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Chemotherapy: FOLFOX

How To Prepare For FOLFOX Infusions

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Until you know your individual reaction, it is advisable to prepare for each infusion in case you don’t feel well afterward by doing the following:

  • Ask someone to drive you to and from chemotherapy. If a family member or friend isn’t available, contact the American Cancer Society which has volunteers who will pick you up. The more notice you give the Society, the more likely you will be able to get a ride when needed. Call 800.ACS.2345
  • Work with your chemo nurse to develop a nausea plan. For instance:
    • Eat a large meal the night before treatment.
    • Take an anti-nausea pill before sleep and another in the morning.
    • Eat at least one hour before treatment - preferably foods that will minimize the effect in case you vomit. Scrambled eggs and toast are the choice for Karen B.
  • At least for the first few infusions:
    • Carry a pair of gloves in case you need to touch anything cold.  Keep in mind that it is not advisable to drink cold beverages or eat cold food for at least a few days after the infusion. See: Sensitivity To Cold
    • Keep a bucket or large plastic bag in the car and a plastic bag in your pocket or purse in case you become nauseous.
  • Wear comfortable, layered clothing with easy access to your chemoport.
  • Bring something that you find relaxing and enjoy doing.
    • If you bring music, bring ear buds so you do not disturb your neighbors. 
    • If you bring an electronic device, make sure the battery is charged and/or bring the electrical cord plus an extension cord
    • Some people find this an ideal nap time.
  • Plan time to rest after the infusion and possibly on the next day as well.
  • Prepare in case you do not feel like cooking.
    • Family and friends can help.
    • Cook and freeze in single portion containers large batches of foods you are likely to eat.
    • Freeze the food in quantities you are likely to eat when not feeling great.
  • If you have young children, line up child care. (If you haven't already told underage children about your health condition, see: Children 101
  • If you experience fatigue, plan your activities to take fatigue into account. For information about fatigue, including practical steps to help cope with fatigue in all aspects of your life, click here.
  • If you get nauseous before an infusion (“anticipatory nausea”) consider using behavioral therapies such as progressive muscle relaxation, hypnosis (hypnotherapy), self hypnosis, guided imagery and acupuncture, starting at least 24 hours before the infusion, with a last session on the morning of treatment. Behavioral therapies can be used along with anti-nausea medications such as benzodiazepines (Xanax or Ativan.) 
  • Ask for a prescription for a medication such as Emla or Lidocaine cream to place on the skin over the port prior to injection to numb the skin from the needle insertion. If you put the medication over the port before heading to the infusion facility, you can cover it with a temporary covering such as Press-n-Seal, or plastic wrap, to keep the cream in the right place, and to prevent it from getting on your clothes.

NOTE: Be sure to keep track of symptoms and reactions on a daily basis so you can report accurately each time you go to a medical appointment. We supply a Symptoms Diary to help you keep track. To learn more, click here

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