• When I start Chemo will it be necessary for a driver to and from the treatment?

    Asked by Giraffe on Saturday, December 8, 2012

    When I start Chemo will it be necessary for a driver to and from the treatment?

    How long is an average chemo session?

    48 Answers from the Community

    48 answers
    • FreeBird's Avatar
      FreeBird

      Chemo sessions vary in length from a half hour to a couple hours to multiple days in the hospital, or an at-home pump. It just depends on what your doctor has chosen for you.

      Whether you will be able to drive or not, I think depends on your overall condition. My dad had no difficulty driving with his first cancer and chemo. This time around, he needed a lot of assistance because of his overall condition. Maybe you could get a ride to your first chemo session, and see how you feel. Most likely, if you were in relatively good condition before, you may be able to drive. People react differently to their chemo. If you are feeling really crappy when you leave, make sure you tell the chemo nurses. They may be able to give you something additional to help. With dad, usually side effects didn't show up until the third day after chemo.

      http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/coping/chemotherapy-and-you/page1/AllPages

      almost 5 years ago
    • ticklingcancer's Avatar
      ticklingcancer

      There were days when I felt like driving and days I didn't. I always had someone sitting with me during treatment. I realize that not everyone has that luxury. But honestly, as I sick as I was if I HAD to drive I probably could have. There is always the chance your chemo won't make you sick. Everyone reacts differently.

      almost 5 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar
      nancyjac

      Probably not, but I would highly recommend you have someone go with your the first time, just in case. After the first one, you will no what to expect, how you feel, etc. As for how long, that can be anywhere for an hour or two to most of the day. It just depends on what drugs you are getting at what dosage and what infusion rate. Your oncologist or chemo center should be able to give you a pretty good approximation.

      almost 5 years ago
    • BuckeyeShelby's Avatar
      BuckeyeShelby

      Another consideraion is how far you'd have to drive. I live alone & had no one to drive me. My oncologist wasn't thrilled w/the idea of me driving, but concede the point when I mentioed I only live about 3 miles from his office.

      almost 5 years ago
    • cris' Avatar
      cris

      Everyone's chemo is different, I always have someone drive me, they also are able to sit in with me when I get my chemo treatment. The first chemo I recieved was for 2 1/2 hrs every other week now I am on Taxol for 1 hour every Monday for 12 weeks I have 11 weeks left, I still have someone drive me as the Benadyl they give me for the allergic reaction makes me very sleepy . I would have someone drive you for your 1st treatment to see how you do. Good luck.

      almost 5 years ago
    • Harry's Avatar
      Harry

      My kids are all gone and my wife also works. Getting rides was difficult, so I didn't. The first time there was very little problem. I didn't feel so good when I got home (about a half hour drive) but no problems with the drive. My reaction was greater the second time (the opposite of the way it was supposed to be). I don't think the nurses knew I was driving myself but I didn't have any problems with the driving. The third time I ended up in the emergency room over night--major reaction. My wife left work in the afternoon when I recovered enough to call her. She came the next day. Again, I think the hospital thought she was driving me, but because we had driven separately we had two cars so I drove one. No problems. That was early 2011.

      I'll be starting again next week. This time I think my wife is planning on coming with me on Wednesday and staying a few hours until she is satisfied that I am handling rituxan desensitivation. Then, I think she plans to stay all day Thursday to be sure I handle the actual rituxan treatment. Bendamustine isn't a problem so I will probably be on my own on Friday.

