skin care for chemo/radiation patient

wodkaJuly 27, 2008

My sister was just diagnosed with lung cancer that has also spread to her shoulder and spine. She began chemo and radiation treatment last week. We are putting together a gift basket of items that will provide some comfort while she undergoes treatment.

I've already ordered ALRA shampoo, lotion and deodorant for her. Was wondering what is the best laundry detergent to use, with least or no fragrance that will not irritate her skin? Also, bath soaps? She will be having 5 consecutive days of radiation and 1 day of chemo for 6 -8 weeks, then they will scan to see how things are going, so most likely her skin is going to suffer a burn of some sort.

I also have on the list things like a zip up hoodie/sweatshirt, because the chemo room is chilly, and her shoulder hurts when she puts on pullover tops, like tees, etc. Also, soft socks (she does not want the ones with treads because her feet are already sensitive, but knows not to walk in the soft ones, to avoid slipping.) Also, lip balm, an electric razor, Ensure, crocs shoes, bottled water.

I would appreciate any other suggestions. I will be going up to see her next Tuesday, along with several of my siblings, so thank you in advance for your ideas.

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Maybe something to read while waiting? How about some sort of wrap or light weight throw that could just be gently wrapped around her when she is cold?

One thing for sure you will have with you is tons of Sunflowers from all of us here as she faces her treatment. When things get bad, tell her to close her eyes and envision that she is surrounded by sunflowers, that will be all of us praying for her and with her...........just tell her to mind our roots, hurts when stepped on :)

    Bookmark   July 27, 2008 at 1:34PM
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lindajewell, thank you for your sweet words. Prayers are very much appreciated and can sometimes create a miracle, which is what we hope for.

Our mother asked her what would she like to read, and my sister requested Barbara Walters' bio. (wouldn't be my choice, ha, but I bet it is entertaining.) So, she's started reading that. I've got all sorts of magazines I'm bringing her, plus a few movies that she might want to watch.

The throw is a great idea, thanks. I'll add that to our list.

I love sunflowers and will share your words with her in our next conversation. Thank you.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2008 at 3:27PM
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DH's rad-doc told us to get AquaPhor (at the drugstore - no prescription needed) for dry skin/radiaation burn


    Bookmark   July 28, 2008 at 7:53PM
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Don't know if she is getting her chemo in an IV or port but when I had a groshen which is right above the bra and I didn't think about button down shirts.

Also if she does start getting burned and they give her silverdeen (sp) make sure she gets it washed off really good before radiation. They seem to forget to mention that and it is like going out in the sun with butter on.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2008 at 11:41PM
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Carolyn and DD, thanks for the tips. I am leaving this morning to go up and spend the rest of the week and see what all I can do to comfort and assist my sister. I will definitely share your suggestions with her.

So far they have been doing her chemo through an IV, they said they will do a port if needed.

We have talked every day, and so far all she has requested are some new clothes (she's lost a tremendous amount of weight) and to shop for some rose bushes to plant, and to polish her toenails! (I wondered about her going to a salon and having a pedicure, but worry about possible infection? She was going to check with her radiation/chemo folks.)

Thank you all.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 7:49AM
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You sounds like a really caring sister, she is lucky to have you, and I hope the treatments go well.

I don't know anything about chemo, but I have fragrance allergies and can personally vouch for the following laundry detergent and soap recommendations, if you still want them:

1. Tide Free, available most anywhere, or Melaleuca unscented (available online, they will try to get you to join a monthly buying club but you can just buy a bottle at the "retail" price and be done with it, probably a better plan)

2. Green Mountain soap bar, unscented original formula. It has olive oil which makes a nice light moisturizer. Available online.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2008 at 9:01PM
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Forgot to mention little snacks. With chemo sometimes you aren't hungry but you need to eat. It helps to eat a little all day then three meals.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2008 at 1:02PM
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I once had a friend whose mom was going through all of this...........he was very upset she would not eat. He did the unthinkable...........bought some and had his mom smoke it............everyone got on him, it's illegal, your going to turn her in to a drug addict.........guess what? Mom started eating like a little piggy, gained weight and felt better............once through the ordeal she never touched it again, but freely admited during that time it was the best thing her son did for her. Now I am NOT suggesting anyone do this, am just sharing a story!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2008 at 1:13PM
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