Cancer Journal 23, 2019

It’s Sunday morning. I slept/dozed most of the day yesterday, waking occasionally long enough to eat a bit or listen to the radio. Janine drove in to Benton to do some shopping while I rested. Rested isn’t the right word; I collapsed, that’s what I did. Even though I dozed most of the day, I still wasn’t able to stay awake long after she got home. We had an early dinner, after which I went through my post-meal medication routine and then took a shower and went to bed. I awoke before 2:00 a.m., feeling like I’d slept far too long; my bones ached the way they do after spending far too long in bed (though much of my day wasn’t in bed but, instead, in a recliner). But, I tried to sleep anyway. I finally got up around 4:30.

I attribute yesterday’s monstrous dose of fatigue to Monday’s chemo; I don’t know what else to blame. I hope one day will do it. We have dinner plans tonight with neighbors, so I really don’t want to deal with another day of fatigue and painful swallowing again. I didn’t experience too much pain with swallowing yesterday, at least not all day long. But late in the day the pain was back with a vengeance. I’m tempted to try my medication routine without eating first, but I’m not sure whether that would be a wise move, so I guess I’ll try to follow the instructions. Damn. Damn. Damn.

I wonder whether the chemo and radiation are doing more harm than good? Some of the side-effects of the two treatments can be permanent, according to the literature. Permanent side-effects are “rare,” but not unheard of. I considered, seriously, not having any treatment other than surgery. That might have been the best option. Surgery was bad enough, but I think its effects have been exacerbated by five-days-a-week radiation treatment and the injection of cell-killing drugs into my bloodstream.  I have a fear that I’ll find myself so badly incapacitated by my treatments that I’ll be unable to act for myself. Being locked in a body that won’t function the way it was intended is a terrifying thought. I’m not Stephen Hawking; I am not suited to living only through my brain.

Until just now, it hadn’t occurred to me that the temporary pause in my radiation treatments has given me an opportunity I haven’t had for several weeks. I could take a day-trip (or two) during the week. I am not restricted by visits to the doctor’s office until Thursday. If I can persuade Janine, I might get out of town for a day or two. That would be a welcome respite from being tied down to the house and my surroundings. The key, of course, is whether my fatigue and trouble swallowing will just cooperate by remaining at bay for a short while. I’ll explore that tomorrow. Maybe. If I can cope with rain showers and daytime high temperatures around 70, I should be fine. And I think I should be fine.


About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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