      Bottom line is that everyone is different and has different circumstances. If you can manage having someone come with you that's a good idea because you may have a reaction that renders you an unsafe driver. Some of the drugs can make you sleepy. After you figure out what your reactions will be (mine were very atypical), then you will be in a better position to decide for yourself.

      almost 5 years ago
    • packerbacker's Avatar
      packerbacker

      My husband worked extra on the weekend so he could be with me on my weekly (Friday) chemo treatments. I was getting Vinirelbine, Cetuximab, and Carboplatin. I would have been able to drive myself, but my husband wanted to be there for support. But, like it has been said, everyone reacts differently to treatment. I would definitely have someone drive you to at least the first treatment, because you don't know how you will react. Because I got 3 different meds and at least Magnesium and some hydration, I was there at least 5 hours, up to 8 hours, but, I got a lot of stuff! Keep us posted on how you handle chemo, and best of luck to you on your journey!

      almost 5 years ago
    • karen1956's Avatar
      karen1956

      My DH took me to my chemos...I was pretty wiped out after each one and wouldn't have wanted to drive home, even though it was only 10 minutes from my house. I first chemo lasted all day, the others were shorter, but don't remember exactly, but a few hours....I also got fills in my expander after the 1st 3 chemos. Good luck to you as you begin this journey.

      almost 5 years ago
    • gwendolyn's Avatar
      gwendolyn

      I could have driven myself to/from most chemo sessions. Once they added Herceptin to the mix, they added a big IV dose of Benedryl which made me too drowsy to drive home safely. Most of my chemo appointments were 3 - 4 hours including blood work, physical exam, pre-meds, etc.

      almost 5 years ago
    • Nancebeth's Avatar
      Nancebeth

      Depends on the chemo. I brought someone the first time because I didn't know what to expect. But I was fine. I live about 20 miles from my chemo center. My chemo sessions usually lasted about 2 hours. 2 of my drugs were I.V. push and one was a slow drip.

      almost 5 years ago
    • IKickedIt's Avatar
      IKickedIt

      If possible, have someone with you during your first treatment and then you can make the decision after you have that first treatment under your belt. I was very nervous for my first treatment and the nurses gave me a pre-drug (Ativan) to relax me and it made me very tired and I even slept. I was still too woozy to drive myself afterwards.

      After the first treatment, however, I knew what to expect - the routine, how I was going to feel - so I asked the nurses to not give me the Ativan so I could drive. In fact, I went to work after my treatments since the side effects didn't kick in for a few days.

      As the others have said, every chemo regimen is different and every one reacts differently. Some side effects will definitely occur while many others vary person to person, as does the severity.

      I found it very helpful to keep a journal. I marked down every side effect and found there was a pattern which helped me throughout my treatments.

      almost 5 years ago
    • JennyMiller's Avatar
      JennyMiller

      My appointment (port access/blood work, nurse/vitals, oncologist visit, infusion) was at least 4 hours. We live about an hour away from the Oncology Center which is in the downtown section of a larger city. I was blessed in that my husband is retired and was able to drive me and to sit with me. I probably could have driven if I had to -- but I was so drained from the whole experience (especially the last few sessions) that it would have been difficult. In fact -- I took the wheel chair ride out of the center a couple of times because - due to construction - exiting involved 2 elevators, long halls and even a tunnel. I was not nauseous -- just "drained". Everyone is different and you may feel different as the sessions progress. I wish you the best!!!

      almost 5 years ago
    • tombo's Avatar
      tombo

      i drove myself the first 4 weeks,,i would not recommend going by yourself the first day,,its a liitle scary,,you might want bring a good friend or spouse with you,,after about 4 weeks,,i started getting sick,,,,well my vision was off,,everything was too bright,,anyhow,,good luck,,my treatments were about 8 hours a day!!!for almost 6 months,,,every day!!!,,dont worry,,your survival instincts kick in,,and it becomes VERY EASY,,,,you will be just fine,,xomike

      almost 5 years ago
    • DorothyV's Avatar
      DorothyV

      I would have someone drive you to and from for the first one. The time varies. The nurse will talk to you and explain everything they are going to do. If you have an allergic reaction, they may give you Benadryl which will make you sleepy. They will monitor you throughout the treatment. For my first one I was there about five hours total. It depends on what you are getting, frequency, reactions, etc. take a good book, music, or a friend the first time. My husband went with me for the first one. I drove myself to and from for the others. I was only about fifteen minutes from the hospital . Good luck with everything. God bless you:)

      almost 5 years ago
    • Happyjack's Avatar
      Happyjack

      I can only speak from my personal experience. My husband went with me each time (6 sessions). I could have driven myself as some people did but was pretty tired at the end of treatment which lasted 5 hours for me. Treatments and reactions vary from person to person. I was given pre-chemo meds and didn't get nauseous, if I did at all, for a couple of days. Good luck.

