Hello Family and Friends:
I am a day late in getting this week's update out as we were busy yesterday at a family reunion for Annette's family and I still wasn't feeling very well following the final chemo treatment on Thursday. However, I woke up this morning feeling much better and I even had some appetite for the first time in 3 days. Thank God for little things.
Yep, we're done with this phase of our treatments! Six weeks of radiation treatments (28 in total), and 6 chemo infusions of one drug, two of another, and 28 days of oral chemo pills (10/day) and we're done. Thank God. In reflection, I can say that I had 3 pretty good weeks (1, 2, & 6) and 3 that were a struggle (3-5). While it is physically challenging, I can say the mental challenge was more than I expected it to be. The mind can be a very powerful thing, (even mine,) more so than I can recall at other time in my life.
The simple act of saying "chemo" over the past several weeks often brought about involuntarily gagging. Also, for a couple of weeks there, I couldn't even hear the word chocolate without getting queasy. This was due to the first time I got so sick from the chemo I upchucked my lunch which included a chocolate dessert and got to see it again. Little things like that play with your mind which in turn controls physical feelings. Smell associations are also something I am now dealing with. I have no desire for coffee anymore as I associate the smell of coffee with the RT waiting room where they had coffee and cookies for the patients. Weird. Maybe I need a hypnotist to get me back to my old self. Oh well, there are worse things for sure.
Overall Week 6 was good until Thursday's chemo infusion. All I had was RT the first 3 days and that was no problem. Got the infusion and I was fine for about 8 hours until I got sick and I haven't felt well since then, until the middle of the night last night. Then it broke much like you might expect with a fever when it breaks. As I said, weird but true.
We are home now and in the rest and rehab role. We have nothing further until 4/22-23 when we return to Duke for two full days of follow up testing, bascially doing everything they did originally (pet scan, endoscopy, etc.) to see how effective all the treatments were. A decision will be made at that time as to when my surgery will be but they anticipate approximately 2-4 weeks following that, or around mid-late May. I need to put some weight back on as I have lost about 20 pounds recently. This is not the type of diet one wants to go on. My muscle tone is gone.
I probably won't update my blog much here for a while unless things change. The doctors told me I should start feeling somewhat normal again in about 10 days. To that I say hoorah as I'm sure Annette does too. She has been an amazing trooper throughout this entire process supporting me in every way and bugging me to take medication or food or whatever when I didn't want to. She has had to lather me up with skin creams lately, mainly on my back, as I have very dry skin now from the RT. I'm sure I couldn't have gotten through it without her. Even Guinney, our dog, was right by my side much of the time I was sleeping as she knew I wasn't well. Every time I would upchuck she would start barking at me like she was giving me encouragement.
Well I guess that it is for now. I can't thank all of you enough for all of your well wishes, your thoughtful cards, and, most of all, your continued prayers. They were all more welcomed than you can ever imagine. Also, please continue!! We need and appreciate every single one. I also love to hear comments back from you either via the blog or via e-mails. It reminds me just how blessed I am.