Week #4 is done. That means Nick has had 20 of 35 radiation treatments and 5 of 8 chemo treatments. We’re very excited that each day brings us closer to completion of these treatments so that we can get our lives back. Nick is deeply touched by all the warm, heartfelt messages from friends and family. Nicholas calls often; Carla sent a goodie box for cancer patients and we immediately made use of its contents, Nick wrapping himself in a soft lightweight blanket while I massaged two lotions into his feet.
Unfortunately, new side effect are manifesting. Nausea has begun. I’m sure his doctors will have medications for that, and I’m also fairly certain that the nausea medications have improved in twenty-five years. Another problem is that Nick has lost 4 pounds this week, which equalled his total weight loss for all of the first three weeks. That’s not good for a person who has little excess body weight to lose, but it’s also not surprising.
Eating gets more and more difficult because of the great pain, first when food touches his mouth, and second when he tries to swallow it. Nick has developed a routine for trying to consume food. First he mixes his pain-numbing “cocktail” of lidocaine, Benadryl and Maalox. After using that, he decides whether he will need a pain pill before or after the “meal.” Successful meals have consisted of a few tablespoons of oatmeal thnned with cream, or applesauce. He tries to drink distilled water throughout the day because its taste is less horrible than tap water. The majority of his diet is Boost. He started with Boost Glucose Control, which is for diabetics. Nick conquered diabetes by keeping his weight low, and we wanted to avoid its return. Soon we realized that right now he needs more calories, and if diabetes becomes a problem, we will deal with that when he’s done with cancer treatments. We switched to Original Boost, which has 240 calories compared to Glucose Control’s 190. He has now moved on to Boost Plus, because at 360 calories, it gives him 120 more than Original Boost per bottle. But man can’t live on three bottles of Boost Plus each day alone.
Drinking for him is easier than eating. He asked for a soft boiled egg, but it required more chewing than he could manage. He gallantly tried a smoothie I made for him, but the brightness of the fruit and veggies I enjoy was far too much for him, and even the tiniest bit that got stuck between his teeth made him see stars. Last night’s dinner was a vanilla milk shake. He drank half a cup.