Five days a week, for the next six weeks, I assume the position:
No problems. Nothing to talk about. I use my oral rinses and do my stretching, but at this point I can't understand what good they do.
Still no real problem, just a little redness abound the neck. My saliva is a bit thicker. Keeping up the rinses and stretching. I'm more tired than usual.
OK, small problem..I'm very tired, I just can't stay awake. A few more pounds lighter, the redness is more pronounced. My throat is a bit sore and slight difficulty in swallowing. My saliva is getting thicker, very gross thick yellow in color. I've been given a suction machine to help suck out the thick grossness. How fun is that?
I meet with Dr. Clayman. I've decided not to bring up the chemo at all, but he asks how radiation and chemo are going? I tell him I haven't started chemo yet. He calls Dr. Kim and asks,"Why?"
Apparently there is a mix-up and Dr. Kim thought I was going to be treated at another hospital, so he did not order chemo. By the end of the week I find myself hooked up to an IV pole dripping the life saving poison into my veins. Every Friday, for 3 weeks, I will give a blood specimen before my chemo. After, I will be administered a mix of drugs, staring with Benadryl, Magnesium, then Cetuximab (Erbitux). I'm given a comfortable, private room with a bed, while the dripping continues for 3 hours. For some reason the drugs make me cold, ice cold! The Benadryl puts me to sleep, so the hours pass quickly. I fall asleep adrift on a frozen iceberg.
I had planned on shaving my head to preempt my hair falling out from the chemo, but the doctor told me not to since not everyone has hair loss.
Patsy has arrived just in time, in the middle of week 4. I'm not as bad as I thought I would be at this point. I'm so grateful for her support. Her company lifts my spirits as we talk about the old days with Caesars and the fact that we both struggle to play caregiver to a parent with failing health. She helps me to all my appointments and assists with the laundry and shopping. I grow even more tired. My neck continues to redden. My saliva grows thicker. I didn't think that was possible! My throat feels like someone has slashed it with a razor blade. I'm a few more pounds lighter. I've lost all taste. I had very little to begin with, but now there is NOTHING!
Patsy must leave mid week and I so much appreciate her support. Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse. I'M EXHAUSTED! I sleep every moment I can and I'm now the proud parent of kidney stones! Ain't that a pisser... bad choice of words there! I seriously want to know what I have done so wrong in my lifetime to deserve all this! Because of the rolling stones, I can't get enough formula to sustain my weight. I'm now at 120 pounds.
WEEK SIX: Holy Crap!
It's almost over and I keep my head held high and keep smiling just knowing the end grows near! My neck is now a deep dark burgundy red. It weeps a bit. There isn't much pain in the neck area. This is primarily due to the fact that the nerves were severed during the neck dissection removing the lymph nodes. My mouth is on fire and I feel blisters within. The stones have left the building. The concert is over! AMEN! My skin is scarred. It feels tight all over my lower face, jaw, and throat. I continue my stretching and use the Aquaphor as instructed. I just want to get this over with.
I have met with my new eye doctor. She is a small woman and looks to be about 12, a female Doogie Houser! I'm so worried she's going to tell me my cancer has spread to my eyes. She delivers good news...it's not cancer! I'm the proud owner of a Cataract. Being a car guy I'd rather have a Rinkin, but no it's a Cataract! So, now what? MORE SURGERY! Oh hell, why not? What else could go wrong!!!???
On my last day I have an early blood draw. Then my last dose of chemo is administered and my last dance with the penguins. After my last radiation treatment they hand me my mask. I ask, "What am I suppose to do with this?" I'm told some like to run it over with a car, some burn it, others hang it on the wall as a victory mask. I tell them, "Just throw it away. I never want to see it again!"
As I walk out that door one last time, I'm asked if I want to ring the bell. It seems it's kind of a tradition to ring this big bell when you have completed your treatments. I could only reply, "I don't want to ring the bell...I want to run like hell! C-Ya!" I bolt from the building!
I have one more week of follow-up visits and I can go home!
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