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Dad with NSCLC Stage 4

kerrycat
Posts: 4
Joined: Jul 2012

I am new here. I live in Canada, I am thinking many of you live in the US? My Dad is 77 years old and was just diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer (left lung)in early June 2012. He quit smoking (life long smoker)in September 2011 and came home from wintering in Fla with a still heavy smokers cough, went for a chest xray and thats when they found it. Immediately went for other multiple CT scans etc. He has had 5 days of radiation and will see the oncologist about chemo, next week.

In the meantime he is on codeine for chest cough pain, sleeps almost all day, then again all night, has little appetite, due to acid reflux, prob from all the meds, but he had it before too. He is slowing down very fast. Not sure what to expect from chemo. We have never known anyone with C before.

Meanwhile my mother is a 12 year stroke survivor who manages very well but has aphasia (cannot speak properly) so her communication level is diminished. Its tough for the whole family, not sure where to turn for support or what to do?

Any comments would be welcome, the stories here are inspiring, heartfelt, and help to make things easier, thanks to those who are contributing their thoughts.

dennycee
Posts: 607
Joined: Mar 2011

Oh Kerry, my heart goes out to you. First, write down any questions or problems that you have. This site has a great list. Print this out if you need to, there is room left for answers:
http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003285-pdf.pdf

Second, get a tape recorder and record the visit. Your dad's doctor should be glad that you want to get the info right. Some of his fatigue is probably the body reacting to the radiation. It kicked my bottom. One day I almost couldn't get in the house because I was too weak to negotiate the second of two steps. The radiation probably made the acid reflux worse. Right now keep a close eye on him to make sure he stays hydrated.

Make sure he is having regular BMs. Give him stool softeners daily. Pain meds cause constipation. Avoid allowing his bowels to become blocked. Medications can build up in the intestines causing side effects to intensify. Keeping him well hydrated will help with this too.

How he reacts to the chemo and the side effects will depend much on the chemo agent they give him. Will you please update us when you know? In the meantime, get every calorie you can in to him. Soft, calorie rich, easy to digest food is best right now. Soups, puddings, smoothies, mashed potatoes, fruits, you get the idea. I did very well having my daily "ice cream therapy".

dennycee
Posts: 607
Joined: Mar 2011

Did I mention that you need to KEEP HIM HYDRATED!!!!!!

kerrycat
Posts: 4
Joined: Jul 2012

thanks dennycee, for responding

He is not really eating anything at all, gets up to have 1/2 cup of coffee in the morning, does not eat, then is so tired from just moving from the bedroom to the kitchen table, he goes back to bed. He then gets up later in the day when my mom wakes him for meds, he drinks water and 1/2 glass of ice tea or cold drink, prefers cold, will eat maybe apple sauce snack pack size, hates the 'ensure' nutritional canned milkshake supplement, won't drink it, likes ice cream too but wishes it came in flavourless kind! He is drinking lots of water but not taking in much in food or protein. I did suggest a hard boiled egg each day and he thought that might be okay. He says everything tastes bad, he does not feel nausea or does not vomit, but his taste is off, and he thinks it all tastes terrible and unappealing. He's lost 20 pounds in 2 weeks!

Today we had an appointment with the chemo oncologist for a consult. They say he is not a good candidate for chemo unless he can get his energy levels up a bit. They will schedule an appointment for palliative care and dietician, then in 2 weeks if he is a bit less tired they will try chemo.

For now he sleeps a lot, and eats very little. It seems if he has an appointment he can manage to get up and get there but if there is nothing on the schedule then he is too tired to be motivated.

Any thoughts on food to eat (anyone?)?

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