Sep 282015

SurgeryI’ve spent the last week working with the radiation oncologists to try to control the pain from the radiation therapy. They started out giving me Tylenol 3. That did next to nothing to ease my pain, so I added in some ibuprofen. Since it’s an anti-inflammatory, it made sense to me that it would help. And it did. Some.

But even the two together didn’t seem to be doing the job, so they decided to try a fentanyl patch. I knew fentanyl was a strong medication. What I didn’t know was that it comes in three different strengths. And they gave me the strongest (75 mcg). It did help with the throat pain, but it made me so sick I couldn’t get out of bed the next day without dry heaving, even after taking an anti-nausea pill. I was supposed to keep the patch on for three days. I ripped it off around 15 hours after I first put it on and went back to the Tylenol 3/ibuprofen. I was sick for most of the day that day.

When the queasiness subsided and I was able to eat again, I began to realize I was aspirating (at lease some of what I was swallowing was going into my lungs instead of my stomach). This can cause pneumonia, which I definitely do not need. The only way to fix it is to insert a temporary feeding tube, which can be used for nutrition and medications. Since that should also help with the pain, I’m okay with that at this point.

Once the decision had been made to put the tube in, the radiation oncologists switched me to a low-dose fentanyl patch (25 mcg) and sent me to the oncologist to coordinate the feeding tube insertion. He gave me some fluids, ordered some lab work, and told me to take ibuprofen every 6 hours in addition to the patch (that seems to be keeping the pain pretty tolerable for now). He also set up an appointment with the surgeon.

I met with the surgeon this morning. He’s the same one who put in my port. It sounds like a pretty simple procedure, but I’ll have to spend one night in the hospital. I’m still waiting for a call to find out what time my surgery is tomorrow (probably early afternoon).

I was able to schedule my radiation therapy for early tomorrow morning and then late Wednesday afternoon so I won’t miss any treatments (today is number 18 out of 35). I was happy about that at first, but then my oncologist decided to tell me that the pain from radiation is going to get a lot worse before it gets better. Why do people say stupid things to you when you’re sick? I really didn’t want to know that.

 Posted by at 6:05 pm

  16 Responses to “What’s one more surgery?”

  1. I will just keep you on the prayer list. Hoping this will go for you. At least it is half over. Sending all my best thoughts.

  2. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

  3. I’ll be praying for you.

  4. I’m trying hard to read something positive here. The only thing I can come up with is that you are over the halfway mark for treatments. Hang in there. And the feeding tube will definitely have some benefits. He should never say your pain is going to be worse because everyone one is different and I believe you have been different all along. Praying for you

  5. I hate to always bring Jack up, but since his cancer was in the nasal pharynx, he eventually had the feeding tube as well. It really did seem to help him and i pray it does for you as well.
    Love you,

  6. Ugh. I was hoping the weekend with no radiation would give you some relief. Hopefully the feeding tube will help you feel a little better. I echo the others … you’re more than halfway through. Hang in there.

  7. My guess is because in general people are idiots… Now when you get that mixed with what some might see as awkward situation, well it gets worse from there. That is my thought about it and I am sticking to it. Oh never mind you did not really want to know. ; D

  8. Praying constantly.

  9. I am praying for you Julie!

  10. My thoughts are with you my friend! I did not go the feeding tube route when I was being treated for my esphogus cancer. It did fry my thyroid and eating was very difficult. I drank a lot of ensure! The pain issue was unbearable and I will not lie, it does get worse. I focused on how close was to the end of treatment. I refused the patch as well and the zofran gave me unbearable headaches. I was given the 10 mg Norco pain pills. I wish I had the courage to blog while I was going through treatment but I was not strong enough as you, Julie. Good luck with your procedure and good thoughts and love coming your way!

  11. Sorry this has all been so sucky 🙁 Have the cats noticed you’re sick & given you some extra cuddles?

  12. Julie,
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you. You are so very brave. As others have said, you are over the halfway mark with your treatments. One day at a time. Sending love and support. Sharon and Gary

  13. You have always been rebellious and refused to conform to the ordinary…ok, so you were a teenager! lol Dare to prove that doctor WRONG! You are just choosing to do it backwards and have the worst pain now and get it over with, right??? I think the feeding tube is fairly common and will help keep you otherwise healthy! Always prayers are with you!!! Hugs Hugs Hugs!!! Tell John I am praying for him to as I’m sure it is difficult being helpless and watching you go through this! YUK to CANCER!!!

    • I have to believe the early pain control efforts and the feeding tube will help. I don’t plan to just lie down and suffer quietly, so they better either get it right or plan to see me every day.

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