What to Expect?

jwbyerly Member Posts: 1

Hi there - My mother (55) was diagnosed with Stage 3 Stomach Cancer. She also has cancer in the lymph nodes around the stomach. I am 35. My dad and I are now her "caregivers" She had her porta-cath put in yesterday. Today the radiologist said that we will do 5 days per week for 5-6 weeks, and the chemo as well. My mom feels like for the most part she will be able to drive herself and take care of herself...but I am really really doubtful.

She has not been able to eat more than about 600-800 calories a day since January. I can only image that it will get much worse.

Any advice or suggestions would be welcomed! My father and I both work full time so we are going to be juggling ;)




  • Catholic
    Catholic Member Posts: 86
    From a caregivers perspective

    From a caregivers perspective, I didnt find chemotherapy difficult.  I remember when the port was added.  Then about a week later the chemotherapy starts and about 2-3 weeks later the person receiving this medicine loses their hair.  That was dramatic for my wife.  Other than that, my wife slept during that year of chemotherapy.  She slept about 14-16 hours a day.  The drugs really knocked her out and Im betting your mother will be tired as well.  The year of chemotherapy is a lot of running around and keeping up with appointments but I didnt find it difficult.  Get your mom something to do.  I got my wife a cross-stitch kit (a big one) and she worked on that for 9+ months.  My wife had soup with homemade bread rolls almost every day.  She said she couldnt taste anything but she liked soup and that became to goto dish almost every day.

    Then the chemotherapy is over and in my opinion the work of the caregiver begins.  The hair starts growing back.  My wife was not happy but more pleasant to be around for about 2 months after chemotherapy.  Then she started getting angry and then really angry.  Little things will cause her to completely explode with rage.  And the daily anger really sucks and thats when you dont like being the caregiver.

    Also, your mom wont be able to drive.  You will have to drive her.  Maybe in the first 2 weeks she will be fine, but when the drugs start kicking in, she wont want to drive and quite frankly I wouldnt trust any one going through chemotherapy to drive.

  • JerzyGrrl
    JerzyGrrl Member Posts: 760 Member
    Your mom

    What to expect? Your lives will be tossed into a sack, stirred with a stick, dumped out, and there will be times when one, two, or all of you wonder, "What the heck is this pile here?" Somehow, though, you'll get through it.

    Your mom sounds like an independent person. If you and your dad are her caregivers, it probably won't be long before she's feeling smothered by your "help." In fact she may already feel that way. My mom wouldn't even tell me when her chemo treatments were, so any insisting upon driving her on my part wouldn't have gotten me very far. But yes, I tried (while she let me know exactly how trying I was).

    If she has a friend who can go with her to her chemo treatments (or at least give her a lift), that could be nice - you get out of smothering and she gets in some socializing. Also, her medical group, a local service organization, or the local American Cancer Society may provide rides to medical appointments and treatments. Perhaps a friend has used one of those ways to get to appointments and could give their recommendations. Any of those will provide her with independence and contact with Real People in the outside world. Oh, my mom? She didn't want to be a burden, nor did she want to take a seat from someone "who really needs it." But she did drop by to meet a friend before or after her appointments.

    And yes, there was a point at which we had to wrestle the car keys from her. It wasn't pretty, but it was kind of funny. She had spare sets of keys squirreled all over the place. Fortunately the screen door made a really loud BANG when it closed and even on a good day we could generally outrun her. 

    Many years ago, I had friends who were freaked because their mom/grandmother started refusing to have them drive her to her doctor's appointments. It turned out she was taking the health center's bus and got to play bingo. They had door prizes, singalongs, and ginger ale on the bus. Made me wish I had an appointment to go to (I was living in a rural area at the time, so it was a bit of a haul to the closest medical center).

    I hope you and your dad remember to take care of yourselves, too. Self-care and fresh air help add to the balance that you need. Keep us posted.

  • here4lfe
    here4lfe Member Posts: 306 Member
    It depends on you mom

    All chemo is different so it depends on how she tolerates it. My experience:

    1. I always had someone with her for her treatments

    2. Constant tests, doctors appointments

    3. Insurance!

    4. Anxiety, not sleeping, coping with "What If"

    My advice:

    1. Follow her lead. Let her do what she wants as long as it is in her character

    2. Get plenty of rest and don't neglect yourself, friends, you life.