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Posts: 109
Joined: Dec 2007

My father is at home all day (for 6 months now) recovering from a LENGTHY hospital stay and getting chemo for stage 4 cancer.

Today he says that doing nothing is getting to him.
(he does a bit of yard work and watches Tv a lot)

I told him he should be creative!
Working in clay, making bird houses, getting into photography etc.

I think I'll get him a couple of books on various subjects tonight.

... but what is it YOU do when you have a "stay at home day"?!?

Most of the time he is just low on energy and spirit!

Posts: 5
Joined: Mar 2008

My husband is recovering from surgery also. I put up some bird feeders in the backyard so he can watch the birds come and go. I also got him some books on cd from the library. He reads books sometimes but since chemo treatments he has trouble concentrating. So he likes the books on cd. We also go for walks and take the golf cart for a spin through the neighborhood.

jams67's picture
Posts: 927
Joined: May 2006

I remember being sucked into the computer and watching lots of movies. I am not a tv person at all, but when I was on chemo, there were times when I didn't even have the energy to read. TV, especially movies, made the time pass more quickly. Unlike your dad though, I was able to get out of the house.
Jo Ann

Posts: 8
Joined: Sep 2003

Dear Fergus2007,

I definitely agree with your prescription to be creative! I'm a stage 4 metastatic colon cancer patient (tumors in liver, nowhere else at present) and have been in chemotherapy since December 2006 - first FolFox with Avastin, then FolFuri with Erbitux - with 3 breaks of a few weeks to 3 months. My original treatment for stage 3 was surgery in early 2003 followed by 7 months of FolFox -- was then NED until spots my oncologist was following with periodic CT scans ballooned into tumors.

Back to being creative. I draw and paint (oil and watercolor) and have taken some lessons in both -- and find that when I'm doing art I feel better physically and emotionally, sometimes losing myself in doing the art for 2-3 hours at a time. And I have something to show for my time -- not great art, but satisfying to me, and something of a legacy I can leave.

I've also started writing some short memoirs of my life - not full fledged autobiography, just short pieces about times or events in my life - with my children and grandchildren and great grandchildren as my intended readers. I really wish I had such stories from my parents and grandparents and beyond -- instead of just my memories and dates of birth, death and marriage. Another idea along this line that I have done - and intend to get back to - is writing a collection of 1-2 sentence or 1 paragraph descriptions of times in my life -- and specific events. I have over 20 pages of these now -- and a couple of them I've developed into short memoirs.

So I really think you're on the right track in urging your father to be creative -- in whatever medium he likes to work in - clay or wood or whatever. You might want to suggest drawing as well (maybe buy him a sketch book and some drawing pencils) - not with the intent of capturing exactly what something looks like (way to hard), but impressions of things -- and abstract designs, etc. The thing nice about drawing as a creative activity is that it requires almost no effort to get started.

I'd be happy to give you some information on drawing and painting materials if you and your father are interested -- and could send you a few sample 1-2 sentence descriptions of times/events in my life if he's interested in that kind of thing.

A final note. My tumors are stable - one shrinking a bit and some of them calcifying a little (not sure what the calcifying means in terms of longer survival, but my second opinion oncologist thinks it's a good thing). And I'm convinced that doing creative things with some of my time contributes greatly to my attitude -- which most of the time is pretty positive. And we all know that a positive attitude is very important in healing.

I wish you and your father well in his journey.


Posts: 84
Joined: Dec 2007

There have been many quiet days home alone during my recovery and treatments. Sometimes I have been in a mental slump/depression, so activites that didn't require much mental effort, such as watching movies or reading occupied some of my time. What really helped was getting back the determination to do what I used to do as a stay at home mom. I realized I needed to contribute to the well-being of others. I needed to function in a way that contributed. For me that just meant doing the daily tasks. That wasn't exciting, but it got me going. Maybe there is something he used to do that he could find satisfaction in. Now that I am feeling better, I am back into doing crafts and gardening a little. I also read. But, as I said, participating in the normal things of life, whatever that is for each one, helps one to feel alive. As Jim115 said, I too am attempting to write something to leave my family, particularly the grandchildren I may never know. I'm collecting some family geneaolgy as well, and organizing photographs. I made a scrapbook of each member of my immediate family, including myself.

Posts: 881
Joined: Feb 2007

Hi there. One thing that took my mind off of my low energy and spirits was connecting with other people who were dealing with similar, if not identical issues. For example, I found out that several people in my immediate (i.e. several houses away from me) were also dealing with the beast in various forms. For exercise, I would walk to their houses & ask if there was anything they needed. This actually got us all motivated to get out and move and get to know each other. Granted, some of us had only the beast in common, but I made some good neighborly friendships. Our spouses now know that we have other resources to call on if we are alone and need someone. We talked about all sorts of different things and our hopes for the future. We also came up with ideas to help each other out with stuff apart from our disease. It has been very enlightening, comforting and invigorating to get to know more people. My dog was also a real motivator. I did just a few minutes of training with him every day (sometimes I only had energy for a very few minutes) but we bonded so strongly during the "in-house" time. Reading, piano, tv, movies and writing also filled a lot of time. True, there are times when you are so listless that you can't even concentrate on Judge Judy :) They pass and you go on. Best of luck. Hugs and prayers.

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Posts: 56
Joined: Mar 2008

Do you have a Wii? It is great. It comes with a Sports package where you can do bowling, golf, boxing, tennis...We just got the Wii Fit and you can do yoga, down hill skiing, balancing games, excersize, step machine etc....What's great as it is good for ALL ages. This will involve actual physical movement. The Wii fit takes your BMI, weight etc...and keeps track of how much you excercise too...If you have a wireless internet adapter in your house, you can also get internet connection on the TV thru the Wii. I know I can get lost on the computer for hours...Aside from that:computer games (ie scrabble) puzzles, crossword puzzles books...these are more to keep the mind busy...Can your Dad water the plants/flowers daily? My Mom had some nerve damage in her legs from diabetes and she used to set the timer on the microwave and do laps @ the house...

Posts: 304
Joined: Dec 2005

You have lots of great answers! My thought...my son got my husband "hooked" on fly fishing. He is now making flys and fly rods to go with the sport!
There are lots of local places for fly fishing and we all enjoy our fly fishing trips!
Mary Kay

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