Saturday, April 11, 2009
4/11/09 Five weeks down, two to go !!
Well it seems like we can finally see a glimpse of the light at the end of tunnel. Every week becomes a little more difficult and the side effects of both the chemotherapy and the radiation are more defined. To date I have lost around 25 lbs and all nourishment is now taken in through the peg tube. Peggy makes some great juices, carrot with apple to put in the tube, it really helps a lot. The canned nutrition is bland and hard to hold down with the nausea from the chemo. I do my best to keep things down but it is pretty difficult. I am getting extra fluids intravenously about every other day at the clinic. Due to the weight loss we had to make a new mask and fine tune the radiation plan. The new plan was started on Friday.
After several conversations with oncologists and other doctors, we have made the decision to forgo the last series of chemotherapy that was scheduled for the last week of treatment. The chemotherapy is to help the radiation along, but is not the main course of treatment. In fact, many clinics throughout the country including Sloan Kettering have started to drop the last chemo treatment for several reasons, the main is the benefit versus the side effects and the problems with recovery time. Peg and I both realize if I do the last chemo session that most likely I will end up in the hospital for at least a week due to more weight loss. Our radiation oncologist agrees with our decision, and in fact let us know that about 65% of his head and neck cancer patients forgo the last chemo treatment and the cure rates are about the same! He also feels that the first two chemo sessions are the most important. So we are hoping the next two weeks will go quickly and we can get through whatever comes our way. Once treatment is done the radiation will continue to work on its own for about two weeks, and then the slow healing process can begin.
Well if all goes well treatments will end on April 24th which quite amazingly is also Arbor Day!! Peggy and I are going to plant an oak tree in our yard and hope to see it grow tall and strong with every passing cancer free year! Here is another favor I would ask all of you to try if you are able. On arbor day plant a tree, if you can, if you would like to dedicate it to my recovery that would be great but that is really not the point. Plant a tree for any one in your life that has been affected by cancer. I can’t think of a better tribute!!
Once again I have been so humbled and honored by all of your notes and thoughts. And a special thank you to all of you who have been taking part in the “Change is Coming” program set up by Cathy Marczyk. Peggy and I have been floored by all of your generosity. It will certainly go to good use. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Pray for a quick two weeks and I will look for all of you at 7:00 pm.