Taking chemo every day, multiple times a day gets old and frustrating for anyone having to do it. Sometimes a child needs a little motivation!
Besides going to the hospital weekly for chemo, there were a few months when Nicky had to take a variety of medicines multiple times a day at home as well as care for his mouth (some of chemotherapy drugs* that he was on for a short time could cause mouth sores). So here was a child who did not feel terrific and who had to be asked over and over again throughout the day to swallow more horribly tasting pills, and to swab his mouth with a disgusting liquid medicine, or better yet-to have to put a pill under his tongue to fight nausea while feeling nauseous!
Up went the Must Do, Can Do chart.
This chart helped empower him for a few reasons. For one, he knew exactly what it was he would have to get through each day from the “Must Do” part of the chart. Knowing what to expect helped him to be less upset when I said it was time for his medicine. Two, there were fun choices that he could decide about from the “Can Do” section. And lastly, Nicky could see which days would be hospital free days and which day he would need to take the road trip up to Yale Children’s Hospital for treatment.
Nicky last saw this chart when he was six years old. He and his brother are fourteen going on fifteen now. We were talking about what might help a teen get through those tough days when a person feels like crap, needs to be pretty isolated from others because the immune system is weak, and to top it off has to take all the medicine. Together we designed these two coupon books-real easy and you can make your own.
Next we brainstormed ideas for the coupons to go inside the booklets:
- pizza delivery
- new magazine
- back massage
- make ice cream sodas
- breakfast for dinner
- have a friend over to watch a movie
- play cards
- henna tattoo on the head
Readers-What ideas can you share here with others about how to empower and encourage a child or a teen in the thick of chemo? Share your thoughts in the comment section for all to see! Hint: to leave a comment you must click on the title of this post and the “Leave a Reply” section pops up!
Want to check out the ideas readers have shared? Simply click any of the “Comments Welcome” section to the right of this page! …you can also click on the post title and comments will show up at the bottom 🙂
*Daunorubicin, Doxorubicin, Cytarabine, and Cyclophosphamide