Today was the half way point! So excited. I honestly don't have a lot to update on- just figured that this milestone deserved it's own post.
Overall, I'm still doing very well. My throat has it's moments of bad pain, but so far everything is tolerable. My energy level comes and goes. It's 7:19 as I write this, and bed is looking like it may come very soon. I think that is the hardest part- the energy level is just none. I always have these grandiose ideas of getting things done, but just never get to them. Oh well, just how it goes I guess.
While I am getting the calories that I need (still can't believe that they say that I need about 3400 calories a day), it is getting more difficult. Anything that is not very soft is harder to swallow. Anything that leaves crumbs in your mouth are horrid, as I produce no saliva to help take care of them. I have multiple sores now on the inside of my mouth, so trying to clean up those crumbs with my tongue just makes it all painful. My best friends lately seem to be macaroni, mashed potatoes, ice cream and yogurt. They say that the sores will not go away until well after this is done, and that more will probably appear- I have something called mucusitus- a heavy mucus that forms in your mouth. That is what is causing the sores. Honestly, it's pretty nasty. Maybe too much detail for some here, but when I spit, it sticks to my tongue or my lips. It's so thick it won't come out.
The magic mouthwash, which I mentioned in an older post, does help to comfort this quite a bit. It seriously is like the consistency of glue it's so thick. I take just a little bit of it, swish it around the best I can, then, depending on if my throat needs it, either spit it out or swallow it. Whatever it touches, basically, it numbs. They say it's a mixture of lidocane, maalox and benadryl. It does the job for a while at least. The problem is that it's so thick, its hard to swallow. And, while my taste is pretty much gone, for some reason, my tongue finds it comical to still be able to taste this and other medicines.
Tomorrow I have my last long appointment they do under the mask. They again have to take a series of images so that they can change the pattern that I am receiving radiation in one more time. They say that I will be under the mask for about an hour, starting at 10- so if you read this before then, send me some good vibes, because with my mouth already feeling so beat up, this is getting tougher. Once those images are done, it's just standard appointments for the rest of the time. On Tuesday of next week, they start the new pattern. They will change from radiating me in three spots (it's always been three spots so far) to just two, but say that those two spots will be pretty intense. They think that if the cancer is still anywhere, that is where it is. I will do that for 5 appointments, then I'm outta there!
Once treatment is done, they tell me that it will still be at least 6 months before I am feeling human again. Things will come back slowly according to them. They say that taste usually returns in 2-6 months afterwords, that heavy fatigue is expected at least six months out, that a return to a normal level of salivation is probably never going to happen, but will get better within a year or two. They also say that I probably won't feel normal again until about a year out- and that normal will be a new version of normal for me (not that I ever met the normal qualifications anyway).
Also once treatment stops, I still have to go in for scans on a regular basis. For the first three years, they say that they want me in every three months. After that, it drops to every six months for two years. After that, its once a year forever. I'll feel good once I hit that once a year point, but am confident that things are already just fine now.
Anyway, 8 more to go! The countdown begins 'till I'm at home, in my bed, with my pets, with my wife, on my beach. I can't wait. Just 8 more.