Counting Down

  • Chemo – 4 of 7
  • Radiation – 10 of 33
  • Weight – 169 lbs

3 more Chemo treatments and 23 Radiation sessions left. Salivary glands are pretty much useless. I have dry mouth all of the time and wake up with my throat stuck together. It’s weird as hell.

I did the radiation first today followed by the chemo. This works so much better because after chemo I’m completely wiped out. I definitely wouldn’t have felt like being trapped under the mask for 20 minutes after my chemo treatment today.

4th of July Weekend

  • Chemo- 3 of 7
  • Radiation- 9 of 33
  • Weight- 170

I got a break from radiation on the 4th of July which was nice. My brother grilled burgers, brats and hotdogs and everyone brought a dish. There were about 20 people there. Unfortunately, the nausea from the chemo was at its peak on Thursday but I managed to wrestle down a hotdog. It didn’t really taste like a hotdog but I ate it anyway. Everything tastes bad now.

Last week milk tasted spoiled but now it has no taste at all, so, I’m back to drinking milk. I drank coffee every day for 30 years but suddenly I hate the smell and taste of it now. I figured out today that Monster Mean Bean in a can goes down pretty good so I got jacked up on that this afternoon and mowed the lawn.

Today is the best I’ve felt in a week. I’m on a complete liquid diet now and expect that to last a couple of months. I need to stay in the neighborhood of 2000 calories to maintain my weight. That’s around 6 Ensures per day. Now that I’m back on milk, I can use Carnation Breakfast mix which I like.

Tomorrow is Tuesday which brings another round of back to back chemo and radiation. After tomorrow I’ll only have 3 more of those back to back days left. My last chemo is on Monday July 29th. I’ll be so glad to get that part behind me although I’ll still have several more rounds of radiation left.

Dental Visit and Making the Radiation Mask

Almost a disaster – Question everything!

Radiation mask
My radiation mask. We named it Mike after Michael Meyers from Halloween because it’s a little scary.

I went to the dentist today to get a good cleaning and discuss the need for a crown prior to getting my radiation mask made and starting treatments.. The dentist explained that it would be perfectly fine to proceed with getting my mask and moving forward with radiation treatments. He said after I get the mask made I should call his office and schedule an appointment next week to have the tooth ground down and a temporary cap put in place. I could continue with my treatments and then go back approximately 3 weeks later to have the cap removed and the crown put in place. This sounded reasonable to me but my Doctor said NO WAY!

After my appointment I went to have my radiation mask made. Dr. Ferraro came in asked me how my dental appointment went. When I explained what the dentist told me, he said, “I’m going to call him. I’ll be right back.” When he returned he explained that this plan will not work. He said the dentist was planning to insert a metal temporary cap which would likely cause serious painful ulcers in my mouth or even more severe issues. My options are to either have the tooth extracted prior to treatment or complete the treatment and then have the crown done. Since the tooth has a crack but is otherwise healthy and doesn’t bother me, I opted to have my treatments and try to save the tooth with a crown later. We’ll see if this was a decision I’ll regret later.

I’m so glad that Dr. Ferraro is so diligent and discovered this before we got started. I read as much as I can about my brand of cancer and treatments. I’ve tried to ask as many questions as I can but there are still a lot of things I’m not aware of. Luckily I have good people looking out for me.

The purpose of the mask is to keep your head in the same position so they can mark and radiate the exact area they want to target by fastening it, along with your head to the table. To make it, you lie on the table with your head in a cradle and a neck pillow supporting your neck and head. The warm wet mesh is placed over your face and shoulders and fastened to the table. It took about 15 minutes for it to dry before it is removed.