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Thriving as Caregiver: Tools for Coping when a Loved One Has Cancer

 
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Once the implant is removed the patient’s body fluids (urine, sweat, and saliva) will not give off radiation.

However, if the treatment is administered through an IV in liquid form, his or her body fluids will give off radiation for a while.

With chemotherapy, you’ll want to know what side effects to expect specific to the drugs being given:

• Ask how the drug will affect your loved one.

• Pick up all the drugs the doctor has ordered and ensure that they are taken as directed.

• The doctor will likely order medication to help counter side effects.

Chemotherapy often leaves the body through the kidneys and gut. Toilet waste should be flushed twice. The patient’s clothes and linens should be washed separately from the family and any body waste should be cleaned with gloved hands and then double-bagged.

Most chemo taken at home is in pill form and should be kept away from anyone in the home. If the patient is taking chemo at home through a vein, you should be given a spill kit and provided with instructions about safety and clean up issues.

Being a caregiver to a cancer patient can be physically and emotionally demanding, so having good information and being organized will be your best help.

• Create a circle of caregivers to help you and your loved one. This will support good health for everyone.

Caregivers need to take time to rest so they can be at their best to support their loved one during this challenge.

• Use technology to help organize your resources and to-do list. Here are two that can save you time and effort:

- www.mycancercircle.lostahelpinghands.com/caregiving/home is a mobile app for contacting the caregiving circle with appointment notifications, updates, emails and photos.

- www.caringbridge.org is an online tool to securely update information on your loved one's status and organize your caregiver team.

While challenging, being a caregiver during the cancer experience can bring you closer to your loved one and create lasting memories. It’s proven that having a strong network of family or friends is good for our well-being, says leading caregiver advocate Dave Balch.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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