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Cancer: Lung Message Board

Cancer: Lung Board Index

Re: Iressa (ZD1839)
Jul 17, 2001
Dear Marge,
Glad to hear Terry will be given a chance to take Iressa. Gary is in middle of 6th series of pills. He has good and bad days, but is definately able to be out and doing more now than a year ago while on Carboplatin and Taxatere Chemo. There are side effects, but we have found combinations of things that work to keep under control. Gary's 1st problem was the acne (which has been totally gone now for several months.) He had a prescription for Clindamicin for it, but actually a prescription used for Shingles worked better to stop the itching, called Lidocaine Viscous 2%. The doctor advised us to use an over-the-counter antibiotic with it on the open sores to prevent infection. Another ointment that really seemed to work was Desitin (over-the-counter diaper rash ointment). It seemed to control the irritation as well as any of medications tried. The diarrhea has been the worst side effect. Gary takes Imodium (over-the-counter) for it, and has best results if just continues to take numerous doses. (Gary's Research Nurse has assured us that if needed a prescription drug could be prescribed but so far we have not requested.) For coughing, Gary takes little "sips" of Vicks 44 Cough syrup. At night, he sometimes takes the prescription Hydromet Syrup as it seems to help him relax in addition to relief of coughing. Gary goes thru spells of using a Nebulizer (breathing machine?) where he inhales the following drugs: Albuterol .83mg and Ipratropium .02%. They seem to help with lung congestion and Gary says he feels it is easier to breathe after using. For daily aches and pains, Gary takes 1/2 pill of Zyrtec Tab 10mg once a day. He takes Celebrex 100mg twice a day. [He stopped this one for couple days, and could really tell a difference so has taken every dose since]. If he has had a really bad day, he takes 1 or 2 Propoxyphene HCL 65mg at bedtime. He also has Temazepam 15 mg for sleep, but has only taken a couple times when felt uncomfortable at bedtime but not bad enough to think he should take a pain pill. At bedtime, Gary takes 1 or 2 Benadryl 25mg (over-the-counter) for lung congestion. [This also helped stop itching so he could go to sleep when acne was the worst]. The other drug Gary takes when needed is Megace 20ml for appetite. Gary was a body builder until diagnosed with cancer and weighed around 225. He ate large quantities of food every meal then, so now every once in a while we realize he is down to couple hundred calories and so he gets on the Megace for couple of days. Also, when he is just not eating much, he drinks Ensure Plus. Gary NEVER took pills/medications/prescriptions before getting cancer, so is over-whelmed with all the stuff stock-piled around the house for him now. He still tires out easily and gets depressed at needing so much rest. But after several bad days this month, we rode our motorcycles (Gary has a Gold Wing with Sidecar and mine is a Suzuki Intruder 1400) to breakfast one morning. We are enjoying sweet corn, green peppers, and tomatoes from the garden that Gary planted, tilled, watered, and takes care of on daily basis. I helped weed his watermellon and cantelope patch this week while he supervised. (He has trouble if leans over for long periods of time since the surgery a year ago to remove the brain tumor.)

We keep hoping for a miracle. Gary's tests during last visit to Houston showed that the tumors have not increased since taking the Iressa. All other vital signs are normal. Even if Iressa will just hold him like now until a complete cure comes along, we can continue to hang on. Would sure like to see our husbands beat this horrible disease. Our doctors in Houston have been very good to try to treat all side effects/symptoms as they arise. Also, they do not seem to be offended when we inquire about something we have heard about. They have explained why most of our suggestions are not the right course to take for Gary, but it has helped to know why. We will leave for Houston this weekend, as Gary has tests and doctor's appointment scheduled for Monday, 7/23.
God Bless,

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