Friday, December 5, 2008

DAY 191 - Day 94 in Recovery Paradise

Life has been pretty good lately. I still rely on the nutrient drinks, but I'm slowly being able to consume real food. Sarah had a dress rehearsal for The Nutcracker performance tonight, so Lise and I went out to dinner at a local Spanish restaurant called Aioli. I had white bean soup and a spinach salad. I was able to eat a little piece of bread and drink a little wine. I was not able to finish everything, but was able to swallow what I did eat. Interestingly enough, the best part of the salad were the beets and the whites of the hard-boiled eggs. For dessert, we shared chocolate mousse with berries and fresh fruit. I've heard that some people don't get their taste for chocolate back, and I'm sure it tasted better than what I thought it did, but it was OK.

I still have dry mouth and a sore throat, and I'm getting a sore on the side of my tongue again. I still get tired a lot and usually take about a two-hour nap in the late morning.

My hair seems to growing back in in the back where I had two bald spots caused by radiation. All-in-all, things are getting better every day.

Song of the Day: Cream - Crossroads

Sunday, November 30, 2008

DAY 186 - Day 89 in Recovery Paradise

Things have been going pretty well. I have a bit of dry mucus in the back of my throat and a little problem with my stomach, but I'm doing well overall. I had a great Thanksgiving. I actually had a regular turkey dinner: turkey, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie--everything except bread. I tried to repeat it the next night, but was unable to swallow anything. I guess I overdid it a bit on Thanksgiving, but I'm recovering from that too.

We have much to be thankful for. Good family; good friends. Good life ahead.

Song of the Day: Thankful - Josh Groban

Saturday, November 22, 2008

DAY 178 - Day 81 in Recovery Paradise

A happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours. We certainly have a lot to be thankful for here in this family, so it will be a special day. Hopefully, I'll be able to taste a little bit of everything. I had mashed potatoes and gravy for dinner, for practice. Today was a full day without any nutrient drink--all regular food. Zoom cereal, chicken and stars soup, mashed potatoes and gravy, more chicken and stars soup, peach-mango Greek yogurt (the full-fat kind), and a milkshake with one-half canned peach (but not enough to make it very peachy tasting). We went to Trader Joe's after Sarah's Nutcracker rehearsal this evening.

Tomorrow we're going to see the operetta, The Pirates of Penzance. We read the synopsis tonight, and we're all looking forward to it.

Song of the Day: The Beatles - Here Comes the Sun

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

DAY 175 - Day 78 in Recovery Paradise

My stomach has been feeling a little off lately. Had my first nutrient meal at about 6:30 a.m. Took a short nap, got up at 8 and lost it all. Had another one about 9 a.m., took a nap until about noon. Stayed down this time. Worked in the garage, getting rid of my past. Getting rid of a lot of sports memorabilia from the Sacramento River Rats hockey team, throwing away boxes of photos and game day magazines. Dinner was beef stew, green beans, salad and garlic toast. I had tomato soup and a glass of milk.

Song of the Day: The Ventures - The House of the Rising Sun

Sunday, November 16, 2008

DAY 172 - Day 75 in Recovery Paradise

This has been another pretty decent day. My throat is a little constricted, but tolerable. I think it has to do with the apples. I had a hot apple cider drink and made a fresh apple cobbler. Very good. I had a big helping for dinner with a little whole milk on it. I nibbled on it quite a bit before dinner also. Ha. Tonight was sushi night, and I ate a half of one California roll. Too dry. Couldn't get the rice to go down for quite awhile. I was going to dip it in the soy sauce and wasabi, but I thought better of it. I haven't used my tube for a feeding in quite awhile. I consider that to be a great success. I'm still not confident enough to have it removed. But I did clear it out with about 400 cc. of water.

I will drive myself up to the dentist's office for teeth-cleaning tomorrow. Then I'll take Lise's car in to get the oil changed. I worked in the garage today, divesting myself of some of my worldly possessions. All the barrels are full--trash and recycling. I have a pile for Good Will, a pile for Habitat for Humanity, and a bunch of things in the trunk of the car to take to Sarah's school. The backs of my legs are sore still from working in the yard yesterday.

Song of the Day: The Monkees (Theme)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

DAY 171 - Day 74 in Recovery Paradise

As you can see, I don't have anything new of any spectacular nature to report every day. I don't have much to complain about, so I won't. I had my standard nutrient drinks for breakfast and late morning ("elevensies"), had two servings of soup for lunch (minestrone). I was able to get it down OK, except for the bean skins. I had another nutrient drink for dinner, but the dinner I fixed for the family looked so good, I had some. Greek chicken with olives, tomatoes and feta cheese. I was actually able to eat a few bites. I also had a root beer. First soft drink I've had in months. It was cold and fizzy and reminded me of root beer, but it wasn't quite the same. My taste buds are back for the most part, just not 100 percent.

I worked in the yard and in the garage for several hours today. It felt good to be out of the house. My legs are so sore, however, that I can barely make it up the stairs.

We went to the grocery store, picking up ingredients for Thanksgiving Day. It wasn't that long ago when a trip to the grocery store was a big outing and I had to hang on to the grocery cart just to get around. We bought a turkey and supplies to make a pumpkin pie and an apple pie. We went to Apple Hill last week and bought a case of winesap apples, so we're going to make some apple crisp tomorrow. Everybody likes apple pie; nobody likes the crust.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

168 DAY - Day 71 in Recovery Paradise

I'm feeling a bit stronger today. I had most of my meals in milkshake form for calories, but dinner was vegetable soup and two apples. Dustin and his girlfriend came over to visit and stayed for dinner. The family had chicken and cheese enchiladas with green beans and salad. I wasn't brave enough to try that. I'm making two drives a day, taking Sarah to and from school. I'm getting a little more comfortable on the road. I'm thinking about going in to work tomorrow. I walked around the block once today. I don't seem to have much of a mucus problem anymore, but I still have dry mouth. I had to give up on the last two bites of my second apple as my throat was constricted and I just couldn't get it to swallow. All in all, I feel good and I'm glad I'm not putting food in by tube. I do flush it out with water every few days so it doesn't get clogged. I enjoy the email responses from people who have been reading my blog and are giving me congratulations. I've been cold a lot, unable to get warm. Been walking around with a sweatshirt, scarf and a cap. We thought maybe it was my thyroid, but the test results came back today and it's in the normal range. I guess I'm just a weenie.

Song of the Day: The Ventures - Walk Don't Run - Perfidia

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

DAY 167 - Day 70 in Recovery Paradise

More eating progress. I'm still not ready for the cheeseburger yet, but I'm getting close. I had a regular dinner tonight: turkey meatloaf and some baked potato with gravy. I'm getting myself prepared for Thanksgiving. It was difficult swallowing, but I was able to do it. I also ate an apple. I had to spit the skin out. I'm only doing this for my dinner meal. I'm still having the milkshake meals for all the others. I can taste everything, so my taste buds are at least partially back. If my taste buds didn't come back any more than this, it would be OK. I'm still hoping for saliva to come back so I can eat regular food on a regular basis for all my meals. I also drove myself up to the video store and the grocery store to do some shopping.

