Jump to content

New Member finding strength and hope from this community


Recommended Posts

Hello Lung Cancer Survivor Community:

My name is Andrea Colaruotolo O'Neill. My father was diagnosed early Sept 2003 with Stage IV Nonsmalll cell adinocarcinoma. It was found via a pain to his tailbone area, which got progressively worse over the summer months and resulted in a biopsy, which produced for us the crushing news.

He underwent 15 radiation treatments to the tailbone to knock out the painful tumor. He was also on Oxycontine and Oxycodone and steroids. The radiation made him tired and burned his leg. Not sure of total results of the radiation.

Starting in November he began Chemo.

11/03 Carboplatin and Taxol - allergic reaction had to stop only got 1/4 of dosage. Went home and fevers began. Admitted to hospital no cause found assumed they were just tumor fevers and continued with remainder of chemo. A few days later returned to hospital with blood clots found in both legs. Returns home and now must have a shot every day to stomach for the blood clots.

12/03 Gemzar and Carboplatin: allergic reaction. Gave a terrible rash, shortness of breath. Returned to hospital with fevers and sweats again. Very weak. Shaky. Little appetite. Fevers and high pulse return him to the hospital diagnosis is that a piece of the blood clot has logged in his Lung. Given heavy blood thinners to knock it out. Now told he should have been having shots twice a day. Depression sets in. Now on Zoloft.

1/04 Navilbene and no Carboplatin: Put a pick in his arm. Fevers and sweating returned to hospital again. Very short of breath, depressed and weak. Currently in hospital since Friday.

[b]Status to date:[/b] Doctors informed us that they do not yet know if Chemo's are working because, of all the adverse reactions they have not been able to give him any one chemo consistently. They took a new spiral CT and we are waiting to here results of this. Doctors said fevers could be caused by an infection, the cancer or another allergic reaction to this third kind of chemo.

Our Concern: From time Dad was diagnosed to now he has degraded quite a bit. He looses control of his bowls, has virtually no voice, eyes are sad; hands tremble and can barely walk. Has very little interest in doing anything. He is depressed to hear that the cancer is incurable. He said, "I want to stand up and shake this all out of my body".

My Dad has always been a strong man physically, very active and driven. As most of the people I have read about on this site. He has now been reduced to sitting for most of the day in his chair at home or in his bed. He rarely laughs or wants to talk. His thinking seems to have slowed down. His hair has thinned his weight seems maintained. Although, he has lost the big strong shoulders and mighty hands that were part of his tall and broad frame.

We are surprised at Dad's attitude. He went in fighting but, now is very confused and afraid and not positive. We have been trying to find him support that will help to treat his mental status needs and not just the physical science needs. We have a many friends and family and they all try to stay positive for him. However, we are not cancer patients and cannot begin to comprehend the intense mental and physical strains he is going through.

We are praying for a miracle.

Well thank you all for listening. I am not as specific with the details as my sister is the keeper of the book of notes. However, I am the youngest of the three children and always looking for some nuggets of information or words of hope.

Has anyone had so many adverse reactions to chemo?

Do you think we should go for a second opinion?

Should we stop now and go for a clinical trial or switch to Iressa?

Is their a limit of how much chemo your body can handle?

Any advice on how to bring him some happiness?

God Bless you all. I never knew what an evil could live in our world and want to hurt so many beautiful people.


Thank you for your time



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello Andrea,

Sorry you had to find this forum, but glad you did, because there are many people here that can help you.

They could explain many things about chemo and allergies to some.

Unfortunately I can't help you with your questions, my husband had

no bad reaction from chemo or radiation, so I will let the competent

members help you.

Just to say, that you will be welcome at all time and that there are

many shoulders you can lean on.

Will put your father on my list of prayers, it is long but there is room

for him.

God Bless


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome Andrea,

So sorry you had to seek out this board.

As far as chemo is concerned, please see my post to Tracey for my husbands experience.

I believe their is a cut off point for chemo, Dave's oncologist says he has had his final dose.

