I know it may sound fluffy, but I like to look nice on infusion days. It lifts my spirits and helps me to feel stronger, empowered, and even normal in a way. Simply, I feel less like a cancer patient when I get dressed up a bit.
Now I'm not talking about sequins and stilettos, but I believe that what we wear can have a positive impact on how we feel. When we look good, we feel good. It's real.
I've been going to Dana Farber Cancer Institute for the past four months for infusions to treat my leukemia. Not all infusions are chemo. There are also vitamin drips and IVs, so you could say I've learned through trial and error how to dress for my "drip days.”
While I hope—most of all—that you, your parent, or your friend will never need this advice for medical reasons (I’m all for IVs that help boost the immune system and fight exhaustion!), I also hope my tips are helpful.
I can spend 5-10 hours sitting in the infusion chair, so I have to be comfortable. My clothes must be pajama-like...soft, stretchy, and movable. Cozy Earth is one of my favorites— love the softness and comfort, and while they aren't cheap, they wear like iron (no pilling!), help to keep the body temperature regulated (bamboo fabric), and are pretty darn stylish. I have black, navy, and cream...that's how much I love them! (Pro Tip: Use code “CEFASHIONISTA” for 40% off the site).
Hospitals can run hot and cold, so I'm constantly shedding and adding extra layers. However, I learned the hard way not to wear jackets, vests, or cardigans, since getting my arms out of the sleeves with the IV hooked up is impossible. For this reason, I prefer to wear a thin sweater or top, with a wrap or poncho over it.
I'll be blunt, going to the bathroom and trying to zip and button jeans is not easy when hooked up to an IV. So, I prefer pull-on pants such as leggings or joggers, that are not only comfortable for long-term sitting but also easy to pull down and up. In fact, I love to wear faux leather leggings for an edgy look. I know, I know...edgy at the hospital? YEP!
Throughout my cancer journey, friends have sent me jewelry and t-shirts with inspiring messages. I always wear at least one piece to make me feel hopeful and strong during chemo. Maybe it's mind over matter, but whatever the reason, it helps!
You may not think of this, but your arms will need to be accessible for the IV. Button-down shirts or tops with super stretchy or loose arms make for easy access. Let's face it, sitting for hours with tight sleeves digging into your upper arm is not fun (been there, done that).
Every time I go for an infusion (or doctor's appointment) I have to take my shoes off to get an accurate weight. However, I don't want to hold up the nurses while I fiddle with ties, so I always wear slip-on shoes that are easy on/off. Sole Bliss is one of the most comfortable sneakers I own and they have a side zipper! Worth every penny! (Pro Tip: Use code “Fashionista15” for 15% off.)
When it comes to jewelry, less is more on infusion days. Bracelets worn on the same hand as the IV can get in the way, long earrings can catch on masks, and super heavy necklaces can be plain uncomfortable. Having said this, I always wear my Apple Watch to monitor my heart rate. When I had my first infusion, I could feel my heart beating out of control and my Apple Watch confirmed it before I even spoke to the nurse. It's been incredibly helpful.
The bottom line is that infusion days are not fun, but the better prepared you are, the smoother they will go. And putting a little effort into your outfit can boost your mood and your outlook.
Believe it or not, I'm smiling under the mask! Cancer cells, take that!
Please pass this information on to someone you know who is going through cancer treatment. And don't forget to follow me at Kicking Cancer in Heels for inspiration, hope, and resources to support women impacted by cancer on Instagram and Facebook. We now have a website too!
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