Question About my Dad - 1249327

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sherrys
Question About my Dad - 1249327

Dad was diagnosed stage IV in December 09. He is positive for the EGFR mutation and he was on Tarceva for 2.5 years. In April '12, he started taking Alimta once every 3 weeks. His first few scans showed shrinkage in his tumors, but the last one showed slight progression. It was not enough for the drs. to take him off of Alimta.

The entire time he has been on Alimta, he has taken the treatment on Tuesday and by Friday was very fatigued for about 3 days. The last few treatments, he was tired the entire time between treatments. His dr. added Ritalin and it seemed to give him more energy, and he was up and about more.

After the treatment he had Tuesday, he was doing well until Friday. Since then he says he has a headache, feels nauseaus, that his belt hurts being around his waist, has trouble breathing and is turning his oxygen up to 4 litres instead of the prescribed 3, isn't eating well and is just generally feeling poorly.

My question is, would it be reasonable to assume that these are side effects of the chemo even though he's never had any of them before, or is it more reasonable to think it's something else (like progression) and get him in to see his doctor? He's pretty reluctant to see the dr. but I am assuming he needs to.

Thank so much!

catdander
Reply To: Question About my Dad

Sherry those are worrisome symptoms to this lay person. So I think you know what I'm going to say. :wink:
Call the doctor's office and ask. If he's needing to up oxygen levels it may be reason enough to call today, just in case. You know we can't tell you not to be worried about symptoms.
I'm sorry for the difficulties.

ps on the tarceva nails probs I thought I'd let the experienced ones chime in.

christineleeds
Reply To: Question About my Dad

Dear Sherry
Does your Dad have steroids with the Alimta.If so it might be the familiar down one gets when the steroids leave the body.My husband had very bad effects every time after chemo and it got worse with each treatment.I am sure the onc willbe able to help if this is the case.
God bless
Christine

Dr West
Reply To: Question About my Dad

I think it could be chemo-related, but it could potentially be from cancer-related issues. His overall situation sounds like one where it would be very appropriate to touch base with his doctor and potentially be evaluated earlier than otherwise scheduled, particularly if things are getting worse rather than better.

-Dr. West

+++++++++++++++++++++++++
Dr. Howard (Jack) West
Associate Clinical Professor
Medical Oncology
City of Hope Cancer Center
Duarte, CA

Founder & President
Global Resource for Advancing
Cancer Education

blue skies
Reply To: Question About my Dad

I'm sorry to hear that your dad is starting to feel more fatigued. I'm sure that his doctor will be able to come up with some ideas to make him feel better once he has a chance to take a look at him and assess the situation. Thanks for the update. Good luck to you both!

laya d.
Reply To: Question About my Dad

Yes. . .please call his doc...

Laya

sherrys
Reply To: Question About my Dad

Im sorry it's taken me so long to get back here for an update. I took Dad to the ER on Monday (which was NOT an easy task!). He was admitted with Atrial Flutter, a hernia and a UTI. His heart rate was staying around 140 and they were having trouble bringing it down.

He is home now, but last night, he woke me up in a panic insisting that is oxygen machine was not working. I could feel the air coming out, but obviously have no way of knowing how the air going into him feels. The calm him, I hooked him up to his back up oxygen tank. He seemed to start to calm down, then started throwing up the phlegm that was in his throat. After about an hour he calmed and went to sleep.

Today he has slept all day long and doesn't appear to be doing well. I just had a visiting nurse here and she recommended atavan for when he has episodes like that.

The worst part of his hospital stay is that during the night while he was sleeping, someone threw his dentures away. At first the hospital gave us a really hard time and wouldn't replace them, but calleda little while ago to say there were going to.

Since the thread I started about myself is closed, I will give an update here. . .. I saw my onc. on Monday and he seems to feel that the pain is related to nerve regeneration and scar tissue. He ordered an MRI for this coming Monday to be sure.

