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radiation and chemo! radiation and chemo!

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  #1  
Unread 03-19-2001, 04:15 PM
radiation and chemo!

My friend had a hyst about 3 weeks ago for cervical cancer and cancer was found in the first set of lymph nodes. Now I understand she has to have DAILY radiation for SIX WEEKS and chemo beginning around 3 weeks into her radiation. She lives far from me and I know she has a long road to recovery. Does anyone have any advice on what we (her friends who live so far from her) can do to help her? And any information on receiving both radiation and chemo.
Thanks.
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  #2  
Unread 03-19-2001, 06:40 PM
radiation and chemo!

Hi Julie
Oh your poor friend....radiation and chemo. Its a hard routine.

I can't speak on the affects of having both treatments, as I have only had chemo, but I am sure lots of ladies will have some great information for you.

As for what you as her friend can do being so far away, well I know I have family and friends quite a distance away, and I really enjoyed receiving email from them, and phone calls when I was up to talking. And you could also pop a card in the mail occasionally just to let her know you are thinking about her.

Its very hard for you being so far from her I am sure, but keep the communication going as I know it really helps to know others who care are thinking about you. You could also tell her about this wonderful site if she has access to the internet.
I tell you it is such a help knowing you are not alone when you are feeling down, and tired, and like you just can't take another round of chemo, and that does happen to alot of us.
You are a wonderful caring friend! Your friend is very lucky to have you in her life.
Best of luck to her with her treatments. I will keep her in my prayers.
Maria
  #3  
Unread 03-19-2001, 11:19 PM
radiation and chemo!

I agree! What a wonderful friend you are.

I also think Maria's brought up some very helpfull ideas. It really, really helps to have your friends check up on you, even when you aren't necessarily up to talking much. It will let her know you care and are thinking about her. I was sent e-cards from friends from time to time and it really brightened my day.

I haven't had any experience with radiation but did go through a couple of rounds of chemo. It wasn't I'm glad to say as bad as I thought it would be but I was certainly glad when it was over

I do hope your friend will have an easy time and will keep her in my thoughts and prayers. Please do have her come visit us if she has access, it has helped me tremendously.

{{hugs}} to you both.
Vicki
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  #4  
Unread 03-20-2001, 03:09 AM
radiation and chemo!

I am so sorry to hear about your friend. But she is so very lucky to have you in her life. Just keep in contact with her and let her know that you are there in thought. Maria is right , if she has access to the internet maybe she can come to this forum where there is so much support and care. I will keep her in my thoughts and prayers. And if you would like us to send her an e card then let us know and I am sure she would get lots .
  #5  
Unread 03-20-2001, 06:04 AM
radiation and chemo!

This is so sweet of you to ask!! You are showing what you can do already!! Showing concern and love it so important. I agree that a card in the mail is always an uplifter, as well as email. If it is possible to visit her, then I would say to take a few easy frozen meals for her. She will need all the help that she can get with cooking and or cleaning. The most important thing is to listen and give her time. You may want to ask her if she wants to talk...she may feel like she doesn't want to put you in an awkward situation by talking on her own. Be a wonderful listener, which I am sure that you are! Give her the moral support that she needs...and please try not to treat her any differently. It seems that when people hear the word cancer, they tend to act differently in fear of saying the wrong thing! Just be yourself!!!
  #6  
Unread 03-20-2001, 08:53 AM
Here's how to help - from a distance

Hi!
I've just come through 6 weeks of chemo/radiation, and I have a couple of suggestions for you to lend support.
First, call her whenever you think of her - it gets to feeling like nothing will ever be "normal" again about three weeks into it. You, frankly, feel like crap, most of the time.
See if there's a way to go with her for one of her chemo treatments. They tend to last several hours, and it's a nice time to be together to chat and look thru catalogs.
Find a restraurant in her area that delivers, and order some killer soup to be delivered in. Soup keeps well, and even if she can't eat it right then and there, she will be ready for it soon.

Rides to the Cancer Center become more critical as she gets to the end of the treatments - you gt weaker as you go along. Although radiation treatments only take 10-15 minutes daily, it is daily. Check into what's available to her as far as communitity services go. In my area, there is a "Care-Van" that will come and drive you to treatments free of charge.

