Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Is there a light at the end of the tunnel?

It is starting to happen...the side effects from the radiation have begun.  Today, I have a really sore throat and my tongue is very tender.  It is making swallowing a little difficult. And from what I am told it is only going to get worse.

On average, a patient going through chemo/radiation, looses about 15 pounds.  It gets very difficult to eat and it can be painful.  So it is rare for a patient to not get a feeding tube.  I more than likely will get one placed before it gets too bad.  I am determined to do whatever I can to avoid the feeding tube, but I am not going to be unrealistic.  I went shopping today and purchased the ingredients to make all different kinds of smoothies and shakes.  I also purchased some protein powder to add to drinks giving me some extra calories.  I was told that if I don't want a feeding tube, then I need to be creative with blending foods that will be easy to eat.  I am starting to get really nervous about this.  Mackenzie thinks it will be very cool to have another family member with a feeding tube.....

The good news is that I learned that the goal of this treatment is to be cancer free. Chemotherapy does not get rid of the cancer...Radiation is the cure.  The majority of the cancer cells have been destroyed by the two rounds of chemotherapy I already had.  Now, the radiation will take care of the rest.  So if all goes well, I could be done with treatment by August.   After the 3 months of much needed rest and recovery, they will do some more scans to determine the success of the radiation therapy.  If there is no more cancer then I am done.  If there are some cancer cells left, then they will do surgery to remove the rest.  Since I responded so well to the chemotherapy, they are hopeful that the radiation will do the job.  This have given me so much hope and I can actually see a light at the end of the tunnel.  It is just going to be hard road to get there.  

My white blood count has also dropped to a dangerous level.  Unfortunately, they cannot give me the shots that will boost the white blood count.  It does not work with radiation.  So they will monitor it and hope that it goes back up.  If it does not, they will stop chemotherapy until my counts go back up.  This also means that I have to be very careful to not expose myself to a lot of people.  So I will remain cooped up in the house.  We also need to be very careful who Mackenzie and Kendall spend time with so that they don't get sick and expose me to germs.  We found out last week that someone in Mackenzie's class was diagnosed with the swine flu the last week of school so she might have been exposed.  As you can imagine, we were very alarmed.  That is the last thing we need to worry about.  I think we are in the clear now since the incubation period is only 2-5 days.  If Mackenzie would have had any symptoms they would have appeared by now.

Please continue to pray that the side effects of the radiation will be minimal and that I will be able to continue to eat and maintain my weight.  Also, please pray for me and my family to be protected from germs and viruses right now.  Lastly, please pray for strength to get through this radiation treatment and that it will work!!!  Thank you!!!


Anonymous said...

How wonderful to have a tangible goal in sight!! Thanks for sharing the news. I will definitely be praying for effective treatment, strength for your immune system, health for the whole family, as well as nutrition for you.

Just wanted you to know I'm thinking of you!

Love and prayers,

Anonymous said...

Wonderful to be hearing about the potential end. Praying for the side effects, protection, and strength.

Mark K.

Anonymous said...

Oh Sue...how wonderful to have such great hope now! I know that is just what you needed! What a celebration you will have when these treatments are over! You have such a great outlook on all of this. You continue to amaze me with your strength, courage, and determination to beat this thing no matter what! I will be thanking God for this good news and continuing to pray for you and your family daily!

Michelle E.

Cheri Mueller said...

Smoothie Central! I'm sure there's some great recipe books out there for all kinds of smooth and cool concoctions!

I'm encouraged that you're encouraged! What wonderful news to know that surgery might not be in the course of things for you! I'll be praying for that -- complete healing through radiation!

Love you, Sue!


Anonymous said...

Great to hear that at least there is a defined plan going forward. I imagine it really helps to have a path in sight rather than so much uncertainty. Whenever I have a sort throat and want to eat something that goes down easy, Macaroni and Cheese is one of my top choices...usually have to wait until it cools, but that goes down easy. Then follow it up with a small bowl of jell-o with whip cream. I actually might ask Connie to make the for dinner now, sounds pretty good!


Anonymous said...

You know we are praying for you to fully recover as quickly as possible. I am happy to see you looking forward and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Believe Sue, it will happen.

Susan Thomas

Jen Zick said...

Believing with you for a full recovery by end of summer! Fortunately, it's the "least germy" season of the year, so hopefully the germs will stay far away from you and yours. I also got the note about the "swine flu" at the elementary, as Evie is now doing club care there this summer...but seems everyone has stayed healthy, which is good news!