Wednesday, June 11, 2014

News from the Chemofront

Radiation machine
We're about 30 percent through the chemo/radiation regime here and I wanted to post an update on how things are going.

The first thing to say of course is that as far as success or failure in actually treating the disease is concerned, no-one can say what's happening.  We're not attacking a substantial tumor here which one might see shrinking: we are looking to eliminate invisible microscopic bits which might have been left behind even by the marvelously skilled surgery that I received in April.  So, no news (and let's hope that is good news).

So what I'm more focused on right now is the side effects of radiation (sores in the mouth, difficulty swallowing, stiffness of muscles) and chemotherapy (nausea, taste changes, sun sensitivity) and how well I am managing them.  And in that respect the news is good so far.  I have some sores starting, but I am still enjoying my food and actually gaining a little weight (I am under instruction to load up now because it may be harder later) and the pain is managed well by Dr Quon's drug regime.  And I have had no chemo-related nausea yet.  Thanks, Zofran!   (Even though you make me constipated.  In fact, pretty much all the meds seem to have that effect...)

Apart from "eat plenty and healthy" the other instruction I received was to keep exercising and that I've managed to do so far.  There is a gym with cardio and weights on the Hopkins campus - intended for staff, but long term patients like me can get access.  I've been there regularly and the other day was able to make it out to an Earthtreks climbing wall as well. So that seems good news.

And I am beyond blessed by the cherishing care of my wife Liane.  When I get confused or frightened or angry, her wisdom and love are like a refreshing drink of cold water on a broiling summer's day.  When we made those "in sickness and in health" vows back in 1986, we meant them: but somehow I hadn't really thought through what it would mean to be the person who receives the cherishing, the sick one, the needy one.  We so like to think of ourselves as strong, don't we?  Well, sometimes we're not.

For the future: I've had an easy start, and I've met a lot of people who are in a much worse place than I.  I expect the next couple of weeks will be harder than these last ones have been, so keep me in your thoughts and prayers (if you pray).  I so much appreciate all the messages of support that you've sent via Facebook or email or whatever.  They touch my heart.  Thanks a bunch!

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