View Full Version : Anyone else getting a cold over and over?!?

11-15-2008, 01:45 PM
Hey, there! Okay, I am at my wits end here. Before treatment, I was never sick. Ever. I hadn't had a "cold" in about three years. Just in the last three months, I have had two and this last one (started two weeks ago today) seems to be coming back or just still lingering. It started with the sore throat, stuffy nose, then moved on to coughing up small mammals (LOL). I finally had the dry cough that comes at the end, for which I was thankful as I knew it was the end. That lasted for about a week. It was sometimes productive, sometimes not. THEN, today I have the sore throat again!

I hate being sick now, because I worry about everything else. When I started with the productive cough, I thought--Oh, Lord. It's lung mets. I know I am an idiot--my "colds" run the same course, so I should know what to expect. I thought that I might have the flu, as I was so BONE TIRED last week that I almost couldn't function. I also have chills and general body aches. That's a little better now, but I am still tired. It's almost like going through radiation again.

What do you guys take for the common cold? OTC, supplements, etc.? Give me anything, and I will try it all. I hate feeling like this. I did take a prescription Ibuprofen, Protonix and a Claritin today. I can't say that any of it helped.

Last week, all I took was Mucinex and Delsym (for 2 nights just to get some sleep). I had bloodwork just about three weeks ago, so I had to toss a blood cancer out. Yes, that is how my mind works now. :)

I told my husband that anyone who has had cancer should get a free pass on being sick in any other fashion for at least 5 years. At least!!!

Thank you (as always)...

Take care,

11-15-2008, 02:52 PM
I know the feeling: for the first year or two, every and any symptom made me feel I had cancer. It gets better over time, but it never quite goes away. Or it didn't for me, and I'm 4 years, 10 months out from diagnosis.

My rads tech told me that it can take up to a year to bounce back from surgery and rads. Your whole system is affected. I remember trying to play soccer with my boys, and being outrun by my then 73 year old father, who has a heart condition, joint problems, diabetes and who is a prostate cancer survivor. Not very encouraging.

I used to get colds too. Now all I get is an allergic reaction. ;-( Those virusses are mean; they grab you when you are low. Miserable creatures. But you'll get them in the end. Take it one step at the time. I try to remember that it's better to worry about colds than to worry about a recurrence. This doesn't always work, but hey, I'm only human.

Now cuddle up in a corner with a cup of tea, a good book and allow yourself to feel sorry for yourself for half an hour. See if you can keep it up that long. It always helped me to realize that I couldn't manage to do that for more than 15 minutes or so.



11-15-2008, 03:47 PM
Krista, ditto the "at least!!!"

11-15-2008, 04:33 PM
Krista, what I notice is not so much that I'm sick more often, nor that I get sicker - but that when I do get something, it takes forever to run its course. It isn't more severe, and it's not like I take longer to recover. It's more that it just takes its time to complete its cycle. For example, I'll get a sore throat, and will be aware of it moving around to different areas of my throat for days, and then finally the sniffles will kick in, etc. It makes it hard to know what to do as far as work - I hate to expose others but I can't really take five days off for a simple cold, either. Before chemo, I'd get colds like other people - bam, nastiness for a day or maybe two and then resolving.

I know that when I've had labs done, since chemo, my white count has been slightly subnormal (3 or 4 thousand) but since I haven't seemed to be sick more often, I haven't really worried about it.

Does anyone else notice this slo-mo effect for the cold bugs?

Debbie Laxague

11-15-2008, 04:42 PM
It's common to be sick much more often when your kids start preschool or kindergarten, especially if they haven't been in day care as babies/toddlers, because they bring home so many new bugs for the family to develop resistance to (the hard way).

Debbie again

11-15-2008, 04:59 PM
I have had good results getting rid of congestion with elderberry extract. Take a shot of it or put it in your tea or juice. Some zinc at the first sign of cold has helped me, too.

11-15-2008, 05:08 PM
Thanks, Jacqueline!

