Throat Blog — Busy Days Ahead


Well, my mostly vacation from doctors has come to an end, for now. Mostly, because during this break from normal appointments I did see my new primary care physician (my doctor of 35+ years is retiring), got lab work for my annual physical, and got my PEG tube looked at by my radiation oncologist's NP. But, almost all of these were pretty minor visits of no consequence.

One exception to that is my lab work. My TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) is now about 4x normal levels. TSH is generated by the pituitary gland, and signals to the thyroid that it needs to produce thyroid hormones. Well, my thyroid glands aren't picking up the phone. So, I am going on a thyroid hormone supplement. Waited a week for Walgreens to fill the prescription until they finally told me they won't have any for 2 or 3 weeks. So, switched to my mail-order pharmacy. No extremely dire consequences for low thyroid hormone in the short term, but I am noticing additional lethargy. Basically, if I sit down, I shut down. Not very convenient when my main activity is sitting in front of the computer.

Tomorrow I'll have my first visit with my medical oncologist for the year. Will include more labs. Not sure what to expect from that visit.

Friday I'll have my long-delayed appointment with the speech/swallow therapist. As I mentioned in my last post, I've been carefully trying out some foods. I've managed to eat a chicken pot pie, several greek yogurts, a shepherd's pie, ice cream, and cream of mushroom soup. All of it caused my mucus production to really increase for a while after eating, but I didn't detect any aspiration. No food in my trach tube. No uncontrollable coughing. So, hopefully she will clear me to try additional/heavier foods.

The food doesn't taste right. The non-sweet stuff tasted way too salty. The sweet stuff way too sweet. I don't know if this is due to the taste buds not having had stimulus for a while or if it is an aftereffect of the radiation. Either way, tastes better than not eating at all.

Next week is the really important week. Wednesday I get my first post-treatment PET scan, followed by an appointment with my radiation oncologist. Thursday is my annual physical. Then the next week I see my dentist and my surgical oncologist.

Meanwhile, I still feel mostly OK. My neck is a little puffy, but I can't feel any swollen glands or unexpected masses. Mucus has gotten slightly better…enough so that I seldom have to use the vacuum pump to clear my throat/mouth. I'm not going to be doing any century rides any time, soon. Considering the last time I did a 100-mile bike ride was 2009, not surprising.

Anyway, that is the update for now. We'll see what sort of amusement park ride the next 2 weeks turns out to be. Hoping more for the Fiesta Train than the Judge Roy Bean.

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