Additional safety precautions for breastfeeding mothers and children?

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Punky44
Posts: 79
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2018 4:29 pm

Additional safety precautions for breastfeeding mothers and children?

Postby Punky44 » Fri Nov 02, 2018 3:19 pm

My mom is set to start her chemo on Monday and it’s getting real and scary.

I plan to be her caregiver. I am still breastfeeding my 1 year old—is it still safe for me to be her caregiver? Specifically can I drive her to/from appts, sit with her in the actual infusion room for all 4 hours each time? (We don’t live in the same house so toilets, utensils, laundry shouldn’t be an issue.)

Secondly and somewhat related—my 1 year old is due for her vaccines soon and two of them are live—MMR and Varicella. According to guidelines I’m finding online, it is still safe for an immunocomprised person to be in contact with a person receiving these vaccines (unless they had a stem cell transplant) but I’m curious if anyone has personal experience in this area?

Lastly, what about being around young children in general? I’m reading chemo stays in your system for 48 hours—if my mom has chemo on Monday and gets unhooked on Wednesday, does that mean she should stay away from the kids until Friday?
Last edited by Punky44 on Fri Nov 02, 2018 3:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Caregiver to my amazing mom (68)
10/1/18 DX with rectal cancer; CEA 17
MRI/CT/PET puts staging at T3N2M0
Trying total neoadjuvant therapy—chemo first, then short course radiation, then surgery
11/5/18 started Folfox—1 down, 7 to go!

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mobrouser
Posts: 95
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2018 1:44 pm
Location: Ontario

Re: Additional safety precautions for breastfeeding mothers and children?

Postby mobrouser » Sat Nov 03, 2018 10:01 am

Punky,
Can you direct us to the research material and articles you read that have led you to essentially equate chemo recipients with Ebola victims? I'd love to see the one that tells us that it is unsafe to breathe the same air as a chemo recipient.

Have you discussed with your mom what your plans are as a caregiver and what she needs? I would think that help preparing meals, or help doing her laundry would be beneficial, but you have ruled them out as unsafe for you.

Have you considered that perhaps the concerns of your children being exposed to her should be reversed and that the risks of exposing her to their day-care, pre-school, or regular school germs are far more dangerous?

:x mob
CC Dx Oct 2017 @ age 58
Laparoscopic hemi-colectomy Dec 2017
Adenocarcinoma ascending colon – 6cm x 6cm x 2cm, Low Grade, penetrates to peritoneum
T4a N2a M0, Stage IIIC
lymph nodes 6 positive out of 18
FOLFOX started Jan 16 2018; finished Aug 2 2018 (felt like a year)
CEA - 01/15/18 - 2.8; 07/29/18 - 5.3
CT scan Aug 8 2018 - Clear
PET scan Sept 6 2018 (thought about bringing the cat :wink: ) - Clear

ginabeewell
Posts: 25
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2018 10:30 am

Re: Additional safety precautions for breastfeeding mothers and children?

Postby ginabeewell » Sat Nov 03, 2018 11:04 am

I'm confused by this. I'm a mom of young kids, and I'm going through chemo. I've received probably now hours of information about side effects and what not to do - at no point has there been mention of my chemo being dangerous to my kids.

Rather, the focus has been on how to make sure THEY keep ME safe given my immune system will be compromised - e.g. wash hands when you come in the door.

Unless your mother is actively vomiting or otherwise exposing your child to bodily fluid, I cannot understand how her chemo could impact you or your child. It certainly should not stop you helping with laundry, meals, etc. And that is definitely the kind of thing I have needed as I go through each round!
45 year old mom of twins (7) and lucky stepmom of 13 and 15 year olds
9/11/18 colonoscopy
9/17/18 DX stage 4 CRC with inoperable liver metastasis (largest 11 cm)
9/20/18 CEA 931
10/1/18 FOLFOX + Vectibix planned 12 rounds
10/15/18 CEA 913

Punky44
Posts: 79
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2018 4:29 pm

Re: Additional safety precautions for breastfeeding mothers and children?

