My aunt has cancer : ( also, a question!

posted 3 years ago in Emotional
Post # 3
Member
1399 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

So sorry you’re going through this 🙁  It is such a difficult time, and every little kindness helps, I think.  Here are my thoughts:

My dad went through chemo and I know that he appreciated having an iPad at the hospital to distract him, although I know that’s pretty pricey.  He would also get the chills a lot so a lovely cozy blanket would also be nice.  Maybe a cute hot water bottle?

My siblings and I also discussed having gourmet organic meals sent to our parents’ place since neither had energy to cook.  So maybe something along those lines?  Maybe sign up for organic groceries for delivery every couple of weeks?  

I will try to think of more things.

Good luck!  xo

Post # 4
Member
228 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2014 - Backyard

I am so sorry about your aunt. I will keep you all in my thoughts.

 

I think talking to her (and visiting, if possible) frequently, especially when it gets difficult for her, will mean the most. I know a lot of people were “scared” to be around my mom when she was sick and those who would visit made her the happiest of all.

Post # 5
Member
476 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2012

@mu_t:  I’m really sorry to hear that, I hope she’s able to get better!  As for the chemo treatment, I’m a cancer survivor.  I never did chemo, but did a very strong radiation dosage that felt pretty similar from what I’ve been told and seen.

Chemo is exhausting, and there’s really no way around it. The person becomes very ill, and is usually vomitting or having some form of bowel problem.  Then there’s just the constant nausea.  Instead of a giftbasket of food, I would recommend a gift basket of something to keep her mind occupied.  If she likes crosswords, wordsearches, cryptos etc, pick a few of those up for her.  If she likes to read, find out her favorite genre and chose a few good titles from it.

Heck, some people even like a coloring book!  Just remember that she will be very VERY tired, so may not use the gift immediately, but it’ll be there for her when she’s ready.

Post # 7
Member
1259 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

So sorry to hear 🙁 I was just telling my FI how we are hearing of more and more people being diagnosed. A girl I work with was just diagnosed yesterday, another lady I work with has a daughter who had lung cancer some years ago and just found out it is back, and FI’s step mom beat colon cancer a while back and now has lung cancer 🙁 It is such a terrible thing. A positive attitude seems to be the key.

I cannot answer your question on chemo. I really hope she has a great Christmas. Sending positive vibes!

Post # 8
Member
2657 posts
Sugar bee

My mom went through chemo years ago for breast cancer.  Your aunt is going to really need the support of your family through these coming months.  The most helpful thing you can do is to just be there at appointments or around the house (if you can, of course.  not sure if you are in the same location as her).  After a chemo session, my mom pretty much couldn’t get out of bed for a week.  I took charge of making meals, doing chores, and running errands.  My mom would say that it’s the feeling that things are still moving along normally that brought comfort to her.  Gift-wise it’s good to give things to help pass the time during chemo.  Books, magazines, tablets, and kindles are all good things.  A family friend recently finishd chemo and my aunt had a cool gift for her too – she gave a box of dark chocolates and every time she finished a chemo session, she could take another piece of chocolate.  They called it the chemo advent calendar.  I would avoid food gifts initially, though, because people react differently to foods during treatment.  I hope that your aunt’s treatment goes well and is over quickly.

Post # 9
Member
221 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

my mom went through breast cancer twice. She always appreciated meals that were frozen that just had to be thrown in the oven so she didn’t have to cook. If your aunt lives alone, small meals are good because chemo seemed to always make my mom not hungry. Also if you have the time, make sure she is never alone when she goes to treatment. She will need something or someone to distract her from what is going on around her (usually a lot of crying 🙁 ). 

The big C word is not the huge looming monster it used to be. It is so amazing how far science has come along in the past couple of decades. Have faith and be strong even if you don’t feel like you are on the inside. Things can and will get better. Keeping you and your family in my prayers.

Post # 12
Member
1619 posts
Bumble bee

Some chemo/radiation is more easily tolerated than others. 

Fill her freezer with easy to prepare foods. 

Make sure she has gatorade or some such electrolyte solution for the nausea/vomiting.

See if there are protein drink flavors that she likes – boost, ensure etc

Clean her house or hire a service. 

Look at her home and see if things are ‘easy’.  if it’s multilevel – maybe make sure she has a little fridge and microwave near the bedroom/bathroom instead of having to go upstairs/downstairs to the kitchen

Post # 14
Member
2419 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

@mu_t:  I’m so sorry to hear your news. 

As for chemo, well, unfortunately I have more knowledge of how it can affect people than I’d like since my DH has been on chemo since June (with a break of a month in between). He’s also been through a very long course of radiotherapy which comes with its own challenges.

What I’d say is that chemotherapy affects everyone differently. For sure, we assumed it would be a nightmarish hell of constant vomiting but this element is now very well managed by oncologists and my DH has neither lost his hair nor suffered from acute nausea. That’s not to say he has breezed through it unchanged either. 

What your aunt can expect is a range of side effects that will differ in seriousness as well as the individual chemotherapy drugs used.  If she’s only just about to start chemo then it may well not ruin Christmas since the effects of chemotheraphy are cumulative and increase over a course of treatment. They don’t necessarily click in right from the start.  However, since her general health isn’t good, chemotherapy will be exhausting. In fact, it exhausts everyone, no matter how (relatively) well they were at the outset. 

She might well develop very sore hands, feet and mouth. She might well lose her tastebuds. So a basket full of things to pamper her – hand and foot lotion, mouthwashes and similar nice products will be much appreciated. Also, if she has to have IV chemo, things to read while the long and boring treatment is taking place. It is quite usual to lose your appetite once the effects on the tastebuds arrive but be lead by what she wants to eat. My DH lost all interest in chocolate, for example and has never got a taste for it back again. He loves ginger beer though so his treats of choice are a little different from what they used to be.

Be aware that she might develop acute cold sensitivity very soon. So warm socks, handwarmers or other similarly cosy presents are good. 

Finally, let her know that she has a choice so far as treatment is concerned. I am not suggesting that she doesn’t accept chemo because this might be a life saver (my DH was told, in June, that without chemo he would not live to see Christmas) but she needs to ask difficult questions in order to be able to make the best and most informed decisions for her. Everyone’s cancer is different and everyone will tolerate treatment differently.

My warmest wishes to you and your family though. 

Post # 15
Member
9412 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

@mu_t:  I don’t want to talk about it publicly but I love you so you can PM me if you wish. 

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