This is something he needs to discuss with his oncologist. There may be option to alter the drugs and/or dosage and to add pre-meds to manage side effects. I really doesn't matter what we think. The choice to continue with chemo or continue with only palliative care is entirely up to your husband and his medical team.
Lung Cancer Questions
My Husband Did Not Tolerate Initial Chemo -- Should He Proceed?
Asked by kos56 on Sunday, March 10, 2013
My Husband Did Not Tolerate Initial Chemo -- Should He Proceed?
Last Thurs my husband who has metastatic Stage IV lung cancer and has continued to smoke since his original diagnosis over two years ago had his first chemo treatment this time around. He had severe pain in his face and neck prior to the chemo but repeatedly refused to see a pain management doctor. Friday & Sat after the chemo he had uncontrollable pain and vomiting and after two days of my nagging agreed to go to the ER yesterday. They admitted him to hospital last night. He had very bad night on Zofran, Deladin, Ativan, and is mad at the world. Has anyone else been in this situation? Can't imagine why he would choose to go through chemo again. Your thoughts please. Thanks so much. I am a wreck.
9 Answers from the Community
Hi. My name is Aliza and I'm a Medical Librarian (retired) but still keep my hand in things as it were (I'm also a BC patient here). I'm not by any means someone who could give you advice (Librarians if they're ethical generally don't do this, we offer referrals anyway - to physicians, institutions, books, medica, etc.). I think in your husband's case, you might want to get a second opinion (I am comfortable speaking from my own experience and a second opinion or sometimes a third doesn't hurt).
The statement that struck me in your message was that you're a wreck. Of course you are! Anyone in your situation as a caregiver would be. The best thing you could do for yourself now would be to contact CancerCare. They have trained Oncological Social Workers who deal with only Cancer patients and their caregivers. They offer counseling in-person and by phone and they'd be glad to speak with you!! They're terrific. I'm currently getting counseling from them (I had a mastectomy in Dec) and so is my fiance who's my caregiver (we each have our own counselors and have our visits at the same time (but not together in the same room). It's very helpful!
Please don't neglect yourself because your husband has made the unwise choice to keep smoking while very ill. Also try and avoid being in the area where he smokes. My late Uncle died of emphysema because my late aunt, a chain smoker smoked around him. She died of lung cancer. Learn to detach a bit with love - it's very hard! But you have a life ahead of you. You need to learn not to live Cancer 24/7 and you do that by distracting yourself. Let the folks at CancerCare help you!
If I can be of help in any way, from research to suggestions to fun titles to distract you, don't hesitate to message me.
In todays medical world there is no reason anyone should be in pain or having such a responce to Chemo. We all have a desire to live so its this survival instinct that keep him going.
He should already be in a pallitive treatment program. This is not hospice. This is a program to improve quality of life and control pain and other symptoms related to cancer. This is typically not the expertise of an Onc so a special team works with your Onc.
You say he was dx'd two years ago? But this is his first line of chemo?
Have you read the other recent posts for Lung cancer regarding Mutation testing? How does this apply to your husbands case. I am sure you have read them.
Are there any targeted drugs for him? Are you at a top cancer center?
But what I will also tell you is; More than 65 percent of people who are dx with Lung cancer are non smokers or have quit decads ago. your husband and no one deserves Lung cancer. No one deserves any kind of cancer for any reason.
Many Breast cancers are now being said to be related to high fat diets..
Should someone who goes in the sun deserve melanoma? No, of course not.
And more than 55 % of cancer is driven by environmental factors and life style choices. So while smoking is not a good choice for anyone its really not your husbands fault. He deserves every possible chance to live. And every possible support available.
Heart disease kills more women than all cancers combined, is directly related to lifestyle choice, poor diet, poor exercise, drinking, smoking yet does not have anywhere near the stigma of Lung cancer. I am a non smoker, like the 30,000 of us who will be DX'd this year with Lung cancer and I really don't like any stigma attached to this disease. Its not right.
If its too hard for you to support your husband is there anyone else? Children, relatives, friends etc..He needs a team around him of people who will help him fight for his life.
Thank you to those who have responded. To AlizaMLS, I have been doing half hour phone counseling with a cancercare oncologist for about two weeks now. Basically she says I am between a rock and a hard place, and to take care of myself. To clarify, when my husband was originally diagnosed with lung cancer Dec 2010 he had a lobe of his lung removed and went through a round of chemo which he did not tolerate well. If you read my other posts on this board you will see that my husband has also been addicted to pot for over 40 years -- smokes it from a pipe --- not too good for the lungs -- refuses to stop this and cig smoking, refused to work, was physically/verbally abusive to me, and basically I have had 25 years of very bad times with him. I myself am a victim of child abuse/neglect so I have no family to help me. I filed to divorce him in 1996 but got devastatingly ill with rare illness called Cushing's. Had no one to care for me but him, so took him back. He has refused 2nd opinions. Refused pain management doctors for two weeks until pain was so severe that he ended up in hospital last night. We have a 21 year old daughter who is also a wreck and trying to graduate college. The only reason I did not divorce him in the past 2 years is the health insurance is in my name and he would have lost that and had to go on public health, which isn't so great. I am financially drained. He refused to buy life insurance, so he will leave us nothing but debts.
Just wanted to send you a Hug and let you know you were heard, I know it must be a feeling of helplessness to watch someone you love go through this. However, don't feel like you are being selfish in taking care of yourself and allowing yourself support also. You being health is what will help you help him. Sending Hugs!
First off and far most, bless you for sticking by his side. 2nd me giving advice on what I get from your post just would not be right. I can tell by the post your husband is a tuff ol' goat. I am sure he loves you very much. Other than saying keep the faith and live strong I have no advice. I am also mad at the world as he is. I try hard to channel that anger into over coming this battle, which in turn makes me even a tuffer ol' goat. I have noticed the strain and pain cancer has put on my three children that have helped me when I should be helping them. It has made them stronger humans. It has opened there eyes a little more to enjoy the little things in life, and to take nothing for granted.
I am sure that your husband's cancer is more than likely nonoprative. I myself would not do chemo or radiation for the head neck cancer that was killing me. I told the surgen to cut it out, cut more than you think you need but get it all, in my candied way I even asked him if he wanted me to write it on a post-it note so he would remember to cut it out get it all! Well I feel he did just what I asked. I tell people I won the battle against cancer, now to live with what doctors have left me to live with. Its still hard, I can not eat food, taste, smell, or talk well enough to be understood by most. But I fight on day in day out. Some days are much harder than others. I keep my shoulder to the wheel of life and keep pushing. I would much rather die doing something than die doing nothing.
I have not had a catscan or what ever they do to find out if I have any cancer. I really do not want to even know. If i was faced with the only option of treatment of chemo/radiation, I personaly do not think I would. But please stick by him, support him, and love him as never before.
These are my views and may be overlooked.
Update. Husband still in hospital. Under orders from oncologist on call Saturday night they doped him up and he finally stopped throwing up. He is still in pain and has waves of nausea. He agreed to see dedicated lung cancer oncologist at Norris Cancer Center at University of Southern California. We have appointment on Friday. He still hasn't eaten anything. Right now we are being treated by general oncologist at satellite office of UCLA. Don't know if 2nd opinion will provide any better solutions, but the care he got after going through chemo and reacting so badly was sub sub par. Thank you all for your prayers and hugs, etc. I am totally wiped out.