When you live a thousand miles away...

rwkaren Member Posts: 3

Any tips for what family members can do to be supportive, if they live a thousand miles away? 

Also, i wanted to visit, but they think chemo might make my father's white blood cell count go down, and so since I have a 4yo and 6yo they don't think we should visit (kids being germier than adults and all that). Do a lot of people with cancer try to avoid being around children-- was this a thing in your family? We still have to find out more from the oncologists, but it's frustrating. 


  • Ladylacy
    Ladylacy Member Posts: 773 Member

    When my husband was going thru treatment, we asked that no one come to visit if there was any sign of illness and especially small children of which we have many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  We explained that his doctors thought this was best.  Living so far away makes it harder for you.  Could you go visit and stay with someone else and keep your small children away?  I know that will be hard on all but there are face masks that can be worn by visitors and the patient.  When going thru treatment and especially chemo patients are suspectible to every thing because they blood counts can drop.

    Wishing you and yours peace and comfort.

    I'm sure your father would love to see you and the grandchildren just as I'm sure you would love to see your father. 

  • Catholic
    Catholic Member Posts: 86
    People going through

    People going through chemotherapy definitely avoid kids.  We have 3 young kids and my wife got an apartment for a year and lived in the apartment almost exclusively during chemotherapy.  The chemotherapy really takes their energy and your father will want to sleep 12-16 hours a day.  Plus, the person going through chemotherapy cant get sick and young kids get sick often.

    If your going to visit, then just you visit (my recommendation).  But really there is not much to see or do during this time.  You dad wont want to eat much, talk much and instead will want to sleep.  Here is what you can do:

    1. Send photos of the kids.  Send photos regularly.

    2. Write to him.  Letters are good.  Call him regularly.  Phone calls are good.

    3. Send him something to do.  I got my wife a cross stitch kit and she worked on it for a year.  Find something your dad likes to do and send it to him. With that said, my dad is an old military guy and if he was going through chemotherapy, I cant think of anything that he would work on. So Im not sure what you would send him to work on.  If there is something that gets him up and off the couch, great.  Send it to him.

    4. My wife had no taste; whatever food she ate had no flavor to her during chemotherapy.  So she ate soup for almost a year.  I would get up in the morning, make soup, take the kids to school and the youngest to my moms, and then bring my wife soup and fresh buns.  If your 1000 miles away, stop by the store and get some really fancy soup in a can and send it to him.  Send him soup regularly. 

    5. Last but not least, someone must be taking care of your dad.  There must be a caregiver somewhere in the background that is doing the day to day work of looking after your dad and making sure he makes it to the bathroom on time and making to his appointments and cleaning up and so on.  Show appreciation to the caregiver.  If you send soup, the caregiver will thank you because its practical and will be used.   But more importantly, talk to the caregiver.  The caregiver has a lot to say.

    Personally, I found doing errands and keeping up with my wifes appointments to be light work for that year she was doing chemotherapy. The real work begins the day the chemotherapy stops.  Does the person going through chemotherapy turn the corner and get better?  Is their behavior better and attitutude different after chemotherapy?  Or do they still lay on the couch all day and all night and utterly abuse the caregiver?  If the latter situation arises, then visit your dad and do everything you can to help the caregiver.