I’m Back! No, really!


640px-Wreck-it-ralph-official-banner-13setembro2012-02Wow. Hey. It’s been a while since I’ve been here. I know I’ve been horribly remiss in keeping people up on my progress, but to be fair, I hadn’t expected the cancer treatments to have such an effect on my body. I thought (silly me!) that when I finished radiation and chemo, that I’d be able to rest, relax, and be back to normal within a week or two. Not even close.

So where am I in treatment now? What am I eating? How am I doing overall? What’s next? I get these questions every day and I’ll do my best to answer them all here without boring you all completely!

Right now, I’m not having any treatments. I had a scan in October that showed all clear for everything, so the multiple surgeries, chemo and radiation have worked exactly as they were supposed to. Doctors have given me the all clear to go back to work (within reason) and I no longer have a feeding tube or a breathing tube. I’m no longer part cyborg!

With regard to my eating, it’s up and down. Since I don’t have the feeding tube, all of my nutrition is coming by mouth, but it’s not, by any stretch of the imagination, normal eating yet. Most of my intake is from nutrition shakes and meal replacements. There are a couple of reasons for this. One is that my mouth is still healing from radiation. At the end of my treatments, I had third degree burns on almost every surface of the inside of my mouth. Sores, blisters…you name it. I couldn’t even drink water because it hurt! Now that’s healing and I’m thankfully somewhere between a first and second degree burn inside my mouth. This means that it’s extremely sensitive and there are a lot of foods that trigger pain.  Tomatoes, garlic, anything citrus – those are absolute no-nos. They make my mouth feel as if I’ve been sucking on freshly picked ghost peppers. Doesn’t work. Some things have surprised me. Peanut butter burns. I have no idea why. Some soups do. Others don’t. And carrot cake bothered me the other night. So it’s all a matter of trial and error these days to see what works and what doesn’t.

The other part of my eating is affected by my taste buds. They were burned during the radiation and a lot of things don’t taste the way they used to. I’ll have cravings for something and when I get it, it tastes terrible. Things usually taste like I’m eating a teaspoon of salt, or of sugar or sometimes, wet cardboard. It’s not really pleasant. Doctors say this isn’t unusual and that it should heal. It just might take some time. Thankfully, I’m already beginning to see some improvement.

My jaw doesn’t open well. I’ve got to do exercises to get my mouth to open. I never ever imagined in my lifetime that I’d have trouble with opening my mouth! (Go ahead. All the standard jokes apply.) But I’ve got to stretch my jaw daily to get it to work. It’s crazy!

I’m back to homeschooling the kids. It’s important to me to get them back on course because we were so messed up for a while with surgeries and treatments. The kids are doing well and being back into a routine has helped all of us.

I’m also back to work. I’m judiciously choosing where to spend my time, but I’ve written several screenplays (one during radiation and chemo!) and a stage play during this time. I have several television pitches that I’m working on, some great marketing clients, and I’m picking up book and product reviewing again too.

So that’s the latest on everything that’s happening with me. I’ll try to do my best to keep this updated more often now that I have a little more energy. I appreciate the continued prayers. The journey to complete healing is still a long one and each prayer, note, and card is a treasured gift in my life. God is faithfully answering our prayers and He gets the glory for all the miracles in my recovery. J

Thanks for sticking with me – it’s nice to be back!