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    lost2ca asked a questionLung Cancer

    What is going on when patients make it through chemo, radiation, gets a clean bill of health but continues to decline.

    10 answers
    • geekling's Avatar

      Cancer treatments are more akin to torture than anything else. All the reasonable discussion in the world will not convince the body and the Id that it wasn't being attacked. These therapies can also destroy (hopefully only temporarily) the taste buds and the body's ability to discern hunger.

      He must get hydration. It is crucial. Offer him water or juice first thing in the morning. Keep a glass by his bedstand. Try applesauce or jello or ice chips.

      Try juicing to see if your hubby can't keep some food (and liquid) down that way. He is tired and for a little while it would be helpful to relieve his body of the work to digest food. Try a clean cucumber, 3 celery ribs, and cup or so of pea or sunflower sprouts as a juice. The mix is bland enough that he ought to be able to keep it down and not complain. At the same time it is protein and energy rich. If he wants some flavor, add a sprig of mint or a little bit of ginger or a squeeze of lime. This ought to strengthen him some.

      Tell your idiot oncologist that your hubby needs some therapy, that he is not bouncing back from the treatments and you want a physical therapist to work with him. Sometimes hospitals have direct connections to specialized gyms where physiologists are there for folks in traumatized conditions.

      It was actually in the midst of my first surgery, then chemotherapy, and then radiation, about 8 weeks in to 16 weeks of radiation, that I realized there was no turning back and that I was in a ruined condition. Once I was satisfactorily burned crispy and had projectile vomited through another round of drugs to my bloodstream, it took me months to recover enough to even consider how to regain any physical ground.

      Best wishes,

      over 8 years ago
    • Joy535's Avatar

      Being a caregiver is the hardest battle of all. I have just finished (about 6 weeks ago) my first round of chemo for gallbladder cancer that spread to lymph nodes and liver. The chemo shrunk everything remarkably; however, I will start again on chemo in another couple of weeks to keep the cancer at bay. I had to stop the first series of chemo after 6 cycles because my body couldn't take any more (needed blood transfusions, etc.).

      It took me about 5 weeks after chemo stopped to get back to feeling normal. I was weak, stumbling, lost weight, and was always tired and sleepy no matter how much I slept. I felt like a zombie, and I'm sure I was depressed, too. Then, almost overnight, about a week ago, I began to feel great. I think it took that long to get the chemo poison out of my body. All of a sudden I can eat (and want to), I can exercise, smile, even do the dishes and housework, cook, run errands, and even shovel snow!

      After I had chemo and radiation for breast cancer 7 years ago it took me at least 3 months to begin feeling normal again.

      I agree with the others that you need to give him time to recover, see your general Dr. for a check up, blood work, etc., and be as positive as you can be while encouraging him to sleep and rest as much as his body tells him he needs. Try cooking him his favorite foods, but only offer him a little at each meal. Celebrate when he finishes a small plate of food at meal time. Get his favorite candy and let him have one piece as a reward for cleaning a small plate of food at meal time. Encourage him to try to eat just a few bites of nutritious food several times a day. If it's only cookies, candy, nuts, fresh fruit, cheese, crackers, meat rolls, etc. that's OK. I found that if I got outside for a little exercise (even walking around the house or block) everyday I was able to sleep less and be more alert.

      Sometimes husbands are notoriously poor patients (I hated being a patient and gave my husband grief); but try treating him like a fragile man who is trying to be independent who you've loved for many years instead of treating him like a patient. Of course you're at the end of your rope, worried, and anxious; but begin a ritual of "one day at a time", or even one morning or afternoon at a time, and celebrate your successes. Be honest with each other in your communication; ask questions like the loving wife you are instead of the competent nurse you are. Tell him how important he is to you, and how much you want to spend many more years with him. Try to help him understand that "living with cancer" is better than the alternative.

      over 8 years ago
    • LisaLathrop's Avatar

      My situation was the same as your husband. I'd no sooner get up in the morning, have a little breakfast, then sit with a cup of tea and watch the Today show....15 mins later....zzzzzzz. The result: I had sleep apnea. Gained weight = 55 lbs. no energy to go exercise....the result: I found Visalus....maybe you know it as Body by Vi. After 2 weeks on the product, I had increased energy and significantly reduced chemo brain. I became a distributor to share with my friends. Check it out at: lisalathrop.bodybyvi.com. I also had blackouts...the result: mini strokes. Still getting infections after remission, too....the result: allergies of sorts - now on Zyrtec and the illnesses still creep up but less frequently. Unfortunately, Cancer patients have many long years ahead of them....especially Leukemia patients as they have BMTs to consider and rejection issues as well. It will take time....keep up the good work you have known as a nurse and be patient. Take time for yourself and reflect and destress when you need to. You know probably that you can only take good care of your patient if you are well-rested and take care of yourself, too. Good luck and maybe seek some advice of a sleep specialist and nutritionist, too. Check out ViSalus....it changed my life. Also....sorry to ramble....I participated in the Livestrong program at our local YMCA. Check in your area....it is for cancer patients in any stage of treatment or remission, it is FREE and they also give a 90 day family membership to the rest of your family so that you can go work out together and keep your husband on track. That program was also a godsend to me!

      over 8 years ago
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