My mom just completed her treatment last week...

Emmyt1026 Member Posts: 1



My mother was diagnosed with stage II anal cancer back in April. She completed 2 rounds on chemo and 5 weeks of radiation. Her last radiation treatment was last Tuesday. 

She ended up in the hospital twice during treatment with high fevers and low blood cell counts. She's home now, but still feeling horrible. She doesn't really want to see anyone, can't eat, has severe pain and diarrhea, and extremely fatigued. She told me today that she doesn't believe that she is ever going to feel better and is highly depressed. My questions are:

1) Roughly how long did it take to feel at least somewhat better after treatment ended?

2) Did you do or take anything that helped that process along to where I can give her some suggestions?

3) I am trying to provide her with encoyragement, but I am finding the right words to say to lift her spirits. What would you have liked people to say or do for you when you were feeling at your worst?


Thanks in advance for your response.




  • mp327
    mp327 Member Posts: 4,440 Member

    Welcome here, but sorry to hear your mom is having a tough time post-treatment.  Since the radiation keeps working after treatment ends, the first couple of weeks can be rough.  We all wanted to immediately feeling better, but I can tell you in my experience, that was not the case.  However, I can say that after about 10 days, I began feeling better.  There were little improvements every day at that point, so I began to feel encouraged that there was light at the end of the tunnel.  Your mom's body has taken a real hit, so getting back energy, appetite, and a positive outlook can be a process.  I would suggest that your mom gets lots of protein to promote healing.  If she can tolerate eggs, chicken, tuna, Greek yogurt, or any other sources of good protein, that would be good.  There are also protein drinks if food isn't tolerated so well, such as Boost.  Depression is common and I would suggest having a conversation with her doctor to see if he/she can prescribe a mild anti-depressant for a short course.  I don't know where your mom lives, but if possible, getting outside a little each day, even if it's just to sit on the porch and get some sunshine (which provides Vitamin D) can help.  I watched a lot of funny old sit-coms on t.v. to pass the time.  Laughter IS good medicine!  If your mom has a close friend that she wouldn't mind seeing, that may lift her spirits as well.  Perhaps you could arrange a visit for them. 

    As for telling her something that may encourage her and lift her spirits, please tell her that there are many of us who understand what she is going through, but many of us are long-term survivors who feel it was all worth it.  I will be 9 years out of treatment this coming September.  Life has returned to normal and is very good.  She will get there, but she can't expect it to happen overnight.  Patience is key in this recovery.  I wish her (and you) all the best!


  • Mollymaude
    Mollymaude Member Posts: 431 Member

    So sorry to hear your mom is having problems. I was hospitalized with sepsis at the end of treatment. I was horribly sore, had diarrhea every 15 minutes, could not wear underwear, blistered burned and felt horrible. It does get better but much more slowly than you would like. I finished treatment Jan12 and by spring break I was able to take a vacation, hike a mile, but took naps daily and had to have my charmin! I explained to friends I was with some of my bowel issues so if I had a bathroom accident they would be understanding. I still find an antidepressant helpful and I'm a year and a half out. Take home message, it does get better!!

  • eihtak
    eihtak Member Posts: 1,473 Member


    Congratulations to your mom on completion of treatment...while the feeling is good, its far from feeling much like a celebration. Thats normal, and I'll copy the others, "it does get better." 

    I won't repeat the tips given here as it was great advice. I had some complications by the end of treatment and went from hospital to nursing home, but even so, I think it was about 2 weeks when I noticed a real difference towards feeling better. After a month or two I thought, wow, how did I think I was doing good back then, because by that time I was really feeling better, then, a couple months later, the same...each time I looked back, I realized how far I had come. That was 6 1/2 years ago now, and although I've had a few bumps in the road along the way...I'm feeling terrific today!

    Right after treatment, I wasn't up for much company either, but sure enjoyed daily phone calls. I forced myself to eat what I could, sleep a lot so I could heal, but also tried to take short walks each day to get some fresh air and sunshine.  The pain is REAL, and for me it was horrible during and for a couple weeks after treatment, but seemed to lessen pretty quick after those first 2 weeks post radiation. I was on prescription pain meds and continued to take for a few weeks after finishing treatment and then weaned off. Your mom will be in my thoughts and prayers that her healing comes quick now and she will soon see more good days than bad. 

    Please keep us posted as to how shes doing and don't forget to take time for that walk in the sun for yourself too!


  • swood9008
    swood9008 Member Posts: 116 Member
    My mom was diagnosed in Jan

    My mom was diagnosed in Jan of 2015, I know how your feeling! It does get better, my mom also ended up in the hospital the last week of reading in for severe burns. I would say a month later she started to feel a little more like herself and gradually started doing her norm but would be home for her afternoon nap! Hang in there thinking of you