First Chemotherapy & Symptoms

New Member

First Chemotherapy & Symptoms

Hello everyone - My 54yo mum has just been diagnosed with primary Stomach and ?oesophageal CA with mets elsewhere. She had her first chemotherapy yesterday and was feeling ok! Today has woken up feeling very flat and generally unwell. From what I've read the day following chemo is the worst for bad symptoms. I was hoping for some insight about what to expect and how I can help her at home? She struggles to eat solids so been pushing fluids and sustenance powders in her fluids but today she is too tired to drink. This is the first time experiencing CA and not sure what is normal and when I should seek advice from her oncologist. Any help is much appreciated x

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Regular Contributor

Re: First Chemotherapy & Symptoms

Hi Courtney. So sorry about your mum.   Don’t hesitate to ring the oncologist or hospital if you are worried about any symptoms. My first chemo was great the first day after treatment and then down hill 😢. I couldn’t eat either and can just suggest the protein drinks and any soft foods, custard, yoghurt etc. she def needs to drink!! My chemo ended up being adjusted and then I managed the side effects better. I hope her side effects improve. Sending you love and prayers. 🙏💕 Linda G

Cancer Council Team

Re: First Chemotherapy & Symptoms

Hello Courtney11892,

I am so sorry to hear about your mum's diagnosis, thank you very much for reaching out and for caring for her.

I will leave you a link below about questions that can be asked to a doctor about stomach cancer, and also some information about chemotherapy, side effects, and what to expect.

I hope you can find them useful.

If you have any clinical questions please do not hesitate to call Cancer Council information and support line on 13 11 20.


Kind regards


Cancer Council Online Community


New Contributor

Re: First Chemotherapy & Symptoms

I sincerely regret learning of your mother's illness. For the sufferer as well as their loved ones, dealing with cancer and its treatment can be extremely difficult. These observations and recommendations may be able to assist you in getting through this trying period.

  1. Side Effects of Chemotherapy: Following chemotherapy, patients frequently experience side effects, including fatigue and general illness. That being said, you should definitely seek advice from your mother's oncologist if her symptoms are serious or cause you concern.
  2. Managing Symptoms at Home: Even if your mother is having trouble drinking, remind her to stay hydrated. Throughout the day, provide little sips of electrolyte liquids, clear broth, or water. If she's struggling to eat solids, focus on soft, easily digestible foods like soups, smoothies, yogurt, and mashed potatoes. Offer small, frequent meals or snacks to help maintain her energy levels. Ensure she gets enough rest and encourage gentle activities like short walks or relaxation techniques to help combat fatigue. Provide emotional support and reassurance. Let her know that you're there for her and that it's okay to ask for help when needed.
  3. When to Seek Medical Advice: Don't wait to call your mother's oncologist or seek medical assistance if her symptoms increase or if she has serious side effects, including persistent nausea, vomiting, fever, or unexplained discomfort. To make sure she gets the right treatment, it's imperative to raise any concerns as soon as possible.
  4. Support Network: Recall that you are not alone in handling this. Seek out the emotional and practical support of friends, family, or support groups. It's important to take care of yourself, so don't be afraid to ask for assistance when you need it.
  5. Ask Questions: If you have any questions or concerns regarding your mother's treatment, side effects, or how to best support her at home, don't be afraid to ask the medical staff. They can offer helpful advice and information, and they are available to assist.

Finally, remember to take each day as it comes and concentrate on giving your mother support and comfort. By supporting her through this difficult time, you're doing an amazing job. As you all travel through this together, I'm wishing you and your family fortitude.



Cancer Council Team

Re: First Chemotherapy & Symptoms

Hello Surya,

Thank you very much for providing Courtney11892 with that detailed information and kind supportive words. Unfortunately I had to remove the link you provided at the end as it belongs to a service provided outside Australia and it has not been verified by  Cancer Council Australia.

Kind regards


Cancer Council

Online Community

Regular Contributor

Re: First Chemotherapy & Symptoms

Hi Courtney,


I'm so sorry that your mother has been through a rough time with the Chemotherapy.


I have read through the replies you received and they're very good responses offering help and support.  


I just wanted to give you a little more advice on caring for a sick mother.  It is extremely stressful.  I found it to be one of the hardest, emotionally exhausting and frightening times.  My mother had a full left side paralysis after a stroke.  First two nursing homes were horrendous.  To me, there is nothing worse than seeing your mother in pain, discomfort, distress, vulnerable and be unable to fix it.  The minute I awoke  I would jump out of bed, get ready and get to my mother.  Mornings were the hardest time for her as she would be thirsty, unable to reach a drink, need her dentures cleaned and back in her mouth as staff were busy trying to get a huge number of people ready.  I can't go further into all the reasons why this was such and horrendous time.  Eventually we found a better nursing home with wonderful care.  Mum always had 3 drinks in front of her and I eventually was able to calm my own stress and panic.  This was all over a 10 year period.  My family supported me greatly throughout.


As I have started chemotherapy and radiation in last few weeks I have completely tried to keep my adults children away from me.  They have families, jobs and life is very busy for them.  I've even found it hard to allow my husband to help me or ask for help.  I had a severe adverse reaction to the steroids to the point my mind was in a manic, spiralling out of control brain with severe reactions that twice almost cost me my life.  I found I had distressed particularly my daughters throughout this time.  I tried explaining my reason was my mother.  I knew the emotional toll it had taken on me and I did not want them to go through that as we're always mothers first.  When I remembered the urgency I felt to get to my mother, I realised, first why my husband was so very stressed and my daughters really distressed.  If I asked my husband for something I needed - he was driving off or rushing around the house before he had allowed me the time to ask for other things at the same time.  Once I realised that, things improved slightly.  I did not want visitors - I just needed time and space to survive the first round of chemo.  I talked to my husband about being calmer, using a shopping list, planning out his day and what he needed to using his time more productively.  


I hope you have great support caring for your mum, asking for help when you need to.  Remember, you cannot help your mother if  you do not take care of yourself and be aware of yourself and your emotions.  She probably needs you to be an advocate for her in the medical system so learn as much as you can as there are many great resources.  Knowledge is power but not bits and pieces of it.  You need an overview as to what is happening to her and what she needs.  You are learning a whole new language and dealing with a system that can be hard to navigate.  


I hope your mother does really well and that you do too.  Good luck.



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