I have a fear cage post that’s going to come out of order, because it happened a couple days ago and I’m past it now… and I have some good news to share first! I’ll start with the smallest news and work my way up to the biggest.
I didn’t take the steroid on Sunday and seemed to sleep a little better. On Monday, I asked the NP, Angela, and she said I could stop it entirely although it is given via IV on Tuesday’s chemo. After two days of no steroid, I got seven hours of sleep on Monday and felt much better. I still need to catch up on some rest and, of course, it’s Tuesday so I’m up at 3:34 am writing this because of the IV steroid. But at least I know tomorrow I’ll be back to regular sleep.
My radiation nurse, Lynn, told me about a different method of feeding using my tube. Instead of putting a single can in via syringe, which takes about 10 minutes, I can put several cans in a bag on an IV stand and let them gravity drip in slowly. This means I can raise my intake without making myself sick from the volume! It works really well, and I think I can work my way up to the point when I can come closer to maintaining my weight. I’m still eating a variety of soft foods by mouth to keep my swallowing function working, but it’s great to know I have a good way to intake more calories, more frequently.
The blood work done starting the fifth chemo session was still all normal for red blood cells, white blood cells, iron and potassium. The nurse, Courtney, said that was very good for this stage.
So here’s the big news: Dr. D used the scope to check me out, from the nostrils to the voice box. There was no longer any visible sign of cancer in my throat. Keep in mind my tumor was BIG. It took over my whole left tonsil, moved my uvula to one side, and then aggressively invaded my palate for about two inches. And now it is all visibly… gone!
HPV-positive tumors usually respond well to treatment. Dr. D said he’s seen them disappear as early as 25 days in, and more normally around 30 days in. I’m only 21 days in!
I know the radiation side effects are going to get worse over the next 4-6 weeks. I’m taking Vicodin for pain every now and again, so I’m still ahead of the curve. No matter how bad it gets, though, all I have to do is endure and remember: there are no remaining visible signs of my Stage IVa cancer.