Becoming a Chemo Coach

"What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?"
~ George Eliot

Who needs it?

Many women are very capable of going through chemotherapy without any assistance from family or friends. They are able to keep on top of any complications and will ask for help when necessary. For others, undergoing chemotherapy will mean experiencing side effects unnecessarily. Some reasons for this would include:

  1. A simple lack of comprehension. Not understanding the importance of taking meds in the prescribed quantity and on time.
  2. Language difficulties.
  3. Confusion, distress, or depression.
  4. Fear.
  5. Physical problems - such as mobility issues, age related issues, pre-existing digestive difficulties etc.
Conventional Wisdom:

Medical practitioners do not have the time or staff to support the basic needs of their patients at home. It is really up to the individual and their family or friends to make sure that they understand the possible complications and side effects associated with chemotherapy.

Becoming a Chemo Coach:

Being handed a package of pamphlets outlining the purpose and potential side effects of various drugs being used in one's chemotherapy treatment does not ensure that the patient read them or more importantly, understood them. For a patient who's possibly just undergone major surgery or has just been told that their cancer has returned, studying and absorbing this new information is difficult.

Ideally, a chemo coach would be the person in charge of your post-chemotherapy follow up at home. It could be your husband/partner, a grown-up child, or friend - someone who has read the material, understood it and will ensure that you're doing what you're supposed to, when you're supposed to. With pre-arranged authority, your chemotherapy coach should not be afraid to call the cancer center if you are experiencing difficulties. They should become a real pest in asking you, the patient, all the pertinent questions:

  1. Did you take your meds - how many and what did you take?
  2. How much liquid have you drunk?
  3. What have you eaten - when?
  4. Have you had any exercise today?
  5. Did you have a bowel movement - was it normal?
  6. When was the last time you peed - did it burn or was it painful?
  7. Did you put your eye drops in?
  8. Does anything hurt?
  9. Did you get any sleep?
  10. Do you need anything like a big hug or a laugh?

A chemo coach knows you well. They know that if you are using dentures and have mouth sores, they need to get advice about what to feed you. A chemo coach knows that if you're dealing with a bowel obstruction issue, you shouldn't be eating certain foods. A chemo coach ensures that you remember. A chemo coach is lovingly on top of your treatment recovery should you need it.

volunteer Might I Suggest:
Chemo Coach Mug
Chemo Coach T-shirt
Chemo Coach Keychain

| Home | Coping with Chemo | Reading & Resources | Hope & Healing | Nutrition | Recurrence | Friends & Family | About |

We strongly encourage you to talk with your health care professional about your specific medical condition and treatments. The information contained in this website is meant to be helpful and educational, but is not a substitute for medical advice.