New Chemo is Much of the Same

Last week I started Lonsurf, the last in line of chemo that has any kind of chance of helping to slow down the cancer, even for just a little bit. Besides some frustrating but minimal GI problems, the only real other side effect that I have had to deal with is fatigue. Major fatigue, really. It doesn’t matter if I sleep for 8-10 hours, I feel like I got hit by a truck all the time. I’m having a hard time concentrating on much of anything and am seemingly much more forgetful than normal.

My coughing has improved a little, though my breathing has not. If anything, my breathing has become worse. My chest is feeling tight more often than even a few weeks ago, and catching my breath after I start coughing is getting harder and harder. Because I wanted to try to get ahead of my declining breathing as much as possible, I asked my doctor about getting oxygen at home, thinking that it would possibly help me when I am having difficulty.

This week I went to have an evaluation and did not drop below the needed threshold, which made me think maybe things aren’t as bad as I thought. They sent me home with a pulse oximeter and I had to wear it while I slept. I thought about not using my CPAP to see if I could skew the results to ensure that I was able to get oxygen approved, but in the end decided that I would use my CPAP and see what the results were.

On Wednesday I received a call with the results, which were more alarming that I had expected. Even with the CPAP, my Sp02 (saturated oxygen level in my blood) dropped below 89% for more than the hour required to be eligible for oxygen at home. Actually, my Sp02 dropped below 89% for a sustained hour, as well as additional times throughout the night, totaling quite a bit more than an hour. Also, my low point was 55%. That was something that I didn’t expect to hear, at all.

So, I will be getting an order for oxygen this week, and getting the tanks delivered to my house. Hopefully this will help with the fatigue as well, since low Sp02 levels are known to make people feel very tired. Thankfully, I will also be done with the chemo Monday morning and then get a two week break, which I am hoping will also help me to feel better.

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