questions about treatment

arjenkins
arjenkins Member Posts: 36
edited March 2014 in Head and Neck Cancer #1
Hi everyone,

My Dad has his first appointment at Wake Forest tomorrow and I will be going with him. I am sure I will find answers to many of my questions, but would like to be armed with some additional info as to what to expect as a caregiver.

My Dad was wondering if the chemo and radiation will cause hair loss? (not that he is vain or is very concerned if it means beating cancer)

Also, as a soon to be caregiver, should I move in with my Dad? I do not know how much around the clock care is required. I may be jumping the gun here, but I can't imagine being by myself if this were me. My Mom died in a car accident a few years ago so I am the only person in close proximity to my Dad (10 miles from his house). I work and go to graduate school at night and I am thinking it would make it easier on both of us if I just move in wtih him.

Any advice or suggestions are appreciated from both the caregiver and the patient.

Andrea

Comments

  • D Lewis
    D Lewis Member Posts: 1,581 Member
    Hair loss - depends on the
    Hair loss - depends on the type of chemo your Dad is getting. I received Cisplatin, and did not lose my hair. Several other folks here on straight Cisplatin did not lose their hair but a few did. Different medicines may be more likely to cause hair loss. Radiation tends to burn the hair off, at the site you receive the treatment. I was told that radiation hair loss was permanent, but mine was not. I shed hair in stripes up behind my ears from the radiation, and now, six months later, it is coming back in.

    WRT moving in with your Dad; it may or may not be necessary. Depends on your Dad's treatment regime and how he reacts to it. Everyone reacts to the treatment differently. Some folks are able to drive themselves to treatment daily. Others quickly become overwhelmed. I wanted someone to be with me round the clock on the days I received the chemo treatments, and for a day or so afterward. Otherwise I was okay alone, when my family was traveling. A few weeks into my eight-week regime, I did feel like I needed someone to drive me back and forth from my daily radiation sessions.

    You may want to wait and see how it goes, before changing your living arrangements too radically. Your Dad may be okay alone for the most part, and may only need you to stay over with him occasionally.

    Good luck as you find your way through this process. You've come to a good place to get your questions answered.

    Deb
  • micktissue
    micktissue Member Posts: 430
    hair loss
    It depends. I lost hair form the radiation (neck mostly) and path rads took through my scalp, mostly on the back of my head. The scalp hair grew back in a few weeks. The neck hair, beard if you will, has not grown back and may not (again depends).

    Hair loss from chemo is symmetrical (even all around), rads is asymmetrical (likely to be uneven depending on path of rads).

    Hope this helps.

    Best,

    Mick
  • Kent Cass
    Kent Cass Member Posts: 1,898 Member

    hair loss
    It depends. I lost hair form the radiation (neck mostly) and path rads took through my scalp, mostly on the back of my head. The scalp hair grew back in a few weeks. The neck hair, beard if you will, has not grown back and may not (again depends).

    Hair loss from chemo is symmetrical (even all around), rads is asymmetrical (likely to be uneven depending on path of rads).

    Hope this helps.

    Best,

    Mick

    hair loss
    Mine was pretty much like Mick's, and that includes his current hair condition. Where the rads are applied- does a number on the hair thing. Chemo contributes, too.

    As for the need to move-in with him. I live alone and was able to take care of myself without any problems. Worst of times for me were the four weeks with morph, and had friends drive me to where I needed to be. Would advise you to "be on call" in the event of a problem, but my experience is he should be able to care for himself, physically.

    Please tell him we are all rooting for him to get thru this thing, and we hope you'll keep us informed on his progress, and ask any questions of concern you have. One of the main reasons us vets stick around is to help those in, or about to go thru, treatment. Does a lot for each of us to be of help to another who battles C, as we did. From me, tell your Dad he's gonna survive this thing- so get used to it! He will survive it. We all bear testimony to that fact (I'm a 2-year, now).

