• Can anyone tell me the right questions to ask in my initial visit with my husband's doctor to prepare him for chemotherapy? I know I need to ask nutrition questions, but other than that I'm at a loss.

    Asked by Vonnie on Friday, December 30, 2011

    Can anyone tell me the right questions to ask in my initial visit with my husband's doctor to prepare him for chemotherapy? I know I need to ask nutrition questions, but other than that I'm at a loss.

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    6 Answers from the Community

    6 answers
    • danellsar's Avatar

      You need to know the schedule (how often, how long each time). You need to know what types of drugs he's getting, what are the expected side effects, and what to look for if he's having a bad reaction. You need to know who to call and when to call if there are problems. You need to know how many cycles (treatments) until they retest, and what they will be looking for. You need to know what will disqualify him from chemo (blood count and fever are 2 common ones). You need to know what meds he'll be taking after chemo for nausea, pain, and other things, and how to evaluate his condition.

      They will give you a booklet with nutrition ideas, but it's mostly hits and misses unless he's on a special diet. You should probably have some nutritional drinks on hand (ensure or the like) in case he's feeling really nauseated so that he can get some calories into him easily.

      Most people I've heard don't have major side effects their first chemo, but they do build up and get stronger as you go along.

      Let me know if you have other questions. My husband has done a LOT of chemo in the last 10 months.

      almost 5 years ago
    • Cindy's Avatar

      Some additional questions are: What should you bring with you during the chemo treatments, e.g., snacks, drinks, blanket, pillow, prescription medicine, DVDs, etc.? How will they administer the chemo, e.g., will you need to get port-a-catheter? How much money will they need (e.g., co-insurance) the day of the chemo? I waited 2-1/2 hours in the waiting room before they would let me get my first chemo because I had to pay my co-insurance that day and they didn't previously figure out how much I needed to pay.

      almost 5 years ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      My first diagnosis with cancer involved chemo, I didn't ask any questions, just showed up and let them do what they wanted. I was young, and didn't know I could ask questions. That was 23 years ago. Now,I ask whatever pops in my head if I think of it, my biggest problem is I cant remember to ask the questions when in the drs office. Write down anything you want to know about before going to the office, then you won't forget. Dont be afraid to corner the dr and not let him get away before you get all the info you need. I've seen some docs that were pretty good docs, but didn't want to spend 30 seconds listening and answering questions. Its your body, your life, make them stop, listen and answer until your happy.
      Good luck on the treatments, I hope they are swift and easy.

      almost 5 years ago
    • KarenG_WN's Avatar

      I think you have a great list of questions. Just some others you may want to consider:
      1) Can your husband take any existing medications while on chemo? What about Tylenol, Advil, etc?
      2) Are there any special precautions he needs to take?
      3) If you have pets, are there certain rules you should follow? (such as not changing a litterbox)
      4) Interaction with other people (especially sick people)
      5) Schedule a dental appointment for your husband prior to chemo.
      6) What activities should he do/not do
      7) Should he eat/not eat before coming in for treatment?
      8) Are there any clinical trials he may qualify for?
      9) What are the risks/benefits of the specific drugs he will be on?
      10) Are there immunizations he needs?
      11) What to do if your husband gets sick to his stomach or has excessive diarrhea?
      12) How to take care of potential issues with the mouth and lips?
      13) When should we cal the doctor?

      The American Cancer Society has terrific information about nutrition. Here is a link: http://www.cancer.org/Treatment/SurvivorshipDuringandAfterTreatment/NutritionforPeoplewithCancer/NutritionforthePersonwithCancer/index

      Here is the American Cancer Society's overview of chemotherapy.

      Please keep us posted on his - and your - progress. And let us know of any other question you may have, or any resource you may need. We are more than happy to help in any way that is possible.


      almost 5 years ago
    • leepenn's Avatar

      Ask for phone numbers for the nurse/triage line and for the office....etc... DON'T hesitate to call when you ahve a question.

      Ask for which drugs can be taken when...
      For example, I get zofram (anti-nausea) with my chemo. The type I get with the chemo lasts 72 hours, which means I cannot take additional zofram until 72 hours have passed. That means I have to use other drugs.

      If you have any questions about meds - ask them! I can't believe how many meds we have in our house now... Just cannot believe it.

      Another example of drugs that should not be taken together: xanax (helps me sleep) and atavan (helps with nausea and helps me sleep)...

      Also, ask about supplements. I took a list of potential supplements to my doc, and we reviewed each one together. In the end, I added one and deleted two.

      My supplements (in case you're curious) are
      glutamine (mouth sores and neuropathy prevention)
      vit b12 (I'm vegan)
      vitamin d (I live in MN and our sun is quite low this time of year)

      Hope that helps.... best wishes.

      almost 5 years ago
    • Vonnie's Avatar

      I hope this is not a duplicate, but thank you very much for all of your responses. Our appointment is tomorrow and all of this information will be very helpful to me as a care giver. I'm so glad I found this site. I hope to find a support group that I can physically attend regularly in my area. Thanks again.

      almost 5 years ago

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