We have finally past the last full week of radiation and coming into the final stretch. It's crazy to think that I have been going through radiation for 5 1/2 weeks. I understand that chemo is pretty bad, but radiation is no walk in the park. I am praying very hard that I don't have to go through this ever again.
I will tell you that this week was probably one of the toughest weeks I have had. When I went through my surgery, I didn't really have too much pain. I was hoping this trend would've continued throughout this whole journey, but that wasn't what was in store for me. Along the way, I will tell you that out of all the side effects I have had, the worst one has been the mouth sores.
The sunburn that I have been talking about has been getting worse. My neck is super red and is starting to peel like a sunburn. I haven't had too much pain with this yet, but it does provide some discomfort. I have been using Aqua-Phor to keep my skin hydrated through these treatments.
My mouth has been hurting off the charts this week. The pain comes to a point sometime where it feels almost unbearable. Imagine that you put a handful of glass in your mouth and try to chew. That probably doesn't make sense.... lol, but it hurts to drink or eat anything. I can only get through some of my food before it becomes too hard to eat. I keep losing weight which makes me nervous because if I lose 10% of my body weight compared to when we started radiation, then I will have to get the feeding tube. The crazy thing from when I was diagnosed to today, I have lost around 45 lbs (great weight loss program LOL).
They have me on a nerve blocker, pain medication, and a numbing mouth wash. This week the pain has been so bad that they had to switch me to a different and stronger medicine. I can usually fight through the pain, but the amount of pain that I am experiencing anytime I eat, drink, brush my teeth, and even talk is almost unbearable. It has come to a point where I don't enjoy any food or drink. I spoke to my doctor about how long the mouth sores would last, he said that the mouth sores would last about 2 to 2 1/2 weeks. I am hoping that it will last much less than expected.
On Wednesday they prescribed my new medication, which I went to pick it up that day. This medication is actually a patch that lasts for 3 days, but I am not able to drive while on this medication. I put the first patch on Wednesday and I didn't feel anything all day. The doctor did tell me that it could be up to 12 hours before I might start seeing the medication kick in. Pamela was driving me to my appointment Thursday morning and all of a sudden I started feeling hot and nauseous. Also, I felt so tired that I could barely keep my eyes open, which is unusual for me. We came back home and I started to do some work until mid-afternoon and the nausea kicked in big time. I ended up getting sick, which only happened that one time. I went to lay down and ended up sleeping for a few hours and woke up feeling better.
When I woke up Friday, I felt nauseous like I was going to get sick again. I ended up taking the patch off until I could talk to my nurse before my appointment to make sure that was a normal side effect. When I spoke to her that morning, she said it was a potential side effect so they prescribed me medicine for nausea. So far the medication has been working to keep nausea feeling down.
This week is pretty big because these will be the last few days of my radiation. My official last day will be Wednesday, October 14th, 2020. With this being a big moment, we are having the kids come with us so that they can be apart of the end celebration. Unfortunately, they won't be able to come in with me, but they will be able to see me ring the bell. MD Anderson West Campus has a glass emergency exit door that's right by the bell, so it's like a front-row seat. The staff told me that they have family and friends come out to watch, which is pretty cool to let family and friends be a part of.
They just scheduled my follow up scans for December. I am super excited for my final day of radiation, but there is always that thought in the back of my head of did the radiation work, is the cancer gone, long term side effects, did we do enough to eliminate it. It sucks to come down to a point that should be a happy one, but still have those nagging thoughts in the back of my head. I am at the point where I will push those thoughts way down so that I can enjoy and celebrate that the journey ahead and make sure it is bright and fulfilling.
Keep pushing forward!