Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December 1 Part 2

  Now to get this arm back. Denise had to tie my shoes this morning as I couldn't get my arm enough in use to tie them. Me & Charlie stopped at Hardees and ate this morning on the way down.     

  I met with the Radiologist (Dr Green) today after the treatment.  Considering the cocktail to keep me from freaking out, I did quite well remembering to ask the questions. Green seemed to be sincere, as most of the ones I have encountered are. They take their time and answer questions. We discussed the shoulder and he thought that the radiation has no part in the pain and didn't need shielding. Just in case I thought I would remind him that I have 2 stints in my heart, lol. There is also the possibility of it being C5 & 6 in my neck and referred pain, especially since my left hand is numb.

  He was pleased with the progress. I asked him about the chunks of tan looking meat that occasionally come up, they turn black after a while. He wasn't sure if it is scab, clot, or tumor. I told him the pain associated with them when they break free, then again I breathe better each time they come loose. I guess it's a trade off. We discussed the fatigue that seems to go along with all of this. He seems concerned for depression, another side effect but at the same time shocked that I seem to take it well. I told him the secret is that no moment is forever on earth, be it good or bad, no moment lasts forever. So we cherish the good ones and tolerate and learn from the bad ones. If it weren't for bad moments, we would not appreciate the good ones.   

  He suggested a humidifier for the dryness, I was one up on him on that one, already do that. Denise makes me keep my lips moist, now if that would just work with the mouth and throat. Oddly enough I can still drink Coke, little burn but not bad.  Green said this was number 10. Unless something changes that only leaves 20 more. I can feel the burning inside now when they do it. Not  really pain, just burning. It seemed to hit at different angles from the best I could tell. Afterward I was hoarse and had a course voice but it is getting better now in the evening. It once again feels like there is a knot that things have to get past before they go down, but not as bad as it was when we first started. Dr Green also mentioned my weight, I'm at 215 now. I reminded him that I had gained intentionally just for this. In 2005, my first chemo, I went from 231 to 193 in about 3 weeks so I knew what was coming.  

  We meet with Panella Friday since he has a conference to go to next week. I'm hoping the Lortab will suffice until then but they are going fast at 2-3 at a time every few hours. Apparently I graduate to a more potent drug again, Enocet was the last step up, but it can't be called in. Next Wednesday is Chemo again, number 4 and I pray the last one. I'm just not sure if I could do anymore of them or even this one for that matter. Each one seems to take longer and longer to recuperate from. I dread the long trips the first few days afterward, nothing like riding with a bucket between your legs, lol. Of course we do have one of those hangers that gets us in the preferred parking places, lol. I got a temporary one because I know this isn't going to be forever and I only use it when I have to. There are people a lot worse off than I am that need those special places to park.

  Hopefully this will be an event-less night. 

December 1st

  Well its 3:42am, and I've slept for about 2 hours and awake with a terrible pain. Not my shoulder, but my mouth, throat, and even my lips.  Both feel like they have dried and cracked open. I remember Panella saying it could be a side effect and this has been throughout the whole process, but normally they come back by now. They being the Saliva Glands. I also remember Green saying they could be saved and maybe they will be, for now however it doesn't look like they have been. My teeth even hurt. The terrible taste has still not stopped this time and the milky looking spit. So I'm up now until the pain meds can take effect. 2 lortab 10s. I do have some Lidocane and just now remembered it, so I do a tablespoon of that. I swish it around and instead of swallowing it I swallow it.

  My shoulder is still hurting badly. It hasn't hurt this bad since the surgery. I asked the radiology ladies if it should be shielded during the radiation since it has an anchor and they said no. Who knows, maybe I injured it in one of the drug induced sleeps I've had to do. Dear God how I'd like to sleep just 8 hours.... even 5 or 6 hours without awaking in intense pain.

  Yesterday I reflected back, something probably best not done right now and thought how odd that I survived a heart attack only to end up with a Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma and now add to that, throat cancer. How in I day at times I have taken more pain meds than all the surgeries combined, all the dental work combined. How Lortab 10 once knocked me out, as did Edocet and now it takes 2-3 just to be able to function. Just now, as I write, the pain is trying to radiate into my right ear. But at least I have the pain meds, I ran out over the weekend... my fault.

  Slowly they are taking effect and who knows, maybe I can squeeze in another hour or two before I have to get up and get dressed for radiation treatment # 10. I keep trying to look at it positively but it is hard to sometimes. It makes me wonder why God just didn't let it end that night I had my heart attack.

  I guess I shouldn't be complaining, I can still eat out once again at a restaurant without being embarrassed making gurgling and choking sounds. I can still swallow, a bit difficult, but after I have water of something wet, I can still swallow, usually with minimal pain. More importantly though, I have a great family, friends, and doctors and nurses.

  The Lotabs have eased it off with the Lidocane, but I'm still afraid to go back to sleep, not because of the sleep but rather the waking up in pain again. There was a time I tolerated pain quite well. That time has passed. Already my body says sleep but my mouth is completely dry, only getting wet when I take a sip of water.  I know that will end in the same scenario as led to me being up this late writing.

  The things I know make sure I have are water, a spit bottle, and my pain meds close. Oh yea, and the numbing meds and something to settle my stomach from all this junk.

 I was asked what my expectations were on returning to work today. My answer was that it is like trying to see people on Mars. That for now I just try and figure out how to survive each day. That seems enough task for me right now. I have goals, but most are the result of the outcome and just that one day and the aspirations that tomorrow might be better. Well, I'll numb myself one more time and try and get in about 30 minutes sleep before it starts again.