Song of the Day: Elvis Presley - Heartbreak Hotel

Monday, November 10, 2008

DAY 166 - Day 69 in Recovery Paradise

Another milestone today in ability to get my eating ability back. I had vegetable soup for dinner and was also able to eat two breadsticks and an apple. I also had some pineapple sherbet for dessert. I still have some mucus and a little bit of a sore throat, but really minor compared to what it's been in the past. I had a blood test today to test my thyroid because I'm cold all the time. Sarah had a short-sleeved shirt on, and I've got a T-shirt, sweatshirt, and wool scarf and cap down over my ears. I also have my bathrobe on, and I'm still cold. Of the symptoms I've had after treatment, this is one I can fix by putting on more clothes. I got my flu shot today, so I can eliminate that as another tribulation.

My sister came by for a visit today. She's the one who sends me a nice notecard daily. Lately, they have had photos from when I was a child, bringing back good memories. She came by for a couple of hours and a couple of hugs. It was good to see her.

Song of the Day: Sister Act - I will follow Him

Sunday, November 9, 2008

DAY 165 - Day 68 in Recovery Paradise

Two hundred more days and it will have been a year. Had a great day today. Beautiful weather in the valley, so we decided to take a drive to Apple Hill where it was overcast and extremely cold. All in all, it was a pretty drive. Another first in the recovery process: They were giving away apple slice samples at one of the stops. Without thinking, I accepted and popped one in my mouth and started chewing, not realizing that I couldn't do it. Miracle! I was able to eat it. I ended up eating two more entire apples. It's the first solid food I've had in three months. So we bought a case of apples and an apple parer. It's a cute little tool. Sarah really likes it. It delivers an apple cored, pared and sliced into a spiral. It works on potatoes also, and probably a lot of other vegetables as well. I had vegetable soup for dinner, unpureed. I was able to handle the carrots and potatoes OK.

Song of the Day: The Beatles - Savoy Truffle

Thursday, November 6, 2008

DAY 162 - Day 65 in Recovery Paradise

I'm starting to feel somewhat normal again. There's just a little bit of mucus and a little bit of sore throat. Other than that, the symptoms seems to be subsiding. I cut back on my double meals when I was having problems with my stomach. But the single meals are not giving me enough calories to gain weight. I'm holding steady at about 140 pounds. I'd like to be at around 145 or 146. If I can get myself in the habit of eating more double sized meals, I should be there soon. I had two soups today in addition to the drinks. I had one drink via tube, just to keep it cleaned out. I seem to be susceptible to cold. I've been walking around with scarf and a cap on for the bulk of the day.

I'm driving Sarah to school and back daily. It's a bit scary, but I'm getting better. I even made an excursion to the grocery store and to the video store.

Song of the Day: The Beatles - Yesterday

Sunday, November 2, 2008

DAY 158 - Day 61 in Recovery Pardise

Today was a good day. There were actual moments when I had no awareness of any symptoms whatsoever. My biggest problem was dry mouth. There's a special gum that you can chew that relieves that, and while I was chewing it, it was like nothing had ever happened. My throat is just a little sore, but not very noticeable. I had three meals today that were regular, just like real people. Lise fixed up soup in the blender, and I had it for lunch, snack and dinner. I also supplemented this with an Ensure and an Instant Breakfast, just to get enough calories in for the day.

I'm going to start taking Sarah to school in the mornings. It's still scary to drive, but I've got to get back in the saddle.

Song of the Day: The Traveling Wilburys - End of the Line

Saturday, November 1, 2008

DAY 157 - Day 60 in Recovery Paradise

Two months! Wow. Sometimes it seems like it was just yesterday, and sometimes it seems like it was long ago that I finished treatment. Except for the dry mouth, my mouth seems to be vastly improved. No sores, very little sore throat, and the lump on my uvula is gone. The one advantage of dry mouth is that you're not spitting all day with extra mucus. I had pureed bean soup for dinner tonight. It was a nice change.

We went to the movies today, and I didn't even take a spit cup with me! We saw High School Musical 3 in the theater, and then watched a family movie on the TV tonight, Kit Kittredge, American Girl. Today was a G movie rating day. After the movie, we played a family game of chess. I was the side-line observer, giving suggestions to both sides.

Song of the Day: Bobby Darin - Mack the Knife

Thursday, October 30, 2008

DAY 155 - Day 58 in Recovery Paradise

I have some good news to report. I went to my ENT specialist today for my first checkup since she diagnosed me with tonsil cancer 155 days ago. After her exam today, she said that I look really clean and that there was no sign of cancer. I now have to go back in two months and do regular checkups for the next five years. Somewhere down the road, I will have another PET scan to make sure the cancer hasn't come back. As you can imagine, we are all very relieved here in this house. My thanks go out to all of you who read this and have been kind enough to send me words of encouragement.

I had bean soup for dinner tonight and a bit of ice cream afterward to celebrate. I'm still waiting for that cheeseburger, however.

Song of the Day: Jimmy Buffett - Cheeseburger in Paradise

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

DAY 153 - Day 56 in Recovery Paradise

I'm feeling a bit better today. My sore throat is almost gone, and the little gag reflex thing doesn't seem to be there. It's been there for months. I woke up this morning and it was gone. I still have dry mouth and upset stomach. I had five single-can meals, 1500 calories today. My stomach is just a little bit upset.

I managed to list four things on Craigslist, hopefully to get rid of some things in the garage. I also did some work for my job today.

Song of the Day: Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah

Monday, October 27, 2008

DAY 152 - Day 55 in Recovery Paradise

A bit improved today. My stomach is still sore. My mouth is very dry. My mucus is a dry foam. I took a couple of naps and did a little bit of work for my job. I'm still planning on going back to work part time in the near future, but I do need to get over this stomach issue first. I had two double meals today, so my calories are still in decent shape. I must say, I'm getting very tired of feeling bad. But the good news is that while my mouth is dry, it has no sores. I'm able to talk without sores rubbing on my tongue.

I made ham sandwiches and salad for dinner tonight. Sarah had four ham sandwiches. She surprises me how much food she can put away sometimes. The local TV station came to her school today to interview her class about a class project making a "Recycle City." She is the second kid who was interviewed by the TV reporter. Here's a link. She now thinks she's a TV celebrity.

