Posts Tagged ‘Cancer’

No Cancer … for now!

Friday, September 14th, 2012

I had a follow-up PET CT scan done around the 6th of September.  I got back the results the other day, and have since gone to the doctors for their professional opinion on the results.  However, I’m sort of a bright guy … on occasion, and the part that sticks out the most is where it mentions that there is no hyper metabolic imagery from the scan.  So, at this point in time, there is no more cancer!

I’m currently set up to have a follow up PET CT in six months, so March time frame.  I think this goes on for a couple of years ( every six months ), then it moves out to a yearly check-up.  So, for now, everything is going quite well!

Post week 7

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Wow, has it been seven weeks already.  That’s how many days ( 35 )/weeks ( 7 ) I had of radiation.

So, how am I doing?  I’m doing pretty good.  As far as physical things I’m still having issues with lack of saliva creation is a big one.  My taste is pretty much back, I’d say it’s in the 85 to 95 percent range.  Some things still taste weird, but most things are back to the way they were.

I also have this issue with little blisters in my mouth.  Early on, a few weeks ago, they were in the front of my mouth/roof of my mouth, they’d only appear right after eating/swallowing something.  So, I don’t know if the veins are just weak or what.  Anyway, at this point, these are happening farther back in my mouth, around where my uvula is.  They’re only there for a couple of hours then they go away.  It’s been a bit of a persistent issue, but something I can overlook.


Post week 4

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Didn’t do a post week 3 because I was on vacation, and while I had my computer or other means to update, I really didn’t feel like it.

So, I’m four weeks out now, what’s going on?

I may have mentioned, when I spoke with my hemo oncologist he had mentioned that what I need to do is start eating in the morning, something easy, like apple sauce, or a fruit cup, etc.  Something that just gets me started in to eating again, after not having eaten in about four to five weeks, if not six.  So that was my plan.  Through most of vacation, I’d say, I tried ordering food from the different places we went to, with limited success.  I kept trying though, and over vacation I learned that mustard no longer burned my mouth *YAY!* likewise, I found out that I could taste peanut butter *OMG I CAN TASTE SOMETHING!*  Not only could I taste peanut butter, but the taste didn’t disappear after the first bite/mouthful.

Up to this point, in week three, usually what the taste was really just a “hint” of taste, and the hint of taste was located on the sides of my tongue, not the full mouth flavor/taste that you’d normally get, and eve then the second bite usually the taste disappeared.

Towards the end of vacation and moving in to the weekend my taste buds started to improve, I also started eating more via mouth than via my tube.  Then Sunday came along and I ended up eating the entire day via mouth and it was at that point where I decided that that was it, no more tube feeding.  So far my weight has remained about the same, it’s important not to lose weight at this point of treatment/recovery.

I just finished, for lunch, something that I wasn’t able to finish due to lack of taste a month and a half ago, so that’s a good sign too.  I think I’m definitely improving/improved, and probably close to off the charts from where the doctors expect someone to be, I’ll have to see here in a week when I go back in for my next hemo oncologist checkup.

About the only things I can think of that I really need to do is, try to exercise – not really a cancer related item, but I did stop after a bit when treatment started due to fatigue; saliva – still an issue, doesn’t feel like it’s where it was before treatment; taste – it appears to be improving every day, and I just need to keep trying new things as I found out a few days ago when I found out that Ritz crackers taste just like they’ve always tasted!

Post week 2

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

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.


Post week 1

Friday, July 6th, 2012

It’s been a little more than a week since my last radiation treatment. I thought about doing this on Tuesday, but didn’t. I’m a slacker, have the t-shirt to prove it!

So, how has the week gone? I’ve been able to sleep, which is a big plus. My radiation burns appear to have mostly been healed over/up by now, it just looks like I have these weird patches of skin on both sides of my neck.

My saliva is still kind of thick, I haven’t really used my spit bottle, much, in the last day or so, so I’m hopeful that it’s getting a little bit more back to normal.

Talking can still be a bit of a hassle, I’m finding myself having to modulate a little bit to try to get through any phlegm/saliva that might be causing issues. But I’ve been on phone calls, carried on conversations so there is that.

I’ve taken my doctors advice, yay for listening to your doctors!, and am eating at least once a day, just so I can get use to it again after not really eating anything by mouth for the past few weeks. His prognosis is that if I do this, force myself to consume something, within a month I’ll be eating 80 to 90 percent of my calories again. The hard thing is, there still isn’t any taste there, and that just makes eating not all that enjoyable.

