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What to expect post treatment?

debsky's picture
debsky
Posts: 1
Joined: Nov 2012

I am staying with my sister to help any way I can during her chemoradiation treatments. She was diagnosed with Stage III anal cancer just a couple of months ago. Her tumor was 10 cm. and involves lymph nodes in her left groin. She is was just one week away from completing her treatment but complications have arisen. However she had to have 2 units of platelets last week and has now become dehydrated and had to receive IV fluids at the doctors office 3 times this week. She missed all her radiation treatments this week because she just was too ill. Her last week of radiation will resume next Monday and her daughter's wedding follows that next Saturday. We just don't know what to expect and how she is going to make the wedding. Also, I have heard a lot about how hard the 2 weeks following completion of the treatment can be. In addition, she just got a promotion and the new position calls for her to attend a training out of state that is going to fall during those two weeks post treatment. She is 58 y/o, single and has to work and her job is her only source of income and insurance. Any words of encouragement out there ???

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

Sorry your sister is going through this. What a wonderful sister you are! My sister was my guardian angel and I cannot tell you enough how much having a sister there meant to me. I too am divorced and was 59 when I went through treatment. I do know the pressures of having to deal with the financial burdens along with being sick alone. It certainly would have have been a lot easier if there was a spouse to help with the financial burdens, the self care, and the day to day household chores.

I did very well during treatment with similar set backs as you mention with blood counts, shots, and delays. Those were the times that I felt the sickest.

I will say that the 2 weeks post treatment were very challenging. I could not work during those times. There were burns to deal with and intense diarreah and total exhaustion. I think I could have gotten through a couple of hours for my daughter's wedding . I guess it just depends how she heals. No two patients are the same. I did relatively well, but it was not easy, to say the least. I wonder if your sister can take a few weeks off post treatment to get back on her feet and rebuild her immune system?

God Bless you for being such a good sister!

StruTanToot
Posts: 108
Joined: Aug 2012

During my fifth week of treatment, I went to a cultural event and sit for a couple of hours and did fine. The two weeks after treatment though were very tough.

Your sister might be able to make it to the wedding only because she is determined not to miss her daughter's wedding. I don't know about the training though. I think I did well during and after treatment, but those two weeks after were the hardest.

With all the problems your sister is having, I think it might be very tough for her to go to training. You mention that she has insurance...can she go on STD? Her job is protected by FMLA for 12 weeks. Also, can she talk to her manager about rescheduling training? I mean, she does has cancer. Surely her manager would understand. At any rate, her top priority should be to take care of herself and get well.

This situation is hard. I wish I could offer something helpful, but I don't know. I do offer my thoughts and prayers. I hope your sister finishes her treatment without more problems. Bless you for helping her.

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 3119
Joined: Jan 2010

I'm sorry your sister's circumstances have brought you here. It sounds like she has had a rough time with the latter part of treatment, which is no doubt the roughest period of time. What a shame that this has set her back a week. I recovered pretty quickly from treatment as burns go, but my main issue was diarrhea, which lasted for quite some time after my treatment ended. For several weeks, I rarely went out of the house, especially in the mornings. Anytime I went somewhere, I always made sure I knew exacty where the restroom was. I'm not sure I could have attended a wedding just a few days after treatment and I'm certain I could not have worked for probably the first 2 weeks post-treatment. I was fortunate enough to not be tied down to a job at the time. All that said, that was MY experience alone and no one else's. We are all different in our treatment and recovery phases, so your sister might be able to go to the wedding without any problems. I'm sure she is putting lots of pressure on herself to get back to work ASAP, which is unfortunate. I think having a couple of weeks off to recoup and recover would be good. I wish her all the very best and I applaud you for being such a great sister to her. I'm sure it has been very emotional for you as well. Both of you take care and keep us posted.

horsepad's picture
horsepad
Posts: 88
Joined: Apr 2012

What a great sister you are for being there. I know how much your sister needs you right now. I had the same problems and more that required hospitalization. Everyone is different, my radiation burns were severe. Diarreah was often, painful with little control. My mother died two weeks after treatment and the day of the funeral, I walked or sat with a cathetor attached to my leg for six hours. I was in the emergency room the next morning because of deydration so make sure your sister drinks alot of water on the wedding day. Best wishes and prayers for both of you. God bless.

horsepad's picture
horsepad
Posts: 88
Joined: Apr 2012

Another suggestion. I took my intertube to sit on with me to the funeral. Sitting would have been more painful without it. If your sister doesn't have one you may want to get her one. You can get a good one at medical supply store.

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