I’ve often said that the best thing about pain is how good it feels when it stops! Yesterday was my first completely pain free day in the last three weeks and so far, today is going just as well.
Though I didn’t realize it at first, I was suffering a nasty reaction to the cancer treatment that I received on April 14th. The first few days after the treatment were fine; just the normal tiredness that I’d experienced after each of the previous ones. Then, I woke at about 3:30 one morning with excruciating stomach pain. I had no idea what was going on and neither did my family doctor. He ordered an x-ray and when that came back looking normal, he suggested an enema to ensure that there was no blockage anywhere. For a little while, I felt a bit better, but soon the fire in my belly was back. Pain filled days and sleepless nights followed, eventually prompting me to phone the cancer clinic and describe my symptoms to Brent, the nurse who coordinates the team that provides my care.
“I hate to tell you this, but I’m pretty sure we did that to you,” he told me!
Gee, thanks Brent!
Discovering that what I was experiencing was actually a fairly common reaction, especially in patients with dead and dying tumour cells in their system (that’s definitely the good part!) didn’t lessen the pain at all, but it did give me peace of mind. Brent also assured me that I should soon begin to feel better. Apparently, this kind of reaction usually occurs within a two week window following treatment and I was nearing the end of that. We discussed the fact that the lining of my stomach and intestines was likely badly inflamed and I made the decision to eat a very bland diet of apple juice, applesauce, toast, crackers, tea and broth for a few days to give my insides a chance to rest and heal. That seemed to help and sure enough, right at the two week point, things improved significantly. I was even well enough to spend a few days in Calgary celebrating two very special birthdays. Our granddaughter, Jami-Lee, had her fifth birthday on April 28 and her brother, Drew, turned seven on May 1.
I continued to experience intermittent pain until two days ago, but that too seems to have finally passed. Obviously, all of this has made it impossible for me to begin following the dietary and exercise recommendations related to my recent pre diabetes diagnosis. I had no choice but to put that on hold until I got this under control, but I’m eating well again and I’ve just returned from a brisk 20 minute walk. That’s a far cry from the recommended 30 minutes five times a week, but it’s a start. I also felt well enough to play my first round of golf of the season yesterday!
My real hope in all of this is that the treatment has been as hard on my tumours as it has been on the rest of me! We’ll know more about that when I go for CT and PET scans on July 24. These will provide the baseline for my next phase of therapy which won’t involve another treatment until sometime in the fall. I’m very thankful for that too! If I was facing another one in just a few weeks, as I have done until now, I think I’d be tempted to slink away and hide in a deep, dark cave!
Instead, I’m going to enjoy the summer… sunshine, camping, golfing, geocaching, time with family… !