Today was (is) the day for the weekly meetings with Drs Rad and Chemo. They are in two different locations and at each one I get the vitals checked: blood pressure, temp, pulse. At one they take blood. They both note that I’m two pounds lighter than last week (and I didn’t tell them that today I took out my lead soles). Neither doctor had to look in my mouth very long. After a one second spot of the light, Dr Rad’s response, “oooo, that’s got to hurt.” And Dr Chemo’s, “I guess there is no point asking if that hurts.” Of course both are spot on. My mouth is just about one very large ulcer. The back of the throat is all white. Same with the roof of the mouth in the back. The sides of the tongue, all ulcer white.
Dr Rad says I’ve only got six more days and that each day it will get a little tougher. And, for a couple of weeks after therapy is over the situation won’t change very much as the mouth/throat will still be reacting to the treatments.
I’ve got to be relatively careful managing the pain meds. I woke up this morning and my pulse was racing. After I checked, it was up around 145 bpm. Very weird. Same thing happened on Saturday around noon, but not quite as extreme but still, from rest, the pulse rate was between 115-120 bpm. They think it could be lack of hydration or maybe too much pain medication, even though I’m still on the low end of doses. I’m doing the 25 mg fentanyl patch and subbing with some oxycodone hydrocol when the pain gets intense. Sometime, like about 30 minutes ago, the joints of the jaw will start hurting intensely, followed by the roots of the teeth and an all-round good headache. It’s enough to sit me in a corner wishing I knew meditation techniques a whole lot better.
Anyway, the other news of the day was with Dr Chemo. Because I still have the constant ringing in my head, he recommends that I forgo the last chemo treatment. I wanted to reach out and give him a high five, but just slowly nodded my head in thoughtful agreement. In all the cases they’ve done where the patient received two rather than three, there is no noticeable downside. It’s just that the standard has always been three sessions. The downside to going forward could be increased risk that 1) the ringing never goes away or 2) eventual ear damage. If he thinks it’s a good bet to skip the last session, then so do I.