Monthly Archives: November 2012 - Page 2

Day 122 – Pharmaceuticals

My name is Rick and I have cancer

Wow, what a difference four days make.  Yesterday and this morning saw a big change in my discomfort level.  The sores in my mouth have been feeling much better and my mouth is significantly less dry.  All of this makes eating much easier.  More importantly, it perhaps foreshadows life after radiation; I might just recover?  I still cannot taste anything but I have significantly less discomfort while taking in calories.

Yesterday was a very active day.  As I said in the last post, I baked in the morning and hiked in the early afternoon.  The hike was over two hours and pretty strenuous.  At the end of the hike, there is long uphill of about 120 yards.  In the past I would jog up this as a way to cap off the nice hike.  While I chose not to jog this time, I did sprint in a few spots as I was playing with a friend’s dog on the way up.  My energy level was excellent throughout the hike and I had plenty to spare at the end.  The rest of the day was hanging out with family (cooking, Wii, arguing, etc.).  I did NOT have the kind of serious lulls in energy that has dogged me in weeks past.  Instead I felt good until after 10PM.

There are two variables that I suppose go into feeling energetic.  The first may be the time off from radiation.  But, since the docs have said that radiation should not be tiring me out yet (keyword is YET), I doubt that that the few days off would have any serious impact.  Instead, I believe that the steroids are the culprit.  This means that my pituitary gland is/was indeed inflamed and the endocrinologist has guessed correctly. I suppose we could claim a victory for pharmaceuticals since they are responsible for making me feel better.  But, it was a drug that made my endocrine system go awry in the first place.  I have been complaining of lethargy for a while so the steroids could have been prescribed sooner but that is another matter altogether.  Nevertheless, it is now midday and I am not lethargic even after going to sleep after 11PM (Sunday night football).  Less than 7 hours of sleep and I am raring to go.

Today was radiation treatment #15.  That means that I am officially half way there.  Whoopee.  To mark this occasion, the machine malfunctioned right in the middle of treatment.  Instead of making its second sweeping dose of radiation (remember it turns on full power for two sweeps of my neck for approximately 1 minute at a time… yes, 1 MINUTE), it stalled.  Then it stalled again.  And again.  The techs came in and did something… And it stalled again.  With each stall came the distinctive hum of the radiation so the machine was hitting me the whole time.  Finally after about 4 tries, they got it running again.  How much extra radiation did I receive?  Did it run correctly after the reset?  I understand a thing or two about computer controlled devices… when they stall or throw out errors, they usually get out of sync with the software that runs them.  Let’s hope that my left elbow or brain didn’t get a 1-minute does of radiation just for giggles.  I suppose if my brain got irradiated it could only help.

What I found very interesting physically is that as soon as treatment was over today, I could feel stiffness return to the left side of my neck.  That sensation was pretty much gone as of this morning but within minutes of treatment, it was back with a vengeance.  I suspect that the sores and dry mouth will ramp back up quickly as well.  No rest for the weary.  Fifteen more treatments to go.