      almost 5 years ago
    • tombo's Avatar
      tombo

      i drove myself the first 4 weeks,,i would not recommend going by yourself the first day,,its a liitle scary,,you might want bring a good friend or spouse with you,,after about 4 weeks,,i started getting sick,,,,well my vision was off,,everything was too bright,,anyhow,,good luck,,my treatments were about 8 hours a day!!!for almost 6 months,,,every day!!!,,dont worry,,your survival instincts kick in,,and it becomes VERY EASY,,,,you will be just fine,,xomike

      almost 5 years ago
    • mgm48's Avatar
      mgm48

      I drove both ways and had almost no side effects. But I still had either my wife or my son with me just in case I had a reaction. I feel very fortunate to have had an easy time of chemo. I hope yours is just as easy and even more important effective.

      Keep it positive and smile :)

      almost 5 years ago
    • cindywho's Avatar
      cindywho

      I drove myself to my treatments and had no problems. My treatments lasted anywhere from 2 to 2-1/2 hours. My treatments were in the late mornings so I got to eat lunch while I was doing my treatments. Plus it all depends on what your treatments are. I did fine everytime I got done with my treatments each person is different. If you feel that you need to take someone with you then do it the first time to see how you are feeling after you are all done. I watched TV read a book talked to the nurses. I myself is a cancer survivor of 3 years. I was told in August 2009 that I had stage 3 rectal cancer. I am here today and living my life to the fullest and so can you. Good luck with your treatments. We will beat this horrible disease. God bless you. Cindy Burnett rectal cancer survivor 3 years.

      almost 5 years ago
    • cindywho's Avatar
      cindywho

      Hello It all depends on what your treatments will be??? My treatments lasted anywhere from 2 to 2-1/2 hours. I drove myself to my treatments and did fine. My treatments were late in the mornings so I ate lunch read a book watched TV talked to the nurses. So myabe for the first time take someone with you and see how you feel. If you feel fine then try and go yourself. My motto is BE STRONG!!! POSITIVE ATTITUDE!!! Plus the support from your family and friends are the most important too. I wish you the best of luck. Rectal cancer survivor of 3 years. God bless you!!!!

      almost 5 years ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      Check with your treatment center. My treatment center provided transportation to and from treatments. The service was part of the package. There also my be other resources available my church has a healing ministry made up of medical professionals and volunteers who help the sick.

      almost 5 years ago
    • JMS's Avatar
      JMS

      This will depend on a couple of things, for example, whether another treatment has preceded the beginning of chemo and how rapidly side-effects you experience from chemo manifest themselves. If you have had other cancer treatments, especially a course of radiation treatments, you may find more difficulty in tolerating chemo than you might if your treatments begin with chemo. This was certainly the case for me. Also, if your facility administers an anti-nausea medication prior to the chemo, you are likely to feel pretty good for about 24 hours or so (then it can go downhill fairly rapidly with fatigue and some internal pain - again, depending on your specific situation). If you get the anti-nausea meds, you can probably drive yourself to and from. But, I'd recommend asking for someone to drive you the first time, just to be safe.

      almost 5 years ago
    • Onoi11's Avatar
      Onoi11

      I live about 45- minutes from my oncologist's office and have no trouble driving myself to my appointments which last 4 to 5 hours. Non-patients aren't allowed in the chemo area, so it is usually quiet and I can read a book or work on my IPad. So I would suggest you see how you do after your first go'round of chemo and base your decision on that.

