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Chemo recovery?

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:roll: Following surgery, it was recommended Don have adj chemo, once a week for twelve weeks. It was set to start 12/27, carbo/taxol. He had two weeks to think it over. He had been exercising a little (10 min some days on treadmill, lifting hand weights a little), but he stopped when he started thinking about chemo. He has had four treatments and had decided to quit. His side effects (compared to others that I know who have had chemo) are minimal--a little nausea on day 3 and 4, controlled with compazine (appetite really good, has gained a few pounds), the worst thing is some neuropathy in his feet, the bottoms burn, and it has kicked his RLS into high gear. RBC started at 32 and down to 29. But.....he says his incision pain is much worse, he was doing so much better before chemo. I think most of it is mental. he sits around holding his head for hours at a time. He has always been type A, we had our own business for 27 years, we have 25 acres and he cuts hay every year, runs a chain saw, and general upkeep around here. He is convinced he will never be able to do it again. His doctors all tell him it isn't so, but he doesn't believe them. He has NEVER had any medical problems until 2005 when he lost a lot of weight and finally went to the doctor. After a complete work-up (they were looking for cancer then) he was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism (Graves disease), and treatment had pretty much returned him to normal, but all the muscle mass he had lost is gone he has never believed in exercising for the sake of exercising, his life style has always provided all the exercise he needed.

Now he just gets weaker and weaker. He says he can't drink more than 3 or 4 small glasses of water a day He has been told that exercise is the best thing for fatigue, but he says he can't. He told the onc that his legs feel like jello, and the onc said it was the chemo. I think a lot of it is from lack of doing doing anything. I think he is severely depressed and I don't know who to talk to about it. If I leave a message for his doctor to call me, he'll get the call (he always answers the phone), I don't know where to turn.

I need to know how long it will take him to return to pre-chemo condition if he stops.

He's never been easy to live with and is now approaching impossible.

Thanks for letting me vent.


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I wonder if you can talk to a nurse in the doctor's office when you are on your cell phone. It sounds like your husband is depressed. I've been told this is common. Maybe the doctor or nurse can talk to him about anti-depressants. Good Luck! It does help venting, dosen't it? (My mom had her left lung removed in April '06, had stage III adenocarcenoma; tx of chemo and radiation for 3 months, awaiting PET scan on Tuesday).

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I have to agree and say that it sounds like depression and that somehow you've got to find a way to talk to the doctor about it. The doctor is going to be the one to help address it -- if you can't talk to him/her now, then at the next appointment in person.

Can't say for certain (since I'm not male), but men do seem to get hit really hard mentally when things like this happen (although we ALL do in our own way). You could have described what my dad did when he got weakness from being ill (it wasn't LC btw) -- we had farmed for years, made our own hay, raised all kinds of animals; my dad could work a teenager into the ground when he was in his 70's from farming lifestyle, plus he went to the gym 3 times a week! Type A personality, you bet -- he loved to have control and solved all sorts of problems in his career (he and I even had a consulting business together for lots of years).

My dad did the hand weights and such too for a bit, then gave up on those and physical therapy help as he got weaker. He held his head a lot too -- he didn't have a way to solve his problem on his own and he didn't have control over everything anymore -- that was really hard for him to deal with. When you've been a strong one and a leader for so many years, it's hard to lean on others for support when you've always been in the role of supporting them and your body never had a day where it ever was weakened. And I would say, men have it more difficult in that too mentally because it's even ingrained as a societal thing that they are supposed to be the main rock of the family.

This is how I understood it anyway when dad got tough to deal with at times -- it helped me to empathize about it that way so I didn't take the tough times so personal.

The chemo. probably is contributing to the fatigue and the lack of desire to intake enough fluids and such. That's where us caregivers have to do whatever we can to see that things like dehydration don't happen. I really can't say how long it would take to return to "normal" after stopping chemo. It could take months.

Hang in there as best you can and do keep us posted.


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I would ask for an antidepressant. My doctor believes everyone diagnosed with lung cancer can benefit from a mood elevator. I take lexapro, 10 mg nightly.

Also, if he is having difficulty with the chemo, perhaps there is an alternative available.

Good luck.


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