My sister's chemo to begin. Advise me on all aspects please

Finally my search for the oncologist, as suggested by Dr Sumeet, is over. I have found in Dr Lalit at AIIMS just the right and experienced person whom I can trust. My sister (44yrs) has accepted the news with great maturity. After her surgery about 2 wks back she has also been doing a lot of reading and bracing up. Her first chemo session will be soon now. Please advise about what all can be done about infection control, care of veins, nutrition and any other valuable tip. How is the experience with things like wheat germ, turmeric etc.

Great to have 500 friends to guide through these testing times! Is there a group in Delhi which can meet to self help each other or a BCI meet planned.

25 Replies

  • hi dm, its good to know finally you got the good dr., for the infection control...just follow the below mention points;

    1. hygiene should be taken care.

    2. first boiled the water and take is when it reaches to normal room temperature.

    3. don't eat anything from outside.

    4. packed item can be eaten like namkeen, biscuit...but once packet open should be finished in first time only so buy only small packets.

    5. if her Neutrophil go down then she should not take any raw fruits, raw such in any case its better to avoid raw fruits and raw vegetable.

    6. white blood cell counts will be low between 4-12 days after chemo this time more care required with respect to infection.

    7. avoid meeting the person if he has fever, coughing, cold etc.

    8. before meal clean ur hand and after also....don't eat any thing before cleaning your hand.

    9. use some good mouthwash to clean ur mouth after eating food.

    10. don't eat stale food (basi).

    anyhow turmeric powder is good, she can take turmeric powder with boiled milk.

    I think this is enough but if i missed something our forum member will add more points.

  • dm2009

    First of all I suggest to go for PORT instead of giving chemo thro veins. My sister is suffering a lot due to chemo given thro veins. She has wounds which is more tough than chemo and radiation.

    See to have bath daily, clothes, towels, bedsheets are washed daily.

    She should avoid using knife or any type of blades as there are chances of cuts

    Avoid dust.

    Before going to chemo she should eat normally. Drink lots of water - coconut water, juices will help

  • But what about port infection. Many people advise against port. The varying opinion is very confusing. I guess the oncologist will ultimately decide. I will discuss with him

  • dear every thing has positive and negative point, only need to consider what is best for her...bcu my oncologist said if we can find the veins easily for IV then no need to fix the chemo port, bcu it can leak best person is your medical oncologist to decide is it really required or not...

  • Any idea about wheat germ? Many people are recommending but since it is to be taken uncooked, I am a bit sceptical

  • For PORT - you will see many of our members who had PORT. Also if require you can seek Dr Sumeet advice again.

    Regarding wheat germ - I think you are telling the same thing of wheat grass? Is it so

  • Yes it is the same thing

  • No harm in taking - only thing it should be fresh. My sister had taken - we in house had planted & was taking daily till the chemo was there. Just ask someone whether it is good in this rainy season

  • Hello DM. Good to know you finally found the good doctor. It really matters a lot one's interaction with doctor. I am also blessed with wonderful doctors and meeting them always makes me feel fresh and well :).

    Well, don't bother much for chemotherapy, we are in the era where we have a lot of medicines to reduce side effects of chemo. The only thing what matter is one's state of mind. One more thing I would like to share, In India we generally don'nt talk about the chemo toxicity and fertility issues, which is also a considerable factor of chemo side effect amongst young patients.

    Regarding port, I too had port for my infusion but choice of it depends on person to person, some finds it comfortable to avoid numerous pricking while some finds it costlier and uncomfortable as if after completing of chemo it is there for some more time then we need regular flushing of it.

    And, I am also in Delhi. I have met with rgci and manu of this forum. We can plan to meet sometime.


  • I have chemo port implanted under the skin. I didn't face any problem of infection. I think there are different kinds of ports, like something which would be visible and jutting out. Such ports might be prone to infection.

    my medical oncologist advised me not to take any new kind of food like wheatgrass and things like that which people would be talking about. He told me to eat food which you are used to. He has said a clear no no to liv 52, ecosprin etc, which are some of the self medication which would be recommended by all your social contacts. During my chemo and radiation, I used to take sweets everyday and shun most of the healthy food as the taste buds were defunct. However I could consume curds, bananas, tender coconut and water melon without much difficulty.

    All the best to the entire family.

  • dm1009, my best wishes for your sister. Please have a PORT inserted, I have one - and it really makes a LOT of difference in patient well-being during chemos. One less thing to worry about!

    I took coconut water and gulkand daily, they helped me greatly. I think turmeric be better postponed to the period after chemos. It gives hot flashes. It also helps to do deep breathing exercises like pranyamas daily, as they improve blood oxygenation and reduce stagnation in the lungs. Most important, have a POSITIVE attitude and you will come through fine!

