Cancer

I have a question :eyes:

Summary

Is there a certain point in cancer that you have to stay in the hospital?

How is life different when you have cancer?

How does it affect you emotionally?

How does it affect others around you?

Ill probably be adding more questions later on :eyes:

Edit: I decided to use lymphoma cancer

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It depends on some cases. With my mom she stayed in the hospital when she was seriously sick and couldn’t do coherent things. She did chemo and stuff. It matters how sick you are and if you can take care of yourself, or if you have someone at home who can help take care of you.

Life is completely different when you are diagnosed with cancer. I had a brief cancer scare a few weeks ago, and lemme tell you that was not fun. It takes a tole on your mental health, sometimes your physical health depending on the cancer.

Its an emotional punching bag cause you don’t know a lot of things. A lot of your independence can be taken away because of it, and that’s no easy ride. Again, depending on the cancer that you have.

It has a big affect on others around you, though again this depends on your social circle.

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Ty! this helped!

are there any specifics on this? specifically husbands, sons, and close friends, all who care about you

what if, say leukemia?

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Oh yes that would take a tole. Especially if it was someone that close to you.

I’m not sure about leukemia. My mom had breast cancer, so that’s a completely different cancer I have no clue on. I’d say do your research. Idk about like, the dire stuff for it.

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Cancer is such a range, terminal cancer and cancers that go into remissions differ some.

Can end up hospital bound for various reasons due to conprimised immune system. Pnemonia is common. Bloodclots also or various infections.

Everything is different, maybe not at first. But as things progress people treat you differently, the conversations get morbid, and they look at you with that look.

That compounds emotional issues. Like life can be overwhelming enough as is then you have all the fears and doubts with battleing cancer. Then you feel like a burden and isolation sets in cause you dont want to bring anyone down more then they already are.

Your family goes into a holding pattern friends tend to fall away. But people react differently. Some get angry some are in denial others steadfast or sorrowful.

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Cancer is when some of your Helper T cells attack one another, you either get it through an infection or you are born with it. You get a 50/50 chance of surviving and it is pretty bad. It messes with your body and makes you vulnerable to infections.

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I know some people have answered, but just in case you’d appreciate a little more detail:

Yes, you nearly always have to stay in the hospital at some point. Many people are hospitalised at diagnosis while they run tests and stabilise you. Especially if you are a paediatric patient. The time frame varies considerably but I spent a week getting MRIs, bone marrow biopsy, spinal tap, CTs, PET, etc. This was for lymphoma, which is quite similar to leukaemia.

Most people do treatment as an outpatient (unless you need a bone marrow transplant, in which case you’re looking at months in hospital). You go to the hospital or a clinic for chemo several times a week, on a pre-decided schedule. Be aware that outpatients living at home will need a carer to look after them. Parents, spouse, sibling, etc.

Chemo depletes your immune system, and so if you get a fever at any point, they assume you have an infection and hospitalise you for antibiotics, etc. These stays can be anything from days to weeks. And terminal patients will inevitably get hospitalised a lot and may end up in a hospice.

How is life different? For me, life pretty much stopped. And it stopped for my entire family. Because it all takes up so much time, I guess. My parents had to start working part-time to take care of me, and I couldn’t go to school. This isn’t the case for everyone, because chemo varies so much in its severity, but all I could really do was lie in bed + get up to go to the toilet every so often. On the good days, I saw my friends (but you have to be very careful with this, because if they have a bug or a cold, they can kill you). I couldn’t take showers because I had a central line (most people have to get one for all the transfusions, and this is either Hickman or Picc). You can’t go to crowded places like shopping centres because of the infection risk. You have to be very careful that food is cooked properly. And there’s a lot more little things like that.

You’ve also got to be aware that life is different for a really long time afterwards. Five years later, I am still enjoying the long term side-effects of my chemo. I still can’t do everything I used to be able to. This is an extreme example, but be aware that if your character is having chemo, they are unlikely to be running marathons for a few months afterwards.

How does it affect you emotionally? Eh. This is a difficult one to answer. Everyone is different. I went into survival mode and got pretty withdrawn. A lot of people cry. Some of the people on my ward went the other way and got really positive + desperate to make the most of the life, but I’d say this is rare, and they always ended up breaking down eventually.
Search up ‘there’s a mountain lion in the fridge’ and you’ll find an article on cancerpal that explains it better than I can. The bear represents chemo.

How does it affect others? I’ve already covered this a little bit. They have to spend a lot of long hours in the hospital with you. Emotionally, it can be worse for your family while you’re having treatment. Especially if the patient is a kid. However, at the point of remission, loved ones are usually really happy, while the person who had cancer continues to struggle, especially if they are having lasting side-effects from treatment (brain fog, fatigue and pain are all really common).

So yeah. It’s all pretty complicated. If you have any more questions, I’m more than happy to answer them, either on here or by wattpad PM (@Aellix). Hope this helps :slight_smile:

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OMG THANK YOU SO MUCH

what’s the process of caretaking? Like do they check temperature or? sorry im completely clueless lmao

That’s okay! You shouldn’t be expected to know all this. It’s pretty niche. And even the fact that you’re asking is really encouraging because most people don’t bother and then get it horribly wrong in their books.