      almost 5 years ago
    • myb's Avatar
      myb

      My husband drove to chemo as I was not up for driving in the 12 sessions I had for Stage 3 colon cancer of Oxaliplatin and Folfox. Each session consisted of a needle stick to check blood levels, visit with Oncologist to discuss symptoms from last session and ok my bloodwork to do chemo that day. More bloodwork through chemo port. Then 1/2 hr of Anti Nausea med infusion, followed by 2 hr infusion of Oxaliplatin and Saline solution before hooked up to pump for 46 hrs of Folfox before I could go home. Then a nurse would come to my house to disconnect me.

      almost 5 years ago
    • geekling's Avatar
      geekling

      It would be a smart move.

      Some centers offer a van to pick you up for treatment and later return you to your home.

      almost 5 years ago
    • blondie's Avatar
      blondie

      During my treatment I was given Benadryl. Sometimes the nurses will wake me up and tell me to go home. My father drove me because I developed breathing issues. Twice I woke up wheezing. During one episode, I didn't get home until 7 pm. Am on Proair and Advair 250/50.

      almost 5 years ago
    • oceanblue24's Avatar
      oceanblue24

      I had the luxury of having my husband with me for my treatments. We live about a 1/2 hr away from the infusion center. I usually drove there & he drove back. I think I could have driven home after my AC treatments but during my 12 Taxol treatment they gave me Benadryl which made me really sleepy. I would take someone with the first time. Ask you infusion nurses any questions you may have. I found they gave me more answers then the Dr. did. I guess because I was there much longer then the Drs office visits.

      almost 5 years ago
    • MsScribe's Avatar
      MsScribe

      nancyjac is (as usual) right on the money. You don't know how the chemo will affect you and even if you';rte medically fine, you may be emotionally wrung out by the experience. Have a chemo buddy with you. You will want support and comfort. And its nice to have someone get food, ice cream or whatever else you need.
      My chemo took from between 3 - 6 hours.

      almost 5 years ago
    • Crash's Avatar
      Crash

      Definitely for the first one or two, until you see how you handle it. If you live close by you may be able to get home before you hurl. I was able to drive in for treatment, it took me an hour, and I was able to drive home from treatment. I rode a motorcycle, and a couple of times I had to pull over to puke. Once I couldn't pull over fast enough and puked inside a full coverage helmet. It seems funny....now. ;-)

      almost 5 years ago
    • vet613's Avatar
      vet613

      Hi Giraffe,

      Although I drove myself a rather long distance for chemo and radiation treatments I suggest that you engage someone to drive you until you have the opportunity to gauge your own reaction. Honestly, there were timed that I would have likely been smarter to have someone drive me (even though I have never been accused of being too smart LOL).

      My best wishes for a positive outcome go out to you. Hang in and do not give up!

      Best regards,
      vet613

      almost 5 years ago
    • fastdog's Avatar
      fastdog

      I drove myself to and from chemo for the whole time I was in treatment, and brought a book and stayed alone for the treatment. I felt, why have anyone sit there and watch fluids drip into my veins. However, I went home with a chemo pump, and was so very sick at home that I couldn't drive back alone 2 days later to have it removed, I was vomiting too much before they got my meds regulated. So the husband had to leave work, pick me up, stay for the few minutes to get me disconnected, and drive me home. So, I too would vote for having someone with you for the first one, to see how it goes. Our oncology center has a van you can get a ride in, but I was too embarrassed to ask for a ride to have the pump disconnected when I was so sick. We all respond differently, and I hope you have an easy experience with your treatment.

      almost 5 years ago
    • Richardc's Avatar
      Richardc

      My wife went with me for my first chemo radiation treatments. After we found out how I would react to the treatment, I usually drove myself. She always met met there and kept me company for a while. I encouraged her to run her errands and shopping. I had her cell phone on speed dial in case I needed her.

