Home Health and wellbeing

Overseas visitors staying during radiation

Paddlefoot97Paddlefoot97 Member Posts: 5
edited September 2018 in Health and wellbeing
I am new here so hello everyone.  I have had a mastectomy and a week later had my lymph nodes removed.  I start chemo on the 10th of sept for 16 weeks then soon after that I begin radiation for 5 weeks.  During that 5 weeks I have a cousin and her hubby coming from America.  Am I going to be up to having them stay.  I’m the usual go to person that everyone stays with so the rest of the Australian family is a bit in shock that I’m feeling unsure I will be able to do it.  Any advice would be much appreciated.


  • AfraserAfraser MelbourneMember Posts: 2,968
    So there is an extended family? You are not the only person who can do this? I didn't have radiation but as it's often hard to know how you will react, it may be prudent to suggest that at least a back up plan is a good idea! You've had surgery, starting chemo, adjusting to being mono-boobed and are having radiation - methinks you are rather busy, not to mention a little preoccupied. The effects of chemo sadly do not always end immediately you stop active treatment. Spending time with visitors may do you the world of good if you are up to it, but what if you are not? Time to put yourself first perhaps? Best wishes.
  • SisterSister Adelaide Hills, SAMember Posts: 4,592
    I thought I'd put my 2 cents in as someone who is going through that stage now.  I finished 6 months of chemo about 7 weeks ago, had a 3 week break and then did 3 weeks of radiation.  There is no way that I would have wanted visitors, no matter how well-behaved and sensitive they were.  After chemo, I felt physically wrung out - the effects don't disappear straight away...actually, I've still got some of it going on 7 weeks later.  Then you've got the running around involved with radiation, even if you sail through it with regards to side effects.  And it's also quite common during this time to suffer from depression and anxiety.  So, I would say, absolutely not to house guests.  If there's no-one else they can stay with then maybe an airbnb would be the answer.  I know it's always hard to say no - growing up, our house was always the place that interstate relatives relied on but sometimes you've just got to be firm.
  • arpiearpie Mid North Coast, NSWMember Posts: 3,891
    Hi @Paddlefoot97  - I agree with all the sentiments mentioned above ...... it is vitally important that you are fully absorbed with your own recovery from the chemo & radiation - and not have ANY 'other' worries to distract you.  This includes visitors, even if they are family.  As mentioned - it is not only physically gruelling - it is also incredibly mentally 'trying' as well, to have chemo & then follow up with radiation.  Anxiety, depression, confusion, anger - all these get mixed up - and trust me, it just takes something 'small' to REALLY upset you, even thru radiation.  

    You may also still be physically indisposed following the chemo - feeling ill, possible hair loss - and the radiation, being every day - may take more out of you than you think!

    When my husband went thru 4 months of chemo, we had a friend visit & he basically asked if she would leave, as he was not up to it.  It is better NOT to let it get to this stage in the first place!  I am sure they would understand & want to put YOUR wellbeing FIRST!

    To be honest - It would be way better for them to delay their trip (especially if it revolves around staying with you!) and comes some months after your treatment is completed - or even next year, I reckon (as a celebration) after you are feeling SO much better! 

    Take care, thinking of you xxxx  
  • kmakmkmakm MelbourneMember Posts: 7,903
    My oncologist said my chemo takes a year to get over. People who've gone through it say more like two. You get back up to 60 - 70% in about three months but the rest takes a long time. Don't underestimate the effect this can all have on you and the ladies are absolutely right to caution you about the mental health side of things too.

    Gosh, that all sounds like a bit of a downer eh?! But best not to sugar coat it. You'll get through but it's a bugger of a thing BC treatment, and it has a 50% strike rate when it comes to depression (it got me). You 100% have to put yourself first as much as you are able. I get that it's hard. I look aftet four kids and an elderly father-in-law and my husband works interstate 3 - 5 days a week. I cannot load myself up with too much activity otherwise I completely collapse with fatigue. You really have to pace yourself and that's a skill that takes some learning. I'm still trying...

    Unless they are beloved relations who are entirely self-sufficient (will shop, cater, transport & clean for themselves, and your home is big enough for you to comfortably retreat, I'd say no.

    Let us know what you decide! K xox
  • SisterSister Adelaide Hills, SAMember Posts: 4,592
    @Paddlefoot97 I hope that we haven't scared you too much about treatment and I don't want to labour the point, but it is like travelling down a dim tunnel - there's no energy for anything other than focusing on getting to the end.  You may sail through it all as some women on this site have but you've still got to look after yourself. It is really easy to cross the fatigue line without realising it and your resilience is likely to be really low by the end.  I've always been an organiser - not being able to make an appointment (with a psychologist, mind you) had me in tears a few weeks ago.  I have even ignored phone calls from my best friend of nearly 40 years because I've just not felt that I had it in me to talk.
  • FinchFinch MelbourneMember Posts: 302
    @Paddlefoot97 I would think very very seriously about having people to stay.  It they're coming from America  it's not going to be a weekend visit.  No matter how helpful your guests are, they will not understand how you feel.  It's not that you'll be terribly unwell, hopefully medication will limit the chemo side effects.   You will have a degree of fatigue, and fatigue is very different to tiredness.  It overwhelms you and swirls around your head.  
    If there is one thing I took on board from this forum and from my breast care nurse is to look after myself and put myself first.  It's hard to do, but this once you must do it.  
    With radiation I burnt quite badly but that was considered quite extreme. You will have to smother yourself in creams to either prevent burns or treat burns three times a day.  Youll be driving to the radiation clinic every day.  Not much gets done around the house during radiation.  
    Think twice! 
    Wishing you all the very best and take care. Xx
  • Beryl C.Beryl C. Member Posts: 238
    I've just finished 15 radiation treatments. My skin's ok but I feel as though I've been dragged through a bush backwards, ie, weary to the bone. There is no way I could cope with live in guests at the moment. All the above comments have their pearls of wisdom - take what suits you and leave the rest. I like the suggestion of an air B&B. At this stage of your treatment please put yourself first - others can take care of themselves. Your guests may offer to help, do all chores, meals etc. but quite likely they will need to know where to find equipment, what food to buy and where to buy it etc. Right now, two days post completion the idea of that makes my head ache. I lived and worked in New York for a few years and there is a real difference in words used and the meaning intended,its easy to have misunderstandings, food has different names, their pharmacist is our chemist. These may seem like small details but I know the way I feel today it would be that 'one more thing'. Be precious about your health and well being at this time. xBeryl
  • adeanadean Member Posts: 1,041
    Yes all the girls are correct. I could not believe the exhaustion at the end l just wanted bed. Entertaining visitors is the last thing maybe thry will appreciate your honesty of saying no.lol
  • SisterSister Adelaide Hills, SAMember Posts: 4,592
    @Paddlefoot97 To highlight a response to a particular person, you just put @ in front of their username and type in the comment box.  If you want to send a private message to someone, go into the letter icon in the bar along the top of the page.  You can then click on "new message" and you will get a new page - just put the username of the person in the name section and type you message 
  • Paddlefoot97Paddlefoot97 Member Posts: 5
    Thankyou so much sister x
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