Song of the Day: Dion & the Belmonts - Teenager in Love

Sunday, October 26, 2008

DAY 151 - Day 54 in Recovery Paradise

My mouth is very dry. The upside of a dry mouth is that there is not very much mucus. My throat is still a little sore. I still have acid reflux pain in my stomach. I tried some oatmeal this morning. The first half came back up in a few minutes. The second half stayed down. I drank one Ensure, except for a few sips. Later in the day I tried the few sips and it came right back up. I had other meals today. Total calories for the day: 1,655.

My daughter Sarah is going to be in The Nutcracker. They had their official photos in their costumes today. She looks very cute. This is her fifth year. The local production uses over 500 kids in different casts--about 100 per show. The parents have an opportunity to take snapshots for the few moments they are in their costumes. This year Sarah plays the part of a child in the street scene before the curtain rises for the first act.

Song of the Day: The Nutcracker Suite - Dance of the Reed Flutes

Saturday, October 25, 2008

DAY 150 - Day 53 in Recovery Paradise

My stomach is upset, throat sore, lump in throat to swallow around. Only had two meals today. Not much changed.

We went to the ballet tonight. I was glad I was able to make it. It was fun; nice to get out of the house. The worry was that I would get sick at the ballet, but I didn't. However, I got a big set of dry heaves within a half-hour after coming home. I will try to get some thin oatmeal down tomorrow morning.

I got some good news this evening. My youngest son, Dustin, has been accepted into Sac State University and will transfer in January.

Song of the Day: Loggins & Messina - Your Mama Don't Dance

Friday, October 24, 2008

DAY 149 - Day 52 in Recovery Paradise

Not much to say. My mouth is really dry. The doctor suggested taking Claritin, which has made my sinuses dry up, but it has made my mouth drier. My sore throat was improving, but now it seems to be coming back again. I still have that lump in my throat that makes me gag. I drank two Ensures today in addition to using the tube to take in one can of Fibersource. I took a nap after breakfast in my Zero Gravity Chair and slept fitfully until 11:30 a.m.

Dinner for the girls was enchiladas and salad. Thank goodness for frozen entrees.

Song of the Day: Joan Baez - Diamonds and Rust

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

DAY 147 - Day 50 in Recovery Paradise

I think I may have the flu. My stomach hurts and I feel nauseated with a bit of a headache. I managed to get four half-meals down today. That's 1500 calories. My last visit to the doctor ended up in me taking even yet more pills. If I didn't know better, I'd say my body is falling apart. I take pills for a heart condition, eye drops for glaucoma, pills for acid reflux, nasal spray and pills for my sinus problems, fluoride trays for my teeth, and dealing with recovery from chemo and radiation treatments for my cancer. Life is still good, and I appreciate what I have, but it would be nicer to feel better.

Song of the Day: Blondie - Call Me

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

DAY 146 - Day 49 in Recovery Paradise

I still have a problem with my stomach and my throat. I had dry heaves for 15 minutes twice this morning. I got an emergency appointment with my doctor and, ironically, concurred with our own evaluation and treatment plan. Got a prescription for some acid reflux capsules. I will also step up my salt water swishing and gargling. The gargling is new. Also, I will take a Claritin once a day and spray my uvula (the little hangy-down thing in your throat that makes you gag) with Chloraseptic spray often.

I made hamburgers and corn for dinner tonight. It looked good. Wish I could have joined 'em.

Because I've been gagging and dry heaving, I've not kept up with my food intake. I managed to get in 1500 calories today. It will be about three days before the acid reflux tablets' positive effect kicks in.

Hopefully, I'll feel better this weekend. We have tickets to the ballet. My intent is to go.

Song of the Day: Doobie Brothers - Black Water

Monday, October 20, 2008

DAY 145 - Day 48 in Recovery Paradise

The good news is that the sore on my tongue doesn't bother me too much, and my throat is not so sore anymore. The not-so-good news is that my stomach is still upset and I feel nauseated a lot. I had four small meals today and didn't lose any of them. But I had periods of dry heaves a couple of times during the day. It's 11 p.m. and my stomach really hurts and I feel like I might throw up. I'm hoping the feeling subsides before I try to get some sleep.

A bit of other good news is my eye appointment for my glaucoma today. There was some concern that my right eye was getting worse and I might require some laser surgery, but we learned that there has been no further deterioration and the pressure is still in the acceptable range.

When my boys were small, I used to make up stories to tell them at bedtime. They loved them a lot more than the ones from the books. I could get really creative and come up with some crazy things. It was always about three little boys about their age, with three different names. Sarah has now decided that she likes the ones I make up better than the ones in the books, so I did that tonight. I couldn't make it as scary as I did for the boys. It had to be G-rated with no monsters or scary situations. It was fun.

Song of the Day: Argent - Hold Your Head Up

Sunday, October 19, 2008

DAY 144 - Day 47 in Recovery Paradise

I'm not feeling so well. I worry about losing my food, my stomach hurts and is upset all day, I've got mucus that makes me gag hanging on the back of my throat, and I've gone a couple days without having much to eat (maybe 600 calories in a day). I can't tell what's wrong with my stomach. I take antacid tablets and I drink Maalox, and it doesn't seem to help. I take anti-nausea and anti-acid reflux pills, but they don't seem to help either. I had three meals today--just one can each time. Not much food, but I have to eat something. I just don't swallow so I don't trigger the gag reflex. It's like trying to not think of a white elephant.

One positive note is that I drove myself to the medical lab today in Lise's car. I was nervous the whole time since it's the first time I've driven in a couple of months. I drove up to get a blood test for my a-fib condition.

I watched T.V. until my butt became numb. Lise cut my hair today. It's really, really short, but still longer than in the parts where it hasn't grown back yet.

Song of the Day: Paul Potts sings Nessun Dorma

Thursday, October 16, 2008

DAY 141 - Day 44 in Recovery Paradise

My tongue and throat are still sore. I'm still having problems with mucus. I've thrown up a couple of meals after drinking them. I had to follow up by using the tube. Not much is different. Not much to report.

Song of the Day: ZZ Top - Sharp Dressed Man

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

DAY 139 - Day 42 in Recovery Paradise

I felt tired today, even with a long nap after breakfast. I took a walk around the block, and it tired me out more than usual. Even with my salt water oral rinses, my mouth still feels messed up today. Very dry, to the point of gagging me when I try to swallow. Sarah wanted me to read to her tonight, and I had to stop after awhile as it hurt too much to talk. My mouth was dry, which caused me to cough and gag. The only talking I do is when Lise comes home for lunch. This part will have to clear up before I go back to work.

I seem to get cold easily. When Sarah is sitting at the counter in a T-shirt, I'm putting on a fleece jacket and a windbreaker because I'm so cold. However, I do like bundling up against the cold versus being too warm.

I drank all my meals today. This is a good trend. I've not used the tube in a few days now, except for water just to keep the tube clear.

