Update: 1 year and 4months.

Well it's been almost a year and 4 months since the end of my radiation. My one year petscan came back clean which was great news. Now i'm waiting for the next one in December. My oncologist drilled into me that the highest chance of recurrence is within the first two years. Of course you have to make it 5 years before you are officially declared cancer free and can then die of something else :) My statistical odds are somewhere around 50-50% chance that it will come back. It's a cloud that shadows me constantly though i am comfortable with that reality. a 50% chance of a tax audit woudl be more worrisome :) I am still holding on to my first epiphany after being diagnosed with cancer: Everybody dies. So the fact that i got cancer isn't so bad after all. It's not like i'm the one who picked the short straw and everyone gets to live :) In some ways as i've said before it's been a blessing, giving me an appreciation for preciousness of time and learning not to sweat the irrelevant stuff. As for my physical shape. I have definitely bounced back but continue to have extreme fatigue by 4pm in the afternoons. Often i take deep 2 hour naps where the cavalry could pass by me and i wouldn't wake up. My doc said that it is normal to still feel the effects of the radiation even up to 2 years afterwards. Basically i have a limited amount of energy to expend and now i know my limits. Last week i had plenty of energy in the morning and cut down a tree and did a lot of yard work. By noon i was feeling like i had had enough. By 3pm i was exhausted. I took a comma like nap from 4 to 7pm! Then went back to bed for the night around 9:30. The doc is having me try Nuvigil to fight the fatigue. I tried it for the first time yesterday. I was zooming around and wasn't tired, but i did feel a bit wired. So i don't know if this will work for me yet. My saliva has come back slowly. It is dramatically better than last year. I have some near normal saliva in the front of my mouth. Still a bit thick. But the back of my throat is still very dry. So i have to live with a bottle of water by my side and take a swish every few minutes. Bread and other dry foods still get stuck in my throat if i don't take a drink of water after taking a bite. That saliva may improve a bit more but again the doctor said that is where the radiation was most intense so i've learned to accept this minor inconvenience. The only food i still don't like anymore is red wine. It still tastes overly acidic. It's a shame cause i used to enjoy it. But hey, that's the breaks. My neck is totally smooth. No more shaving required. And my facial hair is about 1/4 of what it used to be. I shave about twice a week just around my mustache and chin and a little bit below my side burns. A real time saver! All in all i am grateful for having had a near normal summer, having been able to go swimming, driving in my jeep and living a basically normal life again. My weight is holding steady at 162lbs which is fine for me. I was almost 180lbs before the cancer. Then i think i went down to about 149lbs during radiation. Not a day goes by went i don't consider myself blessed. There are so many friends on this blog i have kept in touch with who have been an inspiration. Over the last year there have been some that are now at peace, others who have it much worse than i ever did, and others like Cheryl who have accepted their fate and have shown unbelievable courage, dignity and strength as they make the most of every minute of life they have left. My mother passed away last year of Parkinson's while i was in the middle of radiation. I keep her prayer card with me and read it often as it gives me strength, "Lord make me an instrument of Thy peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope, where there is darkness, light and where the is sadness, joy" "Oh Divine Master, grant that I may no so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love; for it is in giving that we receive, and it is in pardoning, that we are pardoned and it is in dying, that we are born to eternal life. — St. Francis of Assisi God bless you all. Jacques
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Jacques-- I'm so happy for you! You've made a great recovery and it sounds like you are doing quite well. The fatigue--well, I guess that's one of the gifts of radiation that keeps on giving. I too have days when I just hit the wall, but I've learned to listen to my body and rest when needed. I wish you the very best with your next scan in December--may the news be all good! Take care and keep us posted. Martha
Life is good! I was in NY last week - shopping on 5th Avenue- who woulda thought that 2 years ago! Hey I'll be in Manhattan Dec 9-13 I think. It would be fun to meet.
I wish doctors give you % this only makes you dwell on will I or wont I. Live a day at a time. God will call you when he wants you home
Dear Jacques; I am so happy you had a good summer without the constant worry of impending news. I know how you feel. Don't worry about your napping. That is quite normal, and you should not feel guilty in the least about nap time. It's your body's way of handling the cancer and regrowth of good cells. I hope you get great news with your next upcoming test. I too have just had a bone scan and a CT to come next week, but I won't be seeing the Dr. until the end of October, so I hate the waiting and worrying. That is my big downfall. We can't change the molecules but I guess we can change our outlook. I promise not to worry so much. That is something we all need to do, not worry so much. I pray for good beginnings. Sorry you can't drink your red wine. It is my all time favourite drink. I always have a glass or two at night. It calms my nerves and of course I love the taste. How is beer for you? Can you drink that? Anyway good luck.
HI Weezie, Thanks for the kind words. I don't worry much. "Cancer" is our constant companion :) Not much we can do, but go a long for the ride! The wine is no big deal. And yes i found some interesting beers. Cheers to you! It's good to be alive!
What a great post. So nice to hear good test results and to hear you are healing. I love the prayer poem too. Those are word to live by.
I am so happy that you are doing well. THANK GOD. Take care, my friend. Hugs, prayers and blessings, Joyce In NC
Jacgues, Very glad and happy for your continued success...many more to come for you my friend. I'm doing well, and it's been over a year now since I was diagnosed, 7 months post treatment. So far all has been fine no cancer and clear scans, praying the stay that way.... I've regained a lot of taste, some salivary function, and life is good.... God Bless and Stay Strong and Cancer Free, John
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Vital Info

Posts

March 23, 2008

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Hampton Bays, New York 11946

June 11, 1959

Cancer Info

Throat Cancer

Metastatic Squamous Cell Carcinoma with Occult Primary.

February 8, 2008

5.1 - 6.0 cm

Yes

Lymph nodes on neck.

Stony Brook University Hospital. Department of Radiology

You never know how strong you are, until strong is the only choice you have left.

June 4, 2008

Swollen lymph node on the right side of my neck. Post surgery, official classification TX, N2b, M0

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