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venting again, and asking a question...sorry

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Once again, I'm quasi-new to this forum, but I'm overjoyed with the amount of people that have already responded to my first post about my mom. I have followed most of your advice about learning as much as I can and talking to the onc. as well, (by the way, he's a great guy, I couldn't ask for a better doctor for my mom). The problem is that I live in NYC and my mom and Dad live in North NJ (35mi. away). I've been in New York keeping contact with them, and I started to become complacent with what my dad was telling me about my mom, and my negative feelings had started to subside as I spent more time away from them.

However, my family was supposed to go visit my younger, 15 year-old, brother at camp, and we were all going to pitch in telling him about what the situation is right now. Unfortunately, my mom just had her first chemo cocktail this thursday, and so I am staying home to take care of her, and my dad is going to my brother's camp to explain the news, because it wouldn't work visa versa.

I don't know why I gave that long prelude, but if you read my first post, you would see that I had not noticed much wrong with my mom. However, apparently the chemo has wiped her out. Her breathing is much more labored than before, and her caughing fits are epic. I knew she would probably never be able to go visit my brother at camp, but I didn't expect her to become a semi-invalid.

Has anyone had this experience? I mean, I know chemo causes all kinds of strange side-effects, but all that she's experiencing is a worse version of her previously mild lung cancer...

I'm sorry for venting...respond or not, I just needed to get this out.


Ben B

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Hi Ben

Sorry to hear that your Mom isn't feeling well. As you say, side-effects of chemo can be very wide-ranging, but if you are worried, why not take your Mom to the doctor? Maybe she has picked up a bug of some type that may be helped by antibiotics??

Just a thought!


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Some people can breeze through chemo, others have a horrible time and most are somewhere in between.

Many things can determine this, the overall health of the patient, the extent of the disease and the type and strength of the chemos.

Unfortunately, lung cancer is not a sissy disease. It takes brave, courageous people to take this journey. But as you can see on this board many people look this beast in the eye and give it a good run for its money.

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Like your Mom, my husband did not breeze through his first chemo treatment. And he had a horrib cough to boot. For the cough though, they did give him a cough med that helped so much. Because he was coughing so much, it made it hard for him to get comfortable. Therefore the dhemo was harder. You might ask the doctor for something for the cough. It took about 5 days before Randy was not so wiped out from the chemo.

Chemo is very toxic to the body. It has to be to kill the cancer cells. That being said, it is no wonder she is feeling kind of bad right now. More than likely in a few days she will be able to be up and about alittle more. I know that after the first week, Randy did feel 100% better than the first few days.

I am glad you are able to help with your mothers care. Being a caretaker is not for wimps or sissies. It takes the love you have in you to be there for those that mean so much to you.

Many prayers being said.


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You know that saying, "it will get worse before it gets better"? That is what is happening with your mom. The chemo will unfortunately take a lot of the good cells along with the bad and she is gonna get knocked down pretty good. Hopefully they are watching her blood counts closely and she won't end up with an infection. The cough will get bad for awhile and hopefully subside later. Hopefully, it will all be worth it and she will see her tumor shrink.

All the best to you and your mom.


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Chemo is not fun....I have been through it with both my mom and my dad. My mom didnt let anyone in to help her except my dad so I barely saw the side effects with her besides her always being in bed with a wet cloth on her forehead, but I was there for my dad. We all took turns taking him to his appointments so I saw alot of it.

He went for treatment for three days during the first week of the cycle and then had two off before starting again. During this he also had radiation consectutively for 6 weeks. The chemo put dad right out of commission! In fact he would be so sick and had such low energy that he almost didnt get back to normal until the end of the third week..just in time to start it all over again! He hated every minute of it.

Its rough on everyone involved. My dad would tell us how much he hated it and hated the fact that we had to take care of him...hurt the pride to have his kids clean up after him. And being the youngest, the so called "Daddy's little girl" it was rough on me to see him so frail.

But fear not Ben...your mother will get through this and so will you and your family..its just a bump in the road to recovery. I like to think of it as every time someone gets sick, its just the body ridding itself of the cancer cells.

Stay positive! That is the number one key in getting well!


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Hi Ben,

What stage is your mom?

The thoracic surgeon said it best w hen my mom was diagnosed---the only way to help her is to make her REALLY sick so then hopefully she can be better. The chemo wiped my mom out too, coughing got worse, etc, etc. They gotta do taht to make her better in the end :) Does that make sense?

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Hello Ben,

No two people have the same reactions to chemo, or so I'm told. My husband did not have a problem with the first chemo they put him on but with the second one he has been miserable. One thing about chemo though, which I gather is pretty universal, is fatigue.

I hope they can get your Mum feeling a lot more comfortable.

Prayers to you and your family.


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Perhaps this isn't the best time for me to be answering your post - this past weekend has been the worst I've had and I don't want to be the bearer of downer news, however........ I do want to be honest and at least owe you that kind of answer. I've had four chemo treatments - mine are supposed to be low dose and once a week for the 6 weeks I do radiation. I would say I feel kind of "funky" the day of chemo, and I certainly tire more quickly the rest of the time, but they tell me that's normal, too. I haven't had any vomiting but I think they've gotten the pre-meds etc. down to a real science to try to prevent that for most people. You didn't say which chemo plan your mom is on - for me it's taxol and carboplatin. Prepare her for the hair loss - strands are following me around falling to the ground wherever I go. So she needs to be prepared for that. I didn't expect joint aches, but had some of that - mostly in my hips. Have read here that that's pretty typical, too.

More than the chemo, I think it's the rad that's bothering me, which was a surprise. I tolerated the rad well at first but seeing everyone post about the cumulative effects helps explain why I felt so lousy this weekend. The part the med profs mention but don't really tell you thoroughly what to expect, so far for ME, anyhow, is the tennis ball stuck in your neck/chest feeling. It's been terrible for me the last few days. Problem is, it NEVER goes away, so it's not just a swallowing thing. It certainly does DETER you from wanting to eat, but also drink, even sips of water, which means danger of dehydration. It hurts bad enough to think you could be having a heart attack. They prescribed Aciphex for indigestion/acid reflux that I never had before, but so far its done nothing, nor has Prilosec, Zantac, or anything. I would help your mom to be aware that these are some of the things that can and apparently frequently do happen. This site has been invaluable with advice, and everyone has been so helpful with making me think I'm not crazy but going through very typical stuff, so it's a very smart thing to do to ask any questions here and let all these wonderful people share their experiences. The best thing you can do is to stay informed, and the people here are the best at helping with advise on how to do that. Sending good thoughts to you and your mom.

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Do not be discouraged that the chemo is knocking the crap out of your mom and the cancer at the same time.

She's fighting for her life, so the side effects are likely to be more like a nasty flu than a slight head cold.

I'm glad you are there for her. It's notTHAT hard to get out of the city and over the river, if you really want to. You don't say anything about your own family, if you even have one.

You might consider taking a half day a week to spell your dad, and stay with your mom. You'd be in touch with her that way.

Good luck to your mom, and to you trying to deal with this disease.



Prayers, always


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