I saw more doctors today than I did all of last year, I think. One of the things I didn't know about cancer treatement is they you don't actually have a doctor, you have a team. There's the surgery team, the radiation team, and the chemo team. Before I started at Markey Cancer Center the surgeon was the lead, along with nurses, nurse practicioners, radiology techs, my family doctor. Once the surgery was finished, it was off to the big leagues with a medical oncologist, oncological nurses, med students, nutritionist, pharmacologist, on the chemo team. Then on the radiation side there's the radiological oncologist, physicists, nuclear medical technologists, associates, residents, med students, and the nurses and nurses assistants who weigh me, draw my blood, check my history, and generally make me feel better. I think I was touched by 15 different medical professionals today. They palpated my neck, drew blood, shined lights down my throat, I don't know what all else. Mostly, they encouraged me. We're almost half-way through, and I'm doing great.
The bad/good news is that my white blood cell count is a little down. That combined with the chills I've been experiencing had them concerned enough to postpone my chemo until Saturday. They were concerned that this might disrupt my independence day celebrations. Screw that. I'll celebrate when I can eat brats again. Meanwhile, it's back to the radiation table. The good news part of this equation is that they are eliminating my last chemo course. I'll be having only this one on Saturday, then the radioactive team will bring it on home.
I learned a few things about my throat today. What I have is called "mucosal denudation." Mucosa is the slippery skin inside your mouth. Well inside most of you, actually. Denudation means what it sounds like: stripping away. What's happening to my throat is that the skin is cooking away because of the radiation. It's as if I had sunburn on the inside. That's why my throat only hurts when I use it. Swallowing is like rubbing two sunburned arms together. They gave me some analgesic mouth rinse to use, and also some more antibiotics to try to get my blood counts back in order. I think that's all the new meds. It's a little hard to keep track. I'd be lost without Mrs P.
Someone from Tennessee sent me a lovely gift today, a CD that I'm enjoying right now. Trouble is, I don't recognize the address or the signature. I'd love to thank you personally, but if you'd rather not, I'm thanking you here.
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