Sunday, May 15, 2011

No Pain, No Loss

I am experiencing the worst throat pain I have ever had.

I can only eat soft foods. Anything bigger than a very small bite and it feels like I am swallowing a piece of jagged gravel. The easiest things to eat are yogurt and applesauce. Things that are absolutely off the menu include chewy bread, chicken, steak, salad, and hard fruits.

I would’ve thought that I would just “drink” my calories – milkshakes, smoothies, etc. But that doesn’t work so well either. First, I can only drink small sips. A single small swallow at a time is about all I can do. Secondly, I’m finding that very cold beverages are actually harder to drink. Straws are helpful, although every time I go to the store I forget to pick them up for home.

I have weight to lose, so one would think I might be happy about this new “diet plan”. Unfortunately, there are a few kinks to this concept. The nurse specifically said to try not to lose weight during radiation. She said to make sure I get plenty of protein and that I stay hydrated. On Mondays I see the oncologist and they always check my weight. I’m hoping I’ve consumed enough to not have lost more weight than they find acceptable. When I weighed in last week I was already down a couple of pounds.

On Wednesday of last week I finally broke down and asked for something for the pain. I feel pain every single time I swallow. They prescribed a liquid version of hydrocodone. It doesn’t take the pain away completely, but it does take the edge off. I’ve been taking it very sparingly and in low doses.

I have six more days of radiation. The past week has been pretty rough. In some ways it seems worse than chemotherapy. I have to remember that this lasts a mere three weeks, whereas chemo was over four months. The pain associated with chemotherapy was tolerable – mainly aches and pains that could be mitigated with Tylenol. It was a generally dull pain that was intermittent. On the 1-10 pain scale, I would’ve put it at a 3.5 or 4. The pain of a swallow is about a 6 or 7. The hydrocodone takes it down to about a 3 or 4.

I am looking forward to May 26th. Robbie and I have a little post-cancer treatment vacation scheduled. We are heading to a cabin in the Smokey Mountains for a relaxing getaway. This has been a long process and it will be nice to get away from it all. I have an insanely busy week at work this week so hopefully it will make the time go quickly.

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