Cancer Journal 27, 2019

Today I will have the final radiation treatment designed to kill whatever cancer cells remained after surgery to remove the lower lobe of my right lung and the tumor housed therein. Radiation treatments caused me quite a bit of fatigue, off and on, but the most onerous side-effect was (and remains) a scorched esophagus. That side-effect made swallowing a painful undertaking. Sometimes it was tolerably painful, sometimes so excruciating that I howled in pain and rejected even wonderful food that, in other circumstances, I would have devoured like a starving wolf. The doctors prescribed a medication routine I’ve described before; it works, sort of, sometimes. The most horrific pains seem to have disappeared, but I’m looking forward to the elimination of all remnants of the side-effects in my seared esophagus.

Yesterday was round three of four for my chemo treatments. The next one will be three weeks hence. It will be “interesting” to learn what side-effects I might experience from yesterday’s treatment (and the one after), especially since they will not be exacerbated by the radiation treatment (at least not for long). It’s possible that the fatigue will come again; radiation may not have been the primary culprit. And it’s still possible that I might lose my hair; the fact that it hasn’t happened thus far is no guarantee of future experience. In fact, I heard from a couple of people within the last few days that their relatives lost their hair after the third chemo treatments. If it happens, it happens. Not much I can do about it, so I shall not worry. If it starts, I’ll head to the barber shop to have my head sheared extremely close.

After feeling pretty good all day, I crashed almost immediately after we got home. Fortunately, some friends stopped by the house while we were out having my treatments yesterday afternoon and left a big container of potato soup and a giant piece of cake. We had soup for dinner last night, capped with cake for dessert. They were both wonderful!  It was especially nice that we didn’t have to do anything more than heat the soup and, voilà, dinner!  Janine had a pretty long, demanding day, so the dinner was just what she needed. She steamed some fresh green beans to go with the soup; it was perfect.

Despite nearing the end of my radiation and chemo treatments, I’m fully aware that there’s still a lot of “doctoring” I have to endure. Today, I’ll get my follow-up appointment scheduled with the radiologist. I have a blood draw scheduled for March 7, just a few days before my final March 11 chemo treatment. And I’m sure I’ll have a follow-up visit soon thereafter with my oncologist. And there will be C.T. scans and P.E.T. scans and blood work and assorted other stuff I’ll have to deal with on a regular basis, interfering with what could otherwise be a calendar full of relaxed, empty schedules. Such is life. I’ll deal with it.

I’m looking forward to recovering my strength and, then, building my stamina. I haven’t felt really like myself since I underwent surgery on November 19. Even though that’s only three months, it feels a bit like three years. God, I hate cancer.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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2 Responses to Cancer Journal 27, 2019

  1. Hopester says:

    I hate it, too.

  2. bev wigney says:

    Glad you’re so close to the end of the treatment regiment. I think it took about 2 weeks after the end of the radiation before the burning esophagus thing was pretty much over with when Don had that. Yes, about 3 chemo treatments is when more side effects start to show up — like hair loss. However, not everyone loses their hair and as you’re only doing 4 treatments, it will soon grow back. I know the follow-up stuff will seem intrusive, but I am pretty sure you’ll find it isn’t all that bad. The other thing is that I suspect you’ll feel different about time and some other things once this treatment stuff is out of the way. You might find that things that seemed important and even annoying before, may seem pretty insignificant and not worth wasting time or brain damage on. Anyhow, glad you are in the homestretch!!

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