The Journey continues …

Well the first phase of the journey is over: yesterday was the 33rd and final radiation treatment. I apologize for not posting sooner but the last three treatments were perhaps the most difficult and all I have wanted to do is sleep.

The wonderful radiation team watched and cheered me on as I, with Laurent beside me, rang that bell to celebrate my final treatment. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to upload the video but here are two photos:

The mask that I wore for each treatment. It basically immobilize my head and held the reference points for the radiation.

All set to ring that bell with Laurent at my side as he’s been for the past 44 years.

Time to regroup and see what I can do about gaining some weight. It may be a bit before I post another update but once again thank you for your love, thoughts, prayers, and support.

The Journey Continues …

I’ve just completed day 30 of my return to good health which means only three more radiation sessions left. The last one will be on Monday the 21st. The effects of the radiation will continue for as long as 2 weeks. I was told today that the sessions were the most intensive they give. I can believe it.

After that comes the waiting game. The effects of the radiation will continue for as long as 2 weeks. It will be up to 12 weeks before a CATSCAN will determine what the outcome is. It’s going to be a long wait. In the meantime I have to try and make up for the weight I have lost which will be a major challenge.

Thank you for your thoughts, prayers, messages of love and support. That and the incredible dedication of Laurent during all of this have kept me going. It has been as much a struggle for him as for me.

The word for November 16th is:
Hope hōp: [1. noun 2. verb]
1.1 The feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.
1.2 A particular instance of this feeling.
2.1 To look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence.
2.2 To believe, desire, or trust.
Middle English hopen, from Old English hopian.

The Journey Continues ….

Yesterday was my last chemo treatment and it was a long day and I’m glad that portion is over. Because of the looming danger of tinnitus it was decided cut the treatment short. The staff in the chemo section were incredible and I can’t thank them enough for what was, at times, a challenging time. I have eight more radiation treatments and again the crew there have been supportive, very upbeat, and kind. Most of the group there are dog and cat owners and their pictures and that of their pets are posted outside the room. One of the chaps has three dachsies – obviously a man of discernment.

A small package from my dear friend Auld Hat arrived in the post the other day.

I am still having weight issues and we will try and address that more in the next few days as I know what is coming is the difficult part. The last few days have been less than pleasant but I will not dwell on that for the moment. I will probably not be posting as frequently for the next while. After November 21st will come, as any radiation patient knows, a period of up to two weeks when it is still doing it’s job. Then a waiting period of 12 weeks to reveal the outcome of the treatments. It’s going to be a long winter.

Again I can’t say enough about my beloved husband. Laurent is putting up with a lot as I can be a very frustrating patient. He has been patient, upbeat and, when needed tough. I couldn’t ask for a better show of love than when he is tough.

To all of you: thank you for your support, your prayers and your love.

The word for November 8th is:
Discernment dĭ-sûrn′mənt: [noun]
1.1 The act or process of exhibiting keen insight and good judgment.
1.2 Keenness of insight and judgment
Middle English discernen, from Old French discerner, from Latin discernere, to separate : dis-, apart; see dis– + cernere, to perceive (+ment).

The Journey continues …

Last Friday completed week four of the seven weeks of treatment scheduled to end now on November 21st. For some reason (wishful thinking?) I had six weeks fixed in my mind however the two statutory holidays and one missed day extends the time frame. So two more chemo sessions and 15 radiation treatments to go.

Still no major reactions to the chemo other than some mild bouts of nausea — let’s hope that holds true over the next few weeks. The reaction to the radiation is another matter.

I Have No Taste!
Well I’ve been told that more than once but it was in response to something such as a tie not teaming with a suit or shirt or my love of Gilbert and Sullivan. This time we’re talking the sense not the sensibility. I didn’t think anything could be worse than the taste of Boost but indeed there is: Boost without taste. The taste buds are often affected by radiation and that was the case this week. It’s an odd sensation as what is left is a sense of texture. That texture being mostly oily with much of what I have been able to consume by mouth. It would seem that the “bitter” bud is still active as that is the predominate after “taste” even with water. Hopefully it is only a temporary thing though I have been warned it could be permanent.

