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Chemo on or after being weened off ventilator

Posts: 5
Joined: Feb 2011

Hello All, my brother has stage 4 stomach cancer and after 2 diffrent chemo regimens (2 rounds in each regimen) the oncologist decided to stop chemo. There are some valid reasons for this:

infection in his stomach
continued buildup of fluid
not eating
fluid in left lung lining sack
and now he's on a ventilator

Earlier last week, I brought him to the ER because he was lethargic and saying things that didn't make sense. After testing the blood from his artery, his carbon dioxide levels were sky high, so they admitted him to ICU. They found lots of fluid in his lungs, drained it with the hope that it'll help his breathing and he can be removed from ventilator, but no such luck. They explained that the lining of his lung is like cement and honestly, I can't explain what I was told anymore since it just all spiraled out of control. They also said that he may have days to live and that he'd be on a ventilator for the rest of his life. At that time he had a breathing tube through his mouth and we seriously debated whether to remove it and let him pass in peace or whether to put him through a trach procedure (he has blood clots and is on blood thinners). We went with the trach and now he's stable. In addition, he was moved out of ICU and they are trying to slowly ween him off the ventilator. They are also giving him physical therapy and taking care of anything that is reversable (like infections). The next step is to transfer him to a ventilator support facility to continue the weening off.

His new doc said that a re-evaluation can be done for chemo if he goes off ventilator. Of course, this will take a long time and with stage 4, we probably don't have that time.

My question is, has anyone gone through this and come back to the point of getting chemo again?

Posts: 135
Joined: Dec 2010

Libra girl,
I can only offer you my sincere best wishes for a successful recovery. Your brother has been through so much. I think that the first priority would be to get your brother strong enough for chemo. How was his last scan? If the treatment didn't work, they would probably switch to something that has less severe side effects or lessen the dosage. I know someone who's husband had lung issues and has not been on chemo for at least a couple of months. Diagnosed w/ esophageal cancer stage 4. His scans were stable and as long as they remain so, the focus is getting him stronger, gaining weight, and good quality of life. They would probably resume once he is strong enough and/or scans have showed growth.

I wish I could offer some more advice.

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