Stage 4 NSCLC and Tarceva Treatment

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Stage 4 NSCLC and Tarceva Treatment

by PositiveNote on Wed Jul 02, 2014 09:01 PM

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In April 2014 I was diagnosed with Stage 4 NSCLC. It had metastasized to my lump nodes and pleural membranes around my lungs; I was functioning with only 1 and a quarter lung capacity. The only symptom I had was a persistent cough for about 3 months, then things changed quickly, I had trouble breathing and could hardly talk. I am 61 years of age, a nonsmoker, fair sensitive skinned and 124 pounds. A targeted drug was my best option and Tarceva at 150 mg was prescribed. On day 8 through to day 21 the side effects started to present and escalated; a nasty sore rash all over my head, neck, back and chest - even in my ears and nose, diarrhea, my eyes were burning red, weeping, sore and sensitive to light, FATIQUED, sensitive mouth, hair started to thin out, skin peeled from head to toes. After a 20 day rest, I restarted Tarceva at 75 mg. As of this writing the side effects are greatly reduced and the liquid surrounding my lung has reduced. I can breathe and talk normally.

I benefited from reading so many of the comments on this site that I want to share with you the products that helped me manage the side effects and my well-being. 

#1 – PRAYER – mine and others that are supporting me through this journey.

Skin Rash – Cortizone -10 plus has a moisturizing component in it, and a prescription of Clindamycin Phosphate 1% for the cracked areas. You also need to apply a moisturizing lotion – it will likely sting but you must.

Skin – a fast lukewarm shower using a mild body soap [I use Safeguard], to exfoliate the flaking skin I use a soft facecloth and ‘OLAY’s Fresh Effects’ – it is a face product so it is mild on body skin.

Face Wash – OLAY cream cleanser – is mild and moisturizing. I follow with a toner to remove flaking skin – Neutrogena is an alcohol free toner.

Moisturizing your skin – for my face I use Lancôme SPF 30 face moisturizer – lotion and the cream version – day and night. If my face gets tight during the day I apply more lotion. For the body I found OLAY QUENCH Ultra w Shea butter body lotion worked best. I tried others but they fell short on keeping up with the drying effect of the drug.

EYES – to combat and sooth the dryness ‘Refresh Plus’ lubricant eye drops a few times throughout the day and before sleep. A cool wet cloth to cool for a minute and then apply a warm compress ‘Bruder’s microwave activated eye hydrating compress’ for 3-5 minutes – this eye hydrating mask really works.

EYE Lashes – I wear glasses so I use an eyelash curler everyday to ensure the growing lashes are trained to curl out and up – not in your eyes or on your glasses. You can also apply a clear gel like mascara to keep them in place – men too. So far I have not had to trim the lashes.

HYDRTATION – Drink more water than you think you need, at least 8 to 10- 10oz glasses per day. I recommend filtered – the chlorine in drinking water will upset your stomach. I moved to non-flavored electrolyte water – it is smoother so I drink more.

Sunscreen – Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch SPF 55. It goes on dry and does not feel greasy even in the heat of the day.

LIPS – mine are so dry! I use ‘Vichy intensive care for dry lips’ and ‘Sally Hansen Lip Lab Clinical Treatments’.

Feet – Sally Hansen’s Cracked Heel Repair Crème’ all over my feet after a shower and before sleep. If you can put cotton socks on your feet at night it helps to intensify the treatment.

Nails – mine are drying and brittle. I use Sally Hansen Complete Care treatment. It is clear so men can use it too. Ladies – you can use it as a base coat and apply color as usual.

Hair – I color my hair and before too long it became dry and the scalp was flaking. I switched to a natural shampoo and conditioner – Original Sprout for babies and up. Daily, I work Moroccan oil onto my scalp and through my hair. It is non-greasy and my hair is soft and looks natural.

If you are reading this – you or someone you love, are trying to manage your way through a treatment – I pray that you find the answers to your needs and that you also find the peace and strength to carry you through your journey. May God bless you!

RE: Stage 4 NSCLC and Tarceva Treatment

by ea804 on Tue Jun 23, 2015 08:06 PM

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I'm 61, diagnosed with Stage 4 NSCLC in April 2015. Just started Tarceva 6/17/15, today skin breakouts started.  I printed out all your sugestions and will buy a few to get started.  It was so helpful to see so many issues covered in one place.  I'm so overwhelmed by all of this and the posts on this site have helped.  So may people in exactly the same situation. I don't feel so alone. 

Hope you are doing well, and thank you again.

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