We’re now eleven (11) days into radiation therapy for my oropharyngeal carcinoma. Well, that should probably read as ‘eleven treatments’. We started the treatments on January 25, 2008 and yesterday, Friday, February 8, 2008 was the eleventh treatment. I do get weekends and holidays off… The final radiation treatment day is scheduled for March 11, 2008, which will give us a total of 31 sessions.
I’m finding that the radiation is, in concert with the ongoing effects of the chemo, tiring me out far more than I expected. After having done some research on the topic, I believe that I have been handling it a bit poorly; I should be going to the gym to use the treadmill each day. Exercise generates energy. Inertia generates ennui. As it is, I come home from the early morning treatment, have a light (or non-existent) snack, lounge on the couch and find myself waking up two and three hours later. This is not good. This is really not so good when I still find the need to take a late afternoon nap that will also last two hours. I suspect that it is affecting my overnight sleep.
Now, for those of you who are shaking their heads about the comment about using a gym for something as simple as walking to get some exercise, please remember that I am in Northern Alberta where the high temperature today was -28c. Do you wanna join me for a walk in that temperature, or would you prefer to meet me at the gym?
I did sneak out earlier this week to have coffee with a friend and wander around Chapters for a couple of hours. It was a wonderful respite with people and books and scents and sounds and sights… but it did take its toll. I came home and immediately crashed for about three hours.
With the chemo therapy, we are now 16 days since the first course of poisons were injected into my system. In theory, we are coming out the other side of the immune system depressive effects and start on the upswing again. (I really should NOT have indulged in my trip to Chapters earlier this week! I could have picked up something really nasty… but it was fun.) February 20, 2008 is when we’re scheduled to for the next course… gee, I’m soooo looking forward to it… please notice the sarcasm…
My weight loss continues to be a concern. So far I have lost 28 lbs. since the we started this… I weighed 208 lbs. the day before surgery. I now weigh I80 lbs. And I don’t trust our scales… when I stepped on them this morning, the reading was 178.8 lbs., which then rebounded to 180. Food doesn’t have much appeal to me, which makes it really tough to force myself through what used to be favourites: chicken stew, chili con carne, meatloaf. Even ice cream holds no real promise of flavour. The various fruit juices I am using to remain well hydrated all taste the same. This morning Gail tried to blend together what should have been a fabulous shake, but it, too, was lacking in flavour ‘punch’. I just can’t seem to taste the sweetness. Damn.
My shoulder is only just ‘okay’ at this point and will need some fairly serious work at some point soon, largely because of my inactivity. I have been trying to paint, but the strain on my shoulder does make it somewhat tiring, not to mention that my painting is generally crap anyway, which is another tiring point. I need to take a few more courses. Time on the computer, writing, hasn’t been what it has been. Its not just the shoulder… the tiredness actually seems to sap my creativity when I get to the computer. Lying still, hovering between wakefulness and sleep, I seem to be able to think of some pretty amazing things to write, but the moment I get up and head for the computer, they’re gone… I’m trying to read, both fiction and ITIL, job related stuff. Even the fiction doesn’t hold my interest for long. I found this really fun book titled “Gods Behaving Badly”, but even that doesn’t hold my interest for any length of time. Damn.
My jaw is still tight, my tongue tires easily. But there seems to be some merit in the speech pathologist’s plan to address the deficiencies after the radiation. Apparently I have yet to encounter the potential mouth sores, the sore throat, the difficulty swallowing. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to spend too much time on speech when it will degrade anyway. We might as well wait for the healing after radiation to begin…