The Countdown Continues…….


The last tests have been done, targeting and restraint are complete. I have added some pictures of the CT targeting and the behemoth that will irradiate me and hopefully, give me superpowers. With my luck it’ll turn out to be something like PAPERCLIP MAN, only using his powers for good, he can sort and untangle multiple boxes of paperclips in the matter seconds.  Yeah, sounds about right.

The last major step was to have a gastric feeding tube inserted through my abdomen wall, so I can feed myself and hydrate once the radiation causes my throat to swell to the point that taking food orally will be unpleasant, oh, and not to mention the taste.  I’m told after the first round of chemo and a few doses of radiation your taste buds go south and everything taste like metal/copper.

The tube so far hasn’t been too much of a problem. Getting it put in was.  Well, getting the procedure done was straightforward, get an IV, get a few drugs via said IV, relax, fall asleep and wake up with a hole in your stomach. The downside is I had to remain in the hospital overnight for observation. There are a few truths about a hospital stay and the first truth is you will get no rest or sleep. It’s like they watch you and just when you appear to doze off…. BAM the door opens and the room floods with light and a meek healthcare worker says “oh, sorry, I can come back later”. I guess they take observation very seriously.

Getting out of the hospital is the real test of your goodwill to all. Everyone agrees you are ready to be discharged, wound looks great, vitals are good and last round of blood work is fine.  All that is missing is the Doctor, the hospital-based doctor who has never heard of you until they got to the floor.  In my case, she came in and I had to explain why I was there and the procedure I had.   I also explain that I have a class scheduled for Tuesday to show me how to use and take care of the feeding tube. Well, she says that before I am discharged I must watch videos and have a nurse demonstrate the thing by pushing 210 cc’s of Ensure into my stomach and wait two hours to see if I get nauseous.  WHAT???  Are You Kidding me?  The nurses are all rolling their eyes and shaking their heads.  A plan is hatched.  My nurse says, let me see what I can do.  He comes back and announces they don’t have Ensure and gives Laura and I a wink.  The doctor comes back and asks how everything went. All good we reply in unison. I’m gone in 15 minutes and the whole ordeal took 3.5 hours.

Fast forward to Tuesday and my last appointments.  First, a baseline hearing test, no problems there. Just a confirmation that I’m deaf as a post. Seems the cisplatin (chemo) can cause hearing loss.  Next, my CT simulation re-do and confirm the lineup, fit of the cage and the final Okie Dokie from the Oncologist.  Here are a few pictures of the “cage”.  It is made of plastic that is heated then stretched over my head and shoulders and left to cool. Trust me, it sucked, and I will have to wear it every time I have a radiation treatment.  If you look closely, you can see a plastic stick coming out of my mouth. This a mouth block meant to fill space inside my mouth and keep my jaw muscles flexible.

In the picture, you’ll notice a blue plate with black & grey dots on it.  This is the means by which they keep me from running away and scaring the villagers.  It has 10 or 12 “bolts” that fasten to the table. It allows for NO motion in the mask.  I still haven’t quite come to terms with this yet…sedation, please!

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