Living alone during chemo

Options

Hello everyone!  I just joined you all today and have learned so much already--thank you!

My mother is about to begin her first round of carboplatin & taxol and she lives alone.  I'm trying to plan how much I should be with her in the coming weeks and months.  Should I plan on spending the night for the first few nights after each chemo treatment?  What about help during the day--do you think someone should be there all day at first and then taper off after 3-4 days post chemo?  I've heard symptoms worsen with each round so when does it get to the point that she needs help all day?

Thanks so much for your suggestions in planning for her care.  I would love to hear what worked for others.forgot to mention she has uterine serous carcinoma, stage 3c.

Comments

  • Kaleena
    Kaleena Member Posts: 2,088 Member
    Options
    Dear Kate:
    Sorry to hear

    Dear Kate:

    Sorry to hear about your mother.  This is a difficult question as everyone reacts differently.   However, unless your mom reacts right away, sometimes the fatigue, nausea, etc. doesn't appear for a day or two after chemo.   With my treatments, if I got it on a Tuesday, Friday I would be basically useless - very fatigued.  The nausea came and went.   Just make sure your mom stays hydrated. Get popcycles, etc.   Your mom may not feel like eating due to taste, etc.   

    If you live far away, I would probably stick around for a couple of days.  Sorry I can't be of more help.  

    My best to your mom and you.

    Kathy

  • Kate-caregiver
    Kate-caregiver Member Posts: 20
    Options
    Kaleena said:

    Dear Kate:
    Sorry to hear

    Dear Kate:

    Sorry to hear about your mother.  This is a difficult question as everyone reacts differently.   However, unless your mom reacts right away, sometimes the fatigue, nausea, etc. doesn't appear for a day or two after chemo.   With my treatments, if I got it on a Tuesday, Friday I would be basically useless - very fatigued.  The nausea came and went.   Just make sure your mom stays hydrated. Get popcycles, etc.   Your mom may not feel like eating due to taste, etc.   

    If you live far away, I would probably stick around for a couple of days.  Sorry I can't be of more help.  

    My best to your mom and you.

    Kathy

    Thank you! It helps to know

    Thank you! It helps to know when the worst day might be. We will have to play it by ear it sounds like!  Best wishes to you, Kathy!  And we will get the Popsicles ready to go!  Good tip.

  • NoTimeForCancer
    NoTimeForCancer Member Posts: 3,386 Member
    Options
    Kate, like Kathy, it is hard

    Kate, like Kathy, it is hard to say.  How old is your mom?  Does she have other health ailments?  Is she post-op?

    Everyone is different, but encourage her to take the anti-nauseau pills if she needs them and not to wait.  These drugs are SO GOOD so there is no need to suffer. 

    I know a lot of women have complained how they have lost the desire to eat on chemo.  I never thought I wouldn't want to eat and I was surprised how I had no interest in food - so maybe you can make sure she has things she already likes and can access easily. 

    One of the side effects I was warned about was 'flu-like' symptoms in the following days.  I had joint pain, like when you are catching the flu, that stopped by in my tracks.  It was a few days after my first chemo I remember thinking, "what do they mean side effects" as I dropped some laundry in the washing machine and then less than an hour later it was like I had arthritis.  Now, I never had THAT kind of pain again post-treatment again, it was milder, thank goodness.  (I always thought it was the initial reaction my body had to the chemo and then it got used to it. ha!)

    Again, we are all different and I think the first one, because it is so unknown, is the worst.  I lived alone during my entire treatment, and still do.  I had a friend accompany me to the day long treatment, but then I was on my own. 

    What does your mother think?  Is she not shy to ask you for help? 

  • Kate-caregiver
    Kate-caregiver Member Posts: 20
    Options

    Kate, like Kathy, it is hard

    Kate, like Kathy, it is hard to say.  How old is your mom?  Does she have other health ailments?  Is she post-op?

    Everyone is different, but encourage her to take the anti-nauseau pills if she needs them and not to wait.  These drugs are SO GOOD so there is no need to suffer. 

    I know a lot of women have complained how they have lost the desire to eat on chemo.  I never thought I wouldn't want to eat and I was surprised how I had no interest in food - so maybe you can make sure she has things she already likes and can access easily. 

    One of the side effects I was warned about was 'flu-like' symptoms in the following days.  I had joint pain, like when you are catching the flu, that stopped by in my tracks.  It was a few days after my first chemo I remember thinking, "what do they mean side effects" as I dropped some laundry in the washing machine and then less than an hour later it was like I had arthritis.  Now, I never had THAT kind of pain again post-treatment again, it was milder, thank goodness.  (I always thought it was the initial reaction my body had to the chemo and then it got used to it. ha!)

    Again, we are all different and I think the first one, because it is so unknown, is the worst.  I lived alone during my entire treatment, and still do.  I had a friend accompany me to the day long treatment, but then I was on my own. 

    What does your mother think?  Is she not shy to ask you for help? 

    This is great info, thank

    This is great info, thank you!  She is 68 yrs old and has diabetes.  I'm so glad to know your joint pain lessened over the course of treatment!  And you made it through everything while living on your own!

