My husband is a 6 year lung cancer patient who has been through all kinds of treatment over the years. I am his wife and caregiver. Just 2 months ago, he was taken off chemo after weekly treatments for a year. He slept all the time when in treatment and now he is having tremendous difficulty all night long. In addition, I am not sleeping either. We both take medication (several) and nothing is working. I fall asleep and am up every hour on the hour which makes functioning during the day impossible and I can't nap. At times now, since he is feeling better off of treatment he can take a short nap, where as before he was sleeping all day and all night. The oncologist just wrote a rx for another sleeping pill, but it didn't work and left us in a daze today. Our other Dr. has written different rx's including anti-depressants and tranquilizers but nothing settles us down enough to relax and earn some good sleep. It is getting extremely frustrating and impossible to function appropriately. Understanding the situation, what do you recommend? We need help! Are you allowed to suggest names of medications that we might take to our Dr.? Besides the stress and worry what else can it be and what can we do to alleviate this one problem? Thanking you in advance.
I do understand your frustration and the difficulties of taking care of your husband when you both cannot sleep. Poor quality or disturbed sleep in common in cancer patients. The mechanisms are unclear, but may be related to medications, prior therapies, primary sleep disturbances such as sleep apnea, circadian rhythm disturbances, or behavioral issues. Pain and other cancer related symptoms often contribute. A multi-pronged strategy is often required to address this. Sleep medications may be part of the solution, but may not (as you have experienced) work by themselves. We would be glad to see you and your husband ib the Sleep Center, at MD Anderson so that we can address your specific issues. If you are not an MD Anderson patient your physician should be able to recommend a Sleep Center for you to visit. Please call 1-877-632-6789 if you would like an appointment.