My father is 76 years old and diagnosed in October 07 as stage IIIB. Since he started Chemo, he has been in and out of hospital ER & ICU with shortness of breath and rapid heart rate or pulse (up to 160 bpm). Cardiologists say he has atrial fibrillation and heart issues could be caused by lung cancer or chemo treatments. He has been given heart meds such as Lowpressor, Cartizen, aspirin, etc. to regulate rate, but this also has caused low blood pressure. He is now practically bed ridden due to extreme weakness and fatigue. Voice gone to whisper. Appetite is ok. Occasionally coughing up brown mucus. Chemo drugs include about 6 treatments of Taxol, Carbo, and Avastin, and recent CT scan shows good results. Oncologist is now recommending to take a few weeks off chemo to increase strength. Then start back with a different chemo drog...Gemcitabene...as this may prevent heart problems if that is cause. Questions...If and how long will it take to regain energy level now that suspended weekly chemo treatments? Is it the lung cancer itself, the heart medication, or chemo drugs causing this rapid heart rate and/or fatigue? Has anyone heard or used Gemcitabene...side effects and results?
Also, I am seeing father's condition rapidly declining while local doctors try to figure this out. Does anyone recommend or have experience with Moffitt Center, MD Anderson, or other reputable cancer centers as a next step? Seems like a team of doctors who understand the relationship between these lung/heart issues may be able to solve this problem. Currently father is home with stable heart rate, but still high risk of clot or stroke since unable to walk much.