This year Sarah is 10, and we've decided that she's too old to go out trick-or-treating. So she's picked out a costume so that she can meet the tricker-or-treaters at the door. She'll probably have a friend over and have a good time handing out candy.

Song of the Day: AC/DC - TNT

Monday, October 13, 2008

DAY 138 - Day 41 in Recovery Paradise

Except for my mouth, I'm feeling pretty good today. I still have that sore on the right side of my tongue and a little bit of a sore throat.

I tried a little bit of fruit cocktail tonight. The peaches and the cherries went down OK, but the pears were too hard and stuck in my throat. The grapes' skin didn't slide down well either. I only had half of it, and then had to give it away.

When I had cake and ice cream the other day, the serving was only about the size of my thumb. It wasn't pleasant to eat more than that. The main advantage was that I could taste it, so I'm glad my taste buds are back.

It appears that I am back full time fixing dinner for the girls. It's good to be active enough to be an asset to the family, instead of a drag. They enjoy having dinner on the table when they walk in.

Lise brought a copy of the newspaper home at lunchtime on her lunch visit. I actually sat in the window seat and read the whole thing, which is a nice change. It wasn't that long ago when I wasn't able to read the paper. My eyes wouldn't focus. So that's a good progress point.

My sister was giving me a hard time about having ice cream and cake and sent me tonight's video as an exercise plan.

Song (Video) of the Day: Ice Cream and Cake Dance

Sunday, October 12, 2008

DAY 137 - Day 40 in Recovery Paradise

My throat is still slightly sore and I have the soreness on the side of my tongue, which keeps me from talking much.

I have a small success to report. I ate a tiny piece of cake with water, a small bowl of peaches and five green beans. The good news is that I could taste everything, so my taste buds are OK. We bought more canned fruit tonight so I will try a little bit each evening. Oh yes, I also had two bites of ice cream, but didn't want to push it any.

Lise and Sarah were at a wedding shower for my niece yesterday, and a story came up about me trying to suppress an exploding bottle of champagne by sticking it in my mouth in a crowded bar. This was many years ago but still is one of the family stories that will never die. Apparently, Sarah had never heard the story, so when it came up at the shower, she defended me by telling them that they shouldn't be laughing at her daddy, who wasn't there, and that she was going to tell on them. It's good to know that my daughter has got my back!

Song of the Day: Randy Newman - You've Got a Friend in Me

Saturday, October 11, 2008

DAY 136 - Day 39 in Recovery Paradise

I'm feeling stronger every day, but I still get tired easily. Today I saw the girls off at 9 a.m. on their trip to San Francisco and lay back in my recliner for a nap. Didn't wake up until 1:30 p.m.! I felt very rested. This is why I think that I will only be able to go back to work part time in the beginning.

My mother-in-law called from Texas today to check up on me. We spoke for about a half hour. That just about used up my voice. I still have sores on my tongue that rub up against my teeth when I talk. I drank all my meals today, so I feel good about that.

I read some depressing messages from the Google group today about the survival rate for tonsil cancer. I'll need to stay positive. It does include older patients, different stages of cancer, and different treatment plans. Everyone is an individual. I feel confident that my treatment plan was a good one. I'll just have to keep my fingers crossed for the next five years. I like what D Boyer from the group said: "If you get your relationships in line, exercise, eat better, appreciate the fleeting nature of life more, you might just find cancer was the best thing that ever happened to you."

Song of the Day: The Mamas and the Papas - California Dreamin'

Friday, October 10, 2008

DAY 135 - Day 38 in Recovery Paradise

I'm feeling a little better, a little stronger today. I still have that canker sore on the side of my tongue, and my throat is a little bit sore. The mucus has not been so bad today. I drank three of my four meals and had the fourth by tube. The only reason I had the fourth by tube is because I wanted the one that tastes like cardboard; it has more fiber.

I took a short nap after everybody left the house this morning and watched a couple of movies. I also worked online. I went for a walk today around the block. It was very cold and very windy. I wore a fleece jacket with a hood, and I was still cold. It helped motivate me to walk faster!

I went to my weekly chiropractor appointment, and he said that my muscle tone is coming back.

Lise and Sarah heading to a wedding shower for my niece in San Francisco tomorrow. It's a girls-only event, so I'll stay here and pine away for my girls. I'll see if I can have some spectacular dinner ready when they get home.

Sarah has to do a biography and check a book out from the library. There's no copy at our local branch, so I spent some time on the phone getting a copy shipped over. My tongue was a little sore afterward. It was a test of how long I can talk before I go back to work.

Song of the Day: Phil Collins - On My Way

Thursday, October 9, 2008

DAY 134 - Day 37 on Recovery Paradise

I still have the sore on the right side of my tongue, but it's getting better. I think it is healing because of the salt water rinse I gargle with 5 or 6 times a day. I think it is a canker sore and not related to thrush. I still am taking the thrush medicine and the rest of my mouth/tongue feels better. I still have a bit of a sore throat, however. The mucus was heavier and more apparent today than in the past few days. I also had more dry mouth today. Weird. I traded off between dry mouth for awhile and then mucus. I had most of my meals by mouth today, using the Instant Breakfast mix (375 calories) (2 cans each meal), but used the tube for the other brand, since it tastes like cardboard. It only has 300 calories per can, but it has fiber, unlike the IB.

I weighed in at 148 tonight with my pajamas on. I am hoping to get to 150 lbs. soon. That is what I was before I started all this (before I bulked up to 162).

My son Nick and his fiancee came by for a visit, and we exchanged birthday presents. He hadn't come by on my birthday and Sunday is his 23rd. Lise and I gave him a gift card to Safeway. (Food is always a safe gift for a young, starving man.) He and Dustin gave me a "Dad's Memory Book." Very cool. It is formatted to record the story of your life and what is important to you.
It will be a good gift back to my children after I am gone. Maybe after the glaucoma, the heart arrhythmia, and now the cancer. . . . The boys think I should get started on the memoirs. I asked my mom to do the same for me, and she got one page done.

Song of the Day: The Eagles - How Long

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

DAY 132 - Day 35 in Recovery Paradise

I met with my radiologist oncologist today. Good visit. She was very positive and said I look great and that I'm making good progress. She felt my neck and said she couldn't feel any trace of cancer in the lymph nodes. I will have a CT scan in two months to make sure. She gave me a new "tube top" made of mesh (would have been a big hit in the '60s) to hold the tube against my chest and give some relief against the port plate pressing up against my skin. I weighed in at 149.2 on the doctor's scales (clothes and shoes on), up from a low of 134.8 about a month ago. She was very pleased with that and thought that we might be able to get the tube out within the next two months. She recommended that I start eating shakes and maybe mashed potatoes in another month. I'm taking in 2700-3000 calories a day.

