week 3 round-up
The third week just started. I have exactly one month to go. The real count-down can begin. I had hoped I would bounce back over the weekend, but instead I seem to be continuing down a path of steady decline. Well, it’s far, far to the bottom. Vulnerable and a bit worried, I keep on walking straight into the whirlwind.
Sept 8, Monday: I complained to Dr Ding about the rapid deterioration of my mouth and she asked me to open wide. “Yes, there is indeed a reaction.” She prescribed anti-inflammatory pills, sprays, antacids for my stomach, and, for good measure, a dose of sleeping pills. Dr Ding is full of authority, but most of all she reminds me of a cake-baking aunt in a movie. All radiology doctors should be required to bake cakes. My return to THE MACHINE was fine in the end. Just more of the same. I came back home on the train quite happy, with a large bag of medication. Yes, and I lost two kilos since last week. I promised Dr Ding I would try to eat more.
Sept 9, Tuesday, 2 AM: My bleeding throat woke me up. I gargled, I took pills. But what really sent me back to sleep again were two bowls of chocolate icecream. Wonderfully cool and smooth.
Sept 9, Tuesday: “It’s a severe reaction,” said Dr Hong, my oncologist, “but since there is no narcosis yet I think we’ll continue the treatment.” “Nar …what?” I asked. “Narcosis! You know, when you just sleep all the time.” OK, I thought. Let’s just wait for the narcosis to set in. Gaawd! But no matter how bad I feel, my cancer must be feeling worse. Back home Diane made tuna sandwiches for dinner, and pasta and scrambled eggs, but I couldn’t eat any of it. Bread is too dry and tuna is too acidic. I stuck with my chocolate icecream. Tomorrow I’ll start on the nutrition drinks. I always knew that day would come.
Sept 10, Wednesday: The chemo went well, mainly due to a well-stocked MP3 player. I haven’t listened nearly enough to good music the last few years. I’m discoveringLilly Allen (daughter’s pick). In addition to the chemicals, they pumped me full of plain old H²0. I’m big on hydration. It made me feel good. During my radiation session Diane talked to a man who went through my exact treatment some six weeks ago. Initially he made the mistake of eating only ordinary food, he said, and had lost 9 kilos in a few days. It left him all weak and shriveled up. “But then they put in the nose tube and I felt much better. My wife filled me up with nutrition. Tell your husband not to be afraid of the nose tube.” What struck Diane the most was how gloriously happy he was. The ordeal is over, he is well, and now he is just going around hugging perfect strangers. I’ll do that too.
Sept 11, Thursday: I woke up all parched as usual, but a bowl of icecream perked me up. Easy day at the hospital: only radiation. Came home pretty content. The slippery slope down to decrepitude isn’t so slippery and not so slopy. Diane is sending off her PhD tonight. Finally, after all these years! She’s off printing it all out at my work right now. The kids are running amuk downstairs, eating chocolate biscuits in front of the TV instead of dinner. They know they shouldn’t and they are very excited. Poor Di, she’s had too much to do the last couple of weeks: four screaming children, a husband with cancer, and a PhD to complete.
Sept 12, Friday: Diane came back home at 4 this morning. She finished her thesis, she’s printed it out, all that remains is to punch holes in the pages and to mail it all off. The two copies fit perfectly in the empty cardboard box of my Ensure protein drinks. Congrats to her, what a gal! Today’s treatment hit me hard and my mouth was all cut up in the evening. I’m applying jells. “Super typhoon” Sinlaku is poised to hit Taiwan. Everyone’s upset since it will wash away the Moon Festival also scheduled for this weekend.
I’ve survived another week. The beginning was hard and so was the end. The middle was OK, mainly due to the chemo irrigation. This time next weekend, I can almost start looking forward to the end of this thing.