So your carer drives you to the hospital, makes you meals, and stuff like that. I tended to check my own temperature (every few hours. If I reached 38 degrees celsius, I had to go straight to hospital), but it’s good for a carer to make sure you’re doing it if you’re a bit sleepy/mentally out of it. Some people, if they get ill enough, will also need help bathing and getting to the toilet. I never got to that point, and I think most people don’t, but I did need my carers to help me on the stairs sometimes and push my wheelchair.

It’s quite a full-time job. But again, that depends on how ill people get. The lucky ones will manage cooking and things like that on their good days. The danger is that if you’re left unattended you can go downhill very quickly. My parents never risked it, to the point where they would get people to come around and look after me if they needed to leave the house. I’d advise checking up on someone every few hours during the day.

I hope this covers it! Any more questions? :smiley:

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Not at the moment! Thank you so much! You helped a tun :revolving_hearts:

Okay, awesome! You know where to find me if you think of anything else :blush:

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alright! Thank you so much!

@Aellix I have a few more questions :sweat_smile:

How does chemo work? Are there any side affects of it?

How long do you have cancer until you become bed-ridden?

Are there any precautions to take during chemo(like no eating certain foods etc.)

Is there a certain period when you take chemo(like you take it for six weeks straight then get a break or something? idk)

So before you can have chemo, they (usually) do surgery to put a tube into your chest/arm so they don’t have to keep poking needles into veins. This is called a Hickman/PICC line, and I don’t think I explained it very well earlier. You keep that tube in for the duration of treatment (months).

You have to go into hospital on set days. It is given in ‘cycles’ which are 28 days long, and you might have to go in three times the first week and once the second week, for example, and then you get two weeks off to recover. At my clinic, you turn up in the morning, they take your vitals, and then two nurses check that the chemo is right (because if you get the wrong stuff you’re pretty much screwed) before they hook it up to your central line. It can feel very cold when it goes into the vein.

Then basically you sit there for a few hours, attached the drip, to let it all go in. If you are having more than one kind of chemo that day, it takes even longer. The side-effects are usually pretty quick. They vary a lot depending on the type of chemo. Most people get nausea (and there are anti-sickness pills to help with this, but they aren’t fullproof). You get very tired. Food tastes funny, especially if it’s sweet. Pain in muscles and bones is another common one.

When it’s done, you’re allowed to go home again. Some people need a wheelchair to get back to their cars. The side-effects are usually worse for the first day after each chemo. Hair starts falling out after a few weeks, slowly at first, and then a lot faster. Most people shave their heads because it’s such a pain washing your pillowcase everyday. The hair literally gets everywhere. You also lose leg hair, etc, but eyebrows stay for most people. Idk why.

Mouth sores usually happen at some point during treatment, and that makes it painful to eat, drink and sometimes talk. There are problems with thinking, memory and concentration. You get really weak and sleepy a lot of the time. If you are having steroids (pills to take with meals, which a lot of people are given alongside chemo), then you get really, really hungry and often grumpy. They can keep you awake all night at high enough doses.

I was bed-ridden within an hour of being diagnosed, because they started medicating me that quick. It’s often not the cancer that gets you. It’s the chemo. A lot of people will be up and walking about just fine, and then have some more chemo and end up bedridden for a few days, and then be fine again. There are good days and bad days. If you get an infection at any point, you’re gonna be bedridden until it’s gone again.

If you do spend large periods bedridden, you’re going to lose muscle mass and stamina, and even when chemo is finished, people have a hard time going back to their usual activities. You have to build up to it.

The precautions are usually because of lowered immunity.

  • Avoid anyone who is sick, because you can catch it.
  • Avoid public places where someone could cough on you (especially during corona, I mean, I doubt many chemo patients are leaving the house atm).
  • Be careful with takeaways because if you get food poisoning, you’re screwed. I was warned off fast food specifically. Make sure things like chicken are very thoroughly cooked.
  • Don’t shower, and if you take a bath, you have to be careful not to get any water on your central line. You have to put a bag over it. The lines get infected very easily.
  • Avoid any dangerous activities, like horse-riding, and heights because hitting your head while on chemo can make you bleed into your brain. Which is bad, for obvious reasons.
  • Drink a lot of water.

Like I said, chemo is organised in cycles. I had four cycles - so four months straight. They don’t tend to give you breaks in between, unless you get a nasty infection and need time to recover. I would go in Monday to Friday the first week, Monday and Wednesday the second week and then have two weeks with no chemo, and that would be one full cycle. The next month you do it all over again, usually in the same pattern. Steroids are taken for the first two weeks of each cycle.

It’s all really complicated, honestly. And if you decide on a particular kind of cancer to use, I can help find what particular cycles and drugs they would use for that. But you probably don’t need to go into that level of detail. Most chemo cycles involve at least three drugs and even the patients themselves might not know what they are.

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It does depend on your diagnosis

My grandmother had it in her stomach and was cured as they cut it out of her, then diagnosed again a few years later with bladder cancer that they discovered too late and died from it

She was in and out of hospital for 4 months before her diagnosis and then moved to a end of life hospital

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oh my

Thank you so much!!! I think I’ll be using lymphoma!

Oh cool lol. In that case, my chemo regime will be pretty accurate. I was Stage II by the way. A higher stage would mean more cycles and often radiotherapy too. Glad to be of use!

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ooh! what is that?