I hate to be a baby about a simple cold, but it's not fair. ;)

Take care,

11-15-2008, 05:08 PM

Okay...how about 10?!? :)

Take care,

11-15-2008, 05:10 PM

They haven't said anything about my counts being off. Most of the time I have to ask how my blood counts were! I think they just assume to say something if they are "off." ;)

I own a children's boutique, so I am around kids all the time! That has to be where I am picking it up, as DH and Cooper haven't been sick! Coop has had a stuffy nose, but his is more allergies than a cold.

I just hope it passes, as I am tired of being depressed about being tired. LOL

Thank you and take care,

11-15-2008, 05:11 PM

Do I get those at the health food store? I have always wondered about taking a lot of different things--not knowing if something will work against something else. Maybe ABB will chime in, as I know she knows about these things.

Take care,

11-15-2008, 10:55 PM
You can check with your doctor (not that they'd know anything about something natural) but I was told by a naturopathic doctor that taking siberian ginseng even during chemo helps the immune system, so it's got to be an even bigger boost to the immune system when you're done with chemo. I'm also drinking matcha tea (tastes like yuck) which also doesn't interfer with chemo.

The siberian ginseng looks like little pieces of bark and tastes, well, like dirt, kind of :) you steep 1 tsp in a cup of really hot water for 15 minutes, strain and drink. You can drink 1-3 cups a day. It's an acquired taste...

Just thought I'd throw that in if anybody wants to give it a try.
Hope you're all feeling well soon!


11-16-2008, 12:50 PM
Hi Krista -
Hope you are feeling better this weekend.
What my onc told me is that when I feel a cold coming on, try to shield myself from further germs joining the party. Then they will get together and REALLY make me sick! He wanted to avoid giving me antibiotics.

Number one is LOTS of handwashing during the day.

So, what I did/do (we also have a store) is to get some of the antibacterial wipes and go over as much of the counter, cash register, phone, etc as I can. Before those wipes came out I would keep a spray bottle of bleach solution to spray around at the end of the day so the bleach fumes could dissapate over night.

And anyone who came in and seemed to be sick, I tried to keep my 10 foot distance from them. I heard that is the distance that the airborne germs can't reach. (How true, I don't know.)

I use Emergen-C vitamins. They are in a powdered form and I really DO notice getting over whatever I get faster when I use those. Also drink a "detox" type tea and this helps to break up phlem faster.

Good luck with all the friendly advice here!

11-16-2008, 04:03 PM
Do you have low white blood counts? My doc reminded me several times that the white blood counts and the immune system are essentially the same.
If you are in treatment the chemo might be lowering your white blood counts. The white blood counts are what fights infections including colds. You might want to do whatever it takes to pump that up. All the old fashioned home remedies help. Hot or warm beverages, lots of soup, lots of fruit, veggies, ginger, garlic, onions, lots of mushrooms, honey, and lots of water. Stay away from crowds and strong air conditioning if you live in a warm climate. Good thoughts going your way.

11-17-2008, 09:12 AM
I notice you finished Herceptin in May -- about 6 months ago. You may need more time to fully recover from all the treatment we Her2s undergo. Be very nice to yourself.

Pam P
11-18-2008, 05:48 AM
I am also getting frequent colds. I had one early Sept., another in Oct. that wiped me out over 2 weeks. Now I feel another one trying to get a grip.

I get depressed too - feeling tired, achy, hating the time spent in bed "wasted" when I really want to be up & out doing the things I planned. I'm more resentful when I'm feeling miserable from a cold than from chemo. Chemo I expect to have to have down time from, but the pesky frequent cold seems so much worse because it's something I maybe could have avoided.

I too think it's harder now to get over a cold -- seems to last longer & to take over more of my life. Trying not to take time off work, but aware of spreading my germs if I go to work. Hating it when I'm too sick to enjoy a weekend off. To top it off I have my son, daughter-in-law & 2 kids, 16 months & 2 months all living with me. They bring home colds & when it's in the house it always gets me too. Wish I could live in a bubble!

