What to Wear to an Infusion

Saturday, January 28, 2023

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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. I feel less like a cancer patient when I get dressed up a bit. Now I'm not talking about wearing sequins and stilettos, but 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, but not all infusions are chemo. There are also vitamin drips and IVs for other various illnesses. Even some spas are now offering IVs to boost the immune system and fight exhaustion. I've learned through trial and error, how to dress for my "drip days and want to share them with you. I hope my tips are helpful, but most of all, I hope that you will never need them for medical reasons!

Comfort is KEY.  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. 

Layer me up. 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 it's impossible to get my arms out of the sleeves with the IV hooked up. For this reason, I prefer to wear a thin sweater or top, with a wrap or poncho over it. This video from a social media post says it all.

The right pants. 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. Skirts or dresses work too, but make sure they're long enough to sit comfortably all day without being self-conscious.  A maxi can be problematic since it's a tripping hazard and can drag on the hospital floor (big YUCK). 

White is not right. It doesn't happen often, but there was one time when a little blood from my IV stained a white sweater. Lesson learned, I now wear darker colors.

Wear your inspiration.  Throughout my cancer journey, friends have sent me jewelry and tee 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!

Roll up your sleeves.  You may not think of this, but your sleeves 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 arms is not fun (been there, done that).  

Shoes off.  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. This is actually a good excuse to buy more shoes!

Less is more.  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 do like to wear a few stretchy bracelets that I can easily switch to a different wrist if needed, and 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. 

My recommendations:

Cozy Earth jogger sets: Love the softness and comfort of these pieces. They aren't cheap, but they wear like iron (no pilling!), help to keep body temperature regulated (bamboo fabric), and are pretty darn stylish. I have black, navy and cream...that's how much I love them! Code CEFASHIONISTA for 40% off the site! I also love their elastic waist skirt , which is just the right length for sitting long periods of time without riding up.  Find the jogger pants and matching top here. 

Ponchos: I don't normally wear a lot of ponchos, but they're perfect for infusion days because of the reasons listed above. Some styles I like HERE  HERE  HERE.  Just make sure that the poncho doesn't have sleeves!

Loose sleeve tops:  Again, it's so hard to get an IV with tight sleeves. The Cozy Earth tops are great and work perfectly. I also like bell sleeves and shirts. 

Leggings: I love to wear faux leather leggings for an edgy look. I know, I know...edgy at the hospital? YEP!  Prefer knit leggings? Here you go

Shoes:  Slip-on boots, sneakers, and flats are all good choices for easy on/off.  Sole Bliss is one of the most comfortable sneakers I own and they have a side zipper! Worth every penny!  Code Fashionista15 for 15% off.  A comfy stylish boot with a side zipper works too! 

Bag it:  I pack quite a bit for infusion day since they're so long. Here's my list (yours may differ):  computer, charger, phone, wallet, make-up bag, hand-cream, hard candies, tissues, a book or magazine, earphones, extra masks, hand sanitizer, snacks, drinks, tummy drops (amazing to settle an upset belly), and more.  My kids bought me a fabulous rolling bag that I use a lot and I also love this bag from Quilted Koala (it fits everything!). I get so many compliments on it too.  Code Mid20 for 20% off. 

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 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! 

Thanks for stopping by.
xx Susan 

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