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Chemo Advice Needed


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Hi guys,

I signed onto this sight a few weeks ago and have not been on for a while. I needed some time to let some things sink in.

Anyway, my mother was diagnosed with Stage IV, NSCLC. Apparantely there is one tumor in each lung, all other tests have indicated that it has not gone elsewhere. Lymph node biospy came back negative, (which the oncologist said was very unexpected due to the fact that its in both lungs)

I am confused then, is it stage IV because it is in both lungs? From my understanding Stage IV means it has spread form one organ to another, are each lungs considered a seperate organ?

But my real concer here is that my mother started Chemo this Tuesday. So far, she has had no symptons or side effects. She will go every tuesday for 6 weeks, while she is having radiation done Mon.-Fri.

Now, the onclogy nurse I spoke with said that because she is doing chemo and radiation together, the Chemo is a very small dose. She doesn't expect any major side effects. My mother is insisting on going to these treatments alone. I had no problem with radiation, because enough research showed me that people can drive home following that. But Chemo? I don't know what to expect. She did go alone on Tuesday, but I am assuming that the more you go the worse you msy feel.

Any advice?

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Well....if your mother is anything like MY mother, you can't tell her HOW to do anything. You can make suggestions and ask her if she'd like company if she appears to be getting weak... Maybe you can talk to a nurse at the chemo office and have the nurse call you if your mother becomes weaker after a treatment and will need some help getting home...

Maybe your mother would rather have a friend accompany her instead of her offspring (goodness knows, NO mother wants to appear frail to her kids)...or one of her siblings? (My mother accompanied my aunt to all of her chemo sessions...)

Just a suggestion - I know the more I insist on something, the more determined my mother is to do it her way...

She's the one that instigated the tearing up of my carpet when I was recovering from surgery and going through radiation (she "Becky-sat" for me)! In two afternoons we had all the carpet removed from the first floor of the house - something I'd been asking my husband to do since I moved in a year prior.

Ol' ladies got spunk, they ain't as frail as they look... Understanding your mother is going through some intense medical sessions, but also having some insight on the "I'll accept help when I WANT help, not when YOU decide I need it" attitude.

Start worrying when she looks like she's beat, give her some breathing room, but let her know you're there if she needs you.

Good luck!


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The only thing that I would worry about is her being too sleepy or groggy to drive. With chemo they often give drugs to ward off side effects. One is a generic form of Benadryl. That can make a person very sleepy and groggy. Driving in that condition could be dangerous. Why don't you just ask your mom if she feels either of these things. Tell her it would make you more comfortable if you know she is safe on the road.

If she says no and that she can handle it back off. She is already facing a situation that she feels she has little control over. Let her keep control of at least that one part of her life until she is ready to ask for help.

Hope it works out well for you. I have a lot of the same questions about staging. You often get two different answers and end up more confused than ever.


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My suggestion is to call her physician and ask him/her to call your mother and request that someone drive her to and from chemo. I can't imagine that the onc or whomever talked with her in the interview didn't suggest this. My suspicion is that they did and you mom chose to ignore the advice. I would think it is dangerous. I or someone took my wife to every chemo appointment. It is stressful enough not to have to the added stress of driving.

If she is taking chemo and radiation at the same time, I would suggest you watch her liquid intake. It is very easy to get dehydrated during treatment.

Keep us posted. Don

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How old is your mom? What physical condition is she in?

My mom is 58, a little chubby, but otherwise was in fine condition before diagnosis. My dad takes her to chemo each time b/c he is retired. However, I was noticing when I went one time that a lot of people are alone and my parents said that many seem to drive themselves to and from. My mom said that if it were closer (she travels about 30 minutes), she could even take herself most of the time. She is in the middle of her third cycle which is two weeks on, one off, and so far the effects of the chemo are not immediate in her case, it takes a day or so before she is tired/nauseous and nonfunctional.

However, there are times midcycle where she is just soooo tired and has to go in for a hydration IV and physically would be too tired to drive. See how your mom does and how she feels. If the fatigue hits her, she won't have a choice but to let you drive her!

One thing you might want to do foryour mom is apply for a handicap placard. I got my mom one and it comes in handy when the fatigue is major.

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Your mom sounds like me. I can do it myself is always my thoughts however, I am the one who always insists that i go with whoever thinking they need me.

I know my husband could not have gone himself to either chemo or radiation for I would have been a nervous wreck. They did tell him in radiation that he had to have a driver. They didn't say that in chemo. I would take him to chemo and leave and come back. A lot of people did that so it looked like they were along when in fact they were not. Maybe your mom just needs to be told by you or your father that they are going with her, no if and buts about it. I don't want to bother family or friends and that is why if someone said that to me i would let them go. If they just acted like they wanted to forget it, i would go alone.

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My mom was the same way. She wouldn't want me to come, but I would just "show up" and I think she enjoyed having me there...but of course, would never admit to needing her daughter. The first chemo regime she was one, took 6 hours. I encourage you to go if you can...my mom and I had some good talks and bonding time at chemo...I also got to know the nurses by being there and it makes for a happier environment. I would also try my best to have lots of energy and make jokes, read magazines with her. One good thing having you there, is listening to what the nurses will tell your mom what to do, what to take, etc. (My mom is terrible at remembering things.)

I'm so sorry that you have to go through this...we all know how difficult it is to deal with and are here for you.

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I was able to drive myself to chemo and radiation but I was lucky and had very FEW side effects from either. I had several friends offer to drive me but it was something I wanted to do myself. My rad. Dr. was a 60 mile drive each way so it gave me a lot of time to listen to the christian radio station and "talk" to God. I couldn't have done that if I was riding with someone else. Everyone is different however.

God Bless,


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My first set of Chemo was in the big city of Portland,Or so there was no way I would drive down there to begin with. My husband took me to chemo & then to Rad twice a day when that started. I did become quite ill between the 2 after a while so I couldn't have driven then. Second set O Chemo was done here in Alaska. I drove myself each day but did not feel very ill from the treatments. Hope all goes well for your Mum.

Best Regards,


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I drove my husband to the first four chemo sessions and then after that he insisted he could cope. I accompanied him each time though, just incase. Like Norme with Buddy, I would have worried about him too much if he had gone on his own. As it turned out, during the first part of the chemo when they give the, (whatever it is that makes you sleep,) Dave stopped breathing a couple of times and I had to adjust the chair so that he was more upright. (He has sleep apnea and wasn't wearing his mask.) Have you ever tried to move a six foot, five 1/2" man when he's zonked out? I had to call two nurses to help me :!:

Good Luck with your treatments,


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Well, for what it's worth, when I did my chemo (VP16/Cisplatin) and radiation treatments as well, the first two sessions of chemo my husband drove me. The last two sessions of chemo I drove me. I can say this. I HAD NO BUSY DRIVING MYSELF during that time. That was a NO NO!

Although I made it safe and sound, after looking back at it now, I honestly can say it was kind of like being (sorta drunk)? :shock: And I too did not have any major side effects from my chemo or my radiation. I honestly don't recommend people drive themselves for chemo. The Cancer Society has what they call "ROAD TO RECOVERY" in most states and they will pick up a cancer patient and take them to treatments (free of charge)

and take them back home. They will do this for every treatment she needs. This isn't about being stubborn, or in contol, it's about safty for herself and others. Just my two cents worth. God bless and good luck.

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