CLL Support Association
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colds and coughs

My husband and I both had head colds last week. His had settled in his chest with a fearsome cough, low grade fever and general misery. We have been to "urgent care" last Sunday and had a regularly scheduled visit with his oncologist today. Bloods are unremarkable and both doctors think it is viral. Cough is exhausting him. He got a regularly scheduled IVIG treatment today. This just seems to be part of a pattern of bad lung outcomes after FCR treatment a year and a half ago. We are truly grateful for the complete remission of the CLL; but the recurrent lung trouble is wearing him out and frightening me. Just needed to share.

8 Replies


I can understand why you're so concerned about your husband. Sometimes it's more frightening and upsetting to see things happen to the ones we love than ourselves.

Reading previous posts it's seems that he's had a history of lung problems following FCR and a number of investigations. Do the medics think that the chemo may have damaged his lungs in some way or is this more an acute episode? Presumably they don't feel he needs steroids presently or oxygen therapy?

It does seem reassuring that his bloods remain 'unremarkable' and it could be that he's been left with a weakness or some chronic lung toxicity as a result of the chemo. Unfortunately that would make any respiratory infection hit him so much harder.

Please consult his doctor again if there's no improvement or his breathing becomes laboured though it sounds like it's the incessant cough that's causing the main distress. I've had a taste of that when I developed a serious viral chest infection for months and ended up in hospital and that was pre CLL days. Unfortunately it can even happen to fit people and it's very hard going!

I can only offer support and best wishes (I won't use your name because you haven't restricted the post to the community). I hope your husband is feeling much better soon and that he improves massively in time for Christmas.

Warm regards,



Thank you Newdawn. He was put on very intense antibiotics and showed improvement right away; fevers stopped; very bad cough lingers . Can you provide any info about this chronic lung toxicity? He has had repeated bouts of pneumonia and recurring severe cough. Two pulmonologists seemed perplexed and referred him for so many lung CT's we had to put a stop to it (also had two bronchoscopies that left him coughing to breathlessness for HOURS). Any references would be greatly appreciated.


Hi dwolden,

Hope by now your husband is feeling a lot better now and that the IVIG treatments have helped. Sorry to hear of this lingering cough.

I mentioned lung toxicity only as a question really in terms of whether his specialist felt the chemo had left any residual chronic lung problems but it is rare and it sounds very much as if he's had a battery of tests to try and establish any lingering issues.

There is info on the net in relation to this but I'd be reluctant to direct you to it because it may be of no relevance and only cause unnecessary concern.

I hope that things have settled more now and that there's no further major respiratory problems. My father had COPD so I know only too well how distressing it is to live with problems like this.

Hope you have an enjoyable Christmas.


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Thank you Newdawn. He is feeling better fevers gone but still coughing hard and frequently. Thank you for your help and a happy Christmas to you.

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Have them run a throat culture, if they haven't already... fungal infections are more common in CLL than the norm... a fact that seems to elude some doctors.



I was diagnosed with CLL in July 2014 and have had consistent issues with coughing and laryngitis. It has been awful and exhausting. Last week I was told I had viral bronchitis and have been on antibiotics, feeling much better. I was told it could be pneumonia but they are very unsure.

I'm sorry yall are going through this...

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Wendy - Ask to have Ig levels tested - usually IgA, IgG, and IgM. If IgG is very low IVIG infusions can boost the immune system. I agree with Chris about cultures as well. I should have had my never ending sinus infections cultured. Fortunately IVIG has solved that problem.


pkenn...Thank you!


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