Useful tips while undergoing Treatment
1. Have a packed suitcase always ready as you might have to leave at short notice, especially if your child is neutropenic . Things to consider when packing a suitcase:
- Clothing for day and night (at least for 2 nights)
- Toiletry Bag – Buy additional toothbrushes and keep them in your suitcase
- Change for vending machines and parking
- A mobile charger
- 1 or 2 toys
- A folder with the child’s notes
- A neighbour having a house key can be helpful, especially if you need something urgently that they need to bring for you.
2. Lots and lots and lots of feet through your front door!!!! I know it’s the last thing that you want but you will need all the help you can get!
3. Help with food and cooking at the early stages of treatment – ask friends and family to cook meals. These can be frozen in appropriate portions, which can then be popped into the microwave. You will find yourself tired and drained at the beginning of treatment due to your world being turned “upside down”. At least you won’t have to worry about food!
4. Ignore statistics… It will drive you crazy and it doesn’t help you or your child at all… Don’t waste your time looking at statics…use your time more productive through other means.
5. Delegate… You CAN NOT do this alone… LEARN AS MUCH AS YOU CAN ABOUT YOUR ENEMY – once you’ve found your feet you’ll need a team of friends around you that can help you with research.
6. Scrutinise everything until you believe it is the correct path for your child. It’s your child, it’s your right.
7. Scrutinise the Author and the source of information.
8. Depending on your child’s age, be honest with your child. The more he/she knows the better he/she will cope! It’s extremely important that your child does not lose faith in you! Prepare them before every operation, chemotherapy session, etc…Your child needs to continue to trust you.
9. Join a cancer support group. I know what you are thinking, we were there too but it REALLY does help! You are not alone in this battle, and meeting other parents mean sharing information!
10. Whenever you meet a specialist, ALWAYS ask them for their email address or contact information. You will often find yourself having loads of questions after you left the appointment!
11. Get plenty of sleep! You will need it. You can’t take care of your ill child and possibly other siblings if you are run down (we talk from experience, we learned that the hard way)! You need to stay healthy to support your child/children.
12. This is quite a sensitive point – but try and avoid negative parents while in hospital, whose children receive treatment. You need to stay positive, focused and motivated. Other negative parents might drag you down. Seek out other parents that are motivated and positive.
13. You will have to grow up very quickly regarding the “medical terms” and you will feel very lost in the beginning. You have two ears, two eyes and a mouth. Listen and observe. Have a pen and paper always ready to make notes! If someone says a word you don’t know stop them and ask what it means! Write it down. Within a month you will know all medical terms relating to your child’s illness.
14. Be proactive with your child’s treatment. The more you know about your child’s treatment plan, the better you can support them and their primary treatment.
15. Nurses at the hospital will become your ‘best friends’. Ask them if you have questions or need help! The specialists and doctors are always very clinical and discuss major topics and issues with you, but the nurses are a pool of information about small things that can make a huge difference…
16. Do not feel guilty to stand up against people that know more than you in the medical field, because to them, it’s their job – but to you, it’s your child.