Good Wednesday to everyone
#22 Infusion is history. Blessedly uneventful, All labs remain within normal parameters. I have been fortunate
As I wind down with just 4 more infusions, I'd thought I give a run down of my personal experiences and side effects for the new initiates who may find themselves on Durvalumab and are learning from our forum. I've only included symptoms that were never present prior to my NSCLC and initiation of Durvalumab.
Itchies-Broke out in a rash to my back about 6 months in. The rash quickly resolved but my itchiness to my back remains. I've had good luck in treating it with Hydrocortisone 2.5% cream and an antihistamine as needed.
Pneumonitis- Diagnosed about 4 months in. From radiation therapy. Had to skip/postpone two doses of Durvalumab and was treated with Prednisone. Durvalumab was resumed, pneumonitis resolved and my pulmonary function tests improved and remain normal. I will be getting all 26 doses of Durvalumab.
Generalized Aches and Pains primarily to my back and thoracic area- Very disconcerting as my chest muscles ache, my ribs ache, my lower back aches. Was told this is due to post chemo/radiation and Durvalumab. Tylenol works but if the pain really hobbles me, Motrin is my go to pain relief. Got my medical marijuana card and purchased some THC/CBD tincture......didn't work for me. Maybe I didn't titrate dosing properly but I just got really stoned and loopy and my pain was still present.
Joint Pain and Joint Muscle stiffness- I've really noticed an "awareness" of finger, toes, ankle and knee pain about 8 months in to my infusions. To be fair, I've had a few tumbles where I have hurt myself but the healing has been delayed and joint pain more pronounced. Again, Motrin seems to help. Had a fall from my bike couple weeks ago. I called it a soft landing since the bike just got out from under me in a mud bog. I've never bruised so extensively. Fortunately, the bruising was the worst of it and my injuries were minor.
Headaches- I mention this because I rarely suffered from headaches prior to Durvalumab infusions. Currently, it's a rare day if I don't have a headache for an hour or two. I do not treat with medications since it abates by itself.
Skin changes- My skin bruises easier and little cuts and wounds take a lot longer to heal. My skin texture seems more fragile and my skin is definitely a lot drier.
Weight Gain- Been a skinny whinny all my life so a 25lb weight gain is significant. My appetite has increased so I've had to pump up my physical activities which has been challenging since...
Faitgue- Has plagued me from chemo/radiation to today. Unrelenting presence, I do the best I can do by maintaining my physical activities and pacing my responsibilities.
Peripheral Edema to ankles, shins and fingers- After months of watching my ankles swell, I finally obtained some Lasix to use on an as needed basis. I had my wedding ring resized prior to my diagnosis so I am absolutely positive that my fingers were swelling and it was not weight gain. Fortunately, the swelling in my fingers subsided and I haven't had and ankle swelling since I obtained my Lasix Rx.
I have been fortunate and have dodged the more serious side effects.
Update on voice hoarseness and ENT appointment- Official diagnosis; Left vocal cord paralysis. Most likely caused by lung tumor impinging on my laryngeal nerve. Though, and here's the rub, usually if tumor is on the right, right vocal cord nerve affected and vice versa, if tumor on the left, left vocal cord affected. Well, I had to be different as my tumor was in my right lower lobe but my left vocal cord is paralyzed. I did have subcarinal lymph node involvement and that may explain why my left vocal cord is affected BUT, to be on the safe side, my ENT MD and Oncologist are now in discussions about either a Pet Scan or Cat Scan to rule out any progression in my left lung.
In the mean time, I am scheduled for surgery next week Thurs to mediate my vocal cord paralysis and hopefully, allow me to get my voice back.
Abdominal Ultrasound to rule out ascites- Results from yesterday pending. I will see my PCP next Tuesday and all my tests and "to do's" should come together before my surgery.
What a journey huh.....one day you're skipping along fine and then BAM, you're slammed and get warped into this medical world of tests, procedures, adverse events, side effects and advocating for your own well being, for your LIFE. My son is a Navy SEAL and he told me I got this, that it was my fortitude and dealing with adversity that allowed him to be the man he is today. Nice words when your world is falling apart, and you sometimes feel overwhelmed, defeated and just plain tired.
So to all my peers on this journey, hang tough, advocate and carry on. We can do this. We are doing this.
Take Care all, DFK