Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Status report at one week after.

It has now been one week since I finished chemo. Dr. Evers predicted it would take about two weeks for me to shake the major side effects, so I'm halfway there.

I have been surprised that I've felt the effects much more this time. I think the cumulative effect of the rounds of chemo, plus all the radiation have an impact that is greater than the sum of their parts.

Of course, that's the general therapeutic idea, isn't it?

On the good side, I'm not feeling anymore appreciable nausea. Everyday I feel a little stronger. Plus, I'm growing some hair.

I won't dwell on them, but I do want to list the effects I am feeling.

  1. General weakness. I'm feeling pretty frail. Simple tasks can be pretty exhausting. I miss my vigor most of all. More than my hair.
  2. Esophagitis. I have some fairly constant discomfort in my throat and down my esophagus. Swallowing, even (or especially) liquids is tricky. I have to control the texture, quantity and, well, approach of each swallow or it can be pretty painful.
  3. Dryness. My skin, my eyes, overall I need to hydrate from the inside and moisturize pretty aggressively from the outside. The swallowing thing means I have to be pretty intentional about drinking enough fluids, because sometimes it doesn't seem worth the effort.
  4. Insomnia. This can be pretty dispiriting. Monday night, I didn't sleep at all. Tuesday, I moved to the living room couch around midnight and got some decent sleep in a couple of chunks. It's hard to work at sleeping, but I know I need to rest. I'm not napping during the day because I don't want to aggravate the insomnia, but I do spend a lot of time sitting or lying around doing nothing. See number 1.
  5. Nutrition. I spend a lot of time planning what I'm going to eat, but I'm not generally hungry, and the swallowing effort is off-putting. I've lost a fair amount of weight, and not the right weight either. I need to be strong for the surgery, so I'm being deliberate about this. Fortunately, while I don't have much appetite, I don't have any nausea, either.
  6. Addlebrained. This continues.

I was hesitant to make a list of my complaints, for fear it would snowball, but having done it, they don't really look that bad.

And I'm getting better.

4 Comments:

Blogger vkenny said...

Hi Jimmy, Ed has the problem with insomnia also so he tries to sleep throughout the day on a schedule. He gets 2 hours in the morning, 2 in the afternoon and then takes what he can get at night. There are some day it seems he is in bed all day, but I figure he is just making up for lost sleep. Sometimes it's a good thing to see your list of ailments so it does not seem as bad. All in all it seems you are doing as well as can be expected, so just keep going one day at a time, you're almost there. Keep fighting the good fight!
V

9:39 AM  
Blogger UisceBaGirl said...

Jim,

"Better" is good. Keep it up. I'm sorry to hear that while eating is definitely necessary for healing that the esophagitis makes swallowing so unpleasant. May this symptom pass soon.

Thinking of you and yours,

Pamela

6:15 PM  
Blogger Tom Wolf said...

You can't be too addlebrained if you wrote that comment. It's pithy, a quality in writing that takes a certain clarity of mind. But you probably feel addlebrained from lack of sleep and multiple discomforts. Hang in there. Suffering is a drag, but does have an end, even if more suffering eventually follows that. Blessings upon you, and may you find sleep. Love, Tom

6:19 PM  
Blogger CJ Fillmore said...

Dear Jim--

Any single one of the side effects you listed is enough to make a person truly miserable. I know it's terribly difficult both physically and emotionally to be taking on so many at one time. I'm so happy to hear that the nausea has abated. **Keep hanging on to the thought that the rest of it is not going to last forever.**

As you have stated so many times, and as I have seen by their posts, you do have such wonderful friends and loved ones. Knowing very little of you personally, their comments tell me a lot about who you are.

A shining example: I remember thinking how blessed you must be to have people in your life who are even aware of such a beautiful song as "How Can I Keep From Singing?" That tells me a lot about you as a person.

I think of you and your family quite often and keep you all in my prayers. Thanks for sharing your life. It has been encouraging to me.

CJ

11:16 PM  

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