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Guest hillcountrykaren

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Guest hillcountrykaren

Hi,

My Dad began losing his appetite in September, and had lost about 30 lbs by mid November. He had a cold he couldn't shake so his doctor started the appropriate CT tests, and by the end of November he knew it was Stage IV lung cancer. My Dad was a pretty robust 80 year old, but plagued by a degenerating bone problem in his back that made him unsteady on his feet. He mostly got around fine on his own, though, and he and Mom had a very active social life.

So now, after two rounds of chemo and another month of no appetite he's barely able to walk with a walker and mostly uses a wheelchair. His voice is shot--probably from the hard breathing though his mouth--and very weak. I had to hire a caretaker this week to help my mother since she can't lift him to his feet from a chair. We're working as fast as we can to make his home environment easier--a better chair, a seat in the shower, etc--but it seems like we are on such a quick decline that we can't keep up.

Anyway, he is a sweet man, and an ideal patient. The nurse and doctor told him last Wed. that he was too weak for chemo, and that this decline wasn't what he should expect from his weekly chemo. He wanted them to give it to him anyway--he really hopes to fight this. The nurse did tell him that if he can't force himself to eat more he won't get his strength back and won't have the option of trying a different chemo.

We go to the doctor next week for her to recommend what's next. I know he's expecting her to start a different chemo, and I'm expecting her to see how fast he's declined and recommend hospice. So I have some questions for you more experienced people, but I'll post those later. Your posts are so hopeful, but I don't see many for patients 80+.

Thanks for listening,

Karen

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Oh Karen,

I'm so sorry to read your post about your Dad's lc and his decline. It's so hard to watch this happen to the ones we love, even though they may be 80 years old. My Dad is 81 and is stage IIIb. I'm not full of suggestions either but some things do come to my mind as possibilities: 1. For weight loss, has your dad tried to drink Ensure or Boost. Those drinks have lots of calories in them and for many people are much easier to get down than a meal when they have little or no appetite. 2. Has your dad's oncologist considered Tarceva, the targeted therapy that goes after the bad cells rather than the good and bad ones that regular chemo goes after. My Dad went on Tarceva for awhile and it didn't work for him (too many side effects) but for MANY on this website, it has been very, very helpful. For MANY, it has had much milder side effects than chemo and has been helpful in slowing down or stabilizing the cancer. 3. Has radiation been considered at least to help with the pain? 4. Have you gone for a second opinion? You have nothing to lose by doing this. As long as your Dad still has a positive attitude and wants to fight this disease, I'd certainly look into a second opinion to be sure there is really nothing else that can be done for him.

So these are my rambling thoughts. Please keep us updated and let us support you in any way that we can.

gail p-m

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I can't add much to Gail's excellent advice. Just want to tell you welcome. My MIL is past 80 and has lung cancer. She elected for radiation only and handled it just fine. I hope your dad is able to get his strength built up---make sure he drinks a lot of fluid so he doesn't get dehydrated.

Rochelle

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Hi Karen,

Welcome!

Sorry to hear about your father.

Not many 80+ people over here, I agree. Maybe the main reason is that most 80+ people don't have a P.C. and don't use internet.

Henk also has an appetite problem after chemo/radiation. But I see that your father had this problem allready before his treatment.

Docs told Henk that he was loosing too much weight (he lost 20 lbs), so he's doing his best to eat. And drink! But it is difficult, I agree.

What about ice-cream, milkshakes etc? Or a food/drink called "Ensure"? (We don't have that in Holland, we have something else instead. Henk tried it, and didn't like it at all!)

Hope that you can persuade your father to eat and drink well, because he will need it to have strength for the next chemo!

Good luck and keep us posted!

Ellen.

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No personal experience to share. Just want to welcome you "out of the shadows" and into the group during this roughest of times.

Not that your dad needs Hospice, but I wonder if the Hospice folks in your area may be able to share some good advice about eating and older folks. Must be something they deal with all the time. They always seem pretty kind on the phone just to answer qustions and give support even if you're not signed up with them.

Hang in there,

Leslie

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Hello :)

I am so glad you decided to post...I lurked a while before posting too. There is a wealth of info here and wonderful, caring people.

Really sorry to hear about your dad, Karen. My mom is 82 and was dx'd with cancer in July. She did have concurrent chemo/radiation and completed her treatments about six weeks ago. The treatments did take a toll...extreme fatigue and loss of appetite but her strength is slowing returning.

Will say lots of prayers for you and your family and please keep us posted.

Libby

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Karen,

I'm sorry that your Dad is having a difficult time of it.

When Bill (husband) began treatments at the beginning of this year, he had lost quite a bit of weight, and didn't gain too much of that back until the treatments ended.

The most important consideration, Karen, is the hydration aspect. They kept telling Bill to make sure he took in plenty of fluids. He did that.

After the first chemo regimen, Bill gained back about 20 lb. He has been eating well ever since. He is 75 years old, and since this current treatment, he has lost about 3 lb. Seems it's difficult not to lose some weight during the regimen, but he does try to fill in with many small, rather than fewer,larger meals. He likes to snack a lot, so that helps.

Hope your Dad improves, and that you will be able to find a solution to the weight loss.

I had been reading the board, and found the people here to be warm, caring and very supportive. Welcome! :)

Barbara

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Welcome, Karen. Glad your dad wants to fight the cancer. He needs to keep eating and drinking fluids, though. As the doc said, he needs to keep his strength up. We found that snacks every two ro three hours works better than the usual three meals a day. It also keeps down the nausea. He can try Ensure, Breeze, Smoothies, ice cream, yogurt, Frosties, blender shakes, etc. to help. Good luck. Keep us posted. Don

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Hi Karen,

Glad you came out for the shadows and decided to join our group.

Your dad sounds like a wonderful person who is still full of hope. His willingness to fight is half the battle there. I pray for more positive results for him.

A second opinion would be great. Why don't you run that by him and see what he thinks.

Keep us posted about his progress and I know that we are always here for you.

Sorry you dad is going through a diffictult time. But I love his attitude.

Maryanne

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Hi Karen,

My Mom did not hit 80..but she was 78 so pretty close. She would not touch a computer in a million years so I agree with the last post. I completely understand how hard it is to watch your Dad decline..It really makes you feel helpless. When we had togive my Mom more calories, in addition to boost we used an ice cream called Magic cup(lots of calories,small amount of ice cream) and Scandi Shake(more calories then Boost by about 400)She liked thes 2 items. Also we used mashed potatoes with extra protein(powdered milk) ,sour cream, and butter. She was able to regain the weight she lost initially. Hope your Dad improves...Janet

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What about steroids for his energy level and prescriptions like MEGACE to stimulate his appetite.

Those really helped my dad and he went from seeming "fine" to extremely fatigued and walker/wheelchair after his chemotherapy rounds.

Also, chemo breaks every 6 weeks really helped him too.

Saying prayers for your dad and your family. Keep posting, keep us updated.

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Guest hillcountrykaren

Dad gets about 700-800 calories each day from Ensure and Milkshakes, and that's with his best effort, but thanks for the advice.

I'd feel more optimistic if he'd had more than 2 rounds of chemo before he faltered.

We're anxious for Wednesday's visit with the doctor. Each day just drags, waiting for news to unfold. He knows he's failing fast, and if the doctor recommends no more treatment, I think he'll be relieved by the speed of his illness.

Anyway, thanks for your concerns.

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