I may be able to do a little work for my job. I have started, and I seem to be able to do it OK. I'm hoping to get my car fixed and back driving within a month. Perhaps go back to work part time in November if I'm strong enough. I'm scheduled to be off until February, but I think I'll be stronger before then.

I have been fixing dinner for the family again each night [from Lise: woo-hoo!]. I try to have it ready to go by the time they get home from school/work. They like it. [ :-) ]

Song of the Day: Jimmy Cliff - You can get it if you really want

Monday, October 6, 2008

DAY 131 - Day 34 in Recovery Paradise

I still can't seem to get rid of the sore spots on the right side of my tongue. My throat is still a bit sore, but getting better. Lise put some Anbesol on the spot on my tongue, and it seems to give me a little relief.

I had a pretty good day today. I worked on putting contacts in the database for my job. If I can get rid of the sores in my mouth so I can talk, maybe I'll be able to go back in to work part-time, early. Maybe by November or December.

I'm gaining weight fairly regularly. I'm up to 144.5 (146 at night). I'm getting to the point where I'm achieving the weight that I want. I just need to work on my exercises and getting some strength in my arms and legs.

Song of the Day: Mendelssohn Italian Symphony No. 4 (1st mvt)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

DAY 130 - Day 33 in Recovery Paradise

I just now realized it's been 130 days since first diagnosed. Sometimes it seems like that was forever ago, and sometimes it feels like it was just yesterday.

I still have sores on the side of my tongue, but my throat is not quite as sore. I'm stilling have the mucus problem, but I'm encouraged by an email from someone who is further down the road. He said that his mucus problem stopped at about a month post treatment. That would be great if the mucus problem stopped, as it seems to be my most aggravating symptom. My vision is improving.

I seem to have a small problem with my portal hole in my stomach. It seems to be oozing and there's a little bit of blood. The area is red and inflamed. I've been cleaning it with hydrogen peroxide and putting triple antibiotic ointment on it. But it doesn't seem to be getting better. I'll have the doctor look at it on Tuesday. This will be my first post treatment appointment with my radiation oncologist. I hope I get good news.

The battery is dead in my Cruiser and needs to be replaced. I'm going to try to get that fixed this month and try to start driving again by November. That way I can start taking Sarah to school and maybe start making some of my own appointments.

Song of the Day: Tom Petty - Runnin' Down a Dream

Friday, October 3, 2008

DAY 128 - Day 31 in Recovery Paradise

My throat is still a bit sore and there's still some soreness in my mouth. I still have a lot of mucus. I can't wait for that part to be gone.

I have been waiting all day for the delivery guy of the new nutrient drink to show-up. Then I finally discovered that he had left the delivery on the front porch. The new supplement drink is made by Instant Breakfast so I could drink it also when my mouth is ready. I'm up to 142.5 pounds. I'd like to gain another 5.

I have noticed several new tonsil cancer victims logging on to the general tonsil cancer blog. I had never even heard of it before I was diagnosed. It takes longer to recover I think because the treatment affects your mouth, taste buds, and saliva. It has been 31 days since my last radiation treatment, and I can see some improvement, but I still have problems, mostly with the mucus. There were a couple of days a week or so ago that I could drink supplement, but the mucus has come back to prevent that.

Song of the Day: Joni Mitchell - The Circle Game

Thursday, October 2, 2008

DAY 127 - Day 30 in Recovery Paradise

"To the soul, there is hardly anything more healing than friendship." Thomas Moore

I'm feeling pretty well, except for my mouth and throat. They are still sore. I lost my breakfast feeding after gagging on mucus, but the other feedings went OK. I will be switching to another brand of nutrient. It is made by Instant Breakfast and carries additional calories so I can cut back on the number of cans to eight instead of ten, and four feedings a day instead of five.

It has been one month since my last radiation treatment, and I have an appointment coming up next week with the radiologist oncologist. I think she will "scope me," meaning she will put a scope down my throat and take a look. Hopefully she won't see anything that shouldn't be there.

My friend Gary from work came by on his lunch hour yesterday and brought me some music CDs and some movies from his personal collection. Thanks.

I've been getting some great cards from my sister, a lot of them containing black and white photos from our youth. Great blasts from the past. I'm about 11 and she's about 8. Good memories. She has decided to hang in here with me. I appreciate it. I love you, Sharon.

My wife Lise comes home every single day for lunch. It's the highlight of my day. After lunch we walk around the block to get some exercise in. She makes me do it, even when I don't feel like it. It feels good to make lunch and have it ready for her. I do the same for dinner and have it ready for Lise and Sarah when they get in at 6. This is definitely a positive change over the last month.

Song of the Day: Gary Wright - Dreamweaver

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

DAY 125 - Day 28 in Recovery Paradise

"Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you." Ralph Waldo Emerson

"I've never quite believed that one chance is all I get." Ann Taylor

I am getting tired of watching TV and movies. My throat is still sore, but my mouth is improving with the new Mycelex tablets. I have a hard time swallowing the mucus without gagging. Lost a bit of dinner tonight from one of the gagging sessions. Usually I just gag, but this time I lost a bit of food. I hate the vomiting thing.

Today was a sleeping day (catch up on energy). I took a nap from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and again from 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. When Lise came home from lunch we walked around the block. It was a bit too warm for my liking, but I was able to do it without slowing down or feeling exhausted.

I fixed dinner for the girls tonight: spaghetti, broccoli and salad, plus apple slices and cheese. We had birthday cake (from the freezer) and ice cream for dessert. I watched--ha. They like it when they can just come in the door and have dinner ready. As chef, I like it when they eat it all.

I have a small infection around the feeding tube entry point. A bit of blood and stuff. I cleaned it with hydrogen peroxide and put antibiotic ointment on it. I hope it clears as I hate going to the ER or even doctor appointments. I hate the waiting.

I have both my follow-up visits with the radiology oncologist and the head and neck doctor this month for my first diagnosis of success with the treatments. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Song of the day: Tom Petty - I Won't Back Down

Monday, September 29, 2008

DAY 124 - Day 27 in Recovery Paradise

I had a full night's sleep for a change. I didn't get up in the middle of the night. I was still tired though when I woke up and took a nap after the girls left for school and work. I used my zero gravity chair for the nap. I slept for about 1.5 hrs and then took another nap after Lise came home for lunch and headed back to work.

I will try to have a full day of 500 cc drinks at meal times. It really fills me up, so Io will switch from every 2.5 hours to every 3 hours. Each meal is 600 calories, so it would be a 3,000 calories meal schedule. I was up to 140.5 pounds this morning. That is about a two-pound gain. Tonight I still felt full at 6:30 pm , so I had just one can of nutrient instead of two. That puts me at 2,700 calories for the day.

So far the feedback on yesterday's adventure has favored the poor little freaked out hamster versus me with a rodent in my pants. Ha.

