Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Five Weeks After

I completed radiation treatments 5 weeks and 1 day ago. Today I visited Dr Holmes, my Internist. My total cholesterol and blood sugar are down (good news), but my HDL is down 10 points and is way too low. This is because I have not gotten much exercise lately and have been getting niacin flushes due to having to take niacin without much food, as I have not much appetite.
I also had an appointment with Dr John, my radiation oncologist. My skin has healed, and the ulcer I saw on my tonsil has also healed. I feel like I am doing about as well as could be expected. My taste buds are slowly reviving. I invented a device to clean my tongue while in the shower last night. A toothbrush is too tall and makes me gag. Something flat and wide would work better. Before I tried to patent this, I found numerous devices already available, and have tried one and found it works better than a toothbrush.
Two weeks from today, I leave for Montreal and Philadelphia. I hope I can taste the Montreal bagels and the onion soup from Ty Breiz. The other day I did a test run on onion soup at Mimi's. It was not very tasty, but I still had seconds.
I have been spending a lot of time watching the Giants on TV, with the help of TIVO. I can thank them for helping me pass the time in the past two months. Go Giants. Still in first place as I write this. 
Here I am. My neck looks like I never had the radiation. I have lost weight and today I am wearing size 34 jeans, and they fit. I will try not to gain it all back.
I like to include a photo of somebody better looking than me. This is Bel, Gary and Dana's youngest daughter. As you can see, she loves to eat. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Not Much New

There is not much new to report this week. I have worked 3 full days so far and will work another half day today. I must admit I was tired last night.
Here is my latest  photo. It looks almost back to normal. my skin is so smooth, it seems like it isn't mine. No need to shave the left side. I have stopped using the aloe vera, and the ulcer behind my ear has healed. My throat is sore and I can still see an ulcer on my tonsil.
Slowly, but surely, my taste is returning. The most noticeable is that the constant bad taste some call metallic, is gone. There is a recommendation to use plastic utensils to minimize this but I thank that is not useful. I noticed no change between metal and plastic. Zinc may help. I have been taking 50 mg of zinc gluconate twice a day. Brushing the tongue may help, trying to get rid of the appearance of a coated tongue. I think the most helpful thing is patience, allowing the body to heal, without expectations of any miracles. I can now taste some sweetness and some saltyness. Last night I ate shrimp cocktail, and it wasn't bad. The cocktail sauce did burn my tongue, and it was the mild sauce.
All in all, I am doing better than I expected. Now, I have to hope for good news on follow ups.

Here is a photo of Eli and Sammie. I will get to visit with them (and their parents) on October 11.
This is what life is all about.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wow! No Doctor Appointments this Week!

I debated whether to post at all this week as there is not much new to report. But I am elated not to have any medical appointments this week.
I feel good. (music) I thought that I would now. However I still have little taste sensation. My skin has improved, and the invisible area of breakdown behind my left ear must have improved as there is no blood on the pads I use to cleanse the area. My tongue is coated and I brush it several times a day.There ia an area of ulceration over my left tonsil visible and my throat is often sore. I wonder whether Dr John did me a favor when he included the area in the radiation field when Dr Parvathaneni in Seattle had not thought it necessary.
Most of the redness has disappeared. My beard has stopped growing on the left. My cheek feels like a baby's bottom. (Sorry for the cliche). 
Here is the commercial for which I receive no benefit. Boost Plus (chocolate), the nutritional supplement has been my main source of calories and nutrition during this adventure. I can taste slight sweetness. It is really good for swallowing pills as it is thicker than water. I take 2-3 per day and my weight has remained at about 166 pounds.
Plans for travel are firm and flights booked. Judy and I travel together to Philadelphia on October 6. I continue to Montreal. I return to Philadelphia on October 11, and we return to Fresno October 17.
I hope I can taste the onion soup at Ty Breiz. I will be in Montreal the same time as Jon and Sandy (my brother and sister-in-law).
I have scheduled a follow-up Pet/CT for November 24. I had a nightmare the other night that it revealed liver metastases and I had to postpone our December Hawaii cruise to take chemotherapy. Oh well I can't dwell on that possibility. It is just over 4 months since I discovered the tumor mass and so far, so good.
Bridge results remain encouraging, 1st with Jill Woods, and 3rd with Steve Sharpe.
I close for this week with a photo of Eva, our oldest grandchild and the author of the poem on friendship I include with my emails. She and her family will be here tonight for a Rosh Hashona dinner.

This was taken on the Alaska cruise, before I started radiation treatments but after the diagnosis of Merkel's