Having a Hydration Sunrise on the Passenger Deck!!!
Back in the days of playing soccer in high school, the wrestlers would walk around with trash bags draped over their upper bodies. They’d be sucking on lemons while wearing their favorite Glad bags (these were the real Man bags). I’d never seen such a thing before… only the wrestlers endured this strange practice. I finally asked about the wrestling-unique practice. They said it was all in an effort to “make weight” for an upcoming match. They were sweating as much excess water weight as possible to ensure they would weigh in within the required limits for their weight class. I recall thinking it was good to play soccer cuz we did not worry about trash bags, lemons, and “making weight.” I still wonder how much weight a person could drop through that practice; the practice of deliberately dehydrating oneself to lower a person’s weight.
Over the weekend I found out how fast my body will drop weight through another form of dehydration. The decline of my food and drink consumption really began last Thursday. I had gone from drink-size to sip-size portions by Saturday and saw no improvement until Monday night. Then I boarded the good ship Chemo on Tuesday morning.
Part of the boarding process is to check vital signs. My weight on the first day of treatment was between 205 - 210. My weight dropped from 198 to 186 since my previous Tuesday weigh in. The captain and crew said 12 pounds is a substantial weight loss during cancer treatment. I could not see any difference in my appearance. My Wendy said (as early as Sunday morning) that she was seeing the signs of weight loss and dehydration.
My Wendy and I found our spot on the passenger deck. The crew plugged me into the IV dispenser with the pre game cocktails. They added two bags of saline to start working on hydration. They replaced the container with pre game drink with the first bit of chemo while the saline kept dripping into my bloodstream. Chemo bag #2 replaced #1 and the saline drink was finally empty. My Wendy and I waved good-bye to the captain and crew as we disembarked the good ship Chemo. Next stop… the Radiation Station!!!
Medical professionals are silly! They have this weird obsessive fixation with weight… your weight!!! It is Doctor Day at the Station so I have to check my weight again. The scale said I weighed in at 191. The morning’s hydration efforts seems to have paid off! The sum effect of the morning session was kind of tiring. I wanted to go home and sleep for a bit, which I eventually did. BUT… a five pound weight gain was not a bad start toward replenishing my fluid levels.
The fundamental goal of Doctor Days are for the doctors to manage the side effects of cancer treatment while sticking to the treatment plan. The doctors can predict how your body will react to treatment, but are not certain until both plans are in motion. They do everything they can to minimize or eliminate the side effects so the treatment plan can be executed as scheduled.
This is an art form too, cuz every person’s reaction to cancer treatment is unique. A person’s health is a big influence. Better health means greater durability. Then there are the tools of the trade that are used in the cancer treatment process: one person doesn’t seem to be phased by the use of these tools, while the next person could suffer with numerous complications from the exact same gear.
I can quickly get water, pureed or juiced foods, and medicines into the tummy-tum through the feeding tube. Candidly… that is bad ass right now!!! I am learning about the maximum amount I can take in at one session. It is up to me, the cancer patient, to plan out my nutrition and hydration to support the efforts and keep the execution of the treatment plan on course. I have a Friday hydration appointment aboard the good ship Chemo to follow up on my hydration effort. I’ll be on the passenger deck again for a Hydration Sunrise if I don't do well enough on my own.
Both doctors shared that swallowing food is a muscular activity, and that they’ve seen patients forget how to use those muscles… said patients had to learn how to eat again because they depended entirely on the peg tube. I will admit the tube is very easy to use and A LOT LESS PAINFUL too. BUT… I’ll “practice” eating and drinking a little each day to make sure those muscles do not forget. Can you imagine forgetting how to swallow food!?!?!
Such is the life of a light-weight cancer patient!