Another week looms and another test. On Tuesday I take my husband for a CT Scan and some blood work to get a sense of where things are at. There is no doubt that he is at risk with a depressed immune system. His hemoglobin remains quite low, but without the blood work we don’t know if it has improved at all. The blood transfusion didn’t seem to make a significant impact on his level of health at all. Physically he uses his walker to move around the house and is quite wobbly without it. Cognitively, he has a delay in processing, when you ask a question there is a definite lapse before it registers and he responds.
His appetite has been a challenge. This is saying something since he has been an awesome patient from the get go. Prior to this, when I put a meal in front of him, despite it tasting too sweet or too salty, he usually managed to get it down. Not for the past week. His appetite had completely gone which put me into full blown crisis mode. I don’t usually try to guilt him into anything but this last week I did. Amazingly on Saturday he finally started to eat again. Now comes the task of building him back up again. When this journey started I found a recipe for geared towards building up cancer patients called Magic Mineral Soup, and today the house smelled of simmering veggies as I made a large pot of broth. Hope springs eternal.
The visiting nurse was in three times last week. She’s an awesome resource and does a great job in reading my husband’s moods. She has established a rapport with him and seems to know when to air out concerns that may have been swimming around in his brain without him really even knowing it. During her visit on Friday she talked to him extensively about anemia and how it can make a person feel. My husband’s hemoglobin was at 84 when they administered the blood transfusion and the nurse didn’t think he got much benefit from it. Consequently it is likely that he is still severely anemic, but the blood work on Tuesday will determine this conclusively. However, until then she wanted him to realize how the symptoms and issues he is having align with that of anemia. This discussion was important since in my husband’s mind the symptoms and issues he is having mean the cancer is spreading and he is, as he stated more than once to me last week, dying. And really, when you consider the type of cancer he has, which is lung cancer, and the symptoms of anemia there’s no wonder he feels the disease is on the move. As WebMD states:
Symptoms common to many types of anemia include the following:
- Easy fatigue and loss of energy
- Unusually rapid heart beat, particularly with exercise
- Shortness of breath and headache, particularly with exercise
- Difficulty concentrating
- Pale skin
- Leg cramps
For now we wait a couple of days and then go for some tests. Once we get the results back from that we will decide on next steps. We have talked about how hard the chemotherapy and radiation together were on him physically. I doubt that we will consider doing both in the same treatment cycle again. Indeed, radiation is something that seems to knock him down further than the chemo, so I don’t know about any more radiation. Again, discussions and decisions will be made after we receive the results of the CT scan and in consultation with our Oncologist and GP.