Despite Chemotherapy Side Effects Mesothelioma Patient Tries to Stay Positive, Active
Chemotherapy is helping my father fight a deadly cancer, but it is also having many chemo side effects on him physically and mentally. The tumors in his chest and on his liver are shrinking and we are all feeling very hopeful. He makes the trip to Philadelphia two Fridays in a row followed by one week off to receive his treatment for mesothelioma cancer. He will continue to do this for the next 7 weeks.
Each time he receives treatment he is there for about five hours, depending on if he needs to get any other treatments or not. My mom usually accompanies him on these trips and comforts him. I was able to join them once, and I was happy to see that Dad has become friendly with the technicians at the office he goes to, so it seems like he usually has pleasant visits despite the reason he is there. My mom is there to drive home if needed, but even though it’s a long day for Dad, he usually still insists on driving. He never gives up.
Other than getting the chemotherapy he recently has been getting blood transfusions with each visit. The doctors are trying to get his red blood cell count up to try to help with his breathing. His white blood cell count is also down, so he has to give himself an injection every so often to try to keep that number up. The doctors have explained that this is one of the reasons he has been very tired.
Compared to the first time Dad had chemo, this time you can tell it’s much more grueling for him, yet he barely complains. Like I have said before, he is a busybody and he never stops. He’s been home puttering around the house and starting to work on the pool to get it ready for the summer. It’s getting to the point where he cannot get himself outside to do any work some days. He is so incredibly tired that sometimes when I call he doesn’t even want to talk on the phone.
One thing that has gotten significantly worse is his breathing. His doctors explain that it is a combination between the chemo and the fact that he continues to have a low red blood cell count. He has to take many breaks and has to use his oxygen most of the day. If he doesn’t, he is gasping for air.
Besides being short of breath most of the time, he usually feels nauseous the following week after the treatment. This results with him being in bed or on the couch for most of the day. He also doesn’t have much of an appetite, but tries to continue to eat healthy and get his proper nutrition.
Although he has not been feeling so well, he is still driven to keep up with the work around the house and he still is in good spirits. He is still hopeful and as positive as he can be at this point. As a family, our job is to keep him comfortable and help him with his jobs around the house.
Continue reading next week as I write about the struggle of a change in Dad’s lifestyle while going through mesothelioma treatments.