I am showing signs of some reddening of the skin around my neck and throat. So far nothing too drastic and there is a cream that seems to work on reducing the dryness. Another side effect of radiation in the area of the throat and mouth can be damage to the enamel and bone in teeth. Also the thick saliva that can sometimes build up is bad for dental health. I’ve been fitted with fluoride trays and every night just before bedtime do a treatment as a preventative. It strengthens the enamel and makes it less prone to decay.

I have been warned that as the radiation builds up there will be stronger reactions. I’m not looking forward to it but there really is no choice. I am trying to stay positive but it is a “comes and goes” situation mentally. I am told that too is to be expected.

What Happens at the CTC stays at the CTC.
Being a small Island there is a good chance that during a visit to the. Centre you will see someone you know either as a patient or a companion. As not everyone wants to publicize their condition discretion is requested and expected.

Again I will say that I could not go through this without Laurent by my side. He has put up with a great deal of nonsense from me. Not only is he is earning stars on his crown in heaven, he’s getting another crown.

And once again thank you all for your support.

Tomorrow is day 19 of my return to good health.

The word for November 1st is:
Discreet \dĭ-skrēt′\: [adjective]
1.1 Possessed of, exercising, or showing prudence and self-restraint in speech and behavior; circumspect.
1.2 Made, done, or situated so as to attract little notice.
1.3 Possessed of discernment, especially in avoiding error or evil, and in the adaptation of means to ends; prudent; sagacious; judicious; not rash or heedless; cautious.
Middle English, from Old French discret, from Medieval Latin discrētus, from Latin, past participle of discernere, to separate, discern.

The Journey continues …

Anyone who has been through cancer treatment of any sort – as many of you have – know there are the often unpredictable good and bad days. There are times when the positive energy buoys There will be times when the physical and/or mental stress takes over. For me last week was one of those times. I have lost a bit more weight which is a major concern and there were a few things going on that caused some panic. None of them, I am happy to say, had to do with either the chemo or radiation which are continuing with minimal side effects at the moment. However I was also letting those thoughts from the “dark night of the soul” take over and I had allowed myself to become “the Cancer patient”. It was time to talk with a professional, which I did and will do again.

A Bit of a Smackdown
Dr An
ne, one of the family doctors in oncology, is very much the bustling mother-type. She’s always very chatty and friendly. Last week at our meeting she suddenly turned very cold and barked “stop fussing about the darn feeding tube and just use it!” Both Laurent and I were stunned into silence – it was a like a smackdown. But a much needed smackdown and brought me around to my senses. Sometimes that’s what needed. Yes the damned tube is a problem on a functioning level but it still can do it’s job and I have to use it. Period!

Cold Cap
Last week a young couple sat across from me in the chemo centre with a large plastic cooler filled with dry ice beside them. Prior to the lady’s chemo being administered the gentleman, put on thermal gloves, opened the cooler up and took out one of several large ear-muffed caps wrapped in plastic. He unwrapped it, brushed the frost off and placed it on her head. Then he secured it tightly in place with a frozen strap. They were to go through this ritual several times in the next two hours.

I didn’t like to pry so after they left – she was still wearing a cap – I asked the nurse about it. Apparently it is way of preventing widespread hair loss and she will continue wearing the cap for the remainder of the day. A bit of googling indicates a broad spectrum of success: 10% to 100%. Once again it is something that depends on the type of cancer, the location, and the chemo drug being used. Hopefully in her case it will work.

There are still four weeks ahead but the halfway mark is in sight. Thank you to each one of you for your help, prayers, thoughts, and encouragement. You are helping Laurent and I get through this journey.

Tomorrow starts week four of my return to good health.

The word for October 23rd is:
Cattywampus /ˌkæt əˈwɒm pəs /: [adjective]
1. Askew, awry
2. In complete disarray
19c(1834)American slang The first element perhaps is from obsolete cater “to set or move diagonally”; the second element perhaps is related to Scottish wampish “to wriggle, twist, or swerve about.”

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