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Caring for mum having chemo
Effect on baby

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#1 purplygreen

Posted 08 December 2012 - 03:48 AM

I was wondering if there is anyone else who has cared for someone having chemo while they were pregnant.

My mum has terminal cancer and moved in with me a few months ago. I'm due to give birth in late March and she really wants to be around to meet her granddaughter. She has decided to have another round of chemo to increase the likelihood of this. But I'm worried about the side effects of the chemo will have on me and my baby as any bodily fluids will be toxic for 72 hours after treatment. I joke that caring for her and her many 'accidents' is good preparation for me becoming a mum! But I know there is going to be a lot more vomiting and not being able to get to the toilet quick enough when she is having treatment. Plus in her 'cancer fog' I can't trust that she will remember to take appropriate safety precautions (double flushing the toilet with the lid down, washing her hands, etc)

I'm in a really awkward spot. I want to look after my mum in her final months, but I don't want to put my baby at risk. Does anyone know of any services which could help me? I live in Melbourne. It' unlikely she will be able to have the chemo as an inpatient as it's going to be once a week over 3 months.

#2 MrsLexiK

Posted 08 December 2012 - 07:35 AM

You could try the hospital first, then try places such as dial an angel, if they can't help they should be able to stick you to a service that can.
I am sorry you are going through this, we went through it with my uncle just recently.

#3 purplekitty

Posted 08 December 2012 - 12:41 PM

I think it would be worthwhile discussing your concerns with her oncologist. Could you go with her to an appointment?

It should be managable to minimise any exposure to your baby for that 72 hours.You can be sure that you take all the necessary precautions.

#4 ScarfaceClaw

Posted 08 December 2012 - 12:47 PM

Have a chat to the oncology nurses as well. They work with chemo all the time, and some of them get pregnant and deliver babies as well, so it must be possible. you may need to take extra precautions, but you should be able to do it.

#5 meljbau

Posted 08 December 2012 - 12:48 PM

Talk to the staff at the hospital about options to try to reduce the effects of the chemo on your mum and then indirectly on you

My MIL used Zofran wafers and they helped to reduce the nausea and vomiting to a degree. We also had plenty of those throw up bags around to help because she couldn't move quickly enough to get to the bathroom

I'd invest in some thin rubber gloves for fluid spills, some anti-bacterial liquid for hand wiping and I'd flush the toilet myself with lid down before I went just to make sure

Hope all goes as well as it can for you both

#6 purplygreen

Posted 08 December 2012 - 03:48 PM

Thanks for all your suggestions. I'm going with her to her next oncologist appointment so will be able to get more information then. My research online has ranged from suggesting that all pregnant women give cancer patients a wide birth to there being no risk at all. I think we will get a cleaner once of week to help disinfect the house. I'm struggling to get basic housework done as it is with caring for mum and long work hours.

#7 Chookin

Posted 11 December 2012 - 06:59 PM

Hi purplygreen,I have spent the last 4months caring for my mum while she has been having chemo. We have 2 kids. Mum had a bottle attached to her so the chemo drugs could drip into her system over 48 hrs at home. So basically we had toxic material just a bottle away! We had a spill kit and were trained in how to clean and dispose of the radioactive waste and towels etc. we were told the drugs may cause tumours in those who were healthy so we were very careful.she had to flush toilet twice on full flush and we didn't share drinks, cutlery or anything and I didn't let kids camp out in Nans room during the 72hrs she was at home with bottle or the day after it came out.
She also had her own towels etc. caring and keeping up with washing, cleaning, cooking etc is tough so get help if you can as you will need some rest during your last months of being pg!
The oncologists are a great source of info so definitely speak to them.
....Best wishes

Oh most importantly...rubber gloves and antibacterial hand stuff...after washing with soap and water....and a bucket with a lid!

Edited by Chookin, 11 December 2012 - 07:01 PM.

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