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Update on my dad - no more Tarceva


gail p-m

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My Dad had his 3rd recurrence of lc back in May, I believe. (I need to read his bio). At that time, he was coughing up some blood. A bronchoscopy and PET scan confirmed some new growth, although it did not show up on the CT. Coumadin was stopped due to the possibility of hemorraging.

In early August, his oncologist put him on Tarceva. Within about a week's time, my Dad was feeling miserable. He seemed to sleep all of the time and still be tired. In addition, he lost his appetitel and started losing weight -- about a pound a day. He also got the Tarceva rash which was helped by some meds. but was still uncomfortable for him. While all this was going on, he became extremely depressed too. We (his family and oncologist) were all confused by my father's steady decline. My father became extremely weak too and it became evident that he really could not live on his own much longer. Oncologist said that the new cancer he had shouldn't be enuf to cause all the problems he was having; yet, oncologist also said that sometimes cancer cells get loose in the system and do cause the decline even though there was no medical evidence for it.

Dad had a PET scan about 2 weeks ago. PET showed no change which meant either the Tarceva was holding the cancer "at bay" or hadn't done anything for him. Oncologist said that since Tarceva might potentially be interfering with my dad's quality of life and there was no evidence that it had helped the cancer -- all agreed my dad would go off Tarceva. Within two days, my dad had his energy back and was going out again. He was feeling so much better. He's not ravenous by any stretch of the imagination but he is eating again. He has actually put on a couple of pounds. (he had been down to 151 lbs, a man who was 190 before this awful disease struck). My father sounds cheerful and hopeful again and I am so relieved. Both my sister and I thought the end was nearing for him. I have no idea what we'll do if and when the cancer "grows" again -- Tarceva is not his "magic bullet" and at this point, he could never handle chemo. But I won't worry about it now. It's been a week or so since he is off the Tarceva and the change is unbelievable.

I know Tarceva has been wonderful for many of you --- Fay, Mr. Ry, I can see her picture making fish faces but I can't think of her name ((oh, my memory)) and I pray it continues to be your "magic bullet". But i post this not only to update you on my father but in case any of you get a smilar reaction after starting to take Tarceva, this might be worth thinking about. It is a new drug and we are still learning about it.

gail p-m

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Thanks for the info. I'm sorry it wasn't his magic bullet. My mom has been on Tarceva for two weeks, and it's so valuable to have all this information and experience at our disposal. Thanks again, and I'll keep both of you in my thoughts, Gail.

xoxo

amie

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I can see her picture making fish faces but I can't think of her name ((oh, my memory))

I think you are talking about Leslie :) Like them, I am very much hoping that Tarceva may be the silver bullet for my dad. However, I'm not happy to hear it's results for your dad.

Gail, I may have misunderstood but you have not mentioned the next option for your dad. Hoping that it will be for his continued improvement. God Bless.

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Gail,

I am sorry about the "magic bullet" not working, but also happy to hear your Dad's quality of life has improved. he is eating again and that is always a good sign and any weight gain is a big positive. My husband lost over 50 pounds and has only put 7 back on in 3 months, but I will take it.

continued prayers for you and your family!!!

Debbie

Husband Alan DX small cell lung cancer Jan 10th 2005

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Gail, you make a great point. No medication is going to work the same way for everyone who takes it, including Tarceva. It isn't inappropriate, nor being "negative" to detail negative side effects. They happen. And sometimes the side effects are worse than the disease being treated. It's a very personal decision to continue-discontinue treatment. For some people the side effects can be tolerated. For others they cannot. And for some the side effects are down right life threatening.

I am very sorry that Tarceva has been so difficult for your Dad. I hope that it actually has held the disease at bay, because if so it may continue to do so for a short period of time (just me speculating based on my own experiences). And I more than hope his docs come up with something that is inequivocal in the way it works, and is easily tolerated by your Dad.

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Very well put Fay. We all have different experiences with treatments, and I know for me, it is invaluable the information I get from all of you. It's good to know the negative so we can look for those side effects.

The good news is that your dad did not have progression while on Tarceva, so it must have been doing something!!

TAnn

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Nothing to add, but wanted to offer my prayers for your family. I'm glad your dad is feeling better and I hope there is another option, treatment, and maybe even that magic bullet -just right around the corner.

Hugs,

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