Energy level appears to be ok, although my last blood pressure check was pretty low. I’ve not done anything to strain myself, much, so I can’t be for sure if I’m good to go, or just so so.

I have a check-up with my radiation oncologist on Monday, we’ll see how that goes.

Day 35 – Last radiation treatment.

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Had my last radiation treatment today, go me!

Sort of.

I have this horrible case of mucus coming from my sinuses trying to choke me, so I’m constantly having to try to form a loogy, sometimes it works, sometimes it just brings up stomach contents. I’ve been doing some Mucinex to help out with it, but it makes it almost too dry.

My regular spit still seems to be rather thick, so I’m spitting it in to an empty deer park bottle, as well as the loogies I bring up.

Let’s see, what else. Thrush is still with me, don’t know if that’s what is causing the pain when swallowing, as it did in the first week or so of having it, only to go away ( the pain with swallowing, although the thrush never disappeared entirely ) or if my throat is just burned from the radiation. At this point in the treatment I’m willing to bet it’s probably burned/damaged in some way that will need to heal.

I have radiation burns across my neck, more heavily on the right side than on the left, since the right is where my lymph tumors were. It’s going to take anywhere from two to three weeks for my body to regrow the skin there, so until then I just have to keep this silvadene stuff on it which is really meant more for it’s anti-bacterial use more than any healing use, plus it helps take the sting out a bit and helps to hydrate the area. So, for now, I sit around the house in my black wife beaters because the necks are wide enough to not touch the burns.

Also, sleeping, I’ve maybe gotten a few hours of sleep over the past couple of days ( and before then I’d argue I’d gotten none in about five to six days ). I don’t know if it’s because of the resting naps I take during the day ( where I usually don’t fall asleep, I just try to relax ) to help with the whole being tired/worn out, or just my body saying not right now. Part of it might be due to the mucus, coughing and hacking yourself awake at 4 in the morning because some mucus almost choked you to death is not a pleasant feeling. It’s also hocking up the loogies every 15 to 30 to maybe 40 minutes, there’s no real time in there to fall asleep before you wake up again to make another deposit.

What is better? I can poop! This is very important, and anyone who has ever been blocked up for any appreciable amount of time can understand. Part of chemo is giving you a pretty powerful anti-nausea medicine which also dries up everything, you also have other anti-nausea medicine that you take in pill form as well that just prolongs the issue. Anyway, after being off of that stuff for a time ( week and a half since last chemo ) I’m finally back to some semblance of normal.

I have an additional medicine that’s supposed to dry up my mucus/spit a bit, but of course it’s normally an anti-nausea medicine so one of the side effects is constipation, and I don’t know what’s worse, being backed up or having to spit every 20 minutes ( especially after the thing I had to do last time I was backed up that I won’t give any details on ). At this point, I think some of the being tired is due to lack of sleep, so I’ll probably give it a try and see how it works over the next few days.

There’s also the sores in the mouth. I popped a blister a while back that was dangling from the roof of the back of my throat, that was a mistake ( I was playing with it ). I’ve had smaller blisters, that weren’t dangling, that I’ve left alone and they seem to disappear in a day or three. I would call it discomfort in my mouth and pain swallowing, and while I didn’t ask, it’ll probably clear up about the same time my skin regrows on my neck.

Due to the phlegm/mucus, I don’t really like talking right now. I don’t want to exhale while talking too hard for fear it will hurt, and I can’t really modulate to a regular voice because it sounds watery and I constantly have to do a throat clear.

That’s it for now, my 35 days of cancer treatment for Head and Neck Cancer, T1N2bM0 was the classification for it, it was diagnosed as HPV related Head and Neck, which gives me something approaching a 90% survival rate out to five years ( I think in the literature it says 89% but the docs all bumped it to 90% to make it sound better ), and is supposedly one of the easiest to treat/eradicate with the one/two punch I’ve done of chemo and radiation. I have a couple of follow-ups in a couple weeks with both of my oncologists. I’ll have a follow-up PET CT scan in about three months to see if the treatments have done their job and then we’ll go from there.

Day 34

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Uno Mas!

Day 33

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Two more to go … just two more. I think I can, I think I can.

Day 32

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

One step closer. 32 down, three to go.

Day 31

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Not much more to add. Could talk about bodily functions, but what fun is that.

Finished up my radiation today, and only have four left. I’ve got radiation burn going on my neck for sure, I sit around the house wearing a wife beater because the neck is large enough that the fabric doesn’t touch it and irritate it any more.

Ug, I’m so ready for this to be over.