  • Hi ..Can u send your email id..I can forward some details to you..My Email id ***.******* Thanks SENTHIL

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  • thank you friends....... dr sumeet what do you suggest

  • Sorry for delayed reply. My PC crashed and was too busy to get it up and running.

    All above have given you a good insight into chemo, I don't have much to add. I would suggest you to go through the following chemotherapy questions which you may find useful:

    As for PORT, I would suggest to go for PORT. I have put more than a hundred ports and I still do not remember anyone who regreted it. PORT makes a life simpler. PORT related infection is rare, do not bother much about it.

  • hi dm, just be calm. i had chemo yesterday, through port. it was normal as ever. had food during and after chemo. it was more frightening before but once it started it was normal. just be positive and be sure every thing will be fine. all other things are talked about here. tell your sis to take small quantity of food at small intervals, and rest all will follow. just relax. it was nothing compare to my imaginations before it started.

  • If you go to the page with posts (see upper left hand corner and click on posts if you aren't on that page), then look under pinned posts on the right there is one I put together for my cousin on Little tips for dealing with chemo when she was about to start her treatments.

    Most people are very happy with a port that sits under the skin. It saves your veins from being damaged by the chemo for one thing. There is a numbing cream that many use here about an hour before any sticks. I'm not sure what it would be called there, but someone on the site has probably used it. One woman said that she puts it on and then covers the area with plastic wrap so it doesn't rub off when she gets dressed.

    Sending lots of positive thoughts for an easy treatment experience for your sister. she is lucky to have you looking out for her!


  • Thank you all for guidance. My sister's first of four cycles of DC has begun about an hour back. Feeling really anxious. Any specific dos and don't s for DC, please share. Thanks once again

  • Drink lots of water to flush out dying cells and stay on top of constipation which can cause terrible problems if ignored. How is your sister doing after her first round?

    In the US wheat germ is from the wheat kernel. It is roughly ground and makes a very healthy addition to many foods. It is not the same thing as wheat grass which many use in blender drinks.

    It's interesting for me, being in this group, to learn about India as well as sharing what we have in common with breast cancer. Someone needs to explain what gulkand is. I don't know if that's a food particular to India or if it is something we have here but just call,it something else.


  • Hi Pkenn - Gulkand is a rose flower petals mixed with sugar and dried for few days- its very healthy and nice to eat. Do you want Gulkand from India - I will send if you want

  • Thank you for the explanation. I will check locally to see if one of the "ethnic" stores has it. There are a couple of Indian restaurants not too far away. I should call ahead and find one which serves it and then gather a couple of friends for an evening out. If I find nothing I might take you up on your offer.

  • Hi Pkenn - Gulkand is a rose flower petals mixed with sugar and dried for few days- its very healthy and nice to eat. Do you want Gulkand from India - I will send if you want

  • My sister underwent her first cycle in day care. She was okay till the evening when she felt dizzy and collapsed. Her pulse and BP went down. It was quite a panic. She gradually recovered. Doctors said it can be cyclophosphamide induced. Friends, if you have anything specific to share regarding doxorubicin or cyclophosphamide please do.

    Also let me know of any online store where I can order wheatgerm as advised by Pat. Thank you all

  • Dm dont worry, its just a side effect of chemothraphy, no one know in first chemo cycle how body will respond. god grace all will be fine..soon I will let u know one aryuvedic tablet it will help in maintaining white blood cells and one more good thing give her figs every day, 2-3 figs soak in water overnight ànd in morning drain the water and boil figs in milk and give it to her...they are really healthy and help her to maintain her HB level..

  • Just to be clear, I was clarifying the difference between the term wheat germ as it is used here, as apparently it is also used to describe wheat grass there. Many here use wheat grass in drinks mixed with other fruits and vegetables. Wheat germ is dry flakes from the wheat seed. It is considered to be a health food -I just like the taste. I would not worry about trying to find it, and it could be readily available there but using a different name.

    What is important for your sister, is that she eat as healthy and balanced a diet as possible and that, if her neutrophils drop, which often happens during chemo, she eat a neutropenic diet, which basically involves well cooked foods which are carefully prepared to prevent infection. You can google neutropenic diet if her doctor does not have information about it. She may find that some foods have no appeal or make her sick. If so, she should just do the best she can to keep eating, even if what appeals to her is not part of a perfect diet.

    Did your sister drink a lot of water before her treatment? It is important to stay as well hydrated as possible. Being dehydrated could contribute to the side effects she experienced. She also should keep drinking as much as possible to flush out the dead and dying cells from her system.


  • See you can take mud in the pots or steel bowls and put wheat and water in it. Within a week time the grass will grow. You can cut it and just grind with water - filter it and give, its easy a few minutes daily

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