Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Some Embarrassing Health Issues

I wake up each morning and role out of bed, to actually sit up and bend, after sleeping, is almost impossible these days. The bone pain, although it seemed as if it was going to be controlled with the new medications my doctor had prescribed for me, has returned with a vengeance. I hobble out of the bedroom each morning and down the hall, never lifting my feet, just shuffling across the floor, standing slightly un-erect, bent at the waist, like an eighty year old man!!! The kids find this new posture of mine rather humorous!!! It is repeated time and again throughout the day after sitting for awhile or riding in the car. I go from the bed to my recliner, in the mornings, where I spend 45 minutes to an hour, putting off taking the first dose of meds for the day, knowing the earlier I take them, the earlier they will wear off and loose their effectiveness. Once I give in and take the medication, within fifteen to twenty minutes, I am able to function fairly normal for most of the day. If I let my mind run untamed, I find myself wondering about this bone pain and it's source. Is it a result of chemo? radiation? arthritis? aging? cancer? I am scheduled for a PET Scan the first of January. It will have been six months since my last. This is my first six month span, I was going for one every three months previously. My mouth still opens only about a half inch at it's best and less than that often times. The less opening I have, the worse my speech is. It is hard to eat at times when my opening is small. Not only does it make it difficult to get the food in, it is also hard to get the food to fit between my teeth to chew. This can be quite comical at times but also quite embarrassing when eating out at a restaurant. My table manners appear less than appropriate. I carry plastic spoons in my purse to use when eating out. Wendell and I have one particular restaurant that we love to frequent when the kids are not with us. It's a nice dimly lite restaurant with fancy decor and cloth napkins!!!heehee!!! It's quite fun waiting to see the expression on the waiters face when I pull out my plastic spoon to eat with. I haven't used metal utensils since my first cancer surgery, the sound and feel of my teeth scraping across the metal is more than I can bear!!! It is even more fun when my opening is small, which in turn makes my speech pretty bad, and I order from the menu utilizing my abnormal speech and then pull out my little plastic spoon!!!! The waiters kind of look at Wendell differently after that!!! It's almost as if they have a new found respect for this man, out with this woman, with a less than normal mental capacity!!! Oh well, what can I say? This too I have to laugh about!!!! After all what good would any alternative do for me? On days when my opening is at least a half inch allowing my speech to be better, most strangers I come in contact with, think I am from a foreign country.
One health issue that I have failed to talk about in any of my blog posts, I once again experienced this morning. It's a very embarrassing, not to mention unpleasant, issue to experience or to talk about. That is why I have failed, or I guess more accurately "chosen not" to speak about it here on this blog. It is worse than any of the surgeries I have had, more painful than all the radiation I received, makes me more nauseated than the chemo ever did. That is why I decided to finally speak of it here in the hopes of saving someone else from ever having this problem. I know it is a side effect of the new medication I am taking. So if anyone else has started taking or have changed any of the meds they were taking, I just wanted to give you a little heads up on a possible side effect that you can take precautions to prevent. Well I guess at this point you may be a little curious? It's constipation. This is the second time I have had it to an extreme point. I won't go into great detail here but when I am in the throws of it's violent grip, I find myself thinking of Elvis!!!! I have honestly felt my heart stop beating, I was told by a nurse that it could actually be happening, caused by my Sciatic nerve. Today after about seven hours I finally got relief. By then I was running a temperature of 100.1 and just feeling miserable!!!! It is something that if you have never experienced to an extreme degree, you can not possibly understand.
It's hard sometimes, living in a body that doesn't function as it should. When my mind, although disputed by some :), functions normally, it's hard to deal with the effects of a less than normal functioning body. I couldn't hold back the emotions, I am normally so could at controlling, today.
I broke down sobbing in front of Punky today. I couldn't hold it back and even my will or resolve to hold it back just disappeared. My strong exterior became non existent today. I felt as if I had had all I could endure. I hate doing that. I hate placing that burden on my children. I realize how helpless they must feel. She went in the other room and I heard her dial the phone, Wendell arrived shortly after that. Wendell...what more can I say about him.....he has endured so much....more than a husband should ever have to...but oh how I thank God for letting Wendell be my husband. When he is taking care of me I feel so safe.
Once again, tonight as I write this, looking back over my day, I can still say Thank-You God for your marvelous grace!!!!


Peggy said...

Does it help to take lots of fiber and water?

Dr. Swill said...


I can't believe how much we have in common with our oral cancers. I have pain issues and I take vicodin to function and eat. My bones are stiff especially my lower back. Perhaps from Chemo, but I think age.

Last year I had the Dr. do an MRI on my torso and lower half because I thought the pain might be cancer related. It wasn't.

Then there is the balancing act with the pain meds to curb the constipation. I take slightly less than prescribed and also take Tylenol PM at night instead of the vicodin.

Both contain Acetaminophen which can cause liver failure, so I can't win. Life has been a struggle which you know all about learning to eat all over again! I spent over 2 years on a feeding tube!

I hope you don't mind, but I added your blog to my blog roll of other head and neck cancer patients.

Just remember a positive attitude is more than half the battle!

Happy Holidays my fellow oral cancer friend.

Peace B

Karen Crabtree said...

I know you have to deal with a lot, but I think you look great!!! I have told you that many times and I do mean it.
You have dealt with a lot of the changes so well. I am thankful you made it through all the surgeries and complications and many struggles.
We love you,
Karen & family