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Tim E's Cancer Blog

Recovery Stage...

I finished treatments last week Thursday! I figured it would be just the one last zap of weekly radiation but was surprised they decided to give me 1 last dose of chemo. I guess my blood count had risen enough that the oncologist figured we should go for it. So instead of just recovering from the throat soreness I got to deal with the flu like symptoms of chemo the past few days. Hopefully today will be better as I have only managed to get down 5 cans of Ensure over the past 3 days… Prior to Thursday my throat was killing me – worse it has been throughout the treatment. Couldn’t talk, eat, drink or swallow without chugging some Visocane – or whatever. They did give me a prescription for Marinol – which is some type of marijuana in a pill form. I have taken 3 doses – but really don’t notice much difference in appetite. I told the Dr I “give up” on trying to eat – and really don’t care anymore …which brought me to an appointment with the treatment social worker… that conversation went something like this.. “So how are you doing? BAD… So how does that make you feel? BAD…What are you doing about it? COMPLAINING AND POUTING AND I REALLY DON’T WANT TO TALK TO YOU! “ Also on Tuesday I freaked out about putting on the mask! I had to get up off the table - take 3 Xantax and come back after about 30 minutes. Not sure what happened – but it might have been from the Vicodin plus marijuana and the fact that it was 100 degrees outside and felt like 30 degrees inside the treatment center. Anyways – I made it through treatment and now wait something like 12 weeks to get a pet scan to see if the cancer is all gone… Does it matter??? – either way I have vowed to not go through this again!
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I hope you feel better soon. I know just feeling better cheers a person. I remember at the end of my treatments, I could not talk, eat, drink, didn't feel like talking or even thinking. I was a zombee watching TV or looking at pictures in magazines. I felt like - just tell me when to be ready for doctor appts or such and get me there. I was warned I would feel worse before I felt better. They were correct. But better does come. My voice returned and the PET scan showed no cancer. That in itself cheered me up a bit. Try to keep thinking there is light at he end of this dark feeling tunnel. Sunshine feelings will be there. Hugs and prayers, Sandyjo
Thanks! I defiantly can relate to the zombie... I'm tired of watching meaningless late night movies.
Karen likes this comment
Hi Tim! So happy you're finished. But, be VERY VERY patient with yourself because recovery is painfully slow. You will get better...but its gonna take awhile. I am almost 8 weeks out and I am just getting out the house to run short errands. I am still mostly drinking ensure, still have tongue and throat soreness, and still struggling with my spirits. Radiation has been the most brutal experience I have ever had and I have had some very depressed moments. I even had some suicidal thoughts when I was really suffering. So, stay close to us and we will walk you through the recovery. I have learned so much from the other bloggers:) Keep your spirits up!
Karen, I had those same thoughts. I think most of us did. Now when I think back, it's scary to think what could have happened when I feel so good now. Angie
 Thanks:) u r always so sweet!
YO Tim......just being done with stupid treatments will make you feel mentally better. I wish I could say you will soon be physically better but my own experience and the blogs I've read would indicate feeling better is still down the road. The recovery process sucks just as bad as the treatment stage but last longer. You still need to keep up with the nutrition and hydration and continue to watch your weight. I'm assuming you have excessive dry mouth and thick stringy mucus so continue with whatever mouth rinses you are using to keep your teeth bacteria free and it also helps with mouth and tongue sores. Try and stay positive buddy and be glad treatments are freaking done
Tim, I'm so glad you're done. I understand never going through this again. With time, the memmory fades but I still don't know what I would do. Recovery takes time. If I remember about two weeks post treatment, I quit vomiting and thought okay I can do this. About six weeks post treatment, I felt better. Things happen slowly but suddenly. It's like one day I was horribly sick and the next I was better. It's surprising because you begin to think this is it, I'll be like this forever and then you don't. Keep complaining and keep pouting. Do whatever it takes to survive and get through this. It's about you and what you need/have to do. Angie
Haven't heard from you in a while- how is your recovery going??? Karen
Hey Tim- you doing okay? Hope you are just taking a break and living life : ) Kerry
happy belated bday, Tim. Check in sometime!! Hugs, Karen
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Saving Cash