Try to get your Dad to talk about his feelings, a lot of folks here have found that this helps both the person who has the disease and the caregivers. Sorry if this is garbled I am rushing a bit.

I wish you all the best with your Dad and my prayers will be sent your way.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello Andrea...I'm also new here...but I feel comfortable inside this group already. You will too. Thankfully, I did not have the major side effects your dad experienced with chemo...but I did have one bad episode that will stay with me for a long time. My first round with cisplatin/navelbine was a disaster. I had it on Monday and by Friday the shaking and the nausea and the high fevers hit me head-on. I was actually too sick to pick my head up off the bed and go to the hospital. I begged my husband not to call an ambulance...I lied and said I'd get up and go to the doc's if he wouldn't call for help. These were the worst fevers I'd ever experienced as an adult....so I feel a deep affinity with your father. I suffered with this bout for more than five days....most of the time unable to physically get to to the dr's. My oncologist eventually dismissed it as a "flu-bug" and made me promise to call him immediately if it ever happened again. Although he did cut down my dose of cisplatin for the remainder of my treatment. Since I missed a week of navebine....I expected to have to make that week up. My onco said "No"....you don't make up chemo treatments...you just keep going with the original setup. Those horrible five days sent me into a depression I'm not sure I'm completely out of. Chemotherapy scared the 'H---' out of me and I wanted stop...maybe this is how your dad is feeling right now. My doc gave me Lexapro and I'm seeing a therapist but I believe it may be a long hard road to acceptance for some of us. Cancer's mean and indescriminate in how and who it strikes. There doesn't appear to be a rhyme or reason for it. A calm acceptance is the most we might hope for in order to gather enough strength and commitment to fight....and to continue fighting until the cancer retreats and gives up. Please know that your family is not alone...all our families are suffering the ravages of this disease. Come here for news...for friendship...for support while you fight this battle with your father. Good luck.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you all for your kind words of support. My Dad is coming home from the hospital tonight. They are giving him a blood tranfusion to boost up his strength. We heard today from my Mom that, the Onc said the tumor has not shrunk and may have even grown bigger. My sister and I are waiting for a call back from the doctor to get a full report of what this means.

Apparently becuase, he has not been able to get any one chemo long enough they say it has grown. I am not sure if staying with the chemo is the best idea? Maybe he should go to Iressa now or stop chemo all together and go for the holstic approach. I fear that the news of tumor not changing is going to really destroy him and all his hope.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh Andrea....your story sounds so much like mine.

I've got tears in my eyes as I read your post....

my dad weakened and his hands shook and he grew quiet and sad,

it was so hard to watch the hero in my life grow ill and be in pain.

I don't know if it's common or not to have those side effects, but that

is how it happened for my dad also.

Should you get a second opinion?

I think so...

Should you stop the chemo?

I almost wish we had - but my dad wanted to fight it with every ounce of strength he had.

Personal decision - respect your dad's wishes.

Happiness for your dad - just be there for him.

Talk to him about anything he wants to talk about.

I remember sitting with my dad on the porch last August...talking about the weather, talking about anything BUT the cancer....and holding his hand

and wishing it would all go away.

Wishing the best for your family.....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Has anyone had so many adverse reactions to chemo?

Do you think we should go for a second opinion?

Should we stop now and go for a clinical trial or switch to Iressa?

Is their a limit of how much chemo your body can handle?

Any advice on how to bring him some happiness?


Can't answer all your questions from the perspective you are approaching it, but CAN share my opinion (and everyone knows, I ALWAYS have one, popular or not...LOL)

I didn't do chemo, can't answer the first one.

If doubting your medical care or their approach, get a second opinion - or a third. It may not be what you want to hear, but then again, it might be "the answer"!

See if you qualify for a trial, check into Iressa - exhaust all possibilities...and then keep looking.

There HAS to be a limit to how much chemo the body can handle - the doctor's are getting the patient as close to death as possible to kill off the cancer cells (or so it has been explained to me)...

How to bring him happiness - spend time with him. Have talks, get him out in the sunshine, supply books if he likes to read... Let him feel like the center of the world and support him emotionally...

...and come here often for your own peace of mind.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.