Thursdays are “talk with the doctor” days after radiation treatment. First, a nurse weighs the patient, then another nurse queries the patient about any problems or questions, then a dietitian asks probing questions about the patient’s appetite and discusses his weight loss, and then the doctor comes in for a brief visit. At least that’s the way it works with me. I don’t know if the same protocol is followed with other patients, but I suspect so; that, or something very close.
Today, I was advised that I’d lost three pounds since last week. For me, that was a positive. For the dietitian, not so much. She wants me to drink a “Boost” a day. I told her I am eating quite well, better in fact than I should. The weight loss, I told her, probably is attributable to the utter absence from my diet of alcohol. I tend to enjoy my wine with a vengeance, which tends to wreak havoc on my mid-section, making it impossible to button my pants over my belly. Instead, I wear them low, over my hips. It has always been thus, though, so it’s not a new development. The dietitian—Jennifer is her name, I think—was unmoved by my effort to blame the absence of red wine from my diet. I promised I would consider adding Boost or Ensure to my diet, a lie that seemed to sufficiently satisfy her and cause her to bid me adieu. The doctor’s visit was short and perfunctory. When he asked if I had any questions, I asked whether, after completing my 30 radiation treatments, I would need to see him again periodically. He said I would need to see someone, probably my oncologist, every three months for five years, at which time, if all goes according to plan, I can be considered “cured” of cancer. Every three months for five years. That will involve, at least to some extent, blood work, CT scans, and other such invasive or intrusive or just plain annoying medical processes.
Other than the gloomy prospect of at least quarterly doctor visits for five years (that’s at least twenty visits, in case I’m counting), my news is good (knock on wood). My fatigue seems to have diminished considerably and my general state of feeling reasonably well has stabilized for now. I’m not particularly peppy, but neither am I spending most of my time in a recliner or heading toward one.
Just nineteen more radiation treatments. Hallelujah! I just wish the pains in my gut would disappear. And I’m occasionally finding that I have “stuff” in my windpipe that “rattles” each time I inhale and exhale until I manage to force it out with earthshaking coughs. I failed to mention that to the doctor. I probably should. There’s next week for that.