day three

This is not a pity party post.  It’s just for the record.  As much as one can focus on the positive, reality can still come in and bite (ouch), somewhere.

Day two felt better than day one, so I erroneously presumed day three would follow that path.  Yesterday I did feel weakly-good walking home after being discharged.  I had a backpack with my laptop, ipad, and assorted stuff.  GV carried the heavy bag which the medical center gifted us–sterile water, sample cans of liquid food, gauze, etc.  (I’m sure they will also gift us the invoice.)  After a day and a half mostly on my back, I was exhausted by the time we got back home.

Nevertheless, to pick up some things I thought I’d need for the next few days, I slowly dragged myself over to Trader Joe’s (one block away) and loaded up my hand basket with things which were all heavy.  By the time I got out of there, I had what felt like two 30 lb bags of groceries.  When I got home this time, I was very stomach sore and felt like I overdid it.

After a one-half hour foot therapy with GV, she cooked up some tasty dinner, my first solid food in two days, and we settled in for a movie.  For some reason, by the time we went to bed it was close to midnight.  Right when I was reaching to turn out the light, a pain began to build, intensely and quickly, in back of the bottom of my rib cage.  It was confusing because I was having trouble breathing trying to contain the pain.  Not sure what it feels like being stabbed in the chest area with a serrated knife, but the pain I had might have been close.  Not only was it a searing pain, but it was tightening, making breathing even harder.

On the couch, GV massaged my feet and tried to get me to breath more consistently.  Finally, after about seven minutes, the pain slowly subsided–to much relief.  Where in the hell did that come from I kept wondering?  My heart certainly isn’t that low.

So went back to bed and around two am, the same pain woke me up.  This time I concentrated on keeping the breathing consistent.  The pain may have been a tad lower on the pain scale, but not much.  I was desperately hoping to avoid any surprise drama to the start of the chemo/rad/peg process.  The pain relaxed and dissipated about five minutes later.  As I drifted off, I was wondering if I’d be woken up again.  Fortunately, I wasn’t.

When I woke up in the morning to get ready for the mile walk back for rad treatment, the peg area was pretty upset with me.  It was a top notch stomach ache.  After GV helped me with my socks and tying my walking shores (crunching over to do this myself was not welcome) I stood up and a flush of tingling warmth flooded from the top of my head through my skull.  Another weird new feeling.  At least this one wasn’t painful.

I told the nurse about the stabbing pain and the flush feeling when I arrived at the medical center.  About the pain, she asked, “do you think it was gas?”  I said, “I didn’t hear anything, so frankly, I don’t know if it was gas.”  She says it probably was.  She also says that the body must get accustomed to foreign objects; i.e., chemo, stomach plugs, radiation, etc., and that these could be normal reactions.

She says that the stomach may hurt until Friday.  Funny, when they first told me about the feeding tube, the doctors said it would be a “mild discomfort for a couple of days.”  If their definition of “mild” is as far off the mark as their definition of “a couple,”  then I guess I can understand.  Mild is a subjective term.  And I always took a couple to mean two.  But when you want to make things sound better than they are, you invoke the “figure of speech” rule.  It’s like the South American “give me two minutes”, which is a figure of speech and certainly isn’t intended to mean two minutes.

Anyway, day three of rad treatment is in-and-out, but the walk home was again slow.  How slow?  Normally, most side-walking people in New York City are in my way.  Not in a bad way.  It’s just that my normal stride is faster than most.  Today I was passed by a geriatric aged woman about half my height, pulling a roller basket with groceries.  Another humility moment.  I’ve glazed that picture in the mind’s eye so that maneuvering around slow walkers in the future will be with more understanding.

After a nap, I was able to get a few important errands done.  Today is another ‘water only’ day.  Odd that installing a feeding tube to be able to receive nutrition later (if needed), is now the cause of not wanting to receive nutrition.  In other words, my throat feels fine, it’s the belly ache that I’m belly aching about.  In the gran scheme though, this is no real ache.  It’s only another post.

6 thoughts on “day three

  1. Paul

    can’t imagine. how difficult it must be, I follow your blog updates every day.
    hang in there, may you recover quickly.


  2. Richard

    Hey Steve-o,

    Glad to hear you made it out of the hospital w/o any unforseen complications. Sounds like you’ve got a lot ahead of you but like I said before, you’re a pretty tough bird and will do fine.

    By coincidence or divine intervention, they were giving HPV vaccinations at work yesterday and so I had them do me. I have to get two more shots later on and it might not even take, most likely won’t make a difference but I figured “what the hell” and got it done anyway.

    I’ll be following your daily posts and cheering you on from down here.

    Keep givin’ em hell!

    1. Throat Cancer 2010 Post author

      Yea, I’d take the opportunity for that vaccination. The Chemo Dr told me that most people have hpv and it’s very hard to detect. Many women can have it and pass it along without ever knowing. Certain strains are more nasty than others. Most, the body fights off over time. But it’s getting to be a larger problem they are finding out. Better to be safe. Take care with the muff diven.

  3. Jessica

    what doesn’t break you, builds you (character that is, or is that what “they” say)…keep the mind fresh, but the limbs rested, until you ache no more.


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