It's the ghostwriter back again, and that's not good news. When Shelley is feeling even half way good, the words just flow out of her fingertips into her blog. But, since Thursday the harsh realities of head and neck radiation, coupled with the chemo, have set up camp in the brick house on Northview Drive.
Thursday there were hints of things getting worse, pain in the lymph nodes under her jaw, and such, and it worsened on Friday. Things got yet worse over the weekend, when it became very difficult to swallow.
At Monday's radiation appointment they took this worsening quite seriously--did blood counts, blood cultures, changed her to liquid painkiller, gave her a bag of IV fluid since she wasn't getting much down, and scheduled her for surgery to have a feeding tube put in. Oh, and cancelled Tuesday's radiation because of low white blood count.
So, today there was no radiation, but the surgical procedure to install this new apparatus, a PEG feeding tube--goes from the abdomen right into the stomach. It was just a 15 minute surgery, but there was a four hour recovery because of getting a couple more bags of IV fluids to keep her hydrated. It can't really be used for feeding until tomorrow, but nurse Jim got preliminary instructions of how to use it for her medications tonight. Tomorrow they'll return to the Cancer Center to get the full course on the care and feeding of a feeding tube. They're assuming there will be radiation again tomorrow, but no one said for sure. Shelley is sore because of the surgery today, and just generally miserable. However, she does feel just a little better this evening. It's a relief to not have to swallow very much, and the painkiller takes a lot of the pain away except at the times she has to swallow. There is so much mucus to deal with, and that is really her number one discomfort at this time.
Shelley's hair is starting to go, but not in a sudden dramatic way like you might expect. Just more and more combs out all the time. So--all in all, these are rough days. And, there are many more of them ahead. Sometimes it looks like the light is very far down at the end of the tunnel. So, this is one reason I'm back on the job, so you can continue to share in their challenging journey. Your encouraging comments and feedback are appreciated and needed at this time. It's a pleasant diversion for them all, and gives Shelley a fleeting moment in which she can focus on something besides pain and misery. Thanks so much for your thoughts their direction.