     

    I will definitely make sure she has some of her favorite foods available and she is the type of person who will ask for help but I will check in on her often to make sure she's ok.

     

    Maybe it won't be as bad as I'm imagining!

  • Lou Ann M
    Lou Ann M Member Posts: 996 Member
    Options
    So sorry to hear about your mother

    I have had 15 Taxol/carbo treatments and to more of Taxol before they stoppd working.  The side ffects were almost the the same each time down to the day and time.  i kept a journal for awhile and it was helpful so i would know what to expect what side effect.  I had bone pain from the taxol and fatigue, some loss of appitite. I don't think i had a time when i couldn't have stayed by myself, but I am thankful I have a very supportive and loving husband. I am in pretty good health otherwise.  Everyone is different so it would be a little wait andf see.

    I buy a few bottles of Slim fast to drink on days when I can't eat much of anything  I also invested in a Ninja and am makinf fruit smoothies to drink on the bad days   I add a little protein powder and it seems to with hydration and lightheadedness.

    Wishing you the best,  Lou Ann

  • Kate-caregiver
    Kate-caregiver Member Posts: 20
    Options
    Lou Ann M said:

    So sorry to hear about your mother

    I have had 15 Taxol/carbo treatments and to more of Taxol before they stoppd working.  The side ffects were almost the the same each time down to the day and time.  i kept a journal for awhile and it was helpful so i would know what to expect what side effect.  I had bone pain from the taxol and fatigue, some loss of appitite. I don't think i had a time when i couldn't have stayed by myself, but I am thankful I have a very supportive and loving husband. I am in pretty good health otherwise.  Everyone is different so it would be a little wait andf see.

    I buy a few bottles of Slim fast to drink on days when I can't eat much of anything  I also invested in a Ninja and am makinf fruit smoothies to drink on the bad days   I add a little protein powder and it seems to with hydration and lightheadedness.

    Wishing you the best,  Lou Ann

    A journal--what a good idea.

    A journal--what a good idea.  Thanks. I'm glad to hear you think you could have done it on your own.  I feel so bad my Dad isn't there with her.  I'll let her know that shakes or smoothies helped you--she has one she likes.

    Thanks for responding.

  • Sandy3185
    Sandy3185 Member Posts: 229 Member
    Options
    Chemo side effects

    So sorry to hear about your mom, but it's great to know she has such a caring daughter. I found that the side effects began on the 2nd or 3rd day after chemo. I generally felt fine the day of chemo and the day after. But then the reactions would begin and I did find that they worsened with each treatment. I did not experience any nausea but I had very little appetite. I also felt very fatigued with mounting joint pain. I also experienced increasing peripheral neurapathy in my hands, feet and later in my legs. I found that I felt increasingly sick after each treatment and had to change one of the meds, Taxol, after the 3rd treatment due to the increasing neuropathy. At first I felt sick for about a week and then would gradually recover. But after each treatment the symptoms lasted longer. Changing the Taxol helped but the joint pain and flu like symptoms persisted. I had 6 treatments, one every 3 weeks . I did find the chemo effects hard to deal with, especially on days 2 thru 10 but I was able to care for myself. I slept a lot and was glad to have my husbands assistance! It is important to encourage your mom to eat and drink a lot of fluids and try to get some exercise. I am sure she will appreciate your company especially on the 2nd and 3rd days after her first treatment. I hope this helps you and that your mom does not have so many side effects.

    It has been a year since I completed chemo. My hair has grown back, I have recovered my strength and am feeling quite well. The treatment takes a few months but when it is over she will recover quickly!

  • Kate-caregiver
    Kate-caregiver Member Posts: 20
    Options
    Sandy3185 said:

    Chemo side effects

    So sorry to hear about your mom, but it's great to know she has such a caring daughter. I found that the side effects began on the 2nd or 3rd day after chemo. I generally felt fine the day of chemo and the day after. But then the reactions would begin and I did find that they worsened with each treatment. I did not experience any nausea but I had very little appetite. I also felt very fatigued with mounting joint pain. I also experienced increasing peripheral neurapathy in my hands, feet and later in my legs. I found that I felt increasingly sick after each treatment and had to change one of the meds, Taxol, after the 3rd treatment due to the increasing neuropathy. At first I felt sick for about a week and then would gradually recover. But after each treatment the symptoms lasted longer. Changing the Taxol helped but the joint pain and flu like symptoms persisted. I had 6 treatments, one every 3 weeks . I did find the chemo effects hard to deal with, especially on days 2 thru 10 but I was able to care for myself. I slept a lot and was glad to have my husbands assistance! It is important to encourage your mom to eat and drink a lot of fluids and try to get some exercise. I am sure she will appreciate your company especially on the 2nd and 3rd days after her first treatment. I hope this helps you and that your mom does not have so many side effects.

    It has been a year since I completed chemo. My hair has grown back, I have recovered my strength and am feeling quite well. The treatment takes a few months but when it is over she will recover quickly!

    Sandy, thanks!  everything

    Sandy, thanks!  everything you shared is so appreciated.  My mom and I are both worried about the neuropathy.  Did it go away after stopping the Taxol? May I ask, are you diabetic--or did the neuropathy happen without being diabetic?

