Supporting Mum through chemo

This is my first post and apologies if I have posted in the wrong forum.
Mum was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer (bone/lung/liver mets) nearly 6 years ago after 10 years remission from primary. She has been doing amazing so far and has just started her first cycle of IV chemo. She has had various treatments over the years and has managed to avoid FEC up to now (it’s the one she really didn’t want!) But her consultant really didn’t give her a choice after a recent and rapid liver spread. I have done some research as I always do when she starts a new treatment and another family member has had FEC so I know a little what we may have coming. What I need a little guidance on is what am I supposed to do to help her??? We are very close and she lives alone so I’ve moved in with her and am doing housework etc but I don’t feel it’s enough and to be honest I feel totally useless. I always attend all her appointments and am always there during visiting hours when she is hospitalised so I hear everything the doctors say.
Typing this in itself has been a little therapeutic for me but this isn’t about me it’s about my beautiful mum. I am so lost, I don’t know what I can do to help other than the logistical stuff. If anyone has any help or advice I would really appreciate anything.
Stopping this long rambling post now as I can’t see for the years.
Again apologies if this isn’t appropriate.
Sarah x

Hi Sarah,

Please don’t be hard on yourself, goodness, it sounds like you’re doing a wonderful job in supporting your mum & it certainly seems you are doing everything you possibly can.

I did not have chemo, but it might be worth posting HERE in chemotherapy, as the ladies there will be able to advise on the specifics of going through this.

You’re doing a great job & do take care of yourself as well.

ann x

Hello Sarah, 


You are stopping writing through your tears and I am starting writing through mine after reading your Post:


" I am so lost,  I don’t know what to do to help her apart from the logistical stuff"



Oh Sweetheart, you sound like you are doing all that you possibly can to help your mum.  You no doubt wish you could make everything OK and do something yourself to make it all go away  which you can’t. I hope both your lives don’t totally revolve around cancer.  " Life with cancer is still life".


You could always ask your mum if there is anything she would like you to do. Moving in, doing the domestics,  attending appointments,  supporting her through treatments,  being  there for physical,  practical and emotional support - what else are you expecting of yourself? 


And for yourself,  I hope you have maintained your friendships,  networks, hobbies. Do you still work outwith the home?  What support have you got?  Is there a Cancer Support Service near you which is also for family,  friends,  carers as well as for the person with cancer?  It sounds like you need to express yourself and get things out of your system too.  Don’t neglect looking after and caring for you too. 


I have had FEC as part of FEC-T treatment (for primary not secondary cancer).   The FEC was  3 doses every 3 weeks.  I remember bad nausea especially after the first dose and also rapid hair loss apart from the eyebrows and lashes (did lose them later though).   After the nausea subsided I was fine and I also didn’t have any problems with low neutrophyll counts.  The chemo certainly did it’s job at the time as I had it before surgery so you can see if it is being responsive.  I hope the treatment works out well for your mum. 


Wishing you and your mum all the best.  Chick ? X




Thank you both so much for your kind words.  They have honestly really helped me realise that I am doing what I need to.  I was convinced there is more that I could do but seeing it written down has made me realise there really isn’t.


I am still working full time and keep up with my social and family commitments, my mum and husband wouldn’t let me not do, I’m tired all the time but that’s nothing new!  Being busy and having things to do does help, keeps me focused.  I would love a month on a beach in the Seychelles but who wouldn’t!  Work are really supportive too and I am able to work from home and around hospitalisations and appointments.


Please do not underestimate what your replies have done for me.




You are doing amazingly for your Mum. My Mum had chemo end of 2016 - start of 2017 for breast cancer after having a mastectomy. She had 5/6 sessions she couldn’t tolerate the last session and doctors agreed to stop. She lost all her hair it started falling out in clumps so we shaved it off in the end. Luckily my sister and her partner moved in with Mum so they made sure she was comfortable and eating when she could, my sister helped bath her and dress her on days she was so weak. Mum got sores in her mouth and we found using the mouthwash they recommend good for helping to soothe. She took anti sickness tablets to stop any sickness of nausea too. If you want to message me for any advice I’m happy to help as much as I can. But sounds like you are doing amazing. And I’m sure your Mum is very grateful for all your love and support. I hope everything goes ok for your Mum x

Give my love to you mum, first. Second, just let her know through words that you are there and that she’s beautiful and how much you love her. I love my mom as well and I love praising here even though she knows those praises are just for boosting her but none the less she does feel happy and loved. Try doing something that your mom enjoys. If your mom is hospitalised then there are little options but if she isn’t try taking her out to the places she likes (if her health permits this). Talk to her about her past so she can revisit her happy times. I guess this will help you in bonding more and your mum will have her mind off cancer for a while