      If anyone needs rides to or from treatment, contact your local American Cancer Society office. They do have some programs to provide transportation. Good luck on your treatments.

      almost 5 years ago
    • leepenn's Avatar
      leepenn

      Well - I'm going to throw a huge curve ball here.
      I rode my bike to and from every treatment.
      Every single one.
      I had heard time and time again that couch potatoes suffer the most... and both oncs were very supportive of me biking to and from treatments.
      I rode my bike every single day of treatment.
      Every single day - except for a few day business trip....

      As for side effects - yeah - some of those rides were SLOW!!!! My hemoglobin got pretty low there for a while... so I was definitely not riding super fast during that time...

      One last bit - consider adding glutamine to your plan. It is available as a powder. Add about 10 g of powder to a cup of water - swirl - DRINK UP! Do that three times per day for the first few days after each treatment. It is a supplement that has actually made it through clinical trial and been shown to reduce side effects - most especially neuropathy. So, ask your health care providers about adding this to your plan... Neuropathy is one of the suckiest side effects... I had very little neuropathy, and I really think that glutamine made a difference.

      Lastly, I got pretty sleepy on the benadryl... had a fabulous chemo nap with every taxol treatment... and it wore off pretty quickly. So, I didn't really have My friend LV was pretty much DRUNK on the stuff and could not drive when she had that...

      GOOD LUCK GOOD LUCK!

      almost 5 years ago
    • Schlegel's Avatar
      Schlegel

      As others have pointed out, time can vary up to six hours. I would check with your nurse about what meds have been ordered as Benadryl and some anti-nausea meds can be sleep inducing. Even if you do not get sleepy, if you are involved in an accident that is not your fault, a not-too-smart lawyer could turn the fault on you. One of my patients pointed that out to me.
      I also recommend calling ACS. I drive for them.

      almost 5 years ago
    • ScrapbookerKay's Avatar
      ScrapbookerKay

      I had 8 chemo sessions, lasting 6 hours each. My doctor and staff insisted that someone drive you home. They said you never know how you will react and they didn't want you to harm someone else driving. They also gave me benedryl before each treatment. The nurse said sometimes that makes people sleepy. With my doctor, driving yourself home, was not an option. But every doctor and patient are different. Good luck!

      almost 5 years ago
    • Nomadicme's Avatar
      Nomadicme

      I had 4 AC and 4 Taxotere plus Herceptin, dose dense (so on a 2 week schedule, not 3). My dad insisted on going with me for the infusions, but quite frankly I didn't need anyone to drive me. My dad wasn't available towards the end of my treatment so I went alone. With me, I cherished the independence of being able to take care of myself. The times when I felt sick were after the chemo (2 to 5 days). I spoke to a BC patient before starting my chemo, and she told me she'd go dancing with herr husband the night after her infusion (I'm thinking probably the prednisone lol).

      almost 5 years ago
    • Snooks' Avatar
      Snooks

      I would advise yes. My chemo treatment took three hours (one hour for each drug) and I would sleep through treatment. Afterwards I would go home and take a nap (for me it was draining). However, I know women who have their treatments and go back to work. I'd recommend a driver for the first treatment, then see how you feel when it is over. Good Luck and God Bless.

      almost 5 years ago
    • CAL's Avatar
      CAL

      The first chemo, my husband took me. It was a good thing as I reacted to the first drug I get, Taxotere, very quickly and I had him get the nurse b/c I recognized the allergic reaction. They gave me more drugs to counteract the reaction, Benadryl and Pepcid, and I was out like a light. I slept for an hour and a half and then woke up feeling ok, but figured out I needed at least someone to transport me. I switched my treatments to an Integrative Oncology Center 4 hours from my home for my subsequent chemo treatments so I definitely have to have someone go with me. I react each time I get Taxotere so I get heavy doses of steroids, Benadryl, and antihistamines so it really isn't safe for me to try and drive myself now.

      almost 5 years ago
    • pll's Avatar
      pll

      As several have mentioned, you probably want a driver the first time. My chemo was in the dr's office and lasted 2 - 3 hours. but in the middle of the 6 months, protocol was changed. one of the meds changed from a drip to a push. that was a lot faster.

