Sunday, July 17, 2011

Three Weeks and Counting

Three weeks in, four weeks to go. So far it's not as bad as the docs warned me, but obviously I've got some time left. Right now the main issues are no taste buds, which I've already griped enough about, burns inside my mouth, and a slowly increasing inability to swallow. I also have little or no saliva, which makes for some serious dry-mouth at night. I wake up and my lips are stuck to my teeth, my tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth and my mouth feels like someone stored their old socks in there.

The burns I can handle so far, but the swallowing thing is getting tough. I can still force myself to drink liquids. It hurts and it almost makes me choke sometimes, but it's do-able still. The doc says I should keep trying as long as I can to keep the muscles working. I guess the idea is the longer I can keep doing it, the less rehabilitation I'll need later. Use em or you'll lose em.

Other than that, there's still some fatigue, though not nearly as bad as it was. I have my second chemo session tomorrow and another Tuesday, so I'm sure the fatigue will be back in force after that. I've tried to ask my doctor about other things that are going on, but his answer was kinda vague. Apparently people have lots of different responses to chemo and I'm no different. Since I've started treatment, my back issues have come back. I'd gotten rid of them, for the most part, years ago. Lots of acupuncture, traction and lovely lovely transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. Now my sciatica is back with a vengeance. I really feel like an old lady. "Mehr, I got the cancer, and my sciatica is acting up agin! My bursitis and the corns are pesterin me something fierce!"

All of which means I can't sleep much anymore, again. The back problems more than anything. I wake up around 6am, no matter what time I go to sleep, and can't get back until I get up and eat and take some Vicodin. Problem is, once I'm up I stay up until around noon and then I take a nap that lasts too long.

The gross part is the mucositis. Basically this means the lining of my mouth is getting destroyed and sloughing off faster than normal, which also means I get a buildup of dead skin cells in addition to the dead white blood cells draining out of my sinuses. Since I can't swallow very good, this builds up in the back of my throat and it's hard to get it out of there. I can't blow my nose either (painful as well), so it feels a bit like when I was in the hospital and couldn't swallow for 7 days.

But! There's always a "but"...but this is a good "but"...BUT the chest hairs on the graft in my mouth have almost all fallen out and are not going to come back. Woot!

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