Not much new to add….so therefore have not posted in a while. I have 7 more radiation treatments to go. Not sure about chemo… I did not have it this past week – white blood cell count to low. I went from 5.3 to 1.9 to 1.2 – whatever that means? So I really have had only 3 full chemos and 1 dose of 50 % treatment. Throat is now a problem and swallowing a challenge but I expected that. They keep threatening about a feeding tube – but I am hanging in there. Have lost almost 30 pounds since the original tonsil surgery. If I had to do it over again I would have listened to many of you and just got the tube put in in the very beginning. As crappy as I feel most days – once in a while I get fired up and have a good day…Went to a Tiger baseball game in Detroit with my son last week. They lost to the Cardinal’s – but it was still fun to get away. To make it through- I guess you have to focus on the good days – and the hopefully better days ahead. There are a few good things that have come out of this…like all the cash I’m saving such as: • Shaving supplies - Only have to shave about once a week • Haircuts – didn’t have much hair to start with – but the cuts are now even farther apart • Food bill– Except for the ridiculous high price of Ensure… • Bar bill – Water is cheap. Although sometimes I get crazy and order a ginger ale • Green fees – Have not made it out golfing since this all started… Trust me I don’t need more stress! • Clothing – I actually fit back into some of my old high school clothes...too bad disco wasn’t still in style! Hope everyone is hanging in there! My next post will be post treatment!
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Tim I've been worried about you so glad to see a post. Go Cards....... I'm 2+ months post treatments and have not had a hair cut in like 2 months...it's just not growing. Shaving: Still once a week and thats only on my upper lip....nothing else is growing. Glad you're having some good days....I don't recall having any of those my last couple weeks. Now it's almost time to prepare for recovery. SUCKS WORSE THAN THE TREATMENTS. Only because it's so slow and aggrivating. I read post after post saying recovery was horrible and I still didn't believe it until I am where I am now.......It's nice not having to go to treatments but it's still a very slow process so begin now to get mentally prepared. Keep it up buddy.......
Sandyjo likes this comment
Wow! Sounds like a parallel universe to me...3rd chemo and things went downhill fast. I beat you on the tube though...I got mine in week 3 instead of week one. Good luck to the end and remember - the radiation and it's side effects continue after your last treatment. Look for small improvements in intervals of 1 month or 30 days...not 1 week.
I am glad youa re still hanging in there. Have you tried adding smoothies between ensure. Something different and maybe more calories. Or add carnation instant breakfast to your ensure and a scoop of protein powder and vanilla. Cream has more calories than milk - Try making a carnation instant breakfast with cream?? A friend adds 2 raw eggs to his ensure, more milk, protein powder, instant breakfast, and vanilla. If you get a PEG tube, you can easily add smoothies. I did. I didnot loose too much weight because I kept pouring my cans of nutrition and juice and protein smoothies down the tube. I remember when I thought 'Hey, I am saving money!' Not to bad a side effect. I too lost enough weight to get into smaller clothing. I think everyone does. Take it easy and rest. That will help you get through the next phase when radiation keeps working after your last treatment. Hugs and prayers, Sandyjo
Hi Tim, I did not get a PEG tube, and have lost about 6 # since treatment started. Sounds like you are already drinking Ensure which is what I live off even now. I drink a room temperature can of Ensure in about 20 seconds and then chase it with ice water. I drink 6- 7 /day. I eat very little real food even almost 6 weeks PT. My throat is too swollen, tender and I still have mouth sores. If you want to avoid the PEG, get use to chugging Ensure...It can be done. On the other hand, it is NO failure to get a PEG tube whatever gets you safely to the finish line!! Hugs, Karen
Sounds like you got some good advice here. Love your list of cash savings! Humor is so helpful through this journey. Not that cancer should be compared but I have always thought throat and tonsil cancer must be the worst. To try and get down food must be rough. Prayers for your remaining treatments!
Tim keep the sense of humor! and please try hard not to lose to much weight, your systom and immunity really goes down when you lose to much weight. I gained weight pre surgery and treatment on purpose . Went from 126 lbs to 152 lbs. but even with the tube being so sick I went down to 93 lbs, I am 2 years out and still fighting to gain I am now at a whoping 106 lbs. Your strength, energy, fatigue , everything suffers when you are underweight! Good Luck I am hoping and praying for you! Hugs Val
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Vital Info

Posts

April 28, 2012

Rockford, Michigan 49341

February 18, 1960

Cancer Fighter

Cancer Info

Tonsil Cancer

Squamous cell carcinoma

April 12, 2012

Stage 3

1.1 - 2.0 cm

Yes

Tonsillectomy

Its early - but so far its the dreaded mask! Now it's eating...or lack there of

Lymph node

Cancer Center at Metro Health Village

July 4, 2012

Ear pain for apx. 3 years. Noticed swollen tonsil 3 months

4/10/12 Removed Left Tonsil

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