Tonsil Cancer, Radiation, Chemotherapy, Feeding Tubes, Recovery and Motivation
How We Choose to Live
·“We do not choose to be born. We do not choose our parents, or the country of our birth. We do not, most of us, choose to die; nor do we choose the time and conditions of our death. But within this realm of choicelessness, we do choose how we live.”- Joseph Epstein
How to Use motivation to handle Cancer Treatments
I was diagnosed with Tonsil Cancer on May 29, 2008. I subsequently had 35 Radiation treatments, one 15 minute treatment a day, five days a week, for seven weeks. Every two weeks I had chemotherapy infusion to “boost" the affects of the radiation treatments. I considered myself to be a tough guy, healthy and in good shape otherwise. When advised to get a feeding tube, I opted to be superman. The good news is that I did make it through the seven weeks of treatment without having to be fed through a tube. The bad news is that, for me, as everyone walks their own path on this, is that the decision to not get the feeding tube earlier was a bone-head decision.
Never Give Up
·"Never, Never, Never Give Up"- Winston Churchill
It Gets Worse After Treatment Stops
I like to cook(and eat-sadly)and when you take a roast out of the oven, you are advised to "let it rest for a few minutes" as the internal heat allows the roast to continue cooking even though it has been removed from the oven. That is a radiation treatment patient after treatment has ended. I thought I would start the road to recovery the following Monday after the Friday of my final treatment - ha. The next several weeks were the worst. The meds and radiation continued to "cook" while I was at rest. Within a week of post treatment, I no longer could swallow anything, not water or any nourishment. I had been on a liquid - high protein shake, etc. diet for the last part of my treatment cycle anyway, but that came to a halt soon after treatment ended. If I could get water down, it wouldn't stay down.
Installing the Feeding Tube
To make physical matters more complicated, I also didn't care. Not a death wish, still in fairly high spirits for the situation, I just didn't want to even try to eat or drink. That chain of action landed me in the hospital for three days to hydrate me and stabilize me (I also was supposed to be taking meds for heart issues) and had to have the feeding tube installed.
I hated it every day I had it in. I loved the fact that it saved my life. I felt like a bit actor in "Alien". My arm would go numb holding the gravity drip bottle high enough to allow an excruciating slow drip through the stomach tube. Did I mention it saved my life? Anyone finding themselves in this"I wish I hadn't been invited" Tonsil Cancer Club should seriously listen to the advice to get a feeding tube installed. If you don't use it, it is really great insurance.
Serenity - Courage - Wisdom
·“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the one thing I can, and the wisdom to know it's me.”- A variation of old adage
How to Use Postitive Motivation
I recommend being prepared for the five to eight, half-hour to forty-five minutes "feedings"(sounds like I was in the zoo) daily. I discovered surrounding myself with positive motivation to ward off the "Why Me's" while sitting there with nothing else to do, but let your overactive mind and imagination run wild. I called my motivation techniques my "sheep dogs" to keep my sheep from running off a cliff. Build your positive music library (amazing, after listening to a song for years to discover during cancer treatment that it was actually written just for you …listen to “HELP" by the Beatles and you will now 'get it').
Build a Blog & a Favorites Cd
Construct a positive motivational book or tape or cd collection and force feed your mind. The positiveI surrounded myself with during treatment and recovery has transformed me as a result. I recommend starting a journal or a blog. Your journal/posts will tell you when you start to feel just a little better than yesterday, and for me that is when true recovery began. I had to hit bottom before the journey back could begin.
You Will Live Forever
·"Dream as if you will live forever, live like you will die today.”- James Dean
Welcome to the ‘cancer Club’
It is now over 1000 days later. I have better health, can eat anything (except sadly my chocolate tastes buds never came back - your candy box is safe with me) and am more positive than ever about life AFTER diagnosis. I am a very blessed and lucky man. Whatever odds are given you when you get the "Cancer Club" invitation, I recommend stacking the recovery odds in your favor through positive motivation.
You Are the Pilot
·"The bad news is that time flies. The good news is: You’re the Pilot.”- Michael Altshuler
Your Glass Is Still Half-full
When diagnosed with any kind of Cancer, it is common to envision the water of your life drain from your glass until "half-empty" appears in your view. As long as there is any water left in your glass of life, you are blessed. Is it half full or half empty? You have the power to choose your view. Stay strong; review ALL the great things in your life. We all have more than we realize. Watch every sunrise(you probably can't sleep anyway). It is a miracle created daily just for you. Post treatment, you are that sun emerging from darkness.
Two Belly Buttons
Born Again with a New Belly Button
The extra "belly button" I got after my feeding tube was removed, was my symbol of being born again. Post Cancer diagnosis, you have a new life. Long or short, you have the power to decide daily to savor the gift that is “life.” We all have an end to our journey eventually. When one can see the end of the road, the days increase in value. When I was younger, it was a given that I was going to never get old and of course, I would surely live forever. At 63, I am acutely aware that I am at least in the fleeting moments of the third quarter or perhaps fourth quarter of this game of life. Choose to finish strong, whether it is 100, 1000, 10,000 days left in the game.
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