My ex-husband finished his series of chemotherapy and all of his radiation approx. 1 week ago. He has since had one blood transfusion and will likely have another today. His WBC count is virtually non-existant and his RBC's are dropping to critical as well. He has been in the hospital for 3 days now due to nausea and vomiting/dehydration. He told me that yesterday he coughed up what appeared to be a large piece of flesh that he suspects may be tissue from his esophagus or lung. He said it looked like a purple bloody piece of shredded chicken. (Sorry, if this is too descriptive!) Is this normal? He says that it has happened before but it was much smaller than this last one. He's really have a rough time. Should I be worried? He is probably going to get another shot of Neulasta today for the WBC's and hopefully that will help. He seems to be having every complication possible.
The chances of coughing up some pieces of biologic tissue is dependent on the proximity of the cancer through the larger airways. If he has received no treatment at all, then this event may signal worsening of disease. If he has received treatment, especially radiation – there may be an initial period where some dead tissue will be expectorated. So if this was an isolated event, it may not be necessarily alarming. Treatment with antitussives may be helpful, as the force of the cough may cause some healing tissues to break out.
The recovery of the blood components does get harder with more cycles of chemotherapy, it is good that he has completed it and so he would get a treatment holiday.
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