Posted by: dave1949 | 2010/05/10

May 7 checkup

It is probably time for me to stop complaining about how much this whole cancer thing sucks. That said there is still one little bitch I have but it will keep for a little, till the end of the post.

It is 2 months now since the treatments stopped and although the progress is slower than I would like and slower than I expected the doctors tell me my doing about normal for this sort of thing.  I still have some small sores in my mouth and a bit of swelling on the right side of my neck and jaw. That is the area that was being targeted by the radiation treatment and which sustained the most damage. I am also going through the process of figuring out what tastes ok and what doesn’t. There doesn’t seem to be much logic I can find. Most sweet things still taste odd but not all of them. I also seem to be very sensitive to salty food. The worst part is its never really clear if the food is actually over salted or if it just seems that way to me because my taste isn’t working correctly. Needless to say if there is anyone there who has ever tried to reduce salt in their diet this is the way to go. Just about every prepared foodl sold in Canada is laced heavily with sugar, salt, fat or all three of them. The docs would be perfectly happy with me eating more fat right now to keep my weight up but the sweet and the salty are flagged for me more than usual with my sense of taste as it s right now. The good news is that although the sores in my mouth still limit any spicy or acidic food I am finding it easier and easier to swallow so that now the only physical limits I find are trying to eat anything very dry.

Speaking of physical here to the recovery is progressing slowly. I am now able to go for walks of about 1/2 hour and even managed to climb up the escarpment last week. That feat of mountain climbing was performed just in the back of Brock university where the elevation gain is about 160 ft up a nicely graded gravel road. I have been up and down that hill a few hundred times in my life and used to be able to run multiple reps  as part of my training. This time it was about a 20 minute stagger with a couple of pauses but I did get to the top. (Of course when I was running this thing I was also about 40 years younger but I’m sure that has nothing to do with the slowness I find now. I’m blaming the cancer.) I am however still stymied to some extent by my dry mouth. Saliva production is still nowhere near normal and so any exertion that gets me breathing through my mouth dries it immediately and is quite uncomfortable. The Doc gave me a prescription for something that is supposed to help with that although he warned that it only works some of the time. Supposedly I’ll know within a month if the drug is helping.

Speaking of the Doc I went to see him last Friday. This was another follow up appointment. On Tuesday I went to the hospital for another Head and chest ct scan complete with radioactive dye. This was the second last test to check the results of the treatment. I get one more of these in 4 months as the final step in the process.

Well the results are all I could have hoped for.

No sign of cancer found with the ct scan.
The doc threaded a scope up my nose and down my throat and could see no cancer that way either.
Then he grabbed me by the throat and squeezed, poked and prodded but still couldn’t find anything to worry about.

Now I go back for another check up in 2 months and then the ct scan again in 4 and unless something else crops up between now and then i am cured. The nice doctor said I was good as new which was quite disappointing for my sister but I’ll take it for now.

And now for the one last real bitch about this. I tried my first beer since early January last night. It tasted like crap. What’s the point of being cured if that doesn’t resolve itself.



  1. As far as I can tell that’s all great news! About as good as it can get! (The beer thing will resolve itself over time and while you’re waiting it gives you an excuse to sample all of the new special brews until you find just the right one.)

  2. Try wine….

    The important thing is you made it to the top of the hill. I’m thrilled with that and I wasn’t even sick. (I don’t even want to use the C word – i’m paranoid that way).

  3. Was it American beer? If you chew gum or suck on some hard candies does that generate any saliva? You could be like those old people that always have a pocket full of Werthers or Humbugs. I think old people’s mouths get dry too.

  4. Montucky, Thank you, it is all good news but you are sadly mistaken about one thing. There is no room for thinking about 1 “right beer” Different beers are right for different times and occasions. I just hope the taste buds come around and realize this without too much more delay.

    Jazz, Yeah I have to admit getting up the hill at all felt pretty good. I’m sure it will feel even better later as my energy level improves.

    XUP, shame on you even suggesting such a horrible thing. American beer at least of the major brewers is an oxymoron. I have tried some candies but the problem is my saliva glands just aren’t producing much saliva. That’s part of the problem with the taste of things as well. Even lemon drops or mints don’t start any saliva flowing. Maybe next week.

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