      I had someone the first time but did ok. I preferred to be alone vs. having someone sit with me and have to make small talk. For the second time, I had someone on 'stand-by' in case I had to call for a ride. For the 4th - 6th chemo, I drove myself. but, as also mentioned, everyone is different. good luck, hope all goes well

      almost 5 years ago
    • pll's Avatar
      pll

      As several have suggested (and I agree with it) have someone drive you the first time. If you do ok, then maybe have someone on 'stand-by' the second time in case you can't drive afterwards. I drove starting the 2nd time as I preferred to be alone vs. making small talk. My chemo was in the doctor's office and lasted 2 - 3 hours, but in the middle of the 6 months, protocol changed and one of the meds changed from a drip to a push. that was a lot faster. good luck and hope you tolerate the meds well.

      almost 5 years ago
    • silverado2000's Avatar
      silverado2000

      I think it depends on the type of chemo. Personally, I had someone with me for the first treament. The next 5 treatments, I drove myself. A 2 hour trip one way, I drove back home after the treatment. Also, I had my grandson whom I have custody of. He is 2 years old. My treatments lasted for approximately 6 hours from the time I got there to the time I left. I had the treatments 1 a month for the 6 treatments.
      I would talk to the Dr. and get their recommendation on what would probably be the best way to do this. Also, pay attention to how you feel after the initial treatment.

      almost 5 years ago
    • Mymindzeye's Avatar
      Mymindzeye

      I drove myself the second treatment - My loved one's were miffed that I did not call on one of them. They all made sure someone would be with me from then on...

      almost 5 years ago
    • Mymindzeye's Avatar
      Mymindzeye

      I drove myself the second treatment - My loved one's were miffed that I did not call on one of them. They all made sure someone would be with me from then on...

      almost 5 years ago
    • carolchristao's Avatar
      carolchristao

      In my 1st session of chemo, I didn't drive because I thought I would start feeling bad in that same moment. I just felt the symtoms in the 3rd day. In the 2nd session I went driving and alone, without problems.

      almost 5 years ago
    • Wheezie's Avatar
      Wheezie

      I had my husband go with me at least the first couple of times, and my sister went with me once. As time went on though, I would sleep a lot during treatments. Mostly, I drove myself. I would recommend whatever makes you feel comfortable!

      almost 5 years ago
    • JudyW's Avatar
      JudyW

      I didn't have access to a driver....I'm a single mom and, I guess, pretty independent. I always drove myself, and I missed only one day of work during the entire chemo process.

      about 4 years ago
    • baridirects' Avatar
      baridirects

      My chemo sessions start at about 8:30AM, and we're always out of there by 3...but the honest truth is, a lot of that time is spent waiting for the orders and latest lab results to be verified, and the chemo bags to come up from the pharmacy - I have my treatments as an outpatient at the hospital, rather than in my oncologist's office.

      I had been told that I should have someone drive me home because the Benadryl they give me ahead of the chemo would likely make me sleepy. I'm not sure that's entirely true for me, but I'm a bit unwilling to risk a 45 minute drive home alone in case there should be a problem. So far, my husband has come with me to the treatment sessions, and it's a great comfort to have him there.

      about 4 years ago
    • lilymadeline's Avatar
      lilymadeline

      I don’t think that there is an average chemo. Ask your oncologist and his nurse as well what you should expect. And then have them let you know about an hour or so before you can go home. My current chemo is very slow around 12 hours long, but my first series of intravenous chemo’s took about 7 to 8 hours total.
      They have a lot to do. They have to take your blood work first to see if you can handle the chemo, then they have to order the chemo, then there are other things that you will need as well such as liquids for hydration and anti-nausea medications, steroids, etc. etc. etc.....

      over 2 years ago
    • lilymadeline's Avatar
      lilymadeline

      BTW- I needed a driver when I got Taxol but I don’t need one now even after 12 hours of chemotherapy.....

      over 2 years ago

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