When I first feel symptoms I start taking vit. c & zinc, drink airborne, but I don't know if it does any good.

I sure set off on a rant about this, but your post struck a frustrating chord for me! I empathize with your frustrations too. After we have a cure for cancer I hope next is a cure for the common cold.

11-18-2008, 06:33 AM
Thanks, everyone!!! I agree that I feel more depressed having a cold and for the same reason! I should be getting healthier, not ending up with each and every little bug out there!!!

I think the cough is the most frustrating. I want to call my ONC., but then again I a) don't want to have any sort of x-rays, etc. this close to the holidays (too much stress and not enough enjoyment with that) and b) since I can constantly feel stuff dripping down the back of my throat, causing the tickle that causes me to cough, I know the cough has a mechanism making it happen.

During the day, I have an intermittent cough, but the morning is the worst. I wake up with a tightness in my chest, but it could also be me anticipating a coughing fit. I cough pretty violently for a few minutes (to the point of tears in my eyes) until I feel the stuff in my nose break up and am able to blow it all out. After that, the coughing stops (except for the drip-related cough). I know that most of us go by the 2-week rule for symptoms, but should I be all that concerned when there is another issue going on?

Meaning, if I were just having a coughing fit with NO drip, I would be much more worried, and would call my ONC. They are used to it, I assure you. :) Sometimes, I just need someone to bring me down and tell me--it's a sinus issue, silly. Believe me, I have looked up "lung mets symptoms" about 15,000 times and it's all pretty muddy...

Thanks so much and take care.

11-19-2008, 12:28 AM
I am a professional hypochondriac. First thought I had was you have a kid. Kids are full of cooties. Being in a kids' store is like being on a cootie farm. When my kids were young I was always either getting a cold or getting over a cold. You need to wipe everything all day with antibacterial wipes. Get a flu shot. And also try some vitamins or green tea to boost your immune system. Once you've had cancer you should never have to have any other ailments or illnesses. I think it's grossly unfair. I also know that being sick with a cold is like a big reminder of what could happen. Try not to let your mind play so many games. Put up little signs that say "it's just a cold".

Last night I had dinner with my man and his kids - ages 10 & 12. I picked up his son and we drove together. After a whole night of hanging out - at 9:00PM his son says he feels sick like he has the flu. Today he had fever and chills and the whole shebang. You can imagine where my mind has taken me. There is nothing I can do because I was exposed. I can only hope and pray I somehow won't get his cooties:) Even typing this story makes me feel creepy. HA!

Feel better.
xo Flori

Andrea Barnett Budin
11-19-2008, 05:09 PM
Oh, Krista,

A cold is minor yet you feel truly horrible. I have noted that Pinkie seems to get frequent really debilitating colds/flus -- the sore throat thing and the chills and all that you describe. The cough is concerning and seems to last way too long. I worry. Like a Mom.

And yes, of course, a pain in my arm *COULD* mean I am having a heart attack, or lymphedema is threatening and my mind goes in all those dark places (as a bc patient). Even 13 yrs out...

I have one good vein in my good arm. It is at my wrist. They accessed it for my last CT scans (in June). I have a giant egg bulging from it. He went in and was successful in only one try! Yea! I felt absolutely no pain. Double yea!! BUT -- apparently the needles went beyond the vein and created a hematoma. It will take some time to dissipate, i was told my onc. It is slightly less bulging. My mind wonders did contrast escape into my body? Have we created a new major issue? Blah, blah...

I hear you, Krista, is my point. We all hear you.

What I do daily is -- first, wash my hands thoroughly numerous x during the day. Hot water. Lots of soap. It is the first thing I do when returning home. Every single x.

