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Will I need help at home?

StruTanToot
Posts: 108
Joined: Aug 2012

I'm sorry to ask so many questions. Please know I appreciate all the information and support you all are giving me. I find this site a place of comfort.

I live alone and have no family members close enough to help. From what I've read, I should be okay for the first three weeks. Should I try to get someone to stay with me after the third week?

I think a friend of mine is willing to stay with me and help out. The thing is...and please do not think I'm being ungrateful...but this guy does not drive and he's a talker and has high energy.

I'm used to living alone and he'll be here all the time. I'm going to try to keep working since I work from home. I just don't have time to socialize with him because of both work and the fatigue I know I'll have.

While I know he might be a big help...cooking, cleaning, anything I need...I think he might unintentionally cause me a great deal of stress. Also, I live in the south and what you've heard about southern hospitality is true in my house.

I'm leaning towards having him come and really appreciate his willingness to do so. He will have his own bedroom with TV and sitting area upstairs. Also, I have a laptop he can use, and I have wireless Internet.

It seems the benefits outweigh the costs. Maybe I should have him on "standby."

Any thoughts? Were you able to manage on your own?

Rej0328
Posts: 21
Joined: Sep 2011

It might not hurt to have him on stand by. I got really sick from the chemo, and my sister spent a few days with me during those times. Also I have a lot of pets and did need some help with them. I also needed someone to drive me to my radation treatments when I was sick. So just to be safe try and have some people lined up. Not everyone gets sick and I certainly didn't think I would as I was quite healthy when I started treatment. But one never knows how the body is going to react to the chemo and radation.

Cheyenne's picture
Cheyenne
Posts: 77
Joined: Apr 2012

I didn't really need any help. I had my husband with me all the time and he drove me to all of my appointments but he didn't have to do that. I could have driven myself to all but two of them when I really wasn't feeling good (during the first week of chemo). While you have the picc line in you are not supposed to lift anything over 8 lbs but that is probably only a real issue for someone with a small child in the house. I can't think of any situation where I couldn't do everything by myself but as has been said many times, each individual is different. All of my doctors were VERY surprised that I never had any issues with fatigue. I think it has to do with different body chemistry. Hopefully you will be lucky in that way too!

StruTanToot
Posts: 108
Joined: Aug 2012

I will have a picc line and am concerned with not lifting more than eight pounds. My dog weighs around 25 lbs and I lift her daily.

I'm so glad you mentioned this restriction, and I will ask the nurse about it during an appt I have on Wed. I'll have to get a port if the picc line prevents me from picking up my dog.

Any folks with picc lines have any advice?

MyHopen413
Posts: 38
Joined: Mar 2012

I've had both a picc line and a port. The picc line is inconvenient because you can't get it wet and it has an access line all the time.. It is under a bandage, but you are still aware of it always, or I was at least. There is a weight restriction. But, you don't have to have a surgical procedure to get a picc line, so that is easier. They can clog more easily than a port, but usually can be opened back up. Getting the port is a surgical procedure, but an easy one. When it isn't accessed, you can shower or bath or whatever. When it is accessed, you can't get it wet. When I was finished with chemo, they took my picc line out, which was very easy. The port you can keep for years, literally, as long as it is flushed on a regular basis. The other advantage to having a port, you can have a double port and get multiple chemos at the same time. That may not sound like an advantage, but it is. The only thing I will tell you is that you have to insist that any medical personnel follow sterile procedures when accessing your port. For me the port is better. Others might have a different experience.
As far as having your friend stay with you, you might have him just come a couple of days a week, or have him on stand-by. It is very helpful to have someone there to fix you something to eat, or do some cleaning. You very well may sail through treatment without few side effects. That is what I hope for you.
If you have more questions about the port or picc line or accessing them, feel free to ask.
Diane

mxperry220
Posts: 369
Joined: Mar 2011

If he can be on "Standby" it seems that may be best for your situation. You will not need any stress during this time. I know for me during this time I did not want to see any friends/neighbors because I knew I did not feel like "entertaining" anyone. Even though I love my friends I knew if they were around I could not be myself. I was able to drive myself to daily treatments. I did have to have my partner take me for my port implant and had a friend drive me to have it removed. Also, I had a portion of my tumor surgicially removed and my partner went with me. I was able to function independently throught the whole treatment process which lasted six weeks.
Mike

kirby77
Posts: 48
Joined: Jul 2012

Fortunately, I have my partner here at home with me. But honestly, there's alot of the time that I wish he would leave me alone.... and not be too far away as well.
He doesn't hover, but I feel bad that I am so shut down, isolating him and me dwelling in a narcissism, where, right now I feel everything is about me.

I've told him I love having him around and that he is not bothering me. Yet at the same time, I able to say " I need to be alone " or could we talk later? Otherwise, I leave him guessing on what the right thing to do is.

Strutantoot, you seem like having company and a live in support would be helpful to you. Why not try it? With some ground rules, with your needs clearly stated.

It's so generous of your friend to offer, I am sure knowing what your needs are will only make it easier.

It's true, be able to be yourself in your own home is important without the need to entertain or engage others. I am with Mike, I personally do not want to see anyone at this stage in the game. I am practically wearing the same thing everyday, showering every other day and not really wanting to clean or puff up for anyone.

I think if you can totally be yourself with your friend, then go for it.

