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Friday, 3 October 2014

Tough Week and X-Rays

During my chemotherapy treatment last week I had a visit from a dietician, Carloyn Clark. We discussed how my eating was going and what we could do to maintain my weight as I had lost a couple of kilos over the last couple of months. I have a bit of a problem keeping food down while eating and sometimes it comes back up which is never pleasant. She was worried that the internal wound may have not healed correctly between the oesophagus and intestine. So she told me should would book me in for a Barium Swallow X-ray; this would check the join and how I was digesting food in the initial phase; but she was pleased with my overall current condition The chemotherapy is really starting to take it’s toll on me and I am finding it so much harder than any previous treatment. However saying this, last weeks treatment was the last full chemotherapy session that I would have to do so the end is now in sight, and I keep this in mind to get me through the tougher days. The next two days following chemotherapy were tough. I was exhausted and feeling sick. I lost my appetite and wasn’t in the best frame of mind; I felt sorry for myself and had no motivation to do anything so I stayed in and watched TV while the boys were at school and Leonie was at work. It was a difficult couple of days. By the weekend I did feel slightly better so decided to do something and began to redecorate the kitchen, starting by painting the woodwork, which in my current state took me three days to complete, it was really slow going but at least I was doing something and felt a little more motivated to get up and achieve something. The sickness and strange tastes were still present and I was wasn’t eating much but I wanted to just get over this first week after chemotherapy as I know this is always the worst part. Monday I was back at work for a couple of hours and I had a good chat with Karyn. We talked openly she does worry about me and wants me to be comfortable and healthy, I began to get emotional, but Karyn is a good person and talking with her helped a lot. The Barium Swallow X-Ray was booked for Tuesday morning and although I knew in the back of my mind it wasn’t and invasive procedure I felt nervous for some reason. I was taken into the X-Ray room and the procedure was explained to me and I was asked to get into the machine. I stood up and had to swallow a very thick, chalky drink several times while they recorded the swallowing on the X-Ray. It wasn’t too pleasant but manageable. After this I had a different drink which was very fizzy and caused a lot of wind, this wasn’t helped by the fact that the machine was now moving from a standing position to being led down. Again the recording was taken. I was able to see the video of the X-Ray afterwards and the doctor explained what was happening. It was really interesting to see, but he did mention that about 2/3rds of the swallows were going into a dead end of the oesophagus. It is quite hard to explain but they were stating in situ and when I swallowed again this was causing a blockage and forcing itself back up. He told me that the wound had healed well and that the action that was occurring was mechanical and he would not know what could be done to ease this, but he would send his findings back to Mr Ball, the surgeon. This was good and bad news in my eyes, I was healing well but there is a small problem which may never be fixed and I would need to manage this by eating much slower and being more careful when eating. I went home in a better mood and was relived that X-Ray was over, although it wasn’t that bad after all, but I don’t know what would need to be done in the future. At the moment I am feeling a little better, it is taking longer to get back to normal and get over the exhaustion and I sometimes feel overwhelmed with what has happened over the last 9 months as I take stock and look back at the journey so far. It’s almost over and I need to start looking to the future and remember that I will have beaten cancer.

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