Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The First Day of the Rest of My Life – Seven To Go – October 16, 2019 – Day 46

I believe it is in my nature to dance by virtue of the beat of my heart, the pulse of my blood and the music in my mind. - Robert Fulghum

Today's quote is by one of my favorite authors. I enjoy Fulghum's books of essays. I learn something from him and I'm inspired. And, yes! I only have seven more radiation treatments to go – I really can almost feel “sliding into home plate.” But, as I told my radiation doctor and the surgical oncologist doctor today, I feel like I've just completed the 12th round of a prizefight. The fatigue is overwhelming.

Now, that being said, today was not as bad as the last several days. Am I fatigued? I most certainly am. But, I actually felt better today, ate a bit better today and was even more productive today. That's all good stuff. My radiation doctor said I'm doing very well compared to a lot of other patients, especially considering that I'm also taking a full course of chemo at the same time. This is good news.

I also met with the surgical oncologist today. Dr. Wagner is the doctor who was on ER duty when I was in the ER Observation unit from August 21st to August 23rd. He is the doctor who laid the news on me about the results of my endoscopy and CT Scan. He also was the doctor who got me connected with Dr. Gemma, my medical oncologist responsible for my chemotherapy. As you may recall, Dr. Gemma was my first and only choice for this part of my treatment.

Today's meeting with Dr. Wagner was a sort of combination. First, it was a follow-up from our initial meeting in the ER Observation unit. We discussed all that has transpired since that life-changing day. He wanted to know how far along I was with my radiation and chemo treatments and how I was handling the protocol. He was also looking up what records he could find on the hospital computer system.

Next, he wanted to discuss the possible future protocols to make sure we can eliminate this cancer from my life. Since he is a surgical oncologist, I don't think it's a very big stretch to figure out he was discussing possible major surgery. I expected this conversation, so it didn't come as any surprise. 

My friend, Judy, attended the appointment with me. It's always good to have a second set of ears – AND a second brain that can look at issues like this from a more objective perspective. The second person can ask questions the patient might not think of. Ultimately, while nothing was or could be decided today, I felt better informed. 

The next thing, after I complete the current radiation and chemo treatments will be several weeks to allow me to recover from this regimen and begin to regain my strength. Then there will be a battery of tests Dr. Wagner will order. They will be to evaluate the effectiveness of the radiation and chemo treatments and to make sure there was no spread to any other places in my body. 

He said that based on my current health, the previous tests and how well I've tolerated these first treatment protocols, he expects there to be no surprises and for me to be an excellent candidate for surgery. But, of course, he couldn't give me any kind of guarantees on that. Everything will depend on the results of the upcoming tests. That is certainly understandable. 

So, seven more radiation treatments and two more chemo treatments and I get to rest and recover for a while. On the one hand, it seems like a lifetime. On the other hand, it seems like it's actually flown by.

Both my radiation doctor and Dr. Wagner are making sure I get together with the cancer center nutritionist to evaluate my weight, especially since I've had some weight loss. They want to make sure I'm getting enough protein and caloric intake to maintain my weight. Sounds good to me. 

I'm now at the lowest weight I've probably been in 20 years and possibly as many as 30 years. I'm happy to have lost a lot of extra poundage. However, it has to be watched or it could be detrimental to my future health, especially if surgery is in my future.

So, Carolyn and I spoke after I got back to Judy's house from the afternoon doctor's appointment. I passed on my news to her and she seemed pleased with the news. Unfortunately, she was not having a good week this week. 

Yesterday was her mother's birthday who passed away just about five years ago. And, today was her son's birthday, who passed away four years ago at the young age of 41. So, needless to say. This is a very hard week for her. And, of course, here I am, almost 70 miles away, not able to be there to at least have someone else in the house to give her company through this trying time. She is a very strong person and I'm very glad to have her as a friend and in my life.

There's not much more to tell about today. I'm getting pretty tired. I actually slept 8 straight hours last night. That's long for me. A normal night is 6 to 6 ½ hours. I'm looking forward to another 8 hour night tonight if that's in the cards. That extra sleep last night may be why I didn't feel quite as fatigued as I did the last few days. I'll see how the night goes and look forward to the new day tomorrow.

Live free and be happy. EH

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