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Radiation Pneumonitis


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The doctors perfomed a battery of tests yesterday - checking for a pulmonary embolism, pneumonia, etc. - and concluded that my dad is suffering from radiation pneumonitis. Timing-wise, this would make sense, particularly since he finished radiation about four weeks ago. He is suffering from a fever, shortness of breath, and other aches and pains. Thankfully, he seems to have a decent appetite and is eating properly. The doctors told us he would be in the hospital for about four or five days.

I am sort of relieved that we have a diagnosis, but still very worried and scared. This is so silly, but we have a family trip planned in March (my parents, my brother and his wife, and me and my boyfriend). We made the reservations as soon as my dad was diagnosed with LC, so that we would have something to look forward to. I hope my dad is strong enough to go, because I worry that he would be really crushed if we didn't make it.

I probably shouldn't worry about the trip right now. I just want us to have something positive to look forward to. Right now, it seems like we are battling one thing after another... and we could all use a bit of a break (especially my dad!).

Ok - better get back to work.


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My sister booked a celebratory 4 day Mexican cruise for her, myself and my daughter that was about 4 weeks out from the date I finished chemo and radiation. It DID give me something to look forward to, and I enjoyed it a lot, BUT, I'm glad we took lots of photos, because I was still not "back to normal" and I frankly have kind of blurry memories of much of it. And, my stamina was still not back much at that point. In retrospect I think it would have been better if we'd waited a little longer after I completed treatment and I would have been able to participate (& remember) a lot more! So I'd say definitely take the trip if at all possible - it was a tremendous "reward" for completing treatment! Best wishes - I hope you all have a wonderful time :D

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Ok, so things are really really bad right now. That whole vacation concept seems so far away.

Yesterday morning, my dad had a mini-stroke. Apparently, it wasn't related to the cancer, but my best guess is that the 3 million different types of drugs he has been taking since he was admitted to the ICU could be to blame. The stroke affected his vision, but not his physical movements. Slowly, the vision seems to be coming back.

My dad's breathing is very weak. He is on 100% oxygen, and while his breathing is fine on that, he is unable to take the mask off for any extended period of time (like, to eat) without his oxygen levels dropping radically. The steroids they are feeding him seem to make him incredibly anxious and stressed - a state which does *nothing* for his breathing.

I just read an account of a woman who had a similar experience, but didn't make it through. I am thoroughly panicked. I don't know what to do.

:cry: Kate

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Well, sorry to say that at the time when you most want to do something, there isn't much you can do. Just be there for you dad and love and support him. His body has hard work to do, and it will get much needed help from the measures they are taking at the hospital.

Your love for your dad shines through your posts, and he's in good hands. Try some relaxation techniques for yourself, and take care.


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I'm so sorry to hear this news about your Dad. As for the steroids helping the breathing, I will have to say that they have always helped my husband. I hope they will soon have more answers for you and he will be feeling better. Sometimes, there is nothing we can do , but be patient and put our faith in God and the doctors. My prayers are with you and your family.


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Hi Kate,

So very sorry to hear of your dad's TIA..

I must say, however, that I am sure that he will be just fine.. the steroids really are helping with his breathing. It may take just a short while for them to kick in, but they will cut down on the inflammation in his lung if that truly is the source of his problem. I, myself, have been on a one-on-one battle with radiation pneumonitis and without the prednisone, (streroids) I don't know where I would be...??

The difficult part of the steroids are, of course, the side effects.. Just what you said, the restlessness and the anxiety. Those are difficult to combat. And you may notice that he may seem wigged out.. That is part of the steroid therapy also.

Hang in there. I know that it is difficult to watch and feel so helpless. But, sometimes just being there in presence is all your Dad needs. With just a little time, he should start to feel better and be able to breathe easier.

Just because someone else didn't make it through the pneumonitis experience, doesn't mean we are not all going to make it through. Don't read so much into worse case scenerios, please. That's what you have us for....to keep you leveled.

Cindi o'h

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