Father with advanced NSCLC suffering from extreme fatigue following Paracentesis

Mon, 10/12/2015 - 01:09

Dear GRACE Community Members - My father was diagnosed with stage 3 NSCLC in Dec 2012. At the time of diagnosis, he had tumors in both lungs and in the lymph nodes.

He has taken almost 40 rounds of chemotherapy until a lack of response to the drugs and high toxicity occurred.

He started taking Opdivo in July 2015 and stopped it after 3 rounds due to Pneumonia in August 2015. He was hospitalized for 8 days but was able to overcome it and was discharged home. He has not taken any cancer drugs since (including opdivo).

He is on oxygen 24/7 and has very poor quality of life. He is constantly tired and is weak. His appetite is poor as well. He also has ascites (stomach and feet) and is getting the water in his stomach drained every 10 days.

Following his last drain yesterday of 3.3 liters, he has been completely weak to the point of barely getting out of bed (weaker than before going to the hospital). He was given Albumin at the hospital before getting discharged. Is this a normal side effect of losing this much fluid?

Is there anything we can do to improve his quality of life and to reduce his fatigue?

Thank you

JanineT Forum …

Hi karleb, Welcome to Grace. I’m very sorry about your father’s health. One of the more common side effects of Opdivo is pneumonitis which is basically pneumonia caused by the drug instead of a virus or bacteria, described here, http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pneumonitis/basics/causes… . Is it possible that is why your father was hospitalized. Ascites isn’t real common in lung cancer but does happen and draining the fluid is a typical symptom relief.Your description of your father’s symptoms may be contributed to progressing cancer. Unfortunately it’s pretty normal for someone with lung cancer to progress while off treatment for more than a couple of months or so. A plan with your father’s oncology team (or possibly a 2nd opinion if you or he isn’t sure of his doctors’ plans) is important so your father’s quality of life is best it can be. If he’s not able to benefit from anticancer treatments then hospice care is considered best to handle comfort care needs. This might be helpful, http://cancergrace.org/cancer-treatments/2011/10/26/why-not-palliative-… I hope your father feels better soon, Janine