Yesterday was (emotionally speaking) the lowest I’ve been since the cancer diagnosis popped in early June. I wrote the post with a sense of frustration that did not improve as the day progressed. It reached the point of “overwhelming” when I started hacking up blood that was breaking away from the inflamed area of my throat. My Wendy and I looked at the evidence before us and decided “today” is a good day to talk with the Radiation Station staff BEFORE taking another trip through the chamber.
Greg, one of the radiation techs, joined me in the lobby to escort me back for another normal day in the chamber. I asked if I could speak with a nurse before the session. He was cool with the request and found a room that offered some privacy for upcoming conversation.
Michelle joined me shortly after Greg left. She inquired… and I broke down on the spot. I was beaten and broken in throat and spirit. It felt like everything both cancer crews and I were doing was always one step behind the side effects of radiation treatment. Now… we’re at the point of coughing up blood! The inflamed area is so tattered and torn that a productive cough breaks loose scabs that have formed in the area. I put myself together well enough to make it to the room used to take vital signs. Then…
I coughed one too many times, which prompted the gag reflex to kick in more than usual. I made it to the oversized sink basin just in time to throw up. Not just a little gagging, but legit puke sessions. This event brought the sobbing on again, which then kicked off a vicious cycle of sobbing, gagging, and throwing up. Michelle hung tough with me through it all (This is what Sock Swag is all about: right here… when suffering is the greatest, there are people like Michelle who willingly put themselves deep in this part of the human experience). She saw some of the evidence my Wendy and I saw earlier in the morning. She called in the Physician’s Assistant once I was stable. The vicious cycle was over and has not return since then.
The PA listened as Michelle and I recounted the day’s events: one hour of sleep at a time, the vicious cycle at the office, the constant pain in the throat despite all the meds, the overwhelmed feeling I have regarding all the medicine, and that I feel that I stay on top of everything as well as I can and equally feel like I am behind the side effects all the time. Collectively, we three decided to suspend treatments until Tuesday (Thursday, Friday, and Monday) to see how my throat recovers. We will assess things on Tuesday to determine the next step to take.
I certainly want to stay the course and be done with all this as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the side effects are not manageable so we need to get control of them first. This is the hand we were dealt so this is the hand we will play.
My Wendy and I hope there is some significant recovery over these five days.