Going through chemo alone: Hi ladies. I hope each... - My Ovacome

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Going through chemo alone

Sashay2020 profile image

Hi ladies. I hope each of you is as well as you can be today. I’m hoping for some tips from anyone who may have gotten through chemo alone. I am 70 and live alone, but my daughter came to stay with me for six months after my surgery and during frontline chemo. She has made several travel commitments thinking I would still be in remission. I want her to enjoy her plans for October and November, but am feeling anxious about doing chemo alone. I can stock up on food and water and I can have medications delivered. I think I can drive myself to/from chemo. I always felt great the day after chemo because of the IV steroids right before chemo infusion. But the third day and then foot at least a week, I was always sick, weak and in pain. Any tips on managing chemo on your own? I wonder if I can delay starting chemo until my daughter will be available again. Any thoughts?

Thank you,

Sashay

30 Replies

Hi Sashay, I've been on my own fro the beginning, I did feel very unwell at the end of frontline and ended up in Hospital with pneumonia. For the 2nd chemo (doxil/ carbo) I was also on my own and felt really unwell after the 2nd chemo and before the 3rd and ended up in Hospital again. I do have neighbours who would fetch shopping if needed but generally I managed. I wouldn't postpone the chemo but I have managed and you will also have the medical team if you are really unwell. All the best Sue xx

Sashay2020 profile image
Sashay2020 in reply to SUE7777

Thank you so much, Sue. I will muster my courage and forge ahead!Best wishes from Louisiana,

Sashay

Hi, l am nearly 75 years young and l have been on this journey for 9 years alone since l lost my lovely 2 months after diagnosis to a stroke, I agree with Sue l wouldn't delay your chemo. I have had 5 recurrences in this time and thought each time how will l cope, but you just do becausr there really isn't an alternative! Stay strong and positive you will surprise yourself. Best wishes keep safe. Pam

Thank you so much, Pam. Just knowing that you and others have managed definitely boosts my self-confidence. Best wishes from Louisiana,

Sashay

Hi Sashay. It does sound daunting. If you’re having doxil and carbo I didn’t find it as bad as carbo taxol and you have four week cycles so plenty of good time once you get past the bad week. Maybe ask your onc about delaying by a month then you’d only have one cycle on your own? Xx

Sashay2020 profile image
Sashay2020 in reply to delia2

My oncologist is retiring so I will discuss with new oncologist. My old oncologist said they would repeat the same frontline chemo again because I was in remission for ten months. I received an infusion every three weeks. My daughter and I spent a couple of nights in Niagara Falls, New York. We are heading home in the morning. Somehow, seeing the power of the falls and the beauty of nature made me feel a bit stronger. I’m ready for round two in the chemo ring. 🥊 How kind of you to respond to my call for help. Thank you andBest wishes from Louisiana,

Sashay

Hi Sashay 2020I wonder if your chemo unit could get you some transport? It would be worth asking. Also in my area we have a community volunteer group called helping hands. They can drive you to appointments and do shopping or collect prescriptions. I wonder if anything similar is set up where you are? It’s a lot to do on your own, so if there’s help available why not ask for some? xx

Sashay2020 profile image
Sashay2020 in reply to Lyndy

That’s a great idea, Lyndy. It never occurred to me to reach out to community resources. Thank you kindly for responding.

Best wishes from Louisiana,

Sashay

Hi Sashay2020, sorry you are going through this. Only thing I can share with you is a saying that always helped me, I never was alone in my journey but it did help. “You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have “

God Bless you and He will be with you all the way ❤️

Sashay2020 profile image
Sashay2020 in reply to Tabor

That’s a good saying, Tabor. Thanks so much for taking the time to share it with me. Best wishes from Louisiana,

Sashay

Hi Sashay2020, this is indeed a hard thing. I did it myself nearly 5 years ago, and nearly all of my treatment after my initial recovery from surgery has been without in-person assistance. You are right that the first day is almost always easy because of the added steroid - it's the next few days that are difficult, and then you slowly gather strength until it's time for the next round. For those tough times, I basically planned ahead and stocked my pantry/fridge with things I could reliably grab and eat/drink with minimal cooking or heating required. I didn't worry about whether my hair was combed or I had a shower on any given day if I didn't feel up to it. I did use my phone to set alarms so I could take my pain meds on a schedule and keep ahead of it. You might also feel better if your daughter or other friends/family stay in touch with you by phone - even one brief call each evening would probably be comforting. And if possible make sure you have a tv or device you can watch in bed or entertaining paperback books to read and lots of pillows to help you find a comfortable position. Those bad days will pass! You can do it! All the best - Deb in Colorado

Sashay2020 profile image
Sashay2020 in reply to mizpurple

Wonderful advice. I don’t have a TV in my bedroom because I am afraid it will keep me awake. But I have an older TV stored in a closet. I will move that to the bedroom, for those days I am not feeling too chipper. I have a friend about 1.5 hours away. She will certainly call me daily. There is a lovely couple who live in the house next door. I have their mobile numbers. Thanks for your great ideas. You’ve helped me realize that I do have people who will lend a hand if I need it. Best wishes from Louisiana,

Sashay

I have been on my own through two lots of chemo, though my sister did come and stay for a week following my initial op. I was also on my own when recovering from an op for a blocked bowel.I think with a bit of forward planning, you will be ok. Get your groceries delivered, and ask friends to call in for some company, and to check you are ok. I let housework etc. slip, and slept and rested whenever I wanted. Remember, help will always be a phone call away. By the way, I am seventy four. You've got this!

