Cancer Treatment, Fifth Week

They way it’s been is I see the radiation Doc who’s supervising the treatment and right afterwards some new side effect starts to develop.

In this case, after the Wednesday appointment of the fourth week my saliva started to get thick and ropy. It got to a point of I’ll call it moderate intensity and stayed there. I can still swallow but it begins to be a chore.

Appetite decreased. Diet has been going toward liquid. Soups, juices, commercial nutrient shakes. I can still chew, but it’s a chore. Lost about 10 pounds in 5 weeks.

Abdomen is experiencing periods of minimal queasiness. I’m supposed to wait for “severe nausea” to take compazine. This isn’t even quite nausea. But going in that direction.

White cells and platelets are down but “not too bad.” They are suspending one of the chemo drugs, taxol, because they don’t like one of my liver numbers. This will slightly change the possibility of metastases in the future.

There are a lot of people who have some kind of cancer. I guess I led a charmed life for about the first five decades. Now I know all these people who have or had it. I mean personally. Plus all these people I see in the waiting areas.

The docs are all saying I’m doing great. Excellent. Exceptional. Maybe they say it to all the patients. Probably, actually.

The athletics are way down last week or so. No cardio, reduced stretch, reduced tai chi, I did a few minutes of aikido rolls last week, once. Only thing in the body-mind space I’ve done consistently has been an organ “sound massage” standing deep breathing thing. Basically singing to resonate various parts of the torso (and throat). I found that I could sing a tone that would vibrate on my right abdomen, where the liver is, and another tone would vibrate the other side where the less dense stomach is. There’s one for the heart region, and the lungs/throat go together. Anyway, call it a meditation if you want, about 20 minutes. Why would someone tell me not to do it?

Fatigue, lassitude, lack of stamina. Taking naps (multiple) every day.

I’d leave my mental state for others to characterize. I don’t think I’m depressed, or anxious, or worried, or any other kind of mental thing that one could get “caught in.” But maybe I’m just kidding myself and I’m miserable. I don’t think so though. I remember being miserable in my past. I’m not feeling that with this. It’s just stuff to deal with, like fixing the car. So, not exactly “happy,” but definitely not “sad.”

The day after two radiation sessions (yesterday) was extra low energy and bits of not feeling good like “almost a stomach ache,” drier mouth, low appetite, lost weight. The next day (today) much better. It’s still morning and I’ve eaten three times what I ate all day yesterday and gained back .8 pound.

Does eating now count as part of the treatment? One of the docs has twice said I have to think of food as medicine. That’s what I do. I force it down. Today is easier than yesterday.

Portions are getting smaller.

The most different part of life is how much time I have to devote to dealing with this. With the naps it’s like 30 hours. Hours of uselessness to add to that. Feels like a full time job.