Pattie13's picture
Pattie13
Posts: 47
Joined: Mar 2012

Stru,
I would have him on standby and maybe have a talk with him as to what you expect from him and what he can maybe expect you to be like (like non-talkative at times). I had my Mom come out the 3rd week of my treatment and had her leave within a week. She just couldn't understand that there were things that I could still do, and wanted to do which made me feel like I wasn't sick. She pretty much wanted to wait on me hand and foot and being 53 years old and living on my own for years.......well that didn't sit to well with me. She is a lovely woman and I did appreciate her wanting to help, but I had to be selfish at this time so that I was not getting stressed out, and she was totally stressing me out. During the last week of treatment my sister came out and she really only helped when I asked, which was exactly what I needed. I could also just toss her my keys and say Go Shopping or something when I just wanted to be alone and she was totally fine with it. So do what feels right for you in your situation. Only you know how you want to be treated or cared for and try not to let stress in. I really believe less stress helps you heal better. Good luck to you.
Hugs and Prayers
Pattie

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 3120
Joined: Jan 2010

My recommendation is in agreement with most others. Have this person on standby and when you need them you can call them. I think you'll be able to manage on your own for probably the first 3 weeks. After that, you may need some assistance. If driving is not possible for this other person, then get someone else lined up to drive you. I would definitely have a sit-down talk with your friend and let them know that you will ask for what you need and that may not be 24/7, so they can have plenty of free time too. I think it's important to establish guidelines right at the beginning. There will be times when you do not want anyone around you, so I would make that very clear. I think it's hard for caregivers to understand certain things, like why we don't feel like talking or eating. I had my husband to help me out in the evenings and at night, but he worked during the day and I got along fine.

Angela_K
Posts: 374
Joined: Jan 2011

(I wish I had a dime for every time I've typed that.)

I was, for the most part, living in a hotel room alone for most of my treatment, with the exception of weekends when I would have friends/family come visit, or if I wanted to travel those 3.5 hours back home. Most of the time, I went home. During the first few weekends, driving myself. What I leaned on visitor's for was mostly food preparation and helping me juice on a daily basis.

And of course, the company.

And sometimes I had to be a little blunt. Like the time that my well-meaning brother, who was visiting for a couple of days, had lost himself in a novel and asked ME if I could get up and turn off the air conditioner for him because he was too cold. LOL.

Keep him on stand-by, Stru. And be upfront with him about what you're going to need .. .and not going to need.

And know that we're here for you, too.

Angela

rds711
Posts: 113
Joined: Dec 2011

It is good to know someone is available if you need it. I would explain the situation and be up front honest with him. I remember telling my partner and sister at the start that there would be days when I would likely just want to be left alone to rest and they were supportive of that. They were always within earshot and when I did need them they were there.

This is a time when you need to focus on you and your needs, not someone elses. I am hoping your friend would understand that if it was explained to him.

Keeping you in my prayers,

Randy

StruTanToot
Posts: 108
Joined: Aug 2012

Thank you all for your replies and thoughts. I talked with my friend and explained everything to him just like you suggested and will have him on standby.

I start treatment a week from today. I'm feeling really scared today.

Thank you all for being here for me.

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 3120
Joined: Jan 2010

If it's any consolation, we were all scared about our upcoming treatment too. It will be fine though. Really, it will.

Cheyenne's picture
Cheyenne
Posts: 77
Joined: Apr 2012

I had two major meltdowns during the whole process. One was right before treatment started. The anticipation and fear of the unknown were overwhelming! I have to say that it wasn't nearly as bad as my anticipation made it. The second was at the end of the third week when I had my major hair loss. That was tough to deal with and I had an hysterical meltdown. Then I started going back to wine. I had a small glass every night and it made life bearable again (even with a lot less hair). I bought a small wardrobe of hats and continue to get compliments on how "cute" I look. (I consider that a HUGE compliment to be called "cute" at the age of 59!) And if that's the worst of all of this, a little hair loss, I'm in pretty darn good shape!

rds711
Posts: 113
Joined: Dec 2011

The hardest time for me emotionally was the time between being diagnosed and waiting for the treatment to start. It was like being in a surrealistic hurricane. I had 2 months of waiting before treatment started. I was a wreck. But as soon as I started that fear and worry seemed to disipate because I was finally doing something to fight back. Things seemed to come in waves so I found if I took it one day at a time once I started I could remain in a better state emotionally.

Keep in mind that this can be cured with the treatments. "4-5 weeks, you can get through this", thats what I kept telling myself, that and "weeks for years!".

You're not alone Stru, we are here whenever you need to talk, scream,or cry. No judgements will be thrown at you. I hope you will feel comfortable coming here when you need to.

I will keep you in my prayers and will be sending out good vibes to you. You take care of yourself and keep us informed of your journey!

OO and baggy boxers are very comfortable. I wore sweat pants or lounge pants with no underwear to my rad treatments as they were the most comfortable. I had a couple of nightshirts that were also great at home.

Randy

StruTanToot
Posts: 108
Joined: Aug 2012

Thanks to all of you for your words of support. Today has been a little touch emotionally; I think it's because I saw the surgeon today who did my biopsy in July. I got online as soon as I got home and read your messages and feel a LOT better.

I've been using the "weeks for years" ever since I read the phrase on this site. It really does help to realize that it's just a few weeks.

I'm counting my blessings everyday and you all are among them. I continue to be touched by your encouragement and support.

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

I understand your concerns and shared similar feelings. I live alone and as a single mother, I was always too proud to ask or accept help. I have grown to value my privacy. Cancer taught me to accept help and kindness from others. We are all connected and people, even strangers, want to help. Anal cancer cured me of every ounce of false pride that I had. I would tell you to accept the help for sure! There will be days that you really need it and you will want to conserve your energy for healing and beating this cancer! I suggest that you accept the offer!

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