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    DD, Aged 17

    When people would talk they didn't know what to say which was understandable.  more...


    Mimi - 15 years old

    I lost myself doing stupid things, angry and sad and depressed at everything. I ended up failing my classes, not caring about school, and getting into fights.  more...


    Chelsea - 14 years old

    I stuck my head round the door in the room mum was in, and she looked really ill. I couldn't understand what was happening - one minute my mum was fine and the next she was ill.  more...


    Clair - aged 14

    Something I wish is I could just have one more day with my dad! - to tell him how much I love him and how sorry I am for all the bad things I have said and done to him!  more...


    Nicole - 17 years old

    This time the doctors are unable to operate. He has already had 6 sessions of chemo and is having another 6 sessions. I cannot help feeling I may lose him.  more...


    Rirrif - 15 years old

    I have been staying with my dad because my mom doesn't want me around when she is sick, which is all the time. My dad works at night so I spend a lot of time alone since I'm not with my mom. I'm afraid she is going to die and I'll blame myself for not being there more. more...


    HT - 13 years old

    She has been so strong about this and is keen to put it all behind her.  more...

My mum is starting chemo and I want to know how I can help her

Hi, my mum has just had surgery to remove an ovarian cyst. She is recovering well from this but I just found out that tumours were growing on the cyst as well as a tumour on her apendix which has been removed. Just before she had the surgery the cyst ruptured so they think that some of the tumour has spread so she's starting chemo on Saturday. I've researched a lot and found a lot of stuff to help me cope but I'm not really sure how to help her. I know it's completely based on a case by case bases how she will cope but I just wanted to know what I can do. If there's any helpful recipes or if I should encourage her to do some passive exercise. Or how I should act to help her get through it. Thanks

Thank you for your message to riprap. My name is Sue, and I'm one of the riprap team. I used to be a specialist cancer nurse, so I hope I can help you today.

It sounds a worrying time for you and the family. It's good to hear that your mum is recovering well from her recent surgery, and is about to start her chemotherapy. Chemotherapy can feel a bit daunting to start with - no-one knows what to expect, or what particular (if any) side effects people may have. She's likely to be tired, and perhaps slightly nauseous, for the first few days following the chemo, although the hospital will give her plenty of anti-sickness medication which will help with that.

A hand with the meals - preparation, cooking, etc, would be very welcome, I imagine. There are some useful cookbooks out there, which the family might like to buy? For example, other people with cancer have told me that 'The Chemo Cookery Book' by Penny Ericson is helpful, as is ‘The Royal Marsden Cancer Cook Book’ by Dr Clare Shaw, and 'Nourish', 'the cancer Care cookbook' by penny Brohn Cancer Centre. You can find them in most good book shops, or even your local library may be able to get copies for you? Light meals, soups, etc, are often helpful the first couple of days post chemo, but then her appetitie will pick up again. She may find her sense of taste changes during the chemo treatment, so she may go off some foods which she normally likes...but that usually returns after the 18 weeks is finished, and it doesn't affect everyone.

It's important she drinks plenty of offering her a regular glass of water, cup of tea, etc , may well be appreciated...

Exercise is good, although her energy levels may not be very high at times. Even just walking round the garden, up to the shops, or just pottering around the house, will keep muscles active. She'll gradually find her strength returning after each chemo cycle...more so about a week to ten days before the next cycle usually, so will be able to resume many of her normal activities, including gentle exercise, but may not feel up to running/cycling etc very far, for a while.

I imagine the biggest help to your mum will be asking what you can do to help - asking how she is - and also being your normal self. She'll likely be glad to see you doing your normal activities, but also knowing that you care, and are available if she needs you.

You also need time for you, to have some time to be able to talk with friends, and have support for you too - it can feel a big responsibilty sometimes when a parent is not feeling so great. The chemo does make people feel tired, and sometimes a bit tetchy - but you'll all be looking forward to the time when the treatment finishes, and your mum can start feeling a bit more back to normal.

I hope this information has helped. If you'd like to ask any more questions, or talk through anything - please do get back in touch with us here. I work with two other members of the team (Hilde and Robyn), and we'll be happy to help...