Posts Tagged ‘thrush’

Warning:  This post written under the influence of strong pain killers. May contain unintelligible gibberish, unfinished and/or run-on sentences, or just plain drivel.


I never imagined I would say this, but it seems I now have something in common with Rush Limbaugh:  Oxycodone.  Since I’d like to limit the things he and I have in common, I’m planning to be careful not to let my use of pain killers turn into an addiction like his.

As of today, I’ve seen three different doctors at the Cancer Center concerning my continuing throat problem. Pretty much all of them agree it’s related to the Xeloda I was taking. What they don’t quite agree on is whether it’s actually thrush, mucositis, or a combination of both. I’ve been taking the meds to treat thrush for five days now with no real improvement. Unfortunately, there’s no particular “treatment” for mucositis – you just have to wait for it to heal, much like a virus.

I took my last Xeloda pill over two weeks ago. Today’s doctor thinks that in about a week the Xeloda will have cleared from my system enough for my throat issues to heal on their own. Meanwhile, I have been unable to eat anything because of the excruciating pain of swallowing, and have continued to lose weight at an alarming rate (105 today). So, the newest approach is to have me take pain killers in order to “minimize the discomfort” of swallowing.

I was instructed to take “1 or 2” of the Oxycodone pills every four hours. At 1:00 this afternoon, I took my first pill. By 1:30, I still couldn’t swallow, so I took the second pill.  By 2:00 I was surprised that I could actually swallow with much less difficulty, and I managed to eat more food during the next half-hour than I’ve eaten over the past four days combined! Wahoo! Then, at 2:30 I passed out in a drug-induced delirium. Four hours later, when I might have taken another dose, I was still completely out-of-it and pretty much unaware of anything but the drool on my pillow.

It’s been about six hours now since I took the Oxycodone and, although I’m certainly more alert, my eyes and limbs are still very heavy.  I’ll have to take another dose here shortly in order to eat again, but I’m thinking this time I will just take one pill and wait a little longer to see if it can do the job on it’s own. Otherwise, I’ll be back in Wonderland for the next several hours. If I’m not completely spaced-out over the next few days, I’ll try to give an update on the eating situation. Meanwhile, I’m going to see if I can avoid that rabbit-hole I fell into earlier.

Alice - Rabbit Hole

Alice about to take a tumble down the rabbit hole

P.S. – Some of you have already been asking about my office visit with the surgeon, Dr. Rajput.  Unfortunately, it didn’t take place (chalk it up to poor communication at UNM). Now I’m scheduled to see him on Wednesday, November 4.

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[Whew! She’s finally posted something on the blog again. She must still be alive! Thank God!]

It’s only been in the past few days I’ve begun to think I may still be among the living. For the past couple weeks I wasn’t at all sure as I sank lower into an abyss of pain and illness and fog. (The pain was actually my main indication that I wasn’t gone.) But I’ve barely been able to lift my head off the pillow since the last time I posted an entry. So, today’s a turning point for sure.

I’m still too shaky and weak to spend much time upright, so I won’t chronicle all the gory details of the last two weeks here. Basically, the final week of treatment took a huge toll, and the effects of the chemo and radiation continued to build for another week after that. I was far too sick to eat for a long while and lost several more pounds. I developed thrush, candida, a raging yeast infection, and my entire gastrointestinal tract, from mouth to anus, was stressed beyond endurance and simply stopped working. 

The gripping abdominal pains I began complaining about three weeks ago finally became alarming enough to my doctors that X-Rays of my chest and abdomen were taken. No blockages found, but it turned out the entire abdominal cavity was filled with air and gas that wasn’t being expelled because nothing in my system was working properly. There were so many masses of gas bubbles on the X-Ray, they obscured any view of the left side of my ribs on the film. It was very eerie to see my chest and abdomen filled with large splotches of grey mass, but apparently all of it harmless – unless you can’t expel it. So, I was instructed to “go home and fart” (those were the exact words used by my health care professionals). Easier said than done, though, since I couldn’t just will my body to start passing gas normally. Lots of warm compresses and belly massage began to help, thankfully. Tim, bless his heart, gently massaged my belly regularly and even said encouraging things like, “Good girl!” when any tiny vapor would release. It feels quite juvenile, but we’re now applauding and high-fiving every worthy fart.

Slowly, my system is trying to perform it’s normal functions again. I’m finally eating small amounts of real food (say what you will about Ensure, but it probably kept me from starving to death when I couldn’t manage actual food). I am still unable to walk very far – from computer to bathroom is a marathon distance – but I am gaining more strength each day now.

And, to end on a high point:  I did muster enough strength to ride in the car (supported by a ridiculous quantity of pillows and Ativan) up through Hyde State Park to the Santa Fe Ski Basin to see the aspens turning all yellow and golden, with hints of peach and rose in certain special places. It was so lovely to see, it took me out of myself for a time, and then reminded me that I am still alive.

More positive reports to come soon, I hope.

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