Can a chemo patient drive to and from treatment?

4 answers | Last updated: Nov 13, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My husband will be getting chemo 4 days a week. Will he be able to drive himself there and back?


Expert Answers

Bonnie Bajorek Daneker is author and creator of the The Compassionate Caregiver's Series, which includes "The Compassionate Caregiver's Guide to Caring for Someone with Cancer," "The Journey of Grief," "Handbook on Hospice and Palliative Care," and other titles on cancer diagnosis and end of life. She speaks regularly at cancer research and support functions, including PANCAN and Cancer Survivor's Network. She is a former member of the Executive Committee of the CSN at St. Joseph's Hospital of Atlanta and the Georgia Chapter of the Lymphoma Research Foundation.

The chemo and driving combination is often asked about. One oncologist answers the question this way "Let's say a four-year-old child runs into the street, chasing after his ball. If, on a normal day, you can see him and react successfully to avoid hitting him and the ball, you're probably a safe driver. On chemo, if you feel like you are alert and able to react quickly enough to not hit the child, you can drive. If you are lethargic, weak and uncertain about it, ask someone to drive you."  That said, you will soon see the effects of chemo on your husband. Ask him to honestly consider this question so as to not endanger himself or others while driving.  If there is a doubt, err on the side of driving him.


Community Answers

Stitchymom answered...

I am not Super Woman, but necessity dictated that I had to drive myself to and from chemo. On only one occasion did I feel so exhausted that I was slightly concerned. In addition, I used to go from the hospital and treatment and to work 2 blocks away when I needed to. It is not that I was not tired, but I did what I had to do. I never stopped working due to the chemo. I am a teacher and I am responsible for what the students learn. I found that if the nurses infused the chemotherapy a bit slower, I did not feel as badly with nausea and exhaustion. As it happens, I had to have 4 very strong chemotherapies, then 12 with Herceptin and Taxol, also very tiring, and I had to finish with just Herceptin. I had a total of about 35 chemotherapy sessions over a year and a quarter span. I would say that you should see what your body dictates and take it from there. In my case being independant meant that I was not giving in to the cancer. For whatever reason, each session can affect a person slightly differently. If you have the option of having someone accompany you, that is great. The support of your family is the very best medicine.


Birdnight answered...

I can only say that when I was on chemo, every 3 weeks, with followups in between. I really appreciatted the emotional support of having a loved one with me.Whether it be one of my adult children or my Significant other, it was important to know that I wasn't alone in my fight.Having said that it also was necessary following surgery that I was unable to drive for a period of time.Until you and he know how he will handle the drugs etc.,I would suggest someone drive him. Driving while on drugs is tantamount to driving under the influence.Good Luck in whatever you both decide.

Bless you... Susan in sc...


Tesstan1 answered...

My darling husband had chemo twice a week. He drove himself there, but generally I drove home. I just told him it made ME feel better to be able to do something for him. His pride made it hard for him. Admitting the sickness was getting him down was something he never did, so every thing he could do for himself made HIM feel better. Bottom line, drive him when necessary, be his shotgun when possible.