    kcass
  • Hal61
    Hal61 Member Posts: 655
    Hair and Move in
    Hi Andrea, like Kent I drove myself to and from my rads, and to two of three chemos--35 radiation treatments. It went fine except for my last chemo when I needed a friend to drive me to the hospital for an overnight stay after a minor but uncomfortable reaction to the final Cisplatin. If your dad is in relatively good health starting out, he should be fine, but being "on call" would be a good idea. The last weeks of treatment and the first few after are a bit challenging so picking up needed things from the store/drugstore could also be helpful. The time seemed to pass quickly for me as the daily routine became established. Hopefully it will move along without much fuss for your dad also. When I saw a bit of my hair falling out, I just shaved my head. I don't know if it would have actually fallen out on its own, but I didn't want to mess with it. It grew back quickly and wavier than it had been. You and your dad will get past it. Have patience and know things will improve.
    Hal
  • sweetblood22
    sweetblood22 Member Posts: 3,228
    Hal61 said:

    Hair and Move in
    Hi Andrea, like Kent I drove myself to and from my rads, and to two of three chemos--35 radiation treatments. It went fine except for my last chemo when I needed a friend to drive me to the hospital for an overnight stay after a minor but uncomfortable reaction to the final Cisplatin. If your dad is in relatively good health starting out, he should be fine, but being "on call" would be a good idea. The last weeks of treatment and the first few after are a bit challenging so picking up needed things from the store/drugstore could also be helpful. The time seemed to pass quickly for me as the daily routine became established. Hopefully it will move along without much fuss for your dad also. When I saw a bit of my hair falling out, I just shaved my head. I don't know if it would have actually fallen out on its own, but I didn't want to mess with it. It grew back quickly and wavier than it had been. You and your dad will get past it. Have patience and know things will improve.
    Hal

    Well, what does your daddy
    Well, what does your daddy say about you moving in? Does he want you to?

    I only had rads and I lost my hair from the tops of my ears down. It grew back all weird and curly but it grew back, thank God. I have no SO and live with my 86 year old grandmother so I had to do my meds, peg tube feedings, etc on my own. Towards the end of rads, and when my side effects were so bad and I lost 40lbs, it was hard. I really should have had some help there for a while. My step mom did drive me everyday to radiation which was good because I would fall asleep on the ride home from the benedryl I was taking. Also, I started to get sick on the way home despite the anti nausea drugs I was taking. We had to keep a bucket in the car on the way home. :( I wouldn't have been able to drive myself, but every one is different. My side effects were pretty severe because I also have a pretty severe genetic blood disorder.

    I'm glad your father has you. It's a battle, but you can get thru it. Glad you found this site as there is tons of valuable info here and more support than you can shake a stick at. IDK what that even means. Lol. I wish your father only the best.

    Sweet
  • Pam M
    Pam M Member Posts: 2,196
    Good Luck
    Andrea,

    Glad your dad's got you in his corner - what a help you'll be. My doctor told me that Cisplatin might cause some temporary thinning for some people. Same for 5-FU. He also told me that Taxotere would take my hair. It did. It grew back for the most part. Radiation got the hair on the back of my head, from about 1/2 way from the tops of my ears down. I think I grew back a tuft of hair on each side, but the rest is still bald, 8 months later. My hair covers up the bald patch now.

    As for moving in - I'd play it by ear. Have you let your dad know you're considering it? If he needs a lot of help, or if you worry a lot, it may be easier to stay with him instead of running back and forth. People in treatment run the gamut from unable to care for themselves at all to close to normal.

    At the appointment, take notes and don't be afraid to ask questions, if it's OK with your Dad. Write the questions down ahead of time if you can - it's easy to forget what you wanted to ask.

    Do well. Keep us updated.
  • ekdennie
    ekdennie Member Posts: 236 Member
    what we did
    I didn't have chemo, but I did have radiation. I also have three children under the age of 5, including a son who just turned 9 months old. what we did was for the first couple of weeks of treatment my mom came by every morning to help me get my oldest son ready for school, then she drove me to my treatments...she didn't have to until about week 3, when I went on pain meds and I felt better with someone driving me. then when I went to morphine I had her move in with me. I would just fall asleep and felt it was irresponsible to leave my kids unattended, but the treatment and morphine would often knock me out. I finished treatment about 2 1/2 weeks ago and my mom is still here. she goes to her house several times a day to take care of her bills, pets, and plants.
    I think it is best to just play it by ear. and expect that if you do need to help that the help will continue for a couple of weeks post treatment.
    also as far as hair loss goes...I have a weird area of hair loss at he nape of my neck. it looks like my hair goes in thinner in a wavy pattern. no other hair loss from my radiation. (IMRT)
    best of luck to you and your dad stay strong and think positive...it really helps! hugs!
    elizabeth