I’ll start this blog post with a quote from a 2012 post:
So it turns out that what I thought was oddly early response to the radiation–trouble swallowing, a burning in my mouth, dryness in my throat–is actually a raging case of thrush. If you don’t know what it looks like, do yourself a favor and DO NOT Google image search it. Thrush is not a pretty sight, trust me!
Yep, my old buddy is back again. It’s less likely with lung/chest radiation versus head and neck and unusual in only the second week, but my fungal friends are persistent and apparently eager. It was exactly like last time: I thought I was feeling the radiation working when in fact it was an impressively opportunistic colonization of my throat and soft palate by yeast. Mmmm, tasty (OMG so much not tasty).
Last time, here is how I described it:
The best way to describe the feeling of thrush is to imagine your mouth and throat have been infested with tiny spiders. You can’t feel them crawling around, but they have filled your throat and mouth with their little webs. It’s a combination of a full feeling, mushy mouth and burning pain that I’ve never quite experienced before.
It’s different this time, probably because the radiation field is a bit lower, so now the spiderwebs have infested the back of my throat, right where you swallow, and down my esophagus. I’m on an oral antifungal and a friend recommended swishing twice daily with Primadophilus Bifidus (thanks, Jackie!). It’s actually a tiny bit better today, and it’s on the road to recovery in time for Thanksgiving dinner with Luke and Tami in San Diego.
Yesterday was a day of good news: the fluid in my lung quickly diminished (surprising the doctor and techs), and it looks like the mass is already shrinking. That’s unexpectedly quick, since it usually takes three weeks to start seeing any effects of treatments. If thrush is the price to pay for that, it’s a small price and I’ll pay it gladly.
We’re still planning to shave our heads today or Wednesday, so if you’re waiting (like me) to see WTF is under all that hair, we’ll all have answers soon enough!