It has been about five weeks since my treatments ended. I still have lingering side effects, some of which will continue for some time. I have had trouble with my stomach throughout the process. At this point the problem is very strong acid reflux. I’ve been on four different medicines for this, none seem to work. Hopefully, I will soon get an appointment to see a specialist. I also still have sores in my throat left over from the radiation. One has healed up, but two others are still there. I have trouble swallowing. My salivary glands have been cooked so my mouth is constantly dry. I can eat foods, but I must wash down every bite with water. And finally, a lot of things don’t taste right because they also fried my taste buds. From about half way through the treatments I haven’t been able to taste anything sweet. A lot of other things just taste bland.
Having said all of that, I did enjoy Thanksgiving. There was enough food that I could taste – turkey, ham, vegetables, etc., allowing me to enjoy the day. I still can’t eat a lot, but what I ate was good. It was great to have a big family celebration including my parents, four of our kids, their spouses, and two grandkids. I helped the kids make some Thanksgiving crafts (not my specialty!), and Gracie, the older one, created a fun photo booth. We watched the Redskins lose to Dallas – the worst part of the day.
Today I had a doctor remove my feeding tube. It was so good getting rid of that thing. With my picc line gone, and now the peg line gone I will finally feel “normal”. You pick up a lot of ne vocabulary during treatment. A “port line” is inserted in the chest. It has a small reservoir under the skin. It is typically used for long term treatments. I didn’t have one of them. A “picc” line is inserted in the upper arm, and a catheter goes through the vein to a major artery near the heart. It is typically used for short term treatments. Both are used to administer IV’s for treatment. A “peg line” is a flexible feeding tube inserted through the belly directly into the stomach. It is used for feeding when a person can’t take food by mouth. So now I have no external plumbing. YAH! More reason to be thankful.
Now I just have to wait until January to have a PET scan to determine if the cancer is indeed gone from my body. They have to wait until my throat heals up from the radiation before a PET scan can give an accurate read. I have follow up visits with my two main cancer doctors next week. Meanwhile, bring on Christmas!