I fixed dinner for the family tonight: roast beef deli rolls, corn-on-the-cob, salad and peaches and strawberries for dessert. I had my feeding tube. Not quite the same. I can still smell everything. I miss eating. When the saliva comes back, I would love to sit down to dinner with my family. My mouth is still a bit sore and my throat is sore. The meds are slowly catching up.

Song of the Day: Creedance Clearwater-Long As I Can See the Light

Sunday, September 28, 2008

DAY 123 - Day 26 in Recovery Paradise

I decided to up the calorie-content on each meal to gain some weight. I want to be in the mid to high 140 lbs. I have decided to go with two cans of nutrient drink each meal instead of 1.5. That is 500 cc of drink with 600 calories. If I can do this for 5 meals a day, that would be 3,000 calories instead of the current 2,4oo (not gaining any weight). I have done that twice today and feel really full each time.

We went to a concert Lise was playing in--a free children's concert at the local high school. I missed my lunch meal, and so I am running late in meals today and have to do another around 8:00 p.m.

My mouth is really sore and so is my throat. I have a pretty good case of thrush and can't seem to get rid of it. Today I got a new prescription for it--tablets that are supposed to dissolve in your mouth (if you have saliva). They work, but it takes a long time due to my dry mouth. Most of my daily discomfort revolves around my mouth and throat.

I thought I had experienced just about everything, but got to add a new one to my cadre of stories today. After telling Sarah to be careful in playing with her miniature dwarf hamster outside the cage because it might get loose in the house (many times), the inevitable happened. Lillian made The Big Escape in Sarah's bedroom. Her room is like every child's room--far too much stuff for a dwarf hamster to hide in, behind, under, etc. We had Mom, Dad, Sarah and her friend Heather all scrambling around with baskets, cupped hands, buckets, etc., trying to dig her out from behind stuff and catch her. We moved the bed, stacked toys, etc. The poor little hamster was totally freaked out, scurrying around past all these yelling, jumping, grabbing people. Finally, the hamster ran right at me and past me into the corner. Sarah jumped behind me to grab Lillian, and that is when she decided to run up and hide in my pant leg. I stood up and grabbed the cuffs of my pants tight around my ankles. We finally had her captured--INSIDE MY PANTS! Now what to do. While I duck-walked to the bathroom with my hands holding the cuffs tight to my ankles, Lillian decided to explore her new environment by going up and down my legs and back and forth in my crotch and across my bottom. Lise and the girls were laughing hysterically, as if that would somehow magically help the situation! I managed, amidst the laughter and rodent antics, to hobble into the bathroom and hop into the tub. I was able to stand up and "encourage" the hamster to leave my pants and run down into the tub. I can now recommend a surefire way to capture loose hamsters in the house.

Got a cool email and recommended song from my sister about how close I am to getting back to where I was before treatment.

Song of the day: Paul McCartney - Get Back

Friday, September 26, 2008

DAY 121 - Day 24 in Recovery Paradise

I'm still feeling a bit better each day. I can't seem to sleep through the night, however. I wake up around 4:30 each morning. Either I have to go to the bathroom or I am too warm.

After Lise and Sarah head off to work and school, I generally take a one-hour nap from 8:00 to 9:00. My little alarm goes off then as it is time for my second meal. I have my nutrient drink--either drink it or by tube--at 6:30 a.m., 9:00 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 2:00 p.m. and again at 4:30 p.m. Once again I was able to drink it without much problem the first three meals today. Once the mucus starts in the afternoon, I can't swallow without gagging. A monumental day will be the day I can take all of my meals by mouth. Once I get the tube removed, that will be great!

Dustin came by today with Tilly, whom he referred to as his girlfriend for the first time since they've been together for over a year. He came by to mow the lawns for me, as I am not up to it physically. Love that guy. He is really a good kid. He should transfer to Sac State in the Spring.

I am starting to do some stretches--not really exercise or anything that breaks a sweat.

Song of the Day (video): OK GO - Here it Goes Again

Thursday, September 25, 2008

DAY 120 - Day 23 in Recovery Paradise

I'm still not as strong as I would like to be, but I'm getting a bit better and stronger each day. I made beef stew for the family today. It turned out OK. Lise likes to come home and find dinner ready to go.

I had three meals orally today--a bit more each day. My throat is still sore.

I bought Showtime today for a six-month offer. I figure that by March I won't need it any more. More emails from my sister and a friend from high school.

Song of the Day: Chicago - Feelin' stronger every day

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

DAY 119 - Day 22 in Recovery Paradise

I had a little breakthrough yesterday. I was able to once again take some nutrients orally. Two of my six feedings were with Ensures and Instant Breakfast by mouth. I lost the second one, though. I just can't take anything unless my mouth is dry. I can't swallow anything when I've got mucus in my mouth. I had two successful Ensures and Instant Breakfasts today, so I'm slowly making a little progress.

I made a crock-pot dinner for Lise and Sarah today. Chicken breasts, cream of chicken soup, white wine, carrots and green beans, assorted herbs. Both girls ate everything on their plate, so I'm sure it was OK. The problem is I can't taste anything, so I can't tell if anything is OK until they put it in their mouth. I did this dish from memory.

Lise left the house this morning telling me my mission was to KILL THE FLY, and I must say, I was successful in that mission as well. I also pulled a few weeds and watched TV for the rest of the afternoon.

Song of the Day: Doctor My Eyes

Monday, September 22, 2008

DAY 117- Day 20 in Recovery Paradise

I had appointments with the ophthalmologist and my chemo oncologist today. The chemo oncologist said we did all we could do to kill the cancer and now we just wait through physical recovery to see the results. He says it will be two to three months before I will feel normal again. He is so like Jackie Chan in facial expressions and laugh and speech. It is just like talking to Jackie Chan, so I can hardly follow what he is saying without a big grin on my face.

I changed to five meals a day; now I am not having the late one. I have been having to get up in the middle of the night from having so much liquid. Last night I choked on phlegm and got the dry heaves about 2:00 a.m. It was hard to get back to sleep after that.

Lise had a rehearsal tonight, so Sarah and I did the study thing together and cello practice. We had a fun evening together.

Lise and I have purchased a lot of tickets to performing arts events over the next few months, and I think I'm ready to enjoy them. We got season tickets to the Camellia Symphony, The Sacramento Ballet, the B Street Theatre Family Series, and the Sacramento Opera. We had planned on this before I got sick, so we voted to keep it intact.

My mouth has been the same as yesterday: dry in the morning and mucus-y in the afternoon/evening.

Song of the Day: Tom Petty - Saving Grace

Sunday, September 21, 2008

DAY 116 - Day 19 in Recovery Paradise

Long Day. I woke up with swollen ankles and had to go to the medical clinic. They checked me out as I also had a small fever last night. The doctor said I would be OK, so I got to go home. I've gained six pounds in the past week, taking in 2700 calories a day. This may be too fast, so I am cutting back to 400 cc of nutrient 5 times a day instead of 6 times.

