Wednesday I went to the swallow/speech therapist. But, the day's drama actually started at my house as I was getting ready to leave for that appointment. I've mentioned that I have a bad cough that sometimes turns into a gag. What I've not dwelt on is sometimes I gag hard enough that I get a mouthful of whatever is in my stomach…which is usually very acidic. Well, a brand new bad effect from this arose.
I had a coughing fit, gagged, got a mouthful of crud…and then started having trouble pulling air in. Oddly, exhaling was no problem, but inhaling felt like I was working against a vacuum. I was already agitated and this caused me to panic a bit…which made me want/need to breath faster, which just exacerbated the feeling that I could not get enough air. I was moments away from dialing 911 when I talked myself down. I was getting air in. I just needed to calm down and try to breath normally. It took about 5 minutes, but I was able to finally get it under control.
So, then headed out to the speech/swallow therapist. The session was not the x-ray swallow study that I was expecting. This was a consult where the therapist went over exercises designed to maintain/improve my swallowing abilities. I told her about my episode and she advised that the next time this happened to do a controlled slow breathing in through my nose then out through my mouth.
Well, I've had two more similar incidents, today, and both times I was able to keep my breathing (and panic) under control. Still a very uncomfortable feeling that I want to avoid.
Today was Thanksgiving. I spent it at my house, reading, listening to some music, watching some TV, napping, and feeling thankful that I'm still around to post to this blog. That pretty much sums up my plans for the rest of the 4-day weekend. Just want to get through it with the least amount of drama.
Even though treatments have ended, I still have doctor's appointments. Next week I'll go to a hematologist to discuss how long I need to keep taking the blood thinner and I'll also meet with my Medical Oncologist as a followup consult. After that appointment I'll also go get some IV hydration. Dcember, though, has only one scheduled appointment as of today. Next major appointment will be the PET scan that is scheduled for January 31st.
I'm not sure, yet, whether I'll go into the office around those appointments next week. If this cough eases, then I'll likely book some office time. Otherwise, I'll do what I can by remote from my house. Expecting to be back in the office full time in early December, but my actual condition will dictate when that actually happens. I did manage to make it in to the office most days during treatment…but as promised by my Oncological team, I feel worse now than I did at any time during treatment. Not terrible (except for the cough/gagging) but certainly noticeably more fatigued…which is just a good excuse to take another nap.