Sashay2020 profile image
Sashay2020 in reply to 27-359

Thank you for your encouraging response. I will do all I can to prepare. If you can do it, I can find the strength to get though this too. It makes me feel even better that someone my age came though on her own. Best wishes from Louisiana,

Sashay

27-359 profile image
27-359 in reply to Sashay2020

Keep in touch, it really helps to talk to people in the same boat.

Jenny

Sashay2020 profile image
Sashay2020 in reply to 27-359

Will do! 🙂

I did it all alone. Neighbors were there if I needed. I cooked stir fry lean chicken fish shrimp w chopped vegs garlic ginger scallions. Egg every am w dark toast big fruit bowl. Slept whenever I wanted. Watched mindless telly. Read trollope

I like your plan, Ruebacelle. I have all these Glassslock containers from years ago when I was dieting and meal prepping. I am going to call them into service again and fill them with the stir fried meals you mentioned. What a great idea. Thank you andBest wishes from Louisiana,

Sashay

Stay strong. Putcon your big girl pants and laissez les bons temps rouler

⚜️🙂⚜️

Hi Sashay, I’m not alone through this journey. My husband just found out that he has pancreatic cancer. This is going to be tough going to all of our treatments and visits. I hope that I can be strong to help him now. I am on a parp maintenance and still get some side effects. Just keep the faith and God will carry you through. My faith is what keeps me strong. I will be 75 next month. Donna 🙏😊

Oh, Donna. I’m so sorry to hear of your husband’s diagnosis. I am glad your faith sustains you when you and your husband must both deal with cancer. I hope you are able to tolerate the parp inhibitor and that it does it’s job for a long time to come. I will pray for you and your husband. 🙏🏽Best wishes from Louisiana,

Sashay

You’ve already had some wonderful advice which I won’t repeat. However one additional nugget you may consider; was my last two cycles the CNS prescribed a longer but decreasing course of steroids post chemo and it really helped me and boosted my energy levels to get over that main hump x

Now that sounds very helpful. I will ask my oncologist about this. So did your oncologist prescribe steroid pills for you to take at home? I only ever received steroids on the day of my infusion via IV. I know steroids have negative side effects, but even a low dose helps with my energy levels so I can do more for myself. Thank you kindly for responding. Best wishes from Louisiana,

Sashay

Yes we have a couple of days of steroids as well as the ones you have before treatment. I think a lot of the reasoning is to help people eat so they’re strong enough; I however had absolutely no problem on the food front as the size of my behind now attests!!! It may be different in the US and I know you have payment/insurance issues to take into account but they do help and it’s a low dose x

That makes so much sense. Also, while I lost weight on chemo, I quickly regained it (and more) afterward!

Hi Sashay , Lots of good advice and suggestions from the ladies . You strike me as a very brave and capable person . Do you have the Uber app should you need it , I have to premed because of allergies so I sleep most of the way home , maybe you should speak to the social worker at the hospital, they may have some kind of transportation, a lot of hospitals do . Always good to have options , just in case .

I hope that everything goes smoothly . I am 77 and make myself get up in the morning and try to get out for a daily walk , if its only 20 minutes whilst , Frank walks for longer , I try to listen to meditation tapes and although I'm not very good , I think they really help relax me . We park facing tranquil woods , I open the windows and aim for positive thoughts .

In your corner , with all the others . YOU WILL BE FINE !!!

Gill, Mookie Fox 1234

Thank you, Gill. Your cheering me on makes me feel better. I do have the Uber and Lyft apps, in case I run into trouble. But I feel more confident about my upcoming chemo now. Thanks again andBest wishes from Louisiana,

Sashay

Joanne59 profile image
Joanne59 in reply to Sashay2020

Hi Sashay you may qualify for Carers to come in to help you every day.I went through it alone but friends were great and I found a lovely cleaner before treatment started and she would do all sorts of things. Good luck xx

Sashay2020 profile image
Sashay2020 in reply to Joanne59

Thanks, Joanne. I will look into this. I have been hesitant to have anyone come in due to Covid, but I’ve had my three shots and a bit of help would make a big difference! Best wishes from Louisiana,

Sashay

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