My mouth was dry the first half of the day and mucus-y the second half. My throat is just a little bit sore now. I seem to have a bit more energy, but I'm really tired of the same routine every day.

I helped Sarah this afternoon with her school work. She has a book report and diorama due on October 2nd. She finished the book ("This is the longest book I've ever read!") and came up with a great concept for the diorama. She built a set of stairs out of cardboard, all by herself. I didn't help at all; in fact, I told her it couldn't be done! Ha- proved me wrong!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

DAY 115 - Day 18 in Recovery Paradise

I had my last visit from the home health nurse yesterday. She said I was OK without home nurse visits. My blood pressure was OK, though they are concerned that it is too low. She did a blood test to check my Cumaden level, which is going up, so no changes in my dosage of Warfarin. My throat was not so sore yesterday, but I still had lots of foamy mucus. I'm still carrying my spit cup everywhere.

Saturday: Did not have a good night's sleep last night. I had to get up twice, woke up at about 6:00 and could not get back to sleep. I did not take my early morning nap today. Made coffee for Lise and did exercises with her instead. We had a family outing today and that was a great change from my boring days. Went up to a park for a American Heart Association Walk/Run/Fair. It was supposed to run until 1:00 pm, but it was ending just as we got there at 11:00 am. Sarah was disappointed, so we got her some balloons and went out to lunch and for a yogurt treat after. The walk to the event from where we parked was exhausting, so I guess I am not ready for big outings. We went to the grocery store later, and pushing the cart was a lot easier. It felt good to get out of the house.

My mouth was dry all morning and my throat a little sore. The mucus came back in the afternoon. I have to spit every couple of minutes. It gags me if I swallow it. My throat is not so sore though. I felt strong enough to steam clean the stairs. They still had tea stains from when I fell down the stairs that night some weeks back. I changed a couple of light bulbs and ironed a couple of shirts. That about finished me off for the day.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

DAY 113 - Day 16 of Recovery Paradise

Today was a day much like yesterday. I took two naps in my zero gravity chair. (I love that thing.) I woke up every two and a half hours from 9 to noon for my feeding. This afternoon I walked around the block. I felt weak and tired by the end, but I made it. I also watched a movie, "Time Cop: The Berlin Decision." Good movie; worth watching. This evening we all went up to the video store. I picked out two more movies for tomorrow, and then we shopped for a few groceries. I tried reading, but my vision is too blurry.

The soreness in my throat has improved a bit more yet. The mucus is now kind of dry and foamy. I can't swallow it without gagging. I have three big plastic popcorn cups that I keep--one in the entertainment room, one in the bedroom, and one downstairs--and one has been a fixture in my hand for the past few weeks. They are about 20-ounce cups, and I started using them when I felt like I might throw up. Lise and Sarah noticed this evening that I was without a "spit cup" on several occasions. Hopefully, that means there's some improvement there.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

DAY 112- Day 15 in Recovery Paradise

I still have foaming mucus, but my throat is not so sore. My mouth and tongue are not so sore. I have special medicine (Nystatin) to rid fungus from inside my mouth. There is a concern I am not getting enough water and that that is lowering my blood pressure. We are doubling the amount of water before and after my formula feedings, and I can drink water in between.

For a couple of hours, I misplaced my skull cap, which had me all upset. It's a little knit cap that just covers the top of my head. It was donated to the radiation clinic. Sarah picked it out for me. I thought it was silly at first, but it really keeps my head warm now that I have almost no hair, and I've become quite attached to it. Thank God Lise found it.

I met with the home health nurse. She says I am doing great. Very chipper. She says Friday will be her last day visiting me since I'm doing so well (other than the blood pressure issue).

I took two naps today in my zero gravity chair. I also watched a movie, "Heist." It was a good choice. You never could tell what was going to happen next and I couldn't guess the ending until the last 30 seconds. That's the kind of movie I like.

I may walk around the block once tomorrow if it's not too hot. The last time I did, I was pretty well exhausted by the time I got back to the house--it's a pretty large block--and I was moving pretty slowly.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

DAY 111 - Day 14 in Recovery Paradise

Last night was the second of two good nights' sleep in a row. For 20 minutes before I got up this morning, I almost felt normal again. Then reality struck in and I realized I have a tube sticking out my stomach and I have to sit for 25 minutes at the dining room table holding and filling a syringe with nutritional formula in order to survive. The followup visit to the doctor this morning revealed that my blood pressure is still too low and I need to adjust one of my heart medications to balance the low blood pressure versus atrial fibrillation issues.

My mouth is still sore, but the doctor prescribed Nystatin (again) for thrush. This is already helping. My throat is not as sore today. I have a runny nose. I still spit constantly; just can't swallow the mucus.

I'm now at goal of 300 cc of nutritional formula per "meal," six times a day. That's 1,800 calories per day. Now I will try to increase the amount per meal so that I can reduce the number of meals each day. Less time sitting while slooooooowly pouring the formula in will be an improvement.

I spent my day watching a movie (The Forbidden Kingdom with Jackie Chan), listening to NPR (Neal Conan, Talk of the Nation), and watching a football game (Iowa vs. LSU).

Monday, September 15, 2008

DAY 110 - Day 13 in Recovery Paradise

My mouth is still sore but not as much. My tongue is still very sore; talking aggravates the sore edges of my tongue. My throat is still sore but not as much. The phlegm/mucus is still there but not as bad. Eight cases of supplement were delivered today. That'll be good for quite awhile.

Had a home health nurse stop by to check on me. She says my blood pressure is low. They will recheck it at my regular doctor checkup tomorrow. I tried to get it moved to an earlier time to work better with Lise's schedule, but then they called me to say someone canceled the appointment. The HHN fixed it so it is back on again. She will stop by again on Wednesday and Friday.

Moved up to 250 cc for each "meal" six times today, so I'm almost there. The goal to maintain my desired body weight is 300 cc six times a day. I'm still trying to break 140 pounds. This morning I was 135.5. I've lost nearly 30 pounds.

Song of the Day: The Ventures - Wipe Out

Sunday, September 14, 2008

DAY 109 - Day 12 in Recovery Paradise

Lise says even though I may not notice it, I am doing better. Better than last week or even two weeks ago. Last week there was no way I would have been making spaghetti sauce, or ironing, or going downtown to the Nutcracker rehearsal/parent meeting, or going to Blockbuster and then meeting Lise and Sarah at the grocery store at the other end of the strip mall. I did all these things today.

My mouth and throat are still very sore. I find it difficult to talk. Mucus is still so bad that I have to carry my "spit cups" with me wherever I go. My hearing and sight are affected also. I'm seeing my ophthalmologist on the 22nd.

