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Has anyone had daily radiotherapy and chemo?

(16 Posts)
mckenzie Tue 08-Jan-13 12:00:58

Mother in law starts this on Thursday, daily for 5 weeks. We are just wondering how others have found it. Will she be able to drive herself to the hospital and back every day or will we need to make provision for one of us to go with her? How long does the treatment take or is it all subjective?

CaseyShraeger Tue 08-Jan-13 12:15:23

My brother had daily radiotherapy (without the chemo as he managed to get that out of the way with high-dose chemo beforehand) last year. I would say that if she were having radiotherapy alone she might be able to drive herself for the first few days/up to a week but the side-effects just get worse as the treatment goes on and after that she really ought to be driven. Throw in the fact that she's getting chemo as well, probably making things worse again, and I'd be planning for someone else to drive her from the start.

Radiotherapy takes just a few minutes once you are called; chemo I imagine depends on what sort of chemo it is.

CaseyShraeger Tue 08-Jan-13 12:16:50

Although first radiotherapy appointment will probably take longer as they'll need to do the tattoos etc. (unless that's already been done)

Sabriel Tue 08-Jan-13 12:17:22

I only had fortnightly chemo and no radio but you feel bad after. Depends how long/difficult the journey is. I drove myself after the first time but only because DH had to get DD from school.

My treatment used to take 3-4 hours and others seemed to be there a similar time.

maybeyoushoulddrive Tue 08-Jan-13 12:23:38

Mum had this. There was no way she could have driven herself, but she was very poorly to begin with. I think transport can be arranged so you and your family wont have to do all the journeys if that's difficult.

I'm so sorry she has to go through that x

mckenzie Tue 08-Jan-13 15:31:46

thanks guys. We will plan for her not driving herself at all then. It helps to know in advance.
She has had the tattoos done already Casey at least. Chemo is a daily tablet.

SIL is taking her for the first two and then we're going to have to work out a rota I think (there are only 3 of us and I'm the only one who doesn't work so i thinks it's going to be me mainly).
The hospital aren't making it easy for us to make plans though as they won't give her appointment times past this week, they only do them weekly apparently. Was that the same for your mum maybeyoushoulddrive?
I hope all you guys who have been through similar are okay now. smile

maybeyoushoulddrive Tue 08-Jan-13 19:08:54

Hi mckenzie It's tough if all the driving ends up with you. is the hospital reasonably close? Dad ended up exhausted from all the appointments.. Unfortunately I think it's quite normal for oncology appointments to be a little erratic - they prioritise those in greatest need first I think. It can all be quite overwhelming, feel free to ask any questions or pm me and I'll see if I can help...

mckenzie Tue 08-Jan-13 20:36:59

thanks maybe. My SIL works for DH so I want to try and not ask them to do any of the trips if i can help it, they're both really busy at work. MIL seems to been assuming the worst though which worries me slightly. If she thinks she's going to feel awful then surely she will won't she? It's all so easy for me to say though isn;t it, but I'm not the one going through it.

The hospital is unfortunately a good 15/20 minute drive away and parking is absolutely awful. We'll just really have to see how we get on and find our feet the first week, preparing for it to get worse on week 2/3 huh?

CaseyShraeger Wed 09-Jan-13 07:59:57

I think you can pretty much assume she'll feel awful even if she skips happily into it thinking of nothing but rainbows and kittens, to be honest.

You might possibly find that the oncology unit has specific car parking associated with it - that was the case at the hospital where my brother had his radiotherapy, otherwise we'd never have managed to park (and I assume that's why they did it) - we could also get a discount on repeat parking.

maybeyoushoulddrive Wed 09-Jan-13 11:37:53

Oh yes, Mum and Dad got free parking. The costs would have bankrupted them - worth finding out if that is available for your MIL.

It's a long haul. People would ask Mum if she was still being tortured ie was she still having radio/chemo. I think most people don't sail through it, be prepared for dark days when nothing you do seems to help.

MacMillan are worth contacting BTW. Oh and make sure you claim attendance allowance/carers allowance as costs mount from all the expensive food/extra heating etc.

Sorry, reading this back I don't want to worry you, but equally it helps to know what it can be like for some people. I had had no contact with this world until Mum was ill, it's a big shock to the system.

mckenzie Wed 09-Jan-13 22:06:50

thanks very much guys for the extra posts. I really do appreciate it.

I didn't know that about the carers allowances etc - I'll ask MIL tomorrow if she knows. I'm thinking not as, by the most horrible of coincidences, my SIL (her daughter) has just herself finished chemo and MIL was her primary carer sad.

MIL asked me for my car reg today so I'm guessing she's got some sort of car park permit sorted.

Unfortunately, we found out today that after this lot of treatment and the surgery that is planned for about 4 -6 weeks after it's finished, there will be more chemo, infusion chemo this time, fortnightly for 12 weeks. That's been a bit of a shock as we'd been led to believe that it was just this treatment then an operation. My MIL is lovely - this sort of thing should happen to bad guys shouldn't it? sad

rainbowsprite1 Thu 10-Jan-13 00:50:41

I have just got home after seeing my dad back home from hospital on a flight (delayed by over 2 hours! another thread..) after he had 9.5 weeks of intravenous chemo & radiotherapy combined. I live on a small island where his treatment couldnt be done locally.

I don't mean to be negative but you will be doing the driving. It depends where the cancer is of course, my dad has neck & tonsil cancer (& he is a non smoker.. grrr!!) & it was the radiotherapy close to his brain that had a much bigger effect than the chemo.

Handy hint when travelling, have plastic bag & full roll of kitchen roll with you at all times, if they feel sick, have mucus, whatever it is needed. kitchen roll doesnt leave bits of fluff everywhere but is soft enough not to irritate their skin. plastic bag to put the used stuff in obviously.. but it wasnt obvious to me when I started this..

I have just finished setting up an enteral feeding pump etc in his bedroom, something I never thought I could do.

You will get through this & you will learn you have strengths you didnt know you had.

If I can be of any further help, either to rant at, or for practicalities please let me know - PM me please.

mckenzie Thu 10-Jan-13 09:07:20

thanks very much rainbowsprite. So sorry to hear about your dad - he's lucky to have you looking after him though.
Thank you for the tip re what to have in the car - i shall sort that out today and find a nice bag so it doesn't look all dreary and clinical. It will be nice to have something to do while I wait to hear how today's session has gone (SIL taking her today for the first one).

rainbowsprite1 Thu 10-Jan-13 22:17:47

mckenzie, it sounds like you have every thing thought out, well done.. it is such a tough time. the only thing I can add is that naively I thought once radiotherapy with chemo had finished we were on the up. the lovely ward nurses explained it is a bit like having a baby, 9mo up & 9mo to recover.. so in my dads case 9.5 weeks treatment = 9.5 weeks to recover

I hope you are doing ok - I know what it is like... the offer of a PM to have a rant still stands XX

mckenzie Thu 10-Jan-13 22:23:13

thanks again rainbow. Much appreciated.
MIL got the appointment times for next week today - they're quite random so at least we've got some variety to stop us getting bored smile. Bizarrely, they are times like 4.06pm, 10.21am. Very strange huh?
Today went ok in that it was quick and painless - she said she was just uncomfortable lying on her tummy with a full bladder! I don't think I'd like that much either.
Onwards and upwards. We shall overcome. That which doesn't kill us makes us stronger and any other nonsense I can think of to follow smile

rainbowsprite1 Wed 30-Jan-13 01:07:03

just wanted to check in mckenzie & see how you were doing. I hope MIL is doing OK - and you are too! XX

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