Contributed by Stephen Rowley
It is a good plan to keep a Chemotherapy Journal or Diary.
This will help you to record the information about your treatment and how it affects you.
Why is this important?
Chemotherapy is not an exact science.
Chemotherapy is a balance –
- too little = does not destroy the cancer cells
- too strong = long lasting damage to the body
The dose is calculated on your weight and body type. However, we all have different metabolisms, levels of activity and medical histories.
The oncologist usually sees the patient at the end of every cycle to assess how the chemotherapy is working and its impact.
- How are you coping?
- What kind of side-effects?
- Are you getting a reaction to the treatment?
Based on your feedback and the results of the blood tests, the oncologist might adjust the dose in order to optimise the therapy.
Take your journal/diary with you to the appointments. It will provide you with accurate information to answer the question – ‘How have things been since your last treatment?’
What to include in your Chemotherapy Journal/Diary
- Treatment (Chemotherapy)
- Anti-nausea medications
- Other prescribed medications
- Non-prescribed medications
- Temperature (important to identify infection)
- Sleep pattern
- Bowel issues
How to record your Chemotherapy Journal/Diary
- Use a standard desk diary
- Download an online diary – e.g. Sheffield Hospitals Diary
- Buy a Chemotherapy Journal
- Use Notes or Calendar on your smartphone
- Use an app*
There are a number of Apps being developed for patients. These help you to record symptoms, medication, and schedule appointments.