My Cancer Journey - Week 23

With recovery and feeling better comes the reality of the new normal.  Radiation is both a miracle and a curse.  It destroys cancer cells, thank you God, but can leave a path of destruction.  I’m certainly not alone.  Radiation as administered for neck cancer, can damage your jaw bone and kills small saliva glands.  There’s no evidence yet that bone damage has occurred.  My jaw is tender to the touch.  I have some restriction in movement as my mouth does not easily open wide.  Exercises may help long term. 

You have recently read about experiments with solid food and the success stories.  Now the reality of dental issues.  I had a saliva test yesterday and produced virtually nothing over a ten minute period.  Dry mouth.  A tooth by tooth review found three cavities beginning to develop in the few weeks since the last dental appointment.  There is apparently the need for at least one crown if not two or three.  More investigation to come.  Without the cavity fighting enzymes of thin saliva, tooth decay is the curse of radiation.  The dentist will become my best friend it seems and my bank account the funding for her next grand vacation.  Don’t get me wrong, she is a caring professional.  She is thorough.  However, dental work is not cheap and the burden is on us.  The new normal is check-ups every 3-4 months and the need for some extensive work fairly soon.  It also means daily fluoride treatments using custom trays along with fluoride mouth wash and toothpaste.  I can no longer be lazy about flossing and brushing the tongue.

Ate steak this week for the first time in five and a half months.  Didn’t know how it would go, but the answer is easily chewed, easily swallowed, tasted great.  Small bites chewed well with a little milk as chaser and another item makes Ted’s nourishment menu. 

It is week 23 since my journey began.  Feeling good with more go.  Energized is the right word.  Enjoying work and the Okanagan heat.  Stamina is better and according to the scales at the clinic, gained ONE POUND.  Now to keep that pound and find it a few friends.

The BC Day long weekend is here.  We are taking Terrie’s twin and her husband to a few of the local wineries this afternoon.  For date night, it’s back to the golf course restaurant of last week.  Same table on the patio, facing the lake and the mountains, same great weather, live jazz and my honey.

We are actually alone for the day on Sunday.  Road trip to Penticton to see Natalie, Rob and baby Jonathan.  The little guy is six months old next week.  He is 17 pounds, in the 50th percentile for his age and 27.5 inches long, in the 80th percentile.  He’s long and lanky like his grandfather, he said beaming.  Got his first two teeth over the last few days.  He is strong, healthy and happy.  He blew a few raspberries when I mentioned the Orioles trading Miguel Tajada to the Padres.  Thinks he’s over the hill, done.  The kid does like to express himself.

Til next time.