Today it’s all about the cough

Specific cancer treatments and regimens have been the rule, as they should, but finally my infernal cough is getting some serious attention too.

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After two weeks of using albuterol and the spirometer, the only thing I had to report to my medical oncologist today was that my cough has gotten notably worse. When I called his office, however, I found his nurse was out until Monday. So I left a message. Later in the day I got a message (message tag?) saying that after consulting again with the pulmonologist, he was adding Advair to my regimen. He also prescribed a codeine cough syrup. He tried to call me this afternoon, but I was still tied up at the pharmacy. 

Then it was on to the radiation oncologist. She prescribed a 10-day round of prednisone to treat what could be a side effect of the radiation on my lungs. She also prescribed a lidocaine ointment for the itchy/burning irritation I’m getting on my upper chest and collarbone. (Previously, when the itching first began, non-prescription hydrocortisone cream handled the occasional itchy spot.) I’m also likely to need it starting next week when I begin the boost treatments to the tumor bed and chest nodes. The stronger, more focused radiation is likely to cause more irritation than I’ve experienced so far. Love lidocaine. What’s not to love about something that numbs the skin when the skin hurts?

So where does all this leave me?

As ordered, I took the first dose of prednisone as soon as I got home. Too soon to expect anything from that. Also took some of the cough syrup. It hasn’t completely suppressed the cough, but it has helped.

I’m supposed to report tomorrow what, if anything, the prednisone seems to be doing. That’s expecting a lot after only two doses, but it has been my experience that prednisone can bring dramatic, rapid improvement in the condition being treated. Hope that proves true this time.

Then Monday I’m to report whether the Advair seems to be helping. If it isn’t, I think I’ll be getting referred directly to the pulmonologist, who will likely start running some tests. This cough has gone on long enough. Too long, if you ask me. Not that a cough should have taken priority over the cancer treatment.

Some notable good news today: The radiation doc confirmed that although there has been a lot of confusion in the schedule printouts, November 13 is my last treatment. I made sure her nurse put it in writing.

3 thoughts on “Today it’s all about the cough”

  1. Hope this tames the cough – it gets so tiring and makes you feel even worse. (Even the cat is probably ready for it to stop…how’s the fur company doing?) The problem with modern treatments is that one upsets something else and then that has to be treated. Glad they’ve got answers if not solutions. Numb is good. How you are battling through all this is admirable.
    Nov.13 – Perfect, let it be a bad day for cancer and an excellent Friday for you. Celebration is in order for all future Nov 13ths. Hang in there.
    Really appreciate your detailed analytical writing. It is a skill. Information is always good to have – you just never know. (I’m understanding my niece’s treatments.)
    Hope there puddle of sun and bright sky to view all weekend.

    1. Well, to be perfectly accurate, Nov. 13 is just the end of the radiation treatments. Certainly worth celebrating. Then I start the Herceptin treatments once every three weeks for a year, and the pills (aromatase inhibitor) every day for 5 years. Your niece’s treatments may be quite a bit different depending on what type of cancer she has.

      If I can help you in any way to understand your niece’s treatments, just ask. I might even know something.

"You don’t have to say everything to say something." ~Beth Moore

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