Thursday, November 20, 2008

Six weeks

On Monday I go get fitted for a mask. It's a mask that covers my face and protects my head from the radiation that will be burning into my neck in order to kill those cancer cells in my lymph node.

The doctors here and at The Klinik in Germany agreed that I need low-level radiation, ten minutes a day, five days a week, for six weeks. And six weeks of chemo. I can't say I'm looking forward to it. They tell me the first three weeks will be okay. But on the back half, my throat will be so sore that I won't be able to eat solid food. There goes the thirty pounds I'd worked so hard to put back on. They keep telling me that I have to keep swallowing-- no matter how painful-- and drink as many calories as I can, no matter how long it takes to get it down.

A lot of patients get a feeding tube, but I refused because sometimes people who use tubes actually forget how to swallow and have to go to therapy to learn to swallow again.

I don't have time for that.

It's funny-- no, it's not funny at all really. It's frustrating and infuriating that when they first found the cancer cells, the first thing out of the radiation oncologist's mouth was that I needed full-blown radiation and two nine-week sessions of chemotherapy.

Because that's what it says in their medical books.

They don't think out of the box. I immediately said, "No. I won't do full-blown radiation."

And then my doctor at The Klinik looked at everything and spoke with my doctors here, and suddenly they all agreed:

Low-level radiation.

Ten minutes a day.

Five days a week for six weeks.

Chemo for only six weeks.

See? That gets to the heart of the entire issue. What if I didn't have the second opinion? What if I didn't have a pioneering doctor who's not bound by tradition and a medical and pharmaceutical establishment?

Well, lots of people don't have that option. They have no choice but to follow the initial advice, which is “cut and burn and radiate and poison.”

Most people don't have that option, And it's out there!

I start the treatments on December first and finish on January ninth.

It will take a couple of months before everything is back to normal.

I'm waiting to hear from my doctor at The Klinik. She’'s going to give me a program to follow that the doctors here don't believe in. When I get it, I'll let you know what it is.


  1. My hub got the feeding tube; I have to say it was horrible; his body kept rejecting it. The site was red & painful & a growth kept coming back, even if it was "burned" off. Having said that; he needed it and used it mostly because of depression as well as throat pain & no saliva. We actually lied at one point to have it taken out & it was the best thing we ever did.
    The feeding tube can be a good thing and it could be bad.
    I have to say that if the doctors listened to me when I asked for the ACTIQ pops like you've mentioned many times, he may not have had to use the feeding tube as much. The Actiq was the only pain killer that actually helped his throat pain & for that I am grateful to you Brett. Too bad they gave it at the last week of radiation (33 treatments); but he needed them while "cooking" for close to 2 months after.