Thursday, February 23, 2012

Riding a Roller Coaster

Not the best photo, I know, but this is my army of medicine, as it stands right now. It contains 2 medicines for digestive issues, a heavy duty painkiller, 3 anti-nausea drugs (one also contains the anti-inflammatory and a steroid), fluoride, a salt/baking soda rinse, a burn lotion, a radiation specific chap stick, the magic mouthwash, and a couple other misc. items.

If I can really get myself to stand back and look at how all of this plays out, make myself feel separated from what is actually happening to my body, this is really quite an interesting process.

Lately though, it's been a bit harder to get that separation, as things have definitely begun down that bumpy road.

I know it's been a week now since I updated, but that week has been unfortunately pretty rough. Tuesday was pretty standard- my dad drove me to radiation, had a pretty standard appointment, and had a nice evening at home.

Wednesday was a bit rougher of a day- every week or so, they have to do a set of images to determine how to continue with my treatment. While they take these images, I have to be (like with my normal radiation) completely strapped to the table. I think I mentioned this before, but that includes-
-a rubber band around my feet
-a cushion thing under my knees (actually makes it more comfortable, but does immobilize me a bit)
-a strap around my waist connected to the table
- a hand ring that keeps my hands in one place
- shoulder guards that keep my shoulders pushed down, to stretch my neck out and lock my shoulders in place
- the mouthpiece
- the headpiece, which is actually connected to the table to prevent it from moving

Wednesday had me in that for approximately 50 minutes, so not the most comfortable of days. The good to come out of it was that they said that everything looks as it should according to plan and that we can proceed with treatment exactly how they want to. Also, Ann and Ralph (Amy's grandparents) were nice enough to drive me that day (on their anniversary, HAPPY ANNIVERSARY GUYS!), take me to a wonderful lunch, and overall make it the best day that it could have been given the circumstances.

Today started out reasonably well. I was feeling pretty good for most of the morning. My brain, however, has decided that enough is enough in this whole process, and unfortunately, I can't even make it to the hospital without gagging at this point. The mouthpiece has become so uncomfortable that it seems to be having effects on me even while I'm miles away from it.

I met with the doctor after treatment (with the new scans, this was the last treatment with the radiation pattern that I had been receiving. Tomorrow brings a new pattern). They weighed me, and according to their scales, I have already dropped three pounds from this. Unfortunately, in honesty, it really probably is more, as this time I also had a coat on when they weighed me and the pockets contained at least one medicine that starts with each letter of the alphabet, from A-Z. I'm a bit worried that I am dropping too much weight, but am doing everything I can to try to keep up.

During my meet with the Doc, they asked me how the nausea I had been experiencing was doing. I told them that I still have constant issues with it, but that it's settled itself into a nice little routine, and I can at least manage it. They had me rate it, a 4 out of 10, and decided that rating was hardly acceptable. They put me back on the steroid super pill, and gave me a prescription they literally call "magic mouthwash". After meeting with him and waiting for my prescription to be filled, for the first time in a week and a half, I felt truly hungry. After a good lunch, I told my mom (my Thursday driver) that for the first time since this has really started, I actually felt good.

Good things though, just don't seem to last forever. I went back to Beth and Bryan's (Amy's parents) for the night, and was trying to relax. After some time, I began again to gag. And gag. And gag more. Uncontrollably. No reason. I called the on call line yet again (I'm sure they're getting sick of me, but they show no signs of it and are so nice every time.... Hey, I should get my money's worth out of this anyway, right?). They told me "use the magic mouthwash, drink papaya juice, and call it good".

It helped. The gagging stopped. I think it irritated the heck outta my stomach though.

I have one more appointment this week now, tomorrow, then off till Tuesday. Tuesday is also my half way point too, with only 8 treatments left.

I would love to go into more tonight, but just don't have it in me. I promise you loyal readers the harrowing tales of the magic mouthwash versus the maniacal mucus in the next installment. Ta ta for now.

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