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Taking care of sick family members...

16 years 8 months ago #50774 by MomMD
Hi there,

Can anyone share any tips about taking care of a family and sick family members? My husband is sick with lymphoma and I have taken on most of the household responsibilities (from cooking, driving, taking out trash, etc). He will be having chemotherapy for the next 4-6 months and as we have no family in the area I could use your advice on keeping myself strong through this process.

Has anyone else got personal experience and positive stories about overcoming lymphoma?



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16 years 8 months ago #50775 by Mary B-B ToBeDoc

For running the household, having a simple routine for cleaning, cooking, shopping, laundry and so forth is key. (Like the daily routines on [url=http://www.flylady.net,]www.flylady.net,[/url] kept very simple because you have so much to deal with).

More personally, you might be able to get some help (either hired or volunteered) by calling neighborhood churches and civic groups (i.e. AAUW, Women's League, etc.), or the high school, and explaining your situation...that you need help with errands, childcare, laundry, or whatever and have no family in the area.

Even more personally, when my brother had t-cell mycosis fungoides (an atypical lymphoma), I kept myself centered in several ways. Keeping my family life and household going at a basic level was important. So was prayer. So was imagining him becoming well...not fantasizing, but picturing him getting well a few cells at a time from the treatments he was doing. And scheduling myself to not worryand just study. (I was taking classes at the time).

It's important for children to see that their parents are "handling it". Without burdening your daughters, you can have them help you in some ways ...(I sometimes give my sons a kitchen trash bag and an "assignment" to empty all the smaller trash cans into the bag. They work together to get it done). I realize that your girls are quite young, but they are capable too. It's also important to be honest with them about your husband's health without scaring them too much or getting too medical. They already know something's wrong; they intuit it naturally, so talking openly can help them.

Please know that many people here are hoping, praying, & wishing for your husband's full recovery and health. The treatments will be difficult at times for him and for you...this can also be a time of good creativity and connectedness with each other and with other people.

Take good, good care of yourself...


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16 years 8 months ago #50776 by pamela
First of all, I'm sorry for your husband's illness. You are right to be exploring all your options to care for yourself as well as your husband and family. The previous response is right on - keep everything very simple. I would also add that it is very valuable to explore complementary therapies for your husband as well as yourself to really enhance the immune response for yourself as well as for him as he undergoes treatment. Acupuncture, massage and nutritional support can make a huge difference for him as well as for yourself as a caregiver. Also, group support is really a necessity - check with your local hospitals and see what type of group support and education programs are available or if they have any complementary therapy programs for cancer patients. MindBody skills such as the visualization idea offered by Mary, meditation, relaxation exercises are strong immune stimulants as well as great stress busters. There may be classes for these in your area as well. For more information about these techniques, you can surf the web or visit my website at www.pavery.yourmd.com . And last of all, about med school, go for that interview, get accepted and if you need to ask for a deferment after getting accepted don't worry about it. Your husband's health is priceless. You are about to embark on the greatest medical lesson of your life - being the family member of a cancer survivor! Good luck.

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16 years 8 months ago #50777 by ladysurg
Sethina just a word of encouragement. My junior resident during residency was having trouble walking and thought it was sciatica. "Surgeons are always getting disc problems" was his answer. Our neurosurgeon saw him limping and realized that he had "dropfoot" which is an abnormality associated with significant nerve impingment. After being diagnosed with B cell lymphoma of his spinal column, he underwent chemo and radiation. That was 15 years ago and there has been no sign of recurrance the last I spoke with him. Keep the chin up!

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16 years 8 months ago #50778 by MD mother of 2
So sorry to hear about your husband. Luckily he is early stage (Stage II). The lymphomas are staged from I to IV, with IV being the most advanced and incurable. Other prognostic factors include what "type" of non-Hodgkins lymphoma he has. I've seen both success stories, as well as the opposite. Chin up! I hear European & Canadian medical schools are nearly as difficult to get into for US citizens as US med schools are. I've heard France takes ALOT of first year medical students but has a very bit cut the 2nd or 3rd year. There are also some medical schools located outside of the U.S. which are U.S. accredited, eg. UPR (Univ of Puerto Rico in San Juan) & Ponce School of Medicine (in Ponce, Puerto Rico). If you are truely determined to get into medical school, don't give up and keep applying. Persistence and experience pays off in the long run.

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16 years 8 months ago #50779 by MD mother of 2

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