Well it is time for another update.
I had my second session of chemo today and it was just as long a day as the first time. My sister was with all day again and although she offered minty cookie again I asked for a raincheck since I am having a hard time getting any food down. Yoghurt still seems ok but anything has to be soft and not very sweet. I can’t taste sweet anymore and it throws off the flavour of pretty much anything but especially if the original is sweet. That coupled with the damage the radiation is now doing to my mouth and throat makes chewing anything and even moving food around in my mouth prior to swallowing quite a painful experience. If you have ever had small ulcerative sores in your mouth you know how painful they can be. At present I have six of them and a throat that feels like a bad strep infection and just raw all over. Other than the pain though there is none of the usual feverish or sick feeling that usually goes with this. If anyone wants to duplicate the feeling to experience the fun go lie in a tanning bed and keep your mouth wide open. On second thought don’t that sort of shit might give you cancer and then where would you be.
Don’t think it’s all bad though. I have in a matter of exactly 21 days managed to lose 26 lbs or 11.8 kilos for any metric wonks out there. A long time ago in a galaxy far away I used to coach high school rowing crews and had, as part of that to help kids make weight for some of the events, and still try to keep them healthy during the process. We aimed at a loss of 2 lbs per week, and metric wonks can go to hell cause metric hadn’t been invented yet, and explained that more rapid weight loss could harm them by;
A/ Not getting enough of the micro nutrients we should all have in our diets
B/ Not getting enough fluids in and that also causes all sorts of shit you don’t want
C/ Your body if deprived of enough protein will start digesting your own muscles in order to try to stay alive.
Come to think of it although in normal circumstances I could sure afford to lose the weight this might be a bit too fast for optimal performance and safety.
Strangely enough that is exactly what both doctors, the head nurse, the nutritionist, and everyone else involved in my treatment think too.(Just as an aside it’s not wussy to have a whole team to treat me. I’ve always been a team player.)
Hence my second longest day of the week, Tuesday, wherein I got fitted for a truly fabulous feeding tube. This little accessory is to be with me till the end of treatment on March 4. 2010, 16:45:02. (not that I’m looking forward to that spot on the calendar or anything), and almost certainly a month longer maybe even 2 till the mouth heals up a bit and I can get a more normal diet in.
The procedure was fine. Other than being a bit weak and fainty because of the inability to get anywhere near enough food in over the weekend and Monday. It was easy breezy. About 30 minutes on the OR table where a dice doctor stabbed me through the abdominal wall and into the stomach with a needle about 3 ft long and 2 inches in diameter and left behind the tube as she withdrew the needle. Well sometimes things look bigger when your lying down looking up at them. Just a hint for the boys who want to impress that special someone.
It has already helped as I have been able to get a normal calorie intake for the last 2 days and feel much better already.
All in all the treatments are going according to plan. My sister and I have both noticed that both doctors, at our meetings have a habit of asking if there are any new or worsened symptoms and then invariably say “Yeah but sorry it’s going to get worse before it gets better”. The nice doc today said that probably won’t be till the treatment stops and even a week or so after the last radiation, scheduled for March 4. 2010, 16:45:02. when I should start to see some healing and gradual improvements. As one of my favourite writers often put it. “So it goes.”
There have of course also been many good things happen through this. My family has all gotten behind me especially Sheana. The other 2 live quite a distance away but both have offered to take vacation time to come here and help if it is needed. I have a few friends. People that have known me for decades that have also helped with driving chores and sending me terrible jokes and just doing the things that old friends do for or to each other. And I have received kind thoughts, best wishes and prayers from lots of digital people who I suspect might actually exist in the real world too.
One of the strange things about cancer is that you don’t necessarily feel bad till the disease has progressed a long way. Till the weekend I was still able to get out for a walk at least once a day. And if I could remember not to move jaw or my tongue I was essentially pain free. ( The rumbling you hear are a vast number of my teachers, bosses, and both parents rolling over on finding that out). I expect to be out walking again now that I can get some food in again.
But in the check up today with the chemo doctor and the nurse. BP and temp were taken. Symptoms reviewed. Mouth looked at. Then the nurse palpated my neck and declared what I had already sorta kinda thought myself.
The tumor has started to shrink.
Now I’m no doctor but I think that’s a good thing.
Do you realize March 4. 2010, 16:45:02. Is less than a month away.