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Chemo comfort tips?

12 years 6 days ago #17322 by mleigh
Just wanted to say thanks to you guys for the tips. He is holding up well so far so I pray that continues.

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12 years 1 week ago #17184 by Cynthia
During chemo we spent many a week in a hotel and we got to the place we had our kit, and there are so many kindnesses I remember from family and friends. What follows is some of the best and most useful things I found during chemo and treatment.

I had a backpack that held what I might need while at infusion. It was very nice as I didn’t have to think about it just add what I might need that day and off I would go.

Any of the drug stores carry mouthwash for dry mouth it can be a life saver during chemo by heading off mouth sores if used from the first. Hard candy is handy also for bouts of dry mouth.

During chemo keeping a little something on your stomach is well known to help fight off nausea. Send them little snack packs to keep with them at all times. The hundred calorie packs are a nice size and offer good variety.

Send a non perishable food gift basket to the hotel. Fruit is about as good for you as it gets. Also your need for protein goes up during chemo so any good source that might appeal is a great idea. Note that cheese is good but that constipation can be a problem during chemo so with cheese and fruit for the opposite reason of course, not over doing it is a good idea until you know how your body reacts to it. Also ask about salt intake if you send processed meat.

My ipod was invaluable to me. If he does not have one and loves music get a MPS player and load it with his favorite type music. Chemo for the most part is a lot of tedium they come in hook you up and then you wait. It depends on the drugs, combinations how much hydration they have to give you and so on, for me it was five hours at least a visit. Playing cards, hand held games, books anything they might like to alleviate the boredom is a good gift.

Recently a lady from my husband works was battling cancer and they sent her a gift for everyday she was away for chemo. One day it might be a nice bar of soap and a sea sponge, a candle, a pack of playing cards, a special chocolate bar. You get the idea, they were not expensive or big but they all had one thing in common, they were little comforts. A woman at work gathered them from everyone and sent them in one box; so that everyday she would have something to look forward to. I always thought that it would make a good family project, and everyone would feel they had done something; what a win win.

Tell them for their stay at the hotel to take a few little things that make it feel like home. A favorite pillow and a throw can mean a lot when you don’t feel well and are away from home. If we were flying we would mail a box to the hotel and then use the UPS store to send it back. My husband would include in the box as it went out the return address stickers and tape to seal it up again.

Hope this helps.

Chin up and straight forward

Cynthia Kinsella
T2 g3 CIS 8/04
Clinical Trial
Chemotherapy & Radiation 10/04-12/04
Chemotherapy 3/05-5/05
BCG 9/05-1-06
RC w/umbilical Indiana pouch 5/06
Left Nephrectomy 1/09
President American Bladder Cancer Society

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12 years 1 week ago #17179 by Leigh
Dear mleigh,

I am sorry to hear about your dad and hope that the chemo treatment zaps the spread of disease.

I have just finished four rounds of Gemz/Cispl and I found that music was very calming and blocked out the chemo room noise so as Karen mentioned an iPod or cd player would be a great idea. I second that about Hard Candy from Madonna...excellent especially track three and six ;D

Lots of magazines...I found I was unable to read books as concentration to a minimum with chemo brain..I found I was repeating a page several times as my mind wondered to other places. Gossip magazines with lots of pictures were good for me and I am a hobby gardener so garden magazines were my main mag of choice.

Every chemo facility is different and mine offered tea and coffee and water only so if your Dad likes anything else to drink this would be a good option to include in your care package along with any nibbles....I found it important to always have a few nibbles with me for a sugar hit or salty snack to keep the nausea at bay.

Chewing gum or mints to keep my mouth wet and fresh...

Even on warm days the chemo sometimes gave me chills so something for your Dad to cover up with would be helpful. Of course the nurses will offer a standard blanket but a present from a family member or friend will be very welcoming and comforting...maybe a warm fleece blanket.

I hope this helps...

Wishing your Dad all the very best....

Kind thoughts to you and your family.

Leigh, 39
Dx July 2007
TURBT July 2007
RC/Neobladder ,Studer Pouch, September 2007
Erasmus Centrum Rotterdam
TNM Classification: pT4 N2 Mo
4 cycles aduvant chemo Gemzar & Cisplatinum

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12 years 1 week ago #17166 by momof4

I am sorry to hear bout your Dad...but I am glad that he is giving the Chemo a try...There are those who have had very good results with different combimbinations of chemo...

As far as your care package...Great idea by the way...My husband loved his iPod. But a CD player is great too...Find an artist that you know he loves and include the CD...Hard candy is great too. We were told that by keeping the saliva going in the mouth, it can help prevent mouth sores. (ice chips too). I found one of those pillows that have tiny beads in them, and the fabric is some sort of microfiber (really soft) It can be used under the arm, head, or just about anywhere as you can sort of mold it around.

I am sure that others will have great ideas too...

Best Wishes,

Caregiver for my Wonderful Husband Angelo, who has Metastatic Bladder Cancer.

Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain.

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12 years 1 week ago #17165 by mleigh
Thanks to everyone for the info in response to my question about my dad's treatment. It seems they didn't do chemo because his lymph nodes were clean from what I understand that is the deciding factor. To update, the biopsies confirmed that the cancer has spread to his liver and pelvic bone-the same areas that were noted as questionable on his pre-surgery scan. He is back out at Anderson now and just received his first round of chemo. My mom says he is doing well so far. We are just praying he will respond well. My parents have three other children, including a 12 yr old and a 9 yr old, so this is very tough to deal with. Obviously we can't turn back the clock but I can't help thinking about the "what if's" and wondering if we should have been more aggressive with his treatment. At this point we're just hoping and praying for a miracle.

On another topic, I would like to pack up a care package and send to my parents as they are staying in a hotel at Anderson for the next several weeks while chemo is going on. Does anyone have any suggestions of things that were really helpful to you during chemo, the little things that provided big comfort?

Thanks so much to you all. I have found this forum to be a source of comfort and hope in this difficult time and I am grateful for it.

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