  • Lou Ann M
    Lou Ann M Member Posts: 996 Member
    Options

    Sandy, thanks!  everything

    Sandy, thanks!  everything you shared is so appreciated.  My mom and I are both worried about the neuropathy.  Did it go away after stopping the Taxol? May I ask, are you diabetic--or did the neuropathy happen without being diabetic?

    Neurapathy

    I am not diabetic.  My nueropathy did not show up until 6 weeks after chemo #6 during a period of remission 2013. i had my last Taxol in Febuary and it actually has gotten worse although mostly at night.  My feet burn so It is hard to sleep.  During the day it does not bother me at all.  a year ago the doctor gave me a perscription for a drug called Gabipentin.  I decide not to take it because of side effects( slight chance of depression)  Well,... feet were bothering me so much atm night.  The burning was awful, i broke down and tried the Gabipentin  and  low and behold it worked ( how stupid or stuboirn can one person be).  Lou Ann

  • namedropper
    namedropper Member Posts: 102 Member
    Options
    I am 73 years old and live

    I am 73 years old and live alone. I have MMMT and I went through 5 rounds of Chemo and internal radiation all by myself. My son went with me for the treatments and made sure I had enough food to eat. I have Celiac and have to cook all of my own meals.  The pain after the shots to bring up the blood counts was bad but they gave me small doses of pain meds.  They gave me another kind of a shot and I was much better.   I wrote down everything I ate and what time I took my meds so I could keep track of everything. My son would check to make sure I was eating good enough. I would only eat half of what i would normally eat at times but I did OK. I have to eat every 3 hours because I get low blood sugar.  I know you will be there for your Mom but she should try to to do somethings for herself so she can build up her strength.   Just sitting around is not good.   I am waiting for my next Dr. appt. in July to see how I am doing.  Everybody is different and has different issues. I will keep you and your Mom in my prayers.

  • NoTimeForCancer
    NoTimeForCancer Member Posts: 3,386 Member
    Options
    Lou Ann M said:

    So sorry to hear about your mother

    I have had 15 Taxol/carbo treatments and to more of Taxol before they stoppd working.  The side ffects were almost the the same each time down to the day and time.  i kept a journal for awhile and it was helpful so i would know what to expect what side effect.  I had bone pain from the taxol and fatigue, some loss of appitite. I don't think i had a time when i couldn't have stayed by myself, but I am thankful I have a very supportive and loving husband. I am in pretty good health otherwise.  Everyone is different so it would be a little wait andf see.

    I buy a few bottles of Slim fast to drink on days when I can't eat much of anything  I also invested in a Ninja and am makinf fruit smoothies to drink on the bad days   I add a little protein powder and it seems to with hydration and lightheadedness.

    Wishing you the best,  Lou Ann

    oh Lou Ann!!!  You are right

    oh Lou Ann!!!  You are right about the journal!  It was a good idea.  I didn't have a port so my friends kept a note book for me on what worked didn't work for my chemo. 

    I know I was encouraged to drink a LOT after chemo, and I drank sports drinks to help replenish the electorlytes with all the fluid I was taking in. 

  • Hopeful162
    Hopeful162 Member Posts: 82
    Options

    I am 73 years old and live

    I am 73 years old and live alone. I have MMMT and I went through 5 rounds of Chemo and internal radiation all by myself. My son went with me for the treatments and made sure I had enough food to eat. I have Celiac and have to cook all of my own meals.  The pain after the shots to bring up the blood counts was bad but they gave me small doses of pain meds.  They gave me another kind of a shot and I was much better.   I wrote down everything I ate and what time I took my meds so I could keep track of everything. My son would check to make sure I was eating good enough. I would only eat half of what i would normally eat at times but I did OK. I have to eat every 3 hours because I get low blood sugar.  I know you will be there for your Mom but she should try to to do somethings for herself so she can build up her strength.   Just sitting around is not good.   I am waiting for my next Dr. appt. in July to see how I am doing.  Everybody is different and has different issues. I will keep you and your Mom in my prayers.

    More Input

    Just to chime in on the chemo topic. For me, the third day (counting chemo day as one) began the worst three or four days each time around (every three weeks). I never did get nausea or vomiting, probably due to the great drugs they have these days, but I had terrible bone pain from my hips to my knees and the aching made it difficult to eat or sleep. Eventually ibuprofen seemed to help, but I had the pain every time.

    I also had neuropathy in my fingers and toes, most noticeable at night, but my last infusion was in late January and it is much improved and only just barely noticeable now. Not everyone gets it, but I noticed it after the first treatment, and my oncologist seemed a little surprised. All in all, chemo was not as bad as I imagined it might be. Of course, everything becomes a little more blurred with the passage of time. Your mother needs to remember the saying, "this too shall pass." She is fortunate to have your support

  • Kate-caregiver
    Kate-caregiver Member Posts: 20
    Options
    Glad we found all of you!

    I shared your responses with my mom and she was so touched all of you took time to write back.  It makes us both feel a little better moving forward that we have such wise and kind women to turn to.  I keep each of you in thought and prayer today.