Friday, February 22, 2008

Washington and Butthead

Happy Birthday, George Washington!  A guy whose integrity and character went a long way into making America what it became.  Thank you, Mr. President.

Today was also sleet, snow and freezing rain day here in metro DC, which meant that the roads were, in the immortal words of my good friend, Bill Speer, "slicker than deer guts on a door knob..."  The lovely Miss Victoria Galore, soon to join Joe Gibbs Racing, made it through like the champ that she is.  My internal gyroscope told my sleeping body that at no time were we moving perpendicular to the long axis of the car!  Good job, Angel.

Oh, and I did I mention that we finished three weeks of therapy today?

Here's some medical things that we have learned.  The head bone is connected to the butt bone.  We know that because that's how Beavis's friend got his name.  What happens between those two bones is a little more complicated, but educational.

In cancer, one's metabolism speeds up dramatically, trying to replace the cells that are being attacked.  If you just eat normally, you will lose weight.  In throat cancer, the problem is multiplied because you cannot "just eat normally."  Hence the PEG tube into my stomach.

We had tried for  2 1/2 weeks to avoid the PEG tube, because swallowing and jaw movement are also important.  But we had our priorities backward.  First, stay hydrated and don't lose weight; second, keep swallowing as much as possible and exercise the jaw.

Well, working without the PEG tube, I had lost 9 pounds in just over a week.  The docs
 hit the brakes hard.  So now PEG is my primary means and throat is secondary.  I regained 5 pounds in two days, thus avoiding the IV hydration drip they were about to give me. Taking in smaller amounts through the throat is also much less painful. 
From the dental extractions until now - just a month - I have gone from Tylenol 3 to Percocet, from Percocet to morphine pipette, and from morphine to Oxycontin and Oxycodone, where I am now.  Wow, you're thinking - this guy is in trouble.

Docs jumped in early to assure both of us that no throat cancer patient has ever become addicted to these heavy duty opiates.  Why?  because they are not making me high in any way (just comfortable enough to swallow a little) , when the pain stops, the drugs will stop and I won't want any more.  The rethinking of the pain killers is what turned my weight around.  Now we must continue into the tougher weeks.

As the journey down the bones concludes, the butt bone doesn't like pain killers which take too much moisture out coming through the Erie canal, or whatever they call it. So the butt bone goes on strike, sorta like the Screen Writers Guild did, and the result is the same - no "high quality material" for the evening show...  not even re-runs.

Docs can fix that as well, but the growing list of drugs coming into TAJ M'home has now caught the attention of the DEA whose agents are dressed as Honduran builders throughout the neighborhood.

So, how to relax through all this?  Get up at 0605, step out onto the back porch and check out the scene to the East, below.

Thanks for your continuing prayers and good wishes. See you on the high ground!


Anderson Zoo Keepers said...

You have not only a fantastic attitude but the best writing style ever. I check every day to see if you've written anything because I want to keep tabs and because I love reading your prose. Love the photos.

I had to giggle about your med situation. Big T shakes his head at me and regularly tells me that I'd be up a creek in a real biological situation because I'm allergic to Cipro and Morphine. I shuddered a little at your drug cocktail thinking back at the moment I found out about my Morphine issue. EEEK

Tobi said...

Three weeks down!! Good for you!! I love your sense of humor Ken. Only you could reference Beavis and Butthead while talking about Cancer.

I'm sure Miss Victoria Galore is an excellent chauffeur.

Spymommy said...

Um, I think it possible that only you could talk about your situation with the "clogged ducts" and make it funny dad - I laughed my way through this entire post! And I just want to add my praise that both you and mom are working hard and surviving like champs . . . keep it up! Love you.

Matt said...

My experience has shown that mom is a much better chauffeur when I am heavily medicated, so your experience must be fantastic!

As for everything else she has been doing for you I know that you are in the best hands possible. I think possibly the only person I know who is a more determined individual than yourself is my mother. And you thought the people drilling you at Ranger school were tough!

Keep up the fight soldier, you can only eat your chicken after you finished the forced march and your not even half way there. It's going to taste real good!

Love you!

Sparcam said...

I feel like an interloper commenting on your post, but I have to say you are awesome. The attitudes of you and your family are an additional ray of sunshine in my Arizona sky. Thanks for sharing the details of your fight...even the errrr...not so ummmm...Pretty?...details. It demystifies them in a way that is not gratuitous. I appreciate that! You and your family are in my have people pulling from you. Thanks for sharing your courageous fight and making me laugh at the same time!

Jeremiah said...

Hello Ken,
I had no idea that you are such a great writer. I never thought that I would get such a great laugh out of a cancer blog. I am impressed at how you keep such high spirits. Thanks for keeping us informed on your battle. We are keeping you in our prayers. There is no doubt that God is with you. With our love and admiration,

Doug and Kenton Nicholls

Crazy Granny said...

Hey there, I'm keeping an eye on you. Keep on writing and I'll keep on reading.

AllisonK said...

My parents, Chris and Mila, sent me the link to your very inspirational blog.

We are thinking of you and praying for you.

Tobi said...

A quartet of songs for you Ken.

1. Theme song to James Bond
2. A Mighty Fortress is our God - BYU Men's Chorus
3. Theme song to Mission Possible
4. The Army Song (obviously)

Keep laughing and keep blogging!