And tell her - I didn't loose my hair! (The chemo drug of choice was Cisplatin.) Her GREATEST resource for questions are the oncology NURSES. They are the most understanding, and have had to deal with so many cancer patients, that they have a way to deal with all the emotions that she will be going through.

All my best wishes to her - and keep callilng her with your love nad support!
  #7  
Unread 03-20-2001, 11:35 AM
I've been there...

Send her weekly care packages to be opened after or during each chemo treatment when they begin. Items to include: magazines of all kinds that are heavy on the pictures, paperbacks, lists of jokes, cassette tapes (books on tape, affirmations, music, inspiration), funny videos, letter or cards from friends, photos, a small craft project to work on. Keep the contents uplifting, funny, entertaining, and /or distracting. If she knows they are coming she can look forward to them and rely on them as a treat to get her thru.

THere is a new book called Bald in the Land of Big Hair that written by a woman out of Houston who did chemo for lymphoma -- it is funny and anyone who has gone thru treatment can really relate to her experiences!

Also you can order groceries or food items for her off the internet. Find out what is appealing to her and provide accordingly.

Give her a list of good internet sites/on line support for her type of cancer. Check out ACOR.com and scan the sites. See what looks like good information sharing and support message boards. If she isn't up to logging on and reading thru everything, ask her to email you her questions or general areas of interest and you can log onto sites and forward info to her. I asked my sister to do this because I didn't have the energy to wade thru everything, nor did I necessarily want to read some of the horror stories you can run across there. So my sis prescreened and just forwarded me the messages she thought would be helpful. She also posted questions I had and forwarded relevant responses.

If she is interested in alternative and complementary therapies, offer to research that for her.

Give her the gift of a one time maid cleaning if that would be helpful. Have her schedule for when it is convenient.
If you are going to call her ask what her schedule is -- when is she feeling bad? When does she nap? Maybe send her a phone card so she can call you when she is in the mood to talk. Also know that she might not want to talk about cancer/treatment -- she might want a break from it and want to talk about other things so that she can still feel normal and like herself.

Good luck!
  #8  
Unread 03-20-2001, 12:25 PM
Thank you all so much!!!

Thank you ladies for your wonderful ideas. After my hyst my friends were so wonderful bringing me gifts and meals I just wasn't sure how we could help being far away. We have planned to assign a "guardian angel" to her for each week for as long as we can and encourage each angel to send her something each week and your ideas are just great. I told her about the site before her hyst but her computer wasn't available and she's not that familiar with the internet, but she has kids that can help her. And now with her cancer results and treatment she really should chat with some people who have been there. So I will encourage her again to get on the computer as soon as possible. Bev, I will definitely tell her about your hair not following out I know that is a big concern of hers, and your idea about talking to the oncology nurses is great!
  #9  
Unread 03-21-2001, 07:55 AM
I forgot to mention...

Wow! I failed to mention that the good news is...the cancer's GONE!. They saw a "remarkable improvement" after just 2 weeks of chemo/radiation, and it had gone completely after four weeks!
So, PLEASE tell her this...RECOVERY is very, very likely. (Recovery is not a word that doctors use a lot in connection with cancer - it's usually "remission". )
Something to focus on!!! OK?

Bev in Calif - if she needs someone to talk to, tell her to send me an email. I'll gladly listen to her tears!
[email protected]

cervical cancer, Stage llB 1/15/2001
  #10  
Unread 03-22-2001, 08:46 PM
Radiation Only

I had 25 treatments of external radiation and 3 of internal radiation. I did not have chemo. You already got lots of great advice. Just know that with the radiation the side effects don't hit til later in the treatments. It builds up. Also understand the side effects can be different for everyone. Mine were primarily severe fatigue and chronic diaarhea. I was so sore and in pain and it's not something you feel comfortable talking to anyone about. I had 2 people I could talk to but I still don't think they knew how bad it really was. It then takes a good 4-5 weeks after treatment stops for the side effects to all go away. So know to give her time. I was so weak and exhausted.
I tried to have good thoughts reminding myself that this was to help get me better.
Has the doctor mention internal radiation?
With me too the cancer is nowhere in sight (knock, knock) but the doctors won't declare a "cure" until after 5 years.
You sound like a great friend. Believe me we can not make it through this without good friends. Take care
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