My Cancer Journey - Week Whatever

Shut-up and Don't breathe through your mouth.

Not exactly what the Doctor said but you catch the meaning.  My second visit to the oncologist since treatments ended was a winner.  One issue.  I have inflamation around my voice box.  Transalation - talking too much and mouth breathing.  Solution - rest the voice and breathe through the nose.  Explains why certain things irritate my throat, vinegar, pickles, mustard, beer, tomatoes sometimes, spicy spices.  It's yet another example of what I have reported many times, how the throat changes as the radiation and chemo continue to work. 

Gained weight again. 

Now up to 191, another two pounds since the end of August.  A testament to determination.  I get why so many people quit their treatments.  It'd be easy to push the food away.  Hard to chew.  Turned to glue in your mouth and couldn't swallow.  And for some people there are  taste issues.  Fortunately not me.  Everything I have tried has familiar to delicious taste.  It's the processing.  Learning to eat without thin saliva ducts.  Finish what is on your plate.  Get enough to feed your bodies needs.  It's hard work!  Continue to gain weight by the ounce, literally, because the calories are being channelled to recovery.  Cancer patients less determined, without the support and the will, have an even more difficult journey.

I proudly wear an NCAA Lacrosse, national championship ring.  It commemorates the victorious 2002 Limestone College Saints.  It was a gift from Brian and Brad Bauer, teammates and best friends of our son Jonathan who played four years of NCAA Lacrosse.   When Jonathan died in '08, the Bauers wanted me to have the ring.  It was Brad who played on the championship team.  Brian and Jonathan graduated before the Saints reached the peak of their performance.  In an emotional moment at Jonathan's memorial, a moment I will never forget, Brian Bauer said to me, this is the ring Jonathan should have won.  They wanted me to always remember the Saints, the teammates and their accomplishments.  The Bauers will now know how important the ring has been to me in this year of life threatening adversity.  The inscription on the side of the ring is the motto of the Limestone Saints - "If you couldn't play tomorrow, how hard would you play today?"  It speaks to attitude and determination, to never giving up, to the fight to win.  I read it and live it daily.

The surprise news from the oncologist.

There is a very real chance that I will see some return of thin saliva as long as I don't smoke.  She said even 50% return will seem like normal when compared to what I am dealing with today.  No problem there.  I'm going to be that guy.

Couple of weeks ago I had a complete physical with our family doctor.  All tests were good including cholesterol and prostate.  My iron level is lower than normal, likely a result of being on a liquid diet for 4.5 months.  Presciption - eat more meat.  Apparently meat based iron is easier for the body to absorb than plant based.

My next checkup is scheduled for Valentine's Day.  I am feeling terrific and improving all the time.  Dental work is the immediate challenge.  I'll be setting up appointments right away.

It's Christmas and the Farr family is getting ready.  Lights on the house are up and on.  Terrie has started the decorating on the inside.  Our daughter Natalie, her husband Rob and baby Jonathan will be with us for a week.  Our daughter in law Anna will arrive from Baltimore MD on Christmas Eve.  Relatives from Calgary and Vancouver will be here weather permitting.  It'll be nuts!  We will enjoy every crazy minute.

Never Alone