Well, I am well past Day 1 of the treatment.  In fact, I’m half way through the chemo and the radiation.  I get the last round of chemo next week – just in time for Thanksgiving – so I won’t be having the usual turkey dinner.  I could, but I sure wouldn’t be able to taste it.  God, how I miss my taste buds.  I didn’t realize how much they meant to me until they were gone.  They left after the first week – chemo and radiation killed off the little darlings – and it’s just been one tasteless mess after another since then.  What exactly are taste buds anyway?  I sure didn’t know.  Simply put, they’re sensory organs that are on your tongue.  They allow us to experience the different tastes we encounter during our lifetime.  People start out with about 10,000 taste buds, and those get replaced about every two weeks.  However, as we get older some of those little bumps on the tongue (which are the taste buds) don’t get replaced.  Age, smoking, and medications can play havoc on those little papillae (puh-pill-ee).  Now I know why I see so many elderly people buying sugary, sweet foods at the store.  It’s not because they go well with the beer or the wine they’re buying but because those taste buds that identify sweet are the last ones to go.  Those papillae have very sensitive teeny tiny hairs called microvilli (mye-kro-vill-eye).  They talk to the brain and tell it what the food tastes like – sweet, salty – you get the idea.  So enough about the taste buds and what they are and what they do – all I can tell you is I miss mine.  No matter what I eat, it all tastes like what I imagine a wet paper bag must taste like.  Eating has become an absolute chore and is totally boring.  But, eat I must if I want to stay healthy enough to keep withstanding the treatments and get rid of the cancer.  Eating is now a matter of math – I never thought I’d be counting the calories so I could add to them rather than subtract.  LOL

I’ve had a few days where I’ve felt like I had a moderate case of the flu but that was the chemo.  The radiation therapy makes me tired, but I’ve managed to keep walking almost every day and I’m enjoying the nappy naps.  This weather lately is conducive to naps so that works for me.

I won’t lie.  I detest the side effects of the treatments.  I won’t go into detail, but they’re all petty annoyances – like dry mouth, and a constant metallic taste in my mouth that I can’t seem to get rid of.  Nothing painful, just annoying.  I’m coping.  I’m feeling pretty well all things considered – like a double whammy of radiation every day of the week.

Next week is my last round of chemo, but I already said that.  Am I sounding glad and excited to be done with that?  You betcha!

Although the trail I’m on still has some rocks and roots for me to scramble over and the uphill may yet be coming, I can do it.  As I said before, I keep looking back at where I’ve been.  I see lots of great people standing there cheering me on and willing to help me get over those bumps on the path.  I’m grateful for each and every one of them.

I’ve added a couple of photos.  And here’s a bonus, I get to keep the mask when I’m done.  I think I’ll paint it and hang it on the wall.  🙂

Elekta Infinity Linear Accelerator – This machine delivers the radiation treatment Monday through Friday

My Mask – This mask gets put on me before each treatment for my throat.