Back home last night after the second week of the combined chemo/radiation treatment. Another long week in the hospital. Why is it that it’s impossible to get any rest in a hospital? They are not quiet nor restful places. At least this week I had a room to myself, which made it a little easier to get some work done including attend meetings by phone and meant that I didn’t feel bad when having visitors chatting me up.
I’m now exhibiting the side effects that were predicted – sores in my mouth and throat, lots of mucus being produced by my body as it tries to fight off the assault (one of the PAs said “you’re going to feel like you have a sinus infection for the next few months”), dry mouth, and general fatigue and loss of appetite. The goal is to keep eating through all that – they’re recommending between 2000 and 3000 calories a day. That’s hard to do when you can only eat soft, non-acidic, bland foods. The recommendation from the docs is to take pain meds (oxycodone currently) an hour before eating – they say that they can’t cure the causes of the pain during treatment, so the only approach is to mask the pain long enough to cram some food through. Of course the pain meds have their own issues – wooziness, constipation, general space brain conditions. I’ve got more pills than any one man should have, and it’s getting hard to keep track of them.
But I have to say that I’m in much better shape than many of my fellow patients – perhaps because of the smaller radiation field being used as a result of the success of the initial chemo in attacking the tumor. Hopefully I’ll recover some of my elan over this week at home before I have to head back in for the next round! My dad’s coming out this week, which will be great. We’ve had a steady stream of visitors from hither and yon, and it’s wonderful to get that kind of support from all our friends and family. And my wonderful colleagues in Web Services have been sending a steady stream of humorous postcards which really lighten the mood.
Meanwhile I’m looking forward to this being over and starting to think about warm weather bike riding – If you’ve got favorite rides around Chicago or the area, post in the comments!