Fourrrrr Day #67, Treatment #11

My football career was short, but one pigskin lesson I learned was:  no matter how tired you are going into the 4th Quarter, you finish strong! Between the 3rd and 4th quarters we held up the number 4 and yelled ‘FOURRRR’ to remind us.  This is what it looks like on the field:

As I head into my final 2 treatments I am emotionally and physically exhausted, but I am raising my hand and yelling ‘FOUR’!

Next Steps

  • Finish the last 2 daily radiation treatments, through 10/24
  • Wait for side effects to leave 11/1?

Observation #1: Exhaustion!

My cage – the mask I wear daily for 20 to 40 minutes – continues to be a challenge, needing adjustments which extend the time I am in there. I continue to use pray and other techniques to fight this, but I cannot wait until this is over.  This is not me, but what I have to do.

The side effects of the radiation – sore throat and mouth – make every bite, every drink painful. Imagine having a hot buffalo wing in your mouth all the time.  My wife laughs at me because she will give me the blandest item she can find and it still causes pain.

As a result, I am essentially on a hunger strike, having to force down a few hundred calories a day, dreading every moment of it. Some recommended a ‘swizzle’ that numbs your mouth and throat so you can eat.  I tried it but judge that worse.  The mouth pain also makes sleeping a challenge. So I am basically walking around like a zombie.

Treatments end Tue but the side effects linger for another week or longer, so I am not sure when the eating/sleeping thing will subside.  FOUR!

Observation #2: Hopkins 2nd Opinion

We visited Hopkins for a 2nd opinion with Dr Wagner-Johnston.  Glad we did it but as most of you will probably agree, get the 2nd opinion BEFORE you start treatments.  She had one suggestion that would’ve affected our decision making had we not started already.  Overall I believe we are on the right path and I have 100% confidence in our medical team.

Observation #3: Cancer Sucks

Most of the experiences I’ve had locally, there were usually only 2 or 3 people in the waiting room with me, even at Hershey Med.  At Hopkins I was in a room with over 100 people waiting, many with family/friends but still a huge number.

It is so easy to go through the day worrying about the hurdles we have in front of us.  It was humbling to see all of those people fighting the cancer fight. I know some of you walked this last weekend to fight cancer.  If you didn’t, take a second to pray for a cure, even to join the fight by clicking here!

Observation #4: Rheumatologist & Sjogrens

We visited Dr. George Kunkel regarding my Sjogrens. I have to admit I was disappointed by the results.  I was expecting an strong action plan but Dr. Kunkel’s advice was that there was only a little that can be done to treat symptoms. How can I win the US Open with that plan?!

I expect that we will continue to pursue direction on this front, but until we clear the radiation phase, my brain cannot handle much more.

Thanks to all for prayers!



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