It’s been a few weeks, so I figured a bit of an update was due.
Things are moving along pretty well. Currently, I’m still working on getting my strength up. I still tire easily, but I’m getting out and going places and pushing myself some. I don’t want to over do it, but I also think that if I don’t push, I’ll never get back up to speed.
Right now, we’re trying to get me out every couple of days to a large store (say a Walmart or Sam’s or Lowe’s) and let me walk around a lot. Tires me out. Hell, it wears me out, but I refuse to give in on this. We try to do it in the afternoon so I won’t be tempted to take a nap.
Sleeping can still be an issue. I’m making liberal use of valerian. It doesn’t work as well as benedryl, but it also doesn’t dry me out. With my salivary glands I have to really watch how many allergy pills I take…particularly at night when I’m not able to drink water. And yes, we’re talking massive quantities here…I drink way over 100 ounces a day…keep in mind the old 8 glasses of 8 ounces of water a day and you’ll see I’m far past that.
I’m not yet on my exercise bike…as much as I’d love to be. Totally unrelated to my cancer is a back problem centered in the lower area of my back. Part of this I come by very naturally (Thanks, Dad!) and have dealt with that since I was a pre-teen and another part of it is something that showed up about four years ago. It seems to be related to the sciatic nerve though it doesn’t have a lot of the symptoms (like extreme pain), but it does keep me from lifting my leg when I walk. It also makes peddling a bike almost impossible because my foot falls off the pedal. We’ve been looking locally for bicycle toe clips but we’re having no joy. Looks like I’m going to have to order them and hope I get the right kind for this exercise bike.
So, since the exercise bike is out, cleaning the house is in. And let me tell you, it’s a bitch. Pretty much all serious dusting stopped once I got sick. I’d run around occasionally with a feather duster stuck up my ass, but the real dusting with a rag just didn’t happen. Well, it’s happening now and it’s just awful. A friend of mine used to say that dust was a protective coating for fine furniture. I must say the antiques look mighty damn good in their new clothes.
Physical stuff other than strength is doing well. The really painful spot in my throat is pretty much gone. I do still have some trouble swallowing, and I do still have a sore throat off and on, but I suspect a whole lot of that is related to my allergies and the dry mouth.
The lack of saliva is still a problem though I am learning to compensate. You don’t necessarily want to watch me eat, but I am getting better coping with it. I’m hoping that as time goes on the dry mouth will lessen. I honestly don’t know if it will or how much if it’s only partial. Time will tell.
My tastebuds are slowly returning. I’m noticing that banana is tasting better. Apple still sucks. Chocolate is improving slightly…it’s weird how it’s working. I’ve got some Dutch Chocolate Blue Bell here that I nibble on, and the first two or three bites still make me screw up my eyes. Once I’m past that, though, it seems to taste OK. Does that hold true for other kinds of chocolate? I don’t know. Right now I’m only working with pint flavors and trying to keep from getting too exotic. Maybe in another week I’ll broaden my test.
Overall, though, the menu choices have really improved. I’m still losing weight, but not a lot. I’ve dropped the Ensure for the most part and now really only use it if I forget to eat (like this morning). We have had hamburgers the last couple of days, and I’ve actually been able to take small bites out of mine. Granted it’s just bread, meat and cheese, but it’s working. We had frozen pizza Saturday and I can manage all but the ends. The sauce was almost too spicy, though, and that is the one thing I’m really having to watch. It’s amazing how much my mouth is sensitive to spices (and not just the savory ones). I suspect as the effects from the radiation disappear, that will slowly go away, too.
Also, since the taste and eating experiences are improving, I’m branching out in my cooking again. I find boneless/skinless chicken breasts are a problem because they taste dry (they really aren’t, Randall tells me, but I don’t believe him *g*), dark meat tastes fine, though. I’m cool with ground lamb and beef, so that’s going well. This Sunday will be some cranberry-chili pork chops. I’ll see how I do with pork, and keep my fingers crossed that the cranberry chutney that I made and froze a few weeks ago is tame enough for me to eat. Toss in some canned diced chilies and it will be a good test.
I’m also trying to get some soup making done, though I have to remember to pace myself. I do marathons, and I’m just not able to do that yet. Right now, I’ve got a list of seven to make, and I’ve made three (One is a really good Beef Balsamic Sun-dried Tomato Chili…I’m really happy with this one. Anytime I can get a new soup right the first time I put it together, I’m a happy girl.) So, 4 more to go.
The other new goodie in my life is a Kitchen Aid 5 Qt Artisan stand mixer that my dad and stepmom gave me for an early b-day present. And yes, it works just fine. *grin* I’ll be doing some kitchen changes to make room for it because it’s heavy enough that you don’t want to move it from place to place, so a metal cart purchase is in the works. Randall has pronounced the mixer a wonderful addition (cui bono, anyone? LOL) and has happily joined in the rolling cart hunt with me.
Anyway, that’s where we are. Once I get to meet my new ENT, I’ll be updating again. It will be a few weeks unless I make some great strides here and want to report in.