catdander
Reply To: Question About my Dad

Sherry, how is it one's life can revolve so steadily around this disease? I'm so sorry your dad is in this situation. It sounds very scary and I can only imagine the distress it has caused him and you.
I hope he is feeling better soon. Atavan can be very helpful. I hope he is able to get his dentures replaced ASAP, how awful.
I hope your scans are clear and you are feeling better soon as well.
You remain in my thoughts and well wishes.
Janine

certain spring
Reply To: Question About my Dad

Yes, I wonder why your previous thread has been closed?
http://cancergrace.org/topic/question-about-after-brain-surgery-cyberknife
I think that must be a mistake - maybe Mark could help us out, as it would be good to distinguish between what's happening to your dad and what's happening to you.
This one is still open though:
http://cancergrace.org/topic/headache-update/page/2
Sorry to hear about your father. I don't envy you having to take him to the ER. The fear of not being able to breathe can be intense, especially if someone is a bit disorientated. And the thing about oxygen is that you can't always hear it, which can be unnerving. I recently came round from a bronch and was agitated because I couldn't hear the oxygen and thought it wasn't on. So I can sort of understand your dad's panic, though that doesn't make it any easier to deal with. All best.

catdander
Reply To: Question About my Dad

It's back, I meant to look at it. Thanks Certain Spring, once again you've come to our rescue.

Dr West
Reply To: Question About my Dad

I'll see if we can get some clarification from Mark.

I'm sorry to hear about the problems your father is having. As I was reading about his episode, I was also thinking that Ativan (lorazepam) would potentially be helpful (before I heard that the nurse suggested the same thing), so I think that's a solid idea. But it's still lousy he's having such a hard time. And then the dentures...stuff like that just seems to happen everywhere from time to time.

Onward and upward.

-Dr. West

+++++++++++++++++++++++++
Dr. Howard (Jack) West
Associate Clinical Professor
Medical Oncology
City of Hope Cancer Center
Duarte, CA

Founder & President
Global Resource for Advancing
Cancer Education

laya d.
Reply To: Question About my Dad

Oh Sherry. . .I'm so sorry your Dad is having such of rough go of things. . .That's a lot of stuff to be dealing with. Hopefully, he's on the mend and it will get better for him. . .

And, thanks for the update on yourself. . .hopefully your issues also will resolve real real soon. . .

xoxo,
Laya

sherrys
Reply To: Question About my Dad

I am so very frustrated right now. The visiting nurse spoke with dads oncology nurse about the atavan. Apparently his oncologist is unaware if what was done in the hospital. The hospital took him off of the Ritalin thinking it may be adding to his heart issue. Dads onc said no atavan because he's concerned about lethargy. Of course I was unable to speak with him.

Today it is now noon and he is still in bed. He says his stomach hurts from where the drs pushed on his hernia to examine him. He's still complaining about not being able to breath. The company that supplies the oxygen was here yesterday and all of the equipment is fine, yet he insists its not working. I want to take him back to ER but one would think I suggested cutting his arm off with his negative reaction.

laya d.
Reply To: Question About my Dad

Ohhhhhh Sherry. . .This is all so much!!! I say be a total "pest" and keep calling the on-call Med. Onc. Maybe they will finally give in, will find his regular Onc. and will put him in touch with you.

:O(

Laya

double trouble
Reply To: Question About my Dad

I'm so sorry you're going through this, and a caregiver's award to you for hanging in there and trying your best to make him comfortable. I have heard that opiates help with the feeling of not being able to breathe? I can't believe they lost his dentures! What an ordeal that will cause trying to take him for fittings to get them replaced! Is he eating ok? Sending hugs and good calming vibes to you and wishing I could help make it all better.

Love,
Debra

Dr West
Reply To: Question About my Dad

I'm sorry you're facing all of this. It's hard enough to have someone you love go through this, but then to feel helpless because they refuse the best support you can really give them.

-Dr. West

+++++++++++++++++++++++++
Dr. Howard (Jack) West
Associate Clinical Professor
Medical Oncology
City of Hope Cancer Center
Duarte, CA

Founder & President
Global Resource for Advancing
Cancer Education

certain spring
Reply To: Question About my Dad

If it is any consolation, Sherry, I recently had to take my 82-year-old father (no cancer) to the ER after a fall. This was at one of the hospitals where I am treated, so it was a peculiar experience to be there in the middle of the night. Mercifully we were only there for three hours but every 30 seconds he would say "Why are we here? I think we should go home now." Occasionally this would be varied to "I don't like hospitals", and "I don't know why I'm here" - this while bleeding from a cut where he had hit his head. He has a complete terror of losing control of his environment, which I understand more since I have had cancer. Nonetheless, it is a thankless task looking after him or trying to get him any kind of medical attention, so I really feel for you.
On the breathing - at my worst I went to a physiotherapist for help - it was very useful and helped me feel more in control of things.