Postby Punky44 » Sat Nov 03, 2018 11:47 am

Thanks for your replies. I think my issue is we haven’t been told anything about chemo yet (they said a nurse would go over everything DURING her first infusion) so I started Googling and kept finding articles about “second hand chemo” and how it’s been linked to infertility, birth defects and cancer in studies of healthcare workers with long term exposure to chemo so it kinda freaked me out about what the risks are to the household? I also found laws in place that allow workers who are pregnant/breastfeeding to abstain from working with it, so it made me wonder if I should take any special precautions myself as a caregiver.

It makes sense the way you put it that as long as we aren’t in actual CONTACT with it, there shouldn’t be an issue. I didn’t mean to equate anyone to an Ebola patient. I apologize if it came across that way. I have major health anxiety issues and the unknown frightens me.

And yes, I am equally concerned with the reverse situation—kids exposing my mom to germs and getting her sick—I have called both our Iowa City and Mayo oncs as well as our Pediatrician to discuss if it is safe for my mom to be around my daughter after she gets MMR and Varicella. In case anyone should have this question in the future, I was told we don’t need to take any extra precautions unless my daughter were to develop a fever/rash/skin lesions and then they would need to stay away from each other until the symptoms disappear. Luckily my kids are too young for school and don’t go to daycare, but nonetheless we will still be extra vigilant about hand washing.

Thank you again for your replies and I will be praying for you both.
Caregiver to my amazing mom (68)
10/1/18 DX with rectal cancer; CEA 17
MRI/CT/PET puts staging at T3N2M0
Trying total neoadjuvant therapy—chemo first, then short course radiation, then surgery
11/5/18 started Folfox—1 down, 7 to go!

ginabeewell
Posts: 25
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2018 10:30 am

Re: Additional safety precautions for breastfeeding mothers and children?

Postby ginabeewell » Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:50 pm

Aha. Well, the chemo ITSELF is toxic, and health workers use numerous precautions to protect themselves as they hook it up and detach, there are special hazardous waste bins to use for disposable materials, etc.

But I think that's really different from any sort of second hand exposure you or your baby would be exposed to!

You should certainly ask at the appointment, but luckily of all the things to worry about, I think this shouldn't be one!
45 year old mom of twins (7) and lucky stepmom of 13 and 15 year olds
9/11/18 colonoscopy
9/17/18 DX stage 4 CRC with inoperable liver metastasis (largest 11 cm)
9/20/18 CEA 931
10/1/18 FOLFOX + Vectibix planned 12 rounds
10/15/18 CEA 913

Punky44
Posts: 79
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2018 4:29 pm

Re: Additional safety precautions for breastfeeding mothers and children?

Postby Punky44 » Sat Nov 03, 2018 2:01 pm

Thank you again Gina!
Caregiver to my amazing mom (68)
10/1/18 DX with rectal cancer; CEA 17
MRI/CT/PET puts staging at T3N2M0
Trying total neoadjuvant therapy—chemo first, then short course radiation, then surgery
11/5/18 started Folfox—1 down, 7 to go!

KimT
Posts: 608
Joined: Sat Feb 20, 2010 8:53 pm

Re: Additional safety precautions for breastfeeding mothers and children?

Postby KimT » Sun Nov 04, 2018 1:25 pm

As you will not be handling her chemo medication, there is no risk to you as it goes in. The only other possibility of exposure is in waste....when she goes to the bathroom. I was told there were no extra precautions needed for my family other than flushing the toilet twice after I used it. If you are concerned about that, maybe you can use a different bathroom if there are more than one in her or your homes.
2/10 dx colon cancer
right hemicolectomy 3/19/10
Stage 2a 0/43 nodes
Lynch syndrome
3/14/10 colon resection/ removal of metal clips
Nov 11 dx ovarian cancer

Punky44
Posts: 79
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2018 4:29 pm

Re: Additional safety precautions for breastfeeding mothers and children?

Postby Punky44 » Sun Nov 04, 2018 1:41 pm

Thank you Kim!
Caregiver to my amazing mom (68)
10/1/18 DX with rectal cancer; CEA 17
MRI/CT/PET puts staging at T3N2M0
Trying total neoadjuvant therapy—chemo first, then short course radiation, then surgery
11/5/18 started Folfox—1 down, 7 to go!


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