Relief, sweet relief.
Enough relief that I want to share.
When you are in the midst of something terrible, it is so hard to see the other side. And finally when you turn a corner, the other side suddenly becomes visible.
So Saturday was the hardest chemo day. I knew it was coming but you can never quite prepare for how you’re going to feel. But when it came, I could not take one more moment and thankfully when I woke Sunday, I didn’t have to. A combination of IV fluids, real food, apple juice, and pain meds are getting me back on track. Hopefully to stay in that direction.
I woke Sunday morning with the urgency to eat. Well, after I vomited of course. But I had the determination that in order to feel any better I needed to have calories, REAL calories in my body to initiate and sustain my healing.
Eating sounds like it should be easy enough, especially knowing my love of food. IN normal life, this would be a dream come true! Just pick a favorite food and go for it! But, my love for food has many obstacles and isn't that easy after treatment for Head and Neck cancer.
So many things stand in the way of eating normally:
Salivary glands are destroyed during radiation
Taste buds are augmented or non-existent
The enormous sore on my tongue makes chewing near impossible
With every swallow, my mouth burns
Nausea meds have to be timed just right to get under control
If anything touches my gag reflex the wrong way, back to vomiting and then all the eating is for nothing!
My olfactory is heightened and given my gag reflex and nausea, that isn’t a great combination!
Many people in my situation opt for a feeding tube throughout treatment. It helps to keep weight on, allows for an easier caloric consumption and eliminates the need to swallow through pain. But it usually stays with them for quite sometime after treatment ends. I chose not to do so because….I am stubborn. And I hate anything medical happening to my body (ironic right now!), I was scared to experience a potential additional pain site, and I didn’t want to risk tongue atrophy or additional food aversions. But what that means is I really have to talk myself into eating, especially considering all the things I mentioned before.
It’s hard for me to breathe a real sigh of relief when I am still in a pretty fair amount of pain, but I have learned that every day is so unpredictable so I am going to celebrate that the last two days have both been an improvement than the one prior. I can only be here now and in this moment, I am going to BREATHE and hope once again that tomorrow is better than today.
Here’s to healing a little more each and every day.
I am mama of three beautiful babes; two sons whom I have the privilege of raising and my daughter who lived for 33 sacred days.