My Wendy and I spent the last month and a half listening, learning, and being overwhelmed by the dreams and schemes of a lot of medical professionals. “We’re going to do this. We’re going to do that. We got the manpower, tools, and technology to wipe out this cancer!”
It is good to hear their dreams, schemes, plans, and bravado… but it dawned on me that I do not have my own game plan. My Wendy and I have roles and responsibilities in this game too. My Wendy has been sooooooooooooo supportive, and I am confident she will be at my side through all of this. I reviewed a lot of material pertaining to chemotherapy and radiation treatments (and I talked to Mom too) and distilled the following plan for me and My Wendy.
Hydration and Nutrition
Proper hydration is a key to success. I need to take in 100 ounces of water each day while treatment and recovery is in work.
Healthy eating is essential as well. There may be times I won’t feel like eating, like I’m not feeling it at all. I will need to munch a little during those times. The literature suggested 5-6 small meals throughout the day as opposed to 2-3 big meals. I will start that approach right now.
Radiation will hit my jaw. Some of the Saliva glands will shut down for a little while. Chemotherapy will sweep in and wreak havoc too. All this abuse may bring about dry mouth, thick and gooey saliva, and canker sores which will make swallowing food and drink all the more difficult. Brushing with a soft toothbrush; and rinsing with a solution of salt, baking soda, and water will take place after each meal.
Each round of chemo will increase the chances of infection throughout my body. 100.4 degree body temperature is the threshold. Phone calls need to be made when that threshold is crossed. The immune system will be too weak to fight. Also, I will need to be mindful of my body’s condition each day, keep my hands and common areas clean and sanitized, and keep cuts and bleeding to a minimum.
Mom talked about a journal she kept while going through cancer treatment. She was amazed by the amount of abuse she’d taken back in the day. She did not suggest that I keep a journal but it makes sense.
Both oncologists need to know when my mental, emotional, and physical conditions change. I have a tendency to “be a guy,” meaning I will ignore things. Bad idea this time, Sport-O!!!!
I designed a journal on google docs (so it is readily available and sendable) to record my physical, mental, and emotional condition each day of the treatment period. 37 days of treatment equals 58 calendar days… plus there will be days of recovery after the last day of treatment. The goal is to document conditions and changes as they occur. My poor drummer brain is going to forget stuff. I never needed chemo and radiation to be absent minded; they’ll only intensify that natural tendency! Truthfully… I heard the following quip from a respectable man many years ago:
“A short pencil is better than a long memory!”
And this is the real driver behind the journal. My body could encounter a wholesale beat down over the next 58 days. It is much easier to write down each event when it happens than it is to recall the experience a few days later. The oncologists and their teams are always at the mercy of the information they receive. I need to ensure my information is both timely and accurate.
Here is the weekly schedule I will follow...
- Monday - Radiation day
- Tuesday - Chemo and Radiation day. I expect to come home and be absolutely useless
- Wednesday - Radiation day and continued recovery from yesterday’s assault
- Thursday - Radiation day
- Friday - Radiation day
- Saturday & Sunday - day off
This plan will be adapted to fit my body’s response to the invasion.
Got insight or suggestions? Shoot them my way.
It is time to step in the ring for my first round with cancer. I’d like emerge as the victor, and for this to be my final round.