Saturday, May 23, 2009
5/22/09 An Epiglottis is a terrible thing to waste!
As many of you know, the epiglottis is a flap of tissue that sits at the base of the tongue and keeps food from going into the trachea, or windpipe, during swallowing. During treatment for head and neck cancer, especially cancer at the base of tongue the epiglottis can easily become damaged from the intensity of the radiation treatments. This can result in long rehabilitation times before patients can eat or even attempt to eat. With this on our minds I had a barium swallow test done earlier this week with my speech pathologist to see if everything was working properly. Even though there is still a great deal of pain swallowing, my epiglottis is doing what it is supposed to. This is really good news! I was cleared to try eating liquids and some soft food. So we have had some soup, yogurt, pasta, eggs etc. this week. Even though the throat is still sore when swallowing it is really nice to start supplementing the diet with some real food besides what I put in the peg tube!! My hope is that in time the throat will become more comfortable with eating and it will be easier to regain the weight I need. The old taste buds still aren’t sure what’s going in there but it is hoped that will change in time too!!
I saw both the chemo and radiation oncologists this week and they are really pleased with my progress. I don’t see the chemo oncologist for a month now and I no longer will need to go and get extra fluids. I also will not need to see the radiation oncologist for a month. We will have a pet scan on June 22nd to see how everything looks and I will be able to speak with the doc that day about the results, and that is really great! The mucus and dry mouth are still an issue but seems to be getting a little bit better every day. So overall very good news this week!
Peggy and I are playing at great Camp Sagamore on Saturday night to do a little concert for the clean up crew that volunteers to come and help open the place for the summer. It is really my first overnight out since January and we are both really excited about it! I’ll bring all the peg tube stuff but also see what I can try during mealtime that might be soft enough to do the trick. I’m not singing yet but it will be wonderful to play! So we are feeling more hopeful by the day. Thanks so much again for all your continued support and wonderful vibes, it means so much to Peggy and I. I hope that you all have a wonderful memorial day weekend and we’ll look for you around 7:00 pm. Be thankful for that epiglottis you have that keeps your food headed in the right direction. Where would you be without it ?