Sunday, May 20, 2012


It's been almost a week since I talked to the doctor and my food intake is progressing slowly. Monday night after talking to the doctor, I tried three tablespoons of applesauce because I could crush my prescription medications in it, and kill two birds with one stone. It didn't work out too good - the applesauce irritated my throat to the point where I didn't try to eat anything on Tuesday. But on Wednesday, I tried a scrambled egg and that went down nicely. I upped it to two eggs on Thursday, with melted cheese on top, but could only eat a little more than half of what I cooked. Friday, I decided to try some cold cereal (Rice Chex) earlier in the day and a little fettuccine alfredo in the evening. Both worked well. Saturday, I ate cereal in the morning again AND had some pot roast, potato and gravy in the evening. All of this in small amounts, of course.

Some taste has returned, although I still have no appetite. The dietician called me on the 15th to recommend zinc lozenges to bring back taste buds. It seems to work a little bit; she said it would speed the regeneration. So far, so good. I feel the best I've felt since before my first surgery on January 16th.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Food in my Future

Sorry about the length of time since the last post but not much has been going on. Progress has been so slow due to lingering radiation reactions that it's hard to tell from day to day if I'm improving. But based on how I feel now and how much mucous and blood I'm spitting up compared to two weeks ago, I have improved. The big deal today was I visited the surgeon who did the throat and neck surgeries for a follow-up. He liked my progress, said the swelling is minimal and I could try to start to eat some soft foods instead of taking 100% of my food through the PEG tube. I haven't tried eating anything for the last couple of months but the doctor said you have to keep swallowing to keep the throat open - to stretch it, otherwise due to the stress from radiation, it tightens. So I'm going to have to start slow and work up to eating solid food. Once I'm able to eat full meals, I will have to depend on sustaining my weight through solid food for two weeks without using the tube before they will remove it. At that point, I should be able to get back to a more normal life. Anita asked the doctor if I had to go in for an operation to remove it, just like it was put in. He said, "No, I just pull it out right here in the office." OUCH!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop

Well, every doctor and nurse that spoke to me said that the symptoms would get worse during the first 2-3 weeks after my treatments had ended. So far, this hasn't been the case. Symptoms have changed slightly, some are worse, some are better. All are annoying. (excuse me, I gotta go spit) Mucous, which I refer to as slime, gathers in my throat and makes it feel pretty tight. I'm still unable to eat and using the PEG tube has become a monotonous, slime-producing drudgery. But I am over one week beyond my last treatment, so I can't imagine things turning sour at this point. I'm basically just hanging in there until the symptoms start to fade. If I can evacuate most of the slime, my voice actually sounds more normal for the first time in four months.

On a lighter note, the lost hair on the back of my neck will grow back but the missing whiskers will not. No big deal - shaving's a bother. However, if I try to grow a beard I think I'll look like I have crop circles. I have noticed that the burnt skin on my neck is starting to peel off, like the doctor said it would. Lovely. They describe it as sunburn; it's more like a tan that has dried out the skin and it's now starting to flake off. There's no heat to it and no burning.  It's like smoked meat instead of skin, not a red sunburn.

I haven't been able to eat real food for weeks, and for months now food has tasted terrible even when I did try to eat it. I'm never hungry so therefore I never have the desire to eat, but on Wednesday night I dreamed that I was eating a roast beef dinner, and loving it! So at least subconsciously I may be making some progress. I almost woke up hungry. I've lost 30 pounds over the past 4 months.  I haven't been at this weight since I was in high school.

I'm getting out every other day or so to mow the lawn or do other light yard work, or to run a few errands. But I don't have much stamina; I usually have to take a nap after doing anything even slightly strenuous. I think real progress will start to be made when I am able to eat again. I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel - I just hope it's not the headlight of an oncoming train.