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Ron finished with Taxotere - has had pleural effusion again


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Hello to all,

Ron finished 7 of 10 planned taxotere treatments and decided to take a break because it was really tiring him out. A catscan completed on Sept. 16 showed stability. However, on Oct. 28 pleural effusion again reared its ugly head. He had it drained 3 months to the day since the last occurrence.

He's now experiencing "bloating" and generally isn't regaining the strength he hoped he would after taking the break from chemo. I'm so afraid that there's ascites in the abdomen. That was our signal before that something was wrong. An emerg MD told him that there didn't appear to be any ascites on Saturday but he's not seen the bloating diminish.

He's scheduled to see his oncologist on the 28th but I suggested that he should contact him to get in for any earlier evaluation.

I've been off work for the last week - am trying to get myself back on track after losing my dad one week ago today to very advanced metastatic liver cancer. He was diagnosed on Nov. 3 and died on Nov. 7 the date that he married mom 61 years ago. She passed away on August 25. Life has been so difficult since March when dad entered hospital and ended up going to a nursing home and then losing mom and trying to be strong for Ron since his reoccurence in April. 2005 has been quite a year. I'm really glad it's almost over.

If anyone has any information to offer on pleural effusion I'd love to hear it. I'm really getting scared since he's building up fluid every 3 months. He had twelve months between the first and second.

Prayers for strength and courage would be appreciated.


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I just went through all of this myself. I am not an expert by any means. I am still trying to figure things out for myself. I will try to help though.

I was also having recurrent effusions which seemed to be causing a shortness of breath. After much discussion with a few docs (surgeons, onc.) I was given three choices.

One. Continue to drain using thoracentesis. No malignant cells were found in any of the previous procedures. However, the onc. had it in his head that there must be some cells in there to create the effusions. The plus side would be that it would be the least invasive. The downside was that the effusions were returning within a few days after they were drained.


A Denver Catheter reaching in to the effusion. An open site that would require meticulous care on my part of changing bottles and bandages at home for a period of weeks to indefinitely.

The downside would be the hassle and the risk of infection. And for me, it would have been gross! (in hind-sight, I could have done it though)


Pleurodesis. Drain the fluid using VATS technique, insert drain tube and squirt in some talc or antibiotic so that the lining of the lung sticks to the lung and no more fluid can get in there.

The downside is that it is major surgery. A week in the hospital. And a failure rate that I was told equalled about 10% or a 90% success rate...however you choose to look at it.

For me, after much deliberation, I chose door #3. (wrong door for me it turned out) I still don't have cancer cells in there, but I have a leak of chyle going in there. Doctor did the talc thing but now I have pockets of fluid in there that cannot be drained. Think of wet baby powder. It has turned to goo. So now I am stuck with the effusions and I still can't breathe for shi_.

One surgeon told me that if I had cells in the fluid and I had just a short time to live, that they would choose palliation, which would be thoracenteses.

If I had cells and the docs thought that I would live for say 6 months or more, then he said the drain would be a good idea.

But, because I decided already that I am invincible :roll: and because of this positive attitude that I have been "blessed" with and my stubborness, I needed to have a permanent solution to my problem.

As I said, I have consequences now. I don't know what went wrong or if anything did go wrong. Or if this is just the lot that I drew, but, I am suffering with transient pain and breathlessness, still.

Any questions, Janet, pm me. And to Ron..the drummer. Rock on!

Janet, I also want to say how sorry I am that these months have been so difficult.

Accept my sorrow for your losses.

love, Cindi o'h

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My Dad had pleural effusion last summer and had the drainage tube inserted. The surgery went well he spent 3 days in the hospital. We were trained in hospital on how to drain the tube at home. He drained it about once a week. They removed the tube in October he was only getting a small amount of drainage weekly. I hope everything goes well for Ron.


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How so very sorry I am to hear ALL that has been put upon you this past year. I am not one to cry NO FAIR, but in this case NO FAIR it is!

I will be hoping and praying that the tide has turned and your load will be lighter. We all must believe in order to trek on.

Will be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers, Janet.


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