Two weeks out. Two weeks ago I had my last radiation treatment.
When you go in, you sit in the waiting room waiting for your name to be called. Sometimes you get lucky and you sign in, sit down and immediately your name is called. Other times you go in, sit down, then are bored for half and hour until it is called. I think the worse was about a 45 minute wait.
Depending on where you’re at in your treatment, you either walk back like it’s a nice spring day and you’re outside and the birds are tweeting, or you go back, feeling tired, looking at your feet, the floor, turning corners like you’re on a remote. In the case of my last treatment, you’re feeling the radiation burns you have on your neck. You’re dreading the mouth piece you have to put in, because lately anything that gets half way in to your mouth causes your gag reflex to happen. You make it to the station you’re supposed to go to, you have difficulty talking, so you barely squeak out your name, your date of birth, the location of the tumor. Walking in to the room, you see that the headrest is already wrapped in plastic, the knee thingy is there, the board with the ropes to help pull your shoulders down and out of the way of any radiation is ready to go. You put the mouth piece in and you take it out because you can feel it tickling. You think you have it under control and put it back in, only thing time, the 35th time you’ve done this, it hits you, and you puke. Not a lot, mostly just the water you’ve been drinking. You manage to catch some of it in your hand and make it over to the water basin, but not all of it. It’s ok though, the technicians have seen worse, and they wipe up what little bit there is on the floor. You feel slightly better, by now you know that there are different types of puking, and you also know when you have it under control.
That’s a pretty good idea of what I went through on my last day of treatment two weeks ago. I left out the part where you’re there on this table/board, listening to some music, anything really, to drone out the noise of the machine going on around you, it only makes noises on occasion, you can’t really tell when the radiation is going off, you play mind games of when you think it is, you know it doesn’t “hurt”, but by now you definitely know what the after effects of it are, but you still imagine your neck flaring out in intense pain and a big boil/bubble forming on your neck when the radiation hits.
Fortunately, for me, my neck burns have healed up, I have skin there now. I’ve had skin there now for close to a week, which is very nice. I’m finished wearing my black “wife beaters” around the house and can wear regular shirts without having to worry about rubbing exposed burns with my shirt, or my shirt collars picking up the silvadene that I was slathering on.
My saliva is still a bit off, or it’s just the feeling in my mouth, I’m not using a spit bottle as much, or at all in some cases. I’m drinking more water, I think, which is or might be covering up any saliva issues, I don’t quite know, but overall I think I’m doing better in the mouth department. No more sores on my tongue, or at least they’re healing up, but I don’t feel the pain from them. I still have a couple of blisters on the roof of my mouth, but they change on a daily or bi-daily basis, I’ve not tried popping them, not after the last one I did…ick. So, I’m hoping in the next few days things will return more towards normal.
I’m eating food in the morning, and need to come up with a plan to ween myself off of the cans I’m currently consuming via my PEG. I keep getting asked if I have an appetite, well, how can I have an appetite if I’m putting a can in my gut every three hours from 9am until 9pm? Yeah, I’ve had hunger pangs on occasion, but not every day. So, I’ll probably have to stop say a noon can or a 3pm can and when I get the hunger pang eat regular food, because by then my body will be wanting it. There may still be a lack of taste issue, but I’m not quite sure.
I had a grape fruit popsicle the other day and I could actually taste the grape which was amazingly awesome. However, the apple sauce that I’m eating in the morning, doesn’t quite taste like apple sauce. It might be because it’s a more “healthy” kind without a bunch of added sugar that I’d normally eat, but it’s not completely without taste, just not what I’m use to. Which really tells me I just need to branch out and try some other things, at least in smaller quantities to begin with.
Otherwise my energy levels are doing pretty good, although I’ve not stress tested it by trying to do anything too strenuous, like running or elliptical, but those are definitely some things I’d like to get back to.
One odd thing, shaving. My lip, chin, neck, right side of my face, I haven’t really needed to shave in a few weeks, the left side though has gotten a bit hairy, it’s just weird feeling tiny little stubbles but nothing really coming through. I’m most curious to know if what does come through is my regular color, or if because of the radiation if it comes through white, because if it’s white, then it’ll pretty much all be white. Maybe I can start being Santa earlier than I thought.