In or out (patient)

I had my first meeting with my oncologist today.

It seems that, at least in Birmingham, the "gold standard" has changed and chemotherapy is used in addition to radiotherapy in every one of the (still) 28 sessions.

I decided to opt for outpatient treatment, although the chemotherapy drugs are contraindicated with the Warfarin I've been taking for the last 10 years following a heart valve replacement. I'll have to self-inject with exoheparin to stop my blood from clotting around the valve.

Now my family and friends are nagging me to change my mind and opt for inpatient treatment! Their reasoning being that nursing staff are more likely to keep a close eye on side effects than I am. And to a extent, they're right ... I am the type to leave it until the very last minute before calling to "24 hour panic line".

  • Hi

    Treatments can vary between hospitals, its a bit of a post code lottery.

    I also took chemo every day (including weekends) throughout the duration of my radiotherapy. On day one I had mitomycin via IV, then everyday thereafter, I took oral capecitabine at home.

    I preferred being an out-patient and remaining independent however, I don’t have an underlying health issue so can appreciate why your family/friends are concerned about you taking the out-patient route. I suppose only you can decide and you have to do what is best for you. Your family/friends will be behind you whatever you decide to do. If your medical professionals were concerned I imagine they wouldn’t have allowed you the option. 

    Maybe have another chat with them or you could call the Macmillan help line (no. below) and talk to someone impartial to get their view.

    All the best.

    Sarah x


  • Hi

    I finished my treatment on 3rd July. I don't have an underlying health condition but I was in as an inpatient weeks 1 and 5 of treatment where I received my chemo in two 96 hour chemo cycles.

    I didn't fancy being an inpatient at all but have to say it went really quickly, I was really well looked after, nothing was too much trouble and it was a good feeling knowing a nurse was right there if I had any problems - which I did on Week 5 when I had an extravasation on the Monday night. With the hospital being a 30mile trip each way it was also nice not having to travel that journey each day for radiotherapy, especially come week 5 when I was struggling to walk without looking like a penguin!

    Only you can decide what is best for you and I wish you all the best.

    Claire X

  • It's your decision, whatever you feel comfortable with.  My treatment 5 1/2 years ago.  Didn't think I had a choice.  PICC line for chemo weeks 1 and 5 actually frightened me to start with but once it was in place I didn't think too much about it - the embarrassment of having my "shoulder bag" obvious to all was more of a problem!  At 67 with a 75 year old husband I felt more comfortable being at home.  It was a 60 mile round trip each day for the 28 days, but we managed it somehow together!  If I had been in hospital he would have insisted on coming to see me each day.  One size doesn't fit all!  Your choice.  If you feel that you can cope with your on-going warfarin, etc at home then go for it!  Whatever you feel most comfortable with is the path you should follow, you are the one who will have to see it through.  Whatever your choice it is very doable, don't keep counting how many treatments you have had - just how few to the end!  Before you know it you'll be at the finishing line, where the future beckons.  Very best wishes, whatever path you choose to take.  Mxx

  • Hi Andy,

    I think you are wise to rethink whether to opt for in  patient during treatment.

    I didn't have a choice of in or out probably because I was having the chemo intraveniously. Having to negotiate two motorways M1 and M25 ( 50 mile round trip)first thing in the morning for the R/T everyday isnt exactly a delight. I don't  know which hospital you are having the treatment  I was at Mount Vernon just outside London , the nursing staff  are wonderful the downside is the food, but when you lose your appetite its not a problem. I was also an in patient for the third week as I developed neutropeania and was in  isolation attached to another drip stand for antibiotics.

     The benefit of being an in patient is that if anything goes wrong you are in the right place. Listen to your family, they are only concerned for your well being,     whatever you decide good luck with tbe treatment, its tough but doable but most times successful.                  

  • Hi folks!

    Thanks for your usual wonderful support.

    To keep you in the loop, I spoke to my assigned nurse yesterday at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham  (or University Hospital, Birmingham).

    It seems that they can make available a en suite room in the Bromley Wing ... the old nurses' accommodation ... for the five weeks of my treatment (Mon-Thu nights)

    Food is available in the staff canteen and vouchers or sandwiches are provided.

    We have access to a communal kitchen if we want to cook snacks etc. and there is also a tv room and a quiet room.

    It sounds just like staying with my Dad ... but without the noise ... lol