Monday, July 20, 2009

Radiation And Three Months Of Chemo

We saw the chemo doctor last Friday. He explained that because the cancer had already spread from my palette to my lymph nodes, there are definitely cancer cells travelling through my body. The radiation is targeted to kill the cancer cells in the specific areas it is aimed at, in my face and neck area. The chemo will travel through my body to hopefully get those travelling cancer cells before they settle in other places...lungs, liver...bones. I will be given a combination of two different chemotherapy drugs. These drugs will be administered once a week, starting during the same time I start the radiation treatments. I will be taking 33 radiation treatments, once a day, five days a week, for six and a half weeks. I will take the chemo, one day a week, (it will take 1 1/2 hours to administer the drugs each time), for three months. He said I will loose my hair by the fourth treatment. He also guaranteed I will get to the point where the PEG feeding tube will become unavoidable:( The PEG tube has been one of my biggest fears until... I had a visit from the sheriff of Morgan county, whom I had not previously met but Wendell knew. He said he had felt compelled to come and visit me, so he did last Friday morning. I found his visit to be a tremendous blessing. He battled tonsil cancer three years ago and was able to relate his experience with the treatments and things to me. He said the PEG tube was not bad at all, thus easing some of my fears.

I have heard other head and neck cancer patients who were unable, because of the severe side effects, to complete their allotted number of radiation treatments, who were not receiving chemo along with it. The radiation doctor has told me that it will do no good unless I finish the treatments. He said the last few treatments are the most important. My biggest fear is not being able to tolerate the allotted number of treatments. Because I am soooo stubborn, I don't ever give up on anything I start. My fear lies in the fact that I know if I give up, before completing my treatments, that will mean they are going to be more horrific than I can imagine!!! Does that make sense?

Although I have heard "Bald is Beautiful", I don't think the author of those words had me in mind when he uttered them!!! With all of our appointments and running from here to there I hadn't even began to think on preparing for the "Kojak" look. But as usual, I didn't have to search for help, it just kind of fell in my lap!!!! It's amazing how the Lord works. Our good friend Bryon was already working on this one for me. THANKS, Bryon!!! Bryon had already spoke to a friend of his who helps women with finding and styling wigs. Wendell and I met with her today.
She was very kind and had a lot of helpful information for me on the best kinds, lengths. etc...
She will be helping me in this process. She also recommended that I buy some scarves and turbans to wear during the times I do not want to wear the wig. Anyone know of any good turban stores?:)

I had been under the impression that the appointment I am scheduled for on Thursday morning, with a surgeon, was to have my chemo port put in. But I found out today that it is just a consult appointment and the appointment for the port will be made after this appointment. Then I have an appointment at 3:15 Friday evening to have my "dry run" for the radiation treatments. The "dry run" will be just to make sure they have all the correct mappings for my treatments and to make any necessary adjustments. I will not actually receive any radiation that day. My actual treatments begin next Monday.

And for all those that are wondering..... I am still working dilligently on eating everything in sight, as recommended, before I loose my taste buds!!! We can now mark Olive Garden, Mangia's Pizza, Arby's, and steak off my list of things to devour!!!! Also thanks to the teenage girls Sunday school class I have a good start on white chocolate Reeses'!!!!


Scott and Kristan said...

Ms. Debbie, you have such an amazing attitude about what you are going through. I was so blessed to see you at church yesterday. I know I've said this before, but you are truly a blessing to my life. We are praying for you and your family as you start your treatments next week. I wish there was something else I could do. I told someone the other day, one of the things I hate the most is watching someone go through something and you have to stand by helpless and watch. Please, if you or anyone in your family needs ANYTHING let us know. We love you, Kristan

Anonymous said...

Debbie, I work at Baptist West and I know that one of your doctor is there. Just wanted you to know if I can help in anyway please let me know. I work in registration on the first floor. I have been there 6 years and would love to help if I can. I know we really haven't ever really talk with one another but Levi thinks alot of
your girls and we both want you to know that we will be praying for you. Just call any time. Kathy

Karen Crabtree said...

Hey friend,
I have been waiting for you to update your blog. So I was glad to see it this morning. Of course with what you have to go through, I'm not sure its what I wanted to read.
So about turbans!!! I will get on that. You know I love shopping and it doesn't matter what for. You will look pretty as usual. Just have to look for the right colors.
Please pray for Martha. She had a lung biopsy this morning. She's hurting some Mom said. She is suppose to go back to Dr.Perkins in the morning for her eyes.
I am trying not to get down, but I feel it creeping on me.
It's hard to watch people, who mean so much, to go through sickness. Take care!!!
Karen & family

Debbie said...

Kristan, Kathy & Karen,
You are doing what I need more than anything else, praying for me and my family!!! Knowing we are in your and others thoughts and prayers are more of an encouragement to us than anything else that can be done for us!!! Thank you also for your comments here, they are also an encouragement to me. Because of you and many others I have never felt alone or lonely on this journey.