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MIL Chemo - ideas to help her pass time during treatment

(14 Posts)
RunLikeSomeFeckersChasing Tue 18-Feb-14 20:20:38

MIL is starting chemo for breast cancer tomorrow, between it and radiotherapy she is going to be spending an awful lot of time, much of it waiting around and feeling utterly dreadful, in hospital over the next several months. I would love to pull her together a few bits in a bag to help her zone out and pass her time. Just wondering if anyone has could help with some suggestions.

overthemill Tue 18-Feb-14 20:30:30

I had chemo lasting 4 hours hooked up every two weeks for 6 months (plus hours waiting around in cancer centre) and omg it was dull! I took out a subscription to 2 mags a month (one per session), took along tapestry (not always possible when cannula red), simple knitting (ditto) crossword puzzle book and my normal novel. I tried to watch stuff on phone but not possible and noticed loads of people had movies on iPads or similar.

This vaguely entertained me/ took my mind off horribleness of it all. I also had bag of snacks (my chemo tasted horrid somehow and made me nauseous ) so I had sucky sweets, salty snacks, water, ginger drinks etc.

Basically I had a 'hospital bag' packed and ready to go so I always had goodies in it.

I also had a decent coffee while waiting for pharmacy to bring chemo to ward as my hospital had a costa. It was my treat!

My hospital also had a treatment centre where you could pre book a massage etc which was fab.

I wore soft comfy clothes (from gap loungewear mainly) on hospital so I was comfortable and was able to push up sleeves. Always had a wrap round craft with me and never wore a bra! I was such a slob. I had a wig but never wore it having instead a selection of scarves and hats (just normal ones, nothing pricey). And when I got home son had cooked a dinner each time which was simple to eat.

It's a lively idea to help out like this. It is also nice if someone can go with her - it can be daunting and loving company really helps.

Good luck

overthemill Tue 18-Feb-14 20:31:06

Ooh my daughter put a 'relaxing music' playlist on my ipod

overthemill Tue 18-Feb-14 20:32:33

I am do sorry my autocorrect gone mad. Can u work out what I meant?!

tallulah Tue 18-Feb-14 20:42:38

I found I couldn't concentrate enough to read (usually my favourite past-time) during chemo, and could only manage magazines with short articles; nothing that needed any effort.

After the first couple of sessions I slept through the rest.

RunLikeSomeFeckersChasing Tue 18-Feb-14 20:45:37

Perfectly (and thank you so much)! FIL is going up with her so she won't be alone and apparently it is an open ward with 11 others having chemo too which I think will help her - she is the newbie tomorrow. I will text her about sleeves, soft clothing and a wrap and pull together a few magazines, sucky sweets, (in my mind mints help everything!), individually wrapped biscuits and a crossword book and throw them in in the morning.

Weegiemum Tue 18-Feb-14 20:49:49

I have a drip treatment in hospital every 5 weeks that lasts 5-6 hours. Not chemo, but still lots of waiting about. I've got a neurological illness.

Knitting, embroidery, eating, reading (love my kindle), talking to other patients.

I'll be doing this for the rest of my life (and I'm only 43) so have to think of stuff. Creative things pass the time best.

Weegiemum Tue 18-Feb-14 20:52:20

My lovely Stepmum is 1/2 way through her breast cancer chemo and has agreed with my suggestions.

RunLikeSomeFeckersChasing Tue 18-Feb-14 21:03:14

Thanks weegie, I would like to build up a wee bag, think tomorrow will be all nerves and uncertainty and I would like to add something for each treatment.

ethelb Tue 18-Feb-14 21:09:09

Audio books so she doesn't have to even think?

Does she have an iPad so she can MN?!

CMOTDibbler Tue 18-Feb-14 21:15:05

If FIL will be going with her, don't forget some bits for him too.

Some sharp fruity sweets are good as they can cut through the metallic chemo taste.

Look at the hospital website, and if they have any chain shops like WH Smith or Costa, then how about a gift card so they can buy treats without the cost racking up.

Nice lip balm, fluffy socks, sudoku/puzzle book, nice travel mug so fil can get her a decent drink, pashmina type scarf.

OldRoan Tue 18-Feb-14 21:15:24

My grandfather listened to music and watched films.

He said he was significantly more uncomfortable with nothing to listen to. Maybe a headphone splitter so she and FIL can watch/listen to something together?

KurriKurri Tue 18-Feb-14 21:22:57

I second audiobooks - I loved those. Don't know if she if she if having a line put in or canula in her arm each time - if the latter then knitting or anything is not really possible, but if hands free she could do something like that.

I always took a little lunchbox of nibbles- hospitla will provide sandwiches etc, but your sense of taste changes on chemo and she may find she likes particular things - I had nuts, dried fruit, cherry toms, and olives.

Alsosomething nice to drink afterwards when she comes home - you have to drink to flush it through so a favourite juice or squash can be nice, I drank lucozade which made me feel abit less nauseous too.
I found sorbet was nice andfresh tasting too, so perhaps you could popatubin her freezer.

A cardi to wrap round shoulders - it can be fairly cold, butyou want to be able to take it off if necessary.
Hand warmers, wrist warmers, warm gloves to keepher hands nice andwarm so its easier to find a vein.

Lots of luck to your MIL with her treatment, the first chemo is always a bit scary because its aleap intothe unknown. Once she has acoupleunder her belt she will feel she's in a routine and have an idea of how she is going to feel at different parts ofher cycle.

Also make sure she has a thermometer to take her temp if she feels at all under the weather, - chemo unit will tell her all about it, but if she gets a temp she needs to ring the unit/cancer ward and she might have to go in for a few days, because of infection risk.


Shosha1 Tue 18-Feb-14 21:33:46

Subscription to With an iPod to listen to it on.

Dad was I. Hospital for a long time and loved it.

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