It's been 10 years since I was diagnosed with Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma... cancer. I started this blog to share the many emotions, fears, experiences and, hopefully, triumphs that I will face throughout this journey. I have two goals for this blog, 1. To gain some degree of personal therapeutic benefit and, 2. To help others who may one day face a similar struggle by detailing the process of diagnosis, treatment and recovery so that they may know what to expect.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

So It Begins

August 17, 2006 - Today was day three of my radiation treatments. So far, I'm feeling no noticeable effects from the radiation but I have begun to feel the effects of the Erbitux. Actually, I don't think it's the Erbitux itself that has been bothering my but the steroid that is administered prior to the Erbitux... at least that's what Dr. Dar tells me anyway. It's probably some combination of both but it's to be expected, I guess. I started feeling it yesterday with a case of the hiccups that just wouldn't go away. Later, I began to feel a sense of indigestion at which point I called Dr. Dar to see if this was normal. He said it was and offered to call in a prescription which I declined. Then he recommended Prilosec OTC which, begrudgingly, I've begun to take. If you haven't figured it out by now, I do not like taking medicine. Not because I'm adverse to it but because I don't like the idea of so many foreign substances in my body. The Erbitux is bad enough. Anyway, the indigestion is a little better today although I have had a sort of uneasy feeling in my stomach most of the day. Not nausea per se, but a slight queasiness with an accompanying feeling of rocks in my stomach. To top it off, the steroid makes you restless so even though I was dead tired last night, I had trouble sleeping.

So back to radiation. I met with a oncological nutritionist after my treatment today to discuss diet planning and strategies to maintain proper nutrition if and when it becomes difficult for me to eat. Basically, I need to figure out a way to take in about 2500 calories and 120 grams of protein per day. That's a lot. Especially on an upset stomach. So, I'm going to have to augment the whole foods diet with some richer, fattier foods, especially while I can still eat comfortably. I will also have to add some protein and other supplements. We talked about the supplements I'm on now (the list of which has grown substantially) and she gave me some do's and dont's. This is a subject that I've been meaning to touch on and will in another post as it is very confusing to me. The good news... after tomorrow's treatment I'll be more than 10% done. Hopefully the stomach issues only last a couple of days at a time. For now, here are some pictures:

This is me on the bed, about to be scanned.

This is the TomoTherapy machine.

Here is a close up of the mask. You can see how tightly bolted down it really is. Now imagine laying like this for 30 minutes at a time!

Finally, the effects of the mask on the skin. It takes about 30-45 minutes for the "lizard" look to wear off.


Blogger FamnBlan said...

Ginger!! That's my suggestion for upset stomach (of course, check with your doctor) But Ginger is highly recommended for upset stomach and nausea. With a bad stomach, I have used it in all forms: fresh, crystallized and capsules. Dr. Weil is also a fan. T

9:41 AM


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