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Why is he so tired?


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Hi all,

I don't know what to do. Rob started gemzar and navelbine chemo a couple of weeks ago, it was right after finishing radiation (15 days) on his rib. He got really down, and no energy at all. The second time for chemo his WBC went down just below the borderline to where they won't give him the chemo. They just gave him a half dose and he seemed to start feeling a little better. Then the next day or two Rob noticed that his arm was all red and hard and swollen. Back to the Dr. and they said it must be cellulitus from the chemo leaking in his vein, or phlebitus (Spelled wrong?) So they said his WBC was up enough for a few antibotics. Its better now. Then last Friday, I took him in to see the Dr again. His WBC was really low, I think she said down to 4500 (?) enough to cancel the chemo. I thought since he didn't get the chemo that he would start feeling better this week. He's not. He seems to be getting weaker and all he is doing is lying on the couch and sleeping. I can hardly get him to eat anything either. He fell asleep the other night before dinner, and then woke up to come and eat. He sat at the table, and said he felt cold. Then all of a sudden, he got up and ran to the sink and threw up for about 2 min. straight. This is the first time since he was diagnosed that he did this. This was really strange, what does it mean? It it because of the WBC being so low? He also tells me that is is really weak, and he feels like he's got a weight on his chest. I know that with more tumors now in both lungs, its probably growing more since he can't do the chemo. From what I've been reading, the gemzar is really wicked stuff. I don't know if he should really continue to do this chemo. What kind of quality of life is he living here? We won't know for another month after the CT scan if this stuff is even working. He also needs to consider getting a port for the chemo because all of his veins are going flat. Its so hard to watch my husband go through all this!

Dear God, Please show us the way we should go with this horrible disease. I don't want him to suffer, but I don't want him to give up either!

Any advice would be helpful here. Thanks,


Rob's red blood count is good and he is taking supplements. Does the procrit and other stuff like it help the white cell counts at all?

Thanks to you all for being here for each and everyone of us! :!:


Husband Rob 48,has NSCLC stage IV. 9/25/03

Mets to T12 vertebre, left hip, two ribs

Chemo Taxotere & paraplatin, Zometa, radiation

Last CTscan shows shrinkage of lung tumor from 5cm to 4.2cm. Using supplements, Mannatech. Still has his hair! & tolerating

Chemo well.

April 2, 2004 update: Chemo stopped working, now more tumors found in both lungs. Going to see lung cancer specialist to figure out what we should try next. We are not giving up!

April 7, specialist says Gemzar and Navelbine, new chemo starts

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Tess, sorry you and your husband have to go through all this. Both radiation and chemo can make the patient tired all the time and to be nauseous. Does your husband have medication for nausea? Also, radiation continues to work weeks after completion of the treatment, so he will feel the effects for a while.

Mky wife has a port and it has been wonderful. She has hard to get at veins, too.

Hang in there. Don

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Tess, I'm afraid I don't have any good answers. Procrit is for red cells only, I think. Neupogen (sp?) is available for low white blood cells.

Radiation does continue to give side effects for awhile, according to my mom's dr. What does your husband's dr. say? Has he prescribed anti-nausea meds? They work better if taken before they are truly needed.

I pray Rob will feel better soon.

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Earl met with his onc. yesterday. I asked him why Earl is SO VERY weak, fatigued and disinterested in life in general. His last chemo was 12/22/03 and he is currently on Iressa.

The onc.'s reply is that these symptons are caused by the disease itself and I did not get any hope that it would improve.


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Just thought I would jump in here to tell you that the white count is low because the chemo supresses the bone marrow , that is probaly why your husband is so tired and wants to sleep, also the chem dehydrates you and that could be the reason for him thorwing up. Is he taking Kytrel? That is for nausea, also decadron, my husband took the two of them together. He still felt nausated at times but never did thorw up, he was also cold all the time. KAY

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Another drug that battles nausea is Ativan. I only had to take it a couple times but it sure helped. Neupogen is wonderful for white cells. I get a shot 4 days a week in the out patient dept at the hosp. on my way to work. It has kept my whites up where I haven't caught so much as a cold this spring! I get an Arenesp (sp) shot every other week for my red cells and so far it has a mixed reaction. I did need to get a transfusion shortly after I started it but since then my red counts have been ok ( low but ok). I haven't had the chemo regime your hubby is on but I have heard it does a good job.

Prayers for strength and healing headed your way!

God Bless,


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My mom was on gemzar and sooooooooooooooooooooo tired. It scared me, she got on her knees to pick something up and could not get up. Gemzar makes all blood count slow and it is all out of whack. She needed a couple of transfusions and that perked her up. Unfortunately the fatigue is normal :(

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Hi Tess,

My husb. had gemzar/navelbine and had to get shots two times (not Procrit, but the one that starts with A....... - darn, I can't remember the name of it) for low counts. He was also very fatigued, and did have some nausea, which was very strange because he didn't have it with the other chemo he received. Actually, the first time, as soon as we got home, he immediately threw up. He took compazine and it went away. After that he took a compazine before chemo, got the nausea medicine in his iv, and then took another compazine when he got home. No more vomiting after that, but he did feel nauseous off and on. The arm problem is probably from the navelbine. Navelbine is a strong vein irritant and can really cause pain. They had to work real hard to get a good WIDE vein that didn't burn when they injected the Navelbine - also it has to be a slow push. Also, about being tired. Before LC dx, and before chemo, he was strong as an ox, but all of his chemo and radiation have caused him to sleep, sleep, sleep and more sleep. He's a little better now because he's been on a break for two months from any treatments, but is still sleeping more than he did before. Good luck to you both.

God bless you,


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Please understand that cancer itself and the treatment involved is very tiring physically. When I was getting radiation for breast cancer, I actually had to go home from work a few times because I physically could not stay awake at my desk. This, from someone who would go for years without taking sick time.

It is also extremely emotionally tiring to have cancer. I know that in my case, it wears on my mind so much it is unbelieveable. There is no such thing as peaceful sleep, and then the worry during the waking hours is tiring.

If you are undergoing chemo, it is tiring both emotionally and physically as well. They inject steriod into your iv to prevent allergic reactions and nausea, which keep you from getting a good night's sleep, but zap your energy as well.

It's hard to eat to keep your energy up when everything tastes metallic--that's from the metallic base of the chemo medication. So, you eat what tastes good, which is usually junk food and that isn't really a good source of energy.

Those were the experiences I had with cancer and it's treatment--And, I am an otherwise, very healthy person. Rest is what you need when you are undergoing cancer treatments, because along with killing cancer cells, your treatment is taking out healthy cells as well--and your body is fighting to try to rebuild and recover. But, the drugs and the low blood counts and inability to eat right really interfere with what we know we need to get better.

Also, I apologize for my tense tone here--I am starting with an entire month's worth of doctor's appointments this morning. We're starting with a mammogram today and a follow-up with my breast surgeon. I don't anticipate any problems, but can't help remembering that I didn't have a lump the first time I was diagnosed with cancer three years ago.

Next week is oncology routine appointment. Week after that is chest x-ray and lung surgeon. Yikes!

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Same here Tess. My husband finished radiation and is about to do round 4 of chemo, also had pneumonia last week. He is very tired, cold, doesn't want to eat. Getting more short of breath and can't walk far without getting winded. It all seems a lot worse to me. We had Neupogen shot for white blood cells and Procrit for red blood cells and Levaquin for infection. One extra week off from treatment, that's all.

The doctor said pneumonia and low blood counts are part of him feeling bad, yet she wants to go right on with the chemo. I guess we must be tight for timing or something. I am worried, too.

Margaret in Iowa

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