate in a lot of online circles for bladder cancer and the topic of what comfort items are must-haves comes up quite a bit. What to take to the hospital, to chemo, and what to have at home are always concerns.
There are so many things that can be a personal preference, so the things I mention are general suggestions and popular items.
This is a must when battling bladder cancer. Taking your own PJs to the hospital and wearing sweats to treatment is 100% acceptable! Do not feel as if you need to dress up during this time! Maybe even treat yourself to some 'Bladder Cancer Warrior' shirts! Fun slippers are part of this as well. I treated myself to some unicorn slippers and utilized them at home and in the hospital.
10-foot charging cords
These are necessary for the treatment journey if you do not already have them! You should have 10-foot or extra long charging cords for any device you have! This is something that is helpful in the hospital, during chemo treatments, and at home. These help you to be comfortable and not have to worry about running out of juice while you're playing a game, watching a movie, or catching up with articles on BladderCancer.net!
A stash of activities
Books or magazines to read, coloring books with your choice of tools/utensils, crosswords, word searches, Sudoku, a beautiful journal with a set of your favorite pens. Whatever your preferences are, you should have a few of these on hand to choose from. I found that I had a harder time focusing, so things that were easy to do in small spurts of time were best. Not only are these things good for occupying the time you spend sitting around, but research shows that engaging in these things helps combat and rebound from the infamous "chemo brain." That's not to say you won't have it at all, but it will be less profound if you keep your brain active.
Comfort bedding products
Besides your usual sheets, pillows and warm, fuzzy blankets, you may need additional products to make your home recovery easier. I had a radical cystectomy (RC) and ileal conduit/urostomy placement so I got a 45-degree wedge pillow with a specialized case, waterproof mattress, fitted sheets, and washable chuck pads to use at home. These things made being in bed more comfortable, easier to get up when I was lying down, and easier to clean up if I experienced any leakage while in bed (especially important when you live alone!).
Non-scented, all-natural moisturizing products
You will need lip and skin moisturizers during treatment. Non-scented and all-natural are best, but get whatever your heart desires. A lot of the treatments we receive as bladder cancer patients cause dehydration. This will likely manifest first in your skin and lips. Scents can trigger nausea and vomiting at times, so I chose to stay away from those. You may want medicated lip treatments as well since some chemo meds can cause mouth sores. If you get a urostomy, I know from experience that dehydration can be a big challenge.
As mentioned above, dehydration is a problem across the board when fighting bladder cancer. There are tons of hydration products on the market these days, go with the ones you like best. Some products are even geared towards people with ostomies. I currently prefer Body Armor Lyte, Dr. Price's Electrolyte Mixes, and Powerade Zero. I like variety so I usually have several products on hand to choose from. I would recommend this as well since you're likely to need a lot of it, especially when you're receiving active treatments.
This is by no means a complete list. However, I hope those of you who are earlier in your battle will find this helpful. I would love to hear what things you found necessary. I would also like to hear what specific products you prefer. Please share with us!
Have your views towards bladder removal changed since you were diagnosed?