What can I expect when I come in for my treatment?
Your oncology nurse will meet you in the waiting room and welcome you in the infusion area. Your nurse will start an IV and take a blood sample. Once your blood counts are determined to be normal, your treatment will begin. First, you will receive medication through the IV that will help to prevent nausea. Your chemotherapy treatment will begin shortly after this. It is rare to feel anything unusual while the chemotherapy is being administered.
The amount of time required for your treatment is determined by the specific drugs you are to receive. Treatments can range from 15 minutes to 8 hours. We will carefully monitor your tolerance to each of the drugs throughout the entire time of your treatment.
If you are coming in for one of the longer treatment sessions, you may want to use one of our DVD players to view a movie during your session. If you choose to do this, please use the earphones to limit the distraction to others. You may also bring reading material, if you prefer.
After your first treatment, you will receive information about the drugs used, their possible side effects, and how to manage those side effects. You will also receive a monthly calendar, specifying the dates of your follow-up physician visits, blood tests, and future treatments. It is important that you confirm these appointments with our scheduler before you leave the office.
How can I prepare for my visit?
Unless you have received specific instructions regarding food and medications for the day of your appointment, you should eat a regular meal and take your usual medications before coming in to the clinic. Wear comfortable clothing. You may also want to bring a sweater, as some people feel cooler when receiving IV fluids. If you desire, we do have blankets available for your use.
May I bring a family member to my treatment session?
We recommend that you have someone accompany you to your first appointment. At least one friend or family member may sit with you while you are receiving treatment. For safety reasons, children under 12 are not permitted in the infusion room.
Can I eat at the time of my treatment?
Yes, you are able to eat during the treatment process. Some refreshments are available, but meals are not provided. If you are here during your lunch hour, we suggest that you bring a light lunch. If needed, you are welcome to use our microwave oven.
Will I have the same nurse?
If at all possible, we try to schedule the same nurse to work with you at all of your treatment sessions. You should know that your treatment is reviewed by the entire staff at our daily meeting. So, even if your regular nurse was not available for a particular appointment, you can be sure that he or she knows about you and your treatment.
May I use my cell phone?
Cell phones may be used, but please keep conversations to a minimum. Other patients in the infusion room may find them distracting or disturbing.
If I have any questions after leaving the clinic, whom should I contact?
We encourage you to contact us with any questions you may have about the instructions you received from your nurse; if you experience a physical reaction that you want to talk about; or if you would like some emotional support. We are always glad to receive your call.
From 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM Monday through Friday, please call our nurse manager at 410-964-2212, option 3. Your call may be transferred to voice mail, but you can be sure that your message will be returned as quickly as possible.
After regular business hours, or on weekends and holidays, please call 410-964-2212. You will be connected to our answering service, and they will page the appropriate doctor.