I also, daily -- take multiple vitamins. As you know. Those that I believe help ward off colds and such are: Vit C -- 1,000, Co-Enzyme Q10 -- 150X2, Echinacea w/golden seal -- 100X2 (1 week on this and then stagger w/1 wk on Thymulus 750 w/Astragalus 250X2). Plus I take Grapeseed Extract -- 150, Green Teax3, N-Acetyl Cysteine (rids body of toxins), Omega 3 Mega EFA -- 800 and DHA -- 400 x 2, RM-10 Immune System Proten-zyme Mushroom Blend -- 1165 w/Selium -- 200 X 2-3 a day(on empty stomach), Zinc -- 30.

I drink 10 8-oz glasses of bottled water a day -- to flush out any toxins. It makes your skin moist too.

Zicam is very beneficial w/colds/flu!

There are a number of mushroom blends that are great. If, God forbid, I was midst a crisis I would be on one of those. ie. Shitake and/or Ave w/an accent over the e -- 1 packet every other day. Super powered! Also nut onc has suggested Grifon Pro Maitake-D Fraction drops, Lycopom and Neuromins (DHA) 100 -- 3 X 2. I don't feel the need to add these. Lycopom disagrees w/my belly, but has the super strength of 40 pomegranates which is supposed to be excellent! Also Peakimmune -- 250 X 2 and Glutamine -- 500 (this last of which I do take daily).

These were all recommended by nut onc, who has helped keep me and my immune system working well since '98.

Hope all this helps. I think once you've had ca, you must be super alert to contacting a range of stuff.

I hug, but don't shake hands. I kiss keppis (heads). I exchange loving energy. I move away from coughing people. I get the flu shot every yr and I just got my ev 5 yr pneumonia vaccine. My husband does this too, for many good reasons.

Sending you HEALTHY ENERGY, my Sisters all... http://cdn-cf.aol.com/se/clip_art/gstres/anmls/animals-butterfly

11-19-2008, 08:13 PM
Flori...you crack me up. Thanks for the words of wisdom. :)

Andi...I knew you would give me a master list of things that I can try. I can't promise to do it all (I barely remember to take my Tamoxifen every night), but I will look up everything you mentioned.

Update as of today...I went to my PCP yesterday (love him--he's great and is really compassionate about my fears). I seem to have ANOTHER sinus infection. WTH?!? I had one 8 week ago! He reluctantly put me on another round of antibiotics--I say "reluctantly" because he knew I didn't want them, but felt that I really needed them. This one is AMOX. with something else in it. I will also be starting Allegra-D once I have this infection cleared up. I have kind of ignored the allergy issues since I finished chemo, as I was trying to deny that I had suddently developed allergy issues. Chemo--the gift that keeps on giving.

I am already coughing less, and when I do, it's productive. I can still feel some draining in the back of my throat, but it does seem better, as the constant "tickle" is gone. I hope that by next week, I am back to my normal self. Well, as normal as I can be. ;)

As for the handwashing, I am a recovered OCD'r, so I have that one down pat. I guess it's no holding strange babies for a while, or at least until I get the allergies (which I wonder if can make your immune system less resistant, since your body would be fighting them) under control.

Love to you all...

Oh--and there was Diflucan thrown in there, too. We all probably know how that goes. LOL

11-20-2008, 11:31 AM
I usually want to get rid of any cold symptoms asap, so I start dosing with a few things:

Esberitox (was recommended by Cancer Nutrition Center of America's nutritrionist as being very good). It can be purchased at health food stores and you chew nine small tasty tablets, three at a time throughout the day.

Zicam is a gel spray that you put in your nose to ward off cold germs.

Airborne (I use this when I travel, too).

Emergen-C (my fave is raspberry flavor) and I love this product. The B vitamins give me a bit of a zing, so don't take it too late. It really does give an energy boost. Also, available at health food stores.

Fresh squeezed orange juice. I do this daily anyway.

Gargling with warm salt water never hurts.

Halls Defense Vitamin C supplement drops (Assorted Citrus) is good for a dry, scratchy throat.

Hope you feel better,