Song of the Day: The Beatles - Getting Better

Saturday, September 13, 2008

DAY 108 - Day 11 in Recovery Paradise

Yesterday was pretty decent in terms of no surprises or hurdles. Got my 6 feedings in with no bad results. Bad night sleeping again: coughing far too much, can't sleep in the bed, keep Lise awake, can't get comfortable. Am sleeping in the zero gravity chair. Still bad, but can doze off occasionally.

Hurdles today. Spent the better part of Saturday in the ER again. I recognize almost everyone down there, and Lise and I pointed out the 5 different rooms we have been admitted to. Had a fever of 102.5 and so we went in about 8 a.m.; got out about 4 p.m. They took lots of blood and X-rays and gave a prescription for antibiotics. Boring. I hate going to the ER. You wait and wait and wait with nothing to do, and it is cold, so you are wrapped up like a mummy in blankets--except for the arm with the IV in it.

ER is priority management, so an old guy with a temp goes last. Got to give myself 100 cc of water through my tube though.

My mouth still seems to be the major source of discomfort. Full of foamy mucus, which I have to spit out constantly. If I swallow it, it gags me. Throat is sore today again. There were a few days last week when it wasn't sore, so I thought I might be past that. Wishful thinking. Tongue is severely sore, and when I talk, my teeth scrape the sides and it is very painful. Lise and I have relegated ourselves to her talking in Yes or No questions and I respond with a thumbs-up or -down. She is the best ever caregiver. I truly would be lost without her. She sits for 6-8 hours in the ER with me doing nothing as I can't talk, without complaining. Our anniversary is this Monday. Thirteen years--boy, am I a lucky guy!

Back home now and had a successful "meal" dinnertime: 150 cc of formula and 100 cc of water. Another turn at 8:30 pm.

Sarah's hampster died, so we had to have a burial service when we got home. We cleaned out the cage, and she and Lise are off to secure another critter.

Song of the Day: The Hampster Dance

Thursday, September 11, 2008

DAY 106 - Day 9 in Recovery Paradise

First feeding this morning was vomited right back up. That means my first two feedings at home were not successful. Went to the Emergency Room. Spent the afternoon. Had X-rays of my stomach to make sure there was no blockage. At the end of the day, they wanted me to go slower with the feedings and not pour it in too fast. Sent me home with a new anti-nausea drug. Tried stringing out feedings this evening over 30 minutes instead of 10-15. Long and boring, but it seemed to work. So...I had my two first successful feedings at home.

Song of the Day: Food, Glorious Food

DAY 105 - Day 8 in Recovery Paradise

Finally got to come home! Had my first four meals in almost a week. PEG tube is installed. Nursing staff gave me the first three. Took my first meal at home at 10:30 p.m. Filled my stomach totally so that when I tried to take my pills it caused me to vomit. Quite unexpected. Big mess. I was wondering if I would still throw up, even though I wasn't swallowing food, and now I know the answer. I feel a lot stronger as a result of my stay at the hospital. Lise says that I look better and look stronger. The tube sticking out of my stomach is about 10 inches long and is kind of a hassle to tape to your chest so it doesn't get pulled on. I've decided to shave the hair on my chest (temporarily) so I can quit pulling the hair out each time I pull the tape off. Feeding schedule is every three hours, six times a day, starting at 6:00 a.m.

Song of the Day: Gene Vincent - Peg O' My Heart

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

DAY 104 - Day 7 in Recovery Paradise

A note from Lise: We waited seemingly all day for the PEG tube procedure. When I arrived at the hospital at 9:15 they were suggesting that it would be in the a.m., at any time. Then the news came that the doctor wanted to wait a full 4 hours after stopping the heparin drip, so we were told we'd have to wait until 1:15. And then the update was that it would be between 1:30 and 2. Finally, by 2:10 they came to take Bob to surgery. For me then, it was another 1 3/4 hours of waiting. For Bob, it was more like waiting 45 minutes for them to start...and then they were saying it was over, before it even seemed to start. He's doing well, though he's feeling some pain at the PEG tube site. A good night's sleep without much moving around should improve things considerably. We hope to get the lessons on how to take care of the PEG tube and how to use it tomorrow morning, and then be released sometime tomorrow. And then it's on to continued, gradual improvement in condition. With sufficient nutrition and hydration, the recovery phase will be much easier to manage.

Monday, September 8, 2008

DAY 103 - Day 6 in Recovery Paradise

A note from Lise: As expected, Bob is looking and feeling MUCH better with continuous intravenous hydration! He wanted me to be sure to note on the blog a new milestone: He has actually been ingesting something other than Ensure, although it's all of the clear liquid type: Jello, clear broth, apple juice and tea. He is especially pleased to be eating Jello. Red Jello works, but orange hurts his mouth.

They were not able to install the PEG tube today because his blood has been too thin due to the Cumaden he takes for his atrial fibrillation. They are regulating that, though, and it looks like they will be able to install the PEG tube tomorrow afternoon.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

DAY 102 - Day 5 in Recovery Paradise

A note from Lise: Took Bob to the E.R. at Kaiser Roseville, arriving at 10 a.m. this morning. It took over five hours before he was finally admitted and receiving hydration. Not sure how long he will need to stay in the hospital, and we won't really know much more until after he is seen by a doctor tomorrow morning some time. (He's in Room 3104. Kaiser Permanente Roseville Medical Center, 1600 Eureka Road, Roseville, CA 95661.) While Bob is very sad to be away from his family, I'm so glad he is where he can get the best care and close monitoring and I am positive he will be feeling so much better within the next few days.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

DAY 101 - Day 4 in Recovery Paradise

Odd day. Managed to get down two Ensures throughout the day by taking four gulps at a time and then sleeping for 20 minutes. Special VIP treatment by my wife. Fortunately, it was Saturday and this schedule worked. Still scheduled to go to E.R. tomorrow and check myself into the hospital to get a feeding tube installed.

Song of the Day: The Beatles - And I Love Her

Friday, September 5, 2008

DAY 100 - Day 3 in Recovery Paradise

I met with the radiation oncologist this afternoon. I am hydrated enough and my white blood cell count is rising, but I have been losing too much weight too fast. Lost 10 lbs in 8 days, so if this does not improve tomorrow, I will check myself into the ER on Sunday for an overnight stay at Kaiser Roseville Hospital to have the dreaded PEG tube installed before I starve myself to death. Can't even get one Ensure down without losing it. I vomit several times a day, even with nothing to come up.

I can't even walk anymore. I shuffle, like I'm one of the walking dead. Last night I practiced trying to walk not like that but was too unstable. Apparently I've got two weeks to one month more of this before I can start noticing changes for the better.

Wish I could eat a cheeseburger!

Song of the Day: Cheeseburger in Paradise