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chronic cough with stage4 lung cancer 
Started by Dr.Google
12 Aug 2013, 11:05 PM

My husband has had a chronic cough for many mths. It is worse most certainly in the a.m. upon rising with thick stringy mucous.  If it were not for the cough/mucous issues he would be doing ok. He is presently on chemo and finished radiation several mths. ago.  Any suggestions as to what he/we can do to help him with this problemb. Tussinex was tried, but failed to do the job.
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Reply by JennJilks
13 Aug 2013, 1:12 AM

Dr. Google,
I am a volunteer, with some experiences.
Not being a doctor, I do not know!
Certainly, in the bathroom with steam or vaporizers help.
What is his health issue? Is the mucous a symptom of COPD? 
This is a very specific issue.
You can ask for a breathing specialist, through your physician.  
I have accompanied clients to the Pain Clinic, Heart Clinic, in Ottawa. There are usually quite good, as a GP often doesn't have such in-depth training.
Where are you? 
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Reply by JennJilks
13 Aug 2013, 1:25 AM

It must be late, as I just read your post title.
This mucous is the body trying to drown the cancer.  
Tussionex is cough syrup, and likely not going to do much.
You can ask your nurse to provide extra support. They are familiar with disease trajectory and can give you some help with pain management, and symptom management.
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Reply by moderator | modératrice
13 Aug 2013, 2:00 AM

Hi Dr.Google,

Welcome to Virtual Hospice.

As Jenn mentioned, members sharing here are not health care professionals. We are family, friends, caregivers and patients supporting one another. We look forward to sharing with you as you care for your husband.

Please feel free to send your specific question about managing a chronic cough and mucus to our team of palliative experts on Ask a Professional. You can use the same email and password to send your question to the professionals and you will get a private response within 3 business days or less.

Do you have a palliative care team and/or a home care nurse visiting you and husband at home?

Colleen
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Reply by JennJilks
13 Aug 2013, 12:34 PM

What I found helpful, when dealing with my late mother's cancer, was the Canadian Cancer Society, who gave me information not otherwise available.
I meant to mention this last night.
Mom had a rare cancer, but there is much research on lung cancer, which will help you understand better. Nurses hired by governments to make house calls vary with their expertise, as do individual GPs. There is much research and data out there. Much of it cannot be read by all family physicians. The oncologists are reluctant to give us information.
They sent my father and I home from a 2-hour trip to their offices, with a statement that his brain tumour was fatal, and there was nothing they could do. Full stop.
I didn't know what to expect, including the dementia, and the incontinence, and his behaviour changes. yet, the information is out there.
The ambulance drivers, who took us home, were most gracious, more so than the ocologist and the replacement oncologist she left us with before she went on maternity leave.
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Reply by Dr.Google
13 Aug 2013, 1:57 PM

Thank you for your comments/information. The comments from our  oncologist can be somewhat  vague at times  and even rushed given his workload.  I find I spend a great deal of time googling and learning more with respect to something he says but does not expand on.I was hopeful that a forum such as this would be helpful, esp. when I find my mind racing with questions,fears, concerns.  Again much thanks for response.
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Reply by moderator | modératrice
14 Aug 2013, 12:39 AM

Hi Dr. Google,

This forum is definitely the place you can come to when you need a virtual shoulder to lean on or to find calm when your mind is racing with questions, fears and concerns. We want you to know that this is a safe place to speak your mind frankly. 

I'd like to introduce you to a few members in other threads who may wish to connect with. For example meet 
Feel free to read through the threads on the forum called I care about someoneWhen you post a message, the other members sharing on that thread will receive a notification and be encouraged to join the conversation.  

 

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Reply by moderator | modératrice
12 Feb 2014, 2:34 AM

Hi Dr. Google,

I can't believe that the last time we exchanged messages it was summer time. With this deep freeze that most of Canada is experiencing, it is hard to remember summer temperatures.

How are you?
Colleen 
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Reply by Dr.Google
12 Feb 2014, 4:42 PM

Hello..and thank you for thinking about me! I am located in Winnipeg, so I need not say more about this weather!! It seems hard to believe it was August when I first communicated with the Virtual community. Since August much has happened. After radiation my husband started chemo. He did fairly well with the chemo, but then he had to have Eprex treatments which he did not tolerate very well. He continued to have the cough all the way through his treatment and beyond. When treatment concluded he was sent to Cancer Care's Pain and Symptom Mgnt. Clinic (in October) to see if they could perhaps help him with the chronic cough (he has had since cancer reared its ugly head 3 years ago.) The Onc said that the P&S Clinic will have as 'challenge' on their hands. And that has proven to be true.

We are in fact still looking for the 'magic bullet' to quell the coughing which has robbed my husband of a quality of life that he so richly deserves. Social life practically non-existence in 2013 as he was embarassed to out socially because of the coughing fits. We became isolated and distant from family/friends.  But just lately (within the last 2 weeks)  something is beginning to work!!!  Could it be the Fentanyl nasal spray, the lorazapam, perhaps the Nabalone? Who knows and who cares..but he can now go for a couple of hours without coughing and shortness of breath which always followed the coughing spasms. I see him becoming more relaxed more communicative and more open to consider social outings. And the best news of all which I saved for last..is that in October after chemo was finished and chest xray taken we were told that there was 'remarkable' progress seen on the xray. January's follow up was also positive. I know that cancer is like a thief in the night, it can come and rob  my husband's health at any given time...but right now, we feel so blessed that 3 years into this, he is still with us, he is still fighting and he looks pretty darn good! Regained his weight, eats well, sleeps well and thankfully has had no pain at any time throughout his battle with lung cancer.  We have another visit with Onc. in a few months, but in the meantime we will be doing our best to relax just a bit..but never, ever will we leave our guard down as we will be ready to fight if/when called upon. Again much thanks for 'caring'.
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Reply by moderator | modératrice
12 Feb 2014, 4:54 PM

Wow, Dr. Google. This is a whole bunch of good news indeed. It is astounding how much a seemingly "simple" thing can completely erode quality of life, like having a cough. It leads to so many other problems. For my dad, it was difficulty swallowing. 

Have you and your husband been able to also regain a bit of your social life?
 
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