Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Six Months

Sunday (November 4th) was the six month mark of mom being diagnosed. It's hard to believe it's already been six months because it just blew by. A friend told me awhile ago that I pretty much had a crash course in cancer with all that has happened. I couldn't agree more. Six months ago, I had no idea about port placements, laparoscopies, c-met inhibitors, EOX regime, irinotecan, docetaxel, lovenox, ativan, fentayl patches, aranesp, zofran, neulasta, TPN, HER2, emend, oncogenes, managing WBC AND HGB levels....etc.

I am trying to figure out what else I could have done better. Would I have done anything differently? What can I do better going forward?  The answer...I just don't know, in fact I have no clue. Up to this point, I've pretty much equipped myself with as much knowledge as I possibly can and always gone with my gut. I took one day at a time and never got too ahead of what I was dealing with. It's gotten me this far and overall I think I've managed to get by ok.

I've gathered a few tips for new caregivers. Some are things I just find myself doing..some are really no-brainers. I know there are lots more things too but these are the most common things.

  • Always have at least half a tank of gas in your car at all times for the many appointments you will be going to and sometimes emergency trips you need to take
  • Have a hospital overnight bag with personal items in case the patient needs to get admitted asap (it saves you a trip and lets you not leave them alone in the hospital)
  • Have fully charged phone AND take phone charger with you
  • Have a stash of quarters for metered-parking
  • Bring entertainment for you for longer appointments, infusions etc. (I was grateful for my iPad)
  • Always have kleenex, barf bags, bottled water, blanket, hand sanitizer on hand or in your car
  • Keep a well organized binder of all medical info. (appt. schedule, scan results, pathology, business cards, insurance, legal docs etc.)
  • Have Power of Attorney and Health Care Directive in place
  • Have relevant phone numbers programmed in your phone (doctor, pharmacy, nurse, home care vendor etc)
  • Keep broths, soups, and liquid energy drinks on hand (Ensure, Scandishakes, coconut water etc.) and always be on the lookout for higher calorie options
  • Juice juice juice! If the patient tolerates it try to juice fruits and veggies
  • Invest in a good digital thermometer and have Tylenol on hand to track and manage fevers.


  1. Those are some great tips! Took the words right out of my mouth! It's true, we speak a whole different language.

  2. WOW ! You are practically a Nurse ! Congratulations on reaching the six month anniversary of the fight. Those tips you gave are very helpful and may one day be of help to someone else who will be a caretaker for someone who is fighting the battle. Your mom must be so proud of you. Keep fighting and get plenty of rest yourself.