My chemo t-shirt

My Chemo Shirt

I like to wear my chemo t-shirt every time I have some sort of treatment. I’ve had it for over 10 years and can’t even remember where it came from in the first place.

The thing that makes it so ideal for treatment days, is the comfort it provides to my body and soul. It’s not a pretty shirt, but it’s MY chemo shirt. It provides me with a small feeling of comfort whenever I put it on.

The cotton is soft from many years of frequent washing, and so far, the color has never faded. It’s a rather ugly green gray with silver and light green paint splatters across it’s front. It has a relatively low neckline which comes in handy when the nurse needs to access my port. My port has been proudly perched on my chest wall where it was installed a number of years ago. It’s been there so long that I can no longer remember when I got it, and I don’t even think about it anymore.

I don’t know how many days of treatment I’ve had at this point, but it’s definitely more than 30. I don’t really keep count anymore. I’ve done it so many times that it no longer unnerves me the way it used to. It’s just part of what I do.

When you have chronic breast cancer, your treatment and maintenance treatment never ends. unless you go so thoroughly into remission that you can’t remember what life felt like when you had active breast cancer.

I save my chemo t-shirt for chemo days

I NEVER wear my chemo t- shirt on days that I am not getting treatment. Being a creature of habit, it makes me happy whenever I wear it to my appointments. It reminds me how far I’ve come.

Comfort on chemo days and other treatment days is an important part of your self-care.   I dress casually, in my chemo t-shirt of course, and wear sneakers or other comfortable shoes with comfortable thick socks, Since infusion rooms, and hospitals are usually chilly, I always wear a sweater or polar fleece jacket with a front zipper that is easy to access and is in a dark color. That way I never have to worry about ruining my favorite white shirt in case something spills.

Things I always bring

Like many people, I am a creature of habit. I always wear my t-shirt, eat a good breakfast with some protein, order the same lunch, and bring some of my favorite healthy snacks that I rotate through my appointments.  Every time I have an appointment, I also park in the same place, bring something good to read or listen to, and prepare for a small nap during my treatment. I bring noise blocking headphones which I wear to shut out the noise in the room. I don’t usually bring eyeshades, but I’ve seen others bring them to shut out the light when they want to take a nap.

By following my routine, I am refreshed when it is time to head home. When I get home, I have a mild casserole ready to go in my refrigerator so I don’t have to cook. I just remove the foil and reheat. While it’s in the oven, I put my pjs on and turn on the evening news to see what I missed while I was away for the afternoon.

Hi, I am

Barbara Spalding MS, RDN, Culinary Dietitian

As a dietitian and world traveler, I love bold flavors — in food and in life. 14 years ago, I fell down the rabbit hole into Breast Cancer Wonderland. Since then, I’ve learned to cook differently while savoring the pleasures of food and companionship. I’ve built a resilient new life and a bold new kitchen. Let me show you the flavors of the world.
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