Throat Blog — Busy Days

Well, the sleep issue resolved. I have had 2 great nights (well, other than night sweats, which must be being triggered by the chemo). Just in time for some relatively busy days.

I had hoped to go into work for a while on Tuesday, but still had not heard from my surgeon on my Medical release. So, I headed to the hospital campus a couple of hours before my 2:40pm radiation appointment. Made it to the reception area and was met with some chaos. Computer systems were still having odd issues. Someone had fallen and hit their head and they were working on getting an IV line into her (she was conscious, but could not get off the floor unassisted). And, about half the staff was at lunch.

So, I waited a bit, talked to reception who said they'd pass the request to the Surgeon's nurse and advised me to call if I had not heard anything.

So, over to radiation then the after-radiation meeting with my Radiation Doctor (every Tuesday after treatment). Checking out the low-res images the irradiating treatment machine provides, he noted that the overall outside measurements of the tumor were basically unchanged. But, he could see a lot of necrotic (dead) tumor in the middle of the tumor.

We agreed to set up a time this morning after my first radiation treatment (this is one of my catchup double-treatment days) to re-image the tumor using the high-res CT scanner. This is actually part of a clinical study checking the efficacy of the targeting and possible adjustments mid-treatment. No downside to the study.

So, today's schedule turned into:

  • 9:20 AM: First radiation therapy
  • 10:00 AM: CT re-imaging
  • 1:00 PM: Swallow study
  • 3:40 PM: Second radiation therapy

CT re-imaging only took 10 minutes, so from there I went back over to the Surgeon's offices, hoping for a calmer day over there. And it was. I was able to get the medical release to return to work, and even had time to drop it off at the office before heading back over for the swallow study.

Swallow study was basically me taking sips or small bites of barium-infused guck while they recorded the liquid/food going down by X-ray. Pretty much what I had said before the study is what they found: some minor amounts of liquid go a little ways down my trachea when I drink anything, but it doesn't go far, and I'm able to cough to clear it back into my esophagus. Food swallowing just takes extra effort (mainly due to dry mouth, but also due to some narrowing of my esophagus near my spine).

Really, eating is no pleasure. I can't eat much before I just…can't. Everything tastes pretty bad and many foods turn into mush in my mouth (so far chicken is the worst meat). I've been supplementing, some, with Boost Very High Calorie into my PEG. But, I need to also continue to chew/swallow every day to keep those muscles working correctly. I did eat about 1/2 of a 2-egg ham and cheese omelet this morning. I'll try a bit more "real" food in a bit. But, next sit-down with the Dietician I'm really going to have to ask for help getting more high-quality calories in.

Tomorrow, I am going to stop by and get some delayed service done on my car on the way to work, then plan to do what I can to catch up a bit on some of the projects that are running. I've kept up with emails, but haven't had time to study, much, and studying is really key to understanding how to render technical capabilities down to practical feature implementation. Radiation is at 3:10, so, I'll head that direction around 2:30 and from there, on to home.

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