Moving targets

Ever have a goal that kept shifting on you, dancing around like some crazed sprite, daring you to capture it?

That’s how I’m viewing my goals right now.

When we finished up radiation, as horrible as I felt, I figured a couple of months of healing would at least enable me to start enjoying some soft foods once more, even if full-fledged dining eluded me for awhile longer. Wrong. I have managed to sip some tea every now and again, and take in a few spoonfuls of soup, and that’s it. The past few days, my tongue actually started bleeding – from nothing, really, and I’m guessing it’s just one of those ‘healing” things – and I wound up spitting out bloody mucus all day long, for three days. Icky. That, thankfully, stopped last night, but tonight I found out an interesting fact: sneezing is not good for the healing tongue. One little sneezing fit tonight broke something open again, but luckily it was minor and stopped bleeding fairly rapidly (as far as these things go).

In any case, my original goal had been to be able to eat something by Thanksgiving. That quickly gave way to Christmas, considering how radiation keeps doing its thing for some time after treatment ends. I revised my goal, because I’m flexible that way, to the end of January. here we are, and I can tell you, it isn’t happening. So I’ve revised that goal again, to Memorial Day, which – for those of you who don’t keep track of US holidays – is at the end of May.

Why the long forward-looking period, as they say in business? Conventional wisdom says a month of healing for every week of radiation. Yes, it really is that bad. So, for me and my six and a half weeks of treatment, that amounts to six and a half months. Far longer than I expected or wanted, bu there we are. on track from the end of my treatment, that puts us in the first half of May. I figure by that time, I certainly should have been taking in soft foods at least (at least, I hope so) and it should put me in good shape for regular food. Besides, I really love spring and summer down here, becaue we get the greatest produce. There’s nothing like a big beefsteak tomato with a little salt and some fresh zucchini and squash, sauteed with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and maybe some fresh grated parmigiano-reggiano on top. Delicious.

I’d like to start cooking again, too, but it takes a lot out of me right now, strength and energy-wise. So far, I’ve made two batches of guacamole for the fam, who enjoy it very much. I foresee another batch for next Sunday’s Superbowl. Too bad I can’t taste it for myself – I have to rely on what they say. Anyone who loves to cook will tell you hard difficult that is.

The worst thing about all of this is the loss of independent functioning. Not to say that I’m not doing anything myself – after all, I can walk, talk (after a fashion), and can feed myself through my handy tube. But, I still can’t drive, since I don’t have complete range in my neck and because driving, like anything else, takes energy. Can’t do my own laundry. Need to have someone keep track of feeding me and how much I’ve had during a day, since my schedule tends to be odd due to frequent naps. Can’t shower when no one is here, in the event I fall or run out of gas at the very end when getting dressed (which happens, from time to time) and need some help getting settled back in. Have to have someone travel to the NOC with me when we get new servers in, since I can no longer lift the piddly 35 pounds that each server weighs. It’s a bit frustrating. This, as they say – and we all know how “they” are – will get better with time. Just like everything else related to this little interruption in my life.

So what have I been doing? Working. Sleeping. Eating, my way. Lots of doctor visits, of course. The end of a year and the beginning of the next are busier than normal, since that’s the time when you have to run employee W2s, file end of the quarter and end of the year paperwork, and put things together for taxes for the business to turn over to the accountant. Some people just don’t understand that when you’re self-employed, it doesn’t mean you’re perpetually on vacation or that you can just drop everything and go off on vacation for a week and be out of touch – at least, not in this business, you can’t. On the other hand, as long as the coverage is there, it is possible to get away from it for awhile and go to a show, or eat out, or just relax and read a book. The business has been at that point for awhile, and it’s a good place to be, even if some people still don’t quite fully grasp the concept – and even if for the past seven months, I haven’t been able to avail myself of it except for things medical-related rather than fun-related. Still, life is good – or, if you like, la vita รจ bella: I’m alive and healing (albeit more slowly than I’d like), I have a great family who are all self-sufficient and healthy, and I don’t have to constantly think about entertaining someone other than myself, being single and all.

So there we stand. I keep telling myself to update the page, but how many times can you tell people you’re still eating through a tube? Commenting about politics is definitely out the window, because it’s depressing to me what the country has come to and because there’s always the chance someone will get their knickers in a twist and be offended – and frankly, I’m really not interested in debating that sort of thing with anyone who can’t see any viewpoint but their own or who takes it as a personal affront that you disagree with them. Been there, won’t do it again (and that goes for dating anyone like that, too!). But there are other topics, and with any luck, I’ll finish up my end of year/beginning of year todo items and be able to get some regular updates in place (and maybe even make a link list, finally).

Have a geat day, everyone.


So, I made a few resolutions to ring in the new year.

Not really.

I never do, at least not for the past (mumble) years. There seems to be very litle sense in making resolutions about things you’re already working on or have no intention of doing.

For instance, I might make a resolution to get less exasperated with certain types of clients. But that goes by the wayside as soon as some jackass threatens to sue you for terminating his service because he didn’t pay for it. Or someone asks you to do something with a domain you never registered. Little things like that really puncture that sort of resolution.

I might make a resolution about eating better. But that presumes that I’m actually eating rather than pouring nutrition down a tube. And since my goal is to gain a little weight when I can eat, I picture double cheeseburgers, pizza, and fried chicken in my immediate future. After all, I lost almost 20% of my bodyweight during treatment, and some of that needs to come back. So that knocks out that resolution.

On the other hand, there’s nothing like a goal. Like being able to shower without almost falling over afterwards because I’ve used up all my energy. That’s getting much better. My mom kindly got a chair for me to sit on, so I sit part of the time and stand part of the time. Soon, standing will be all the time. Little steps, as my mom says.

And, a great piece of news, for those following the saga: the other day, I managed about eight small spoonfuls of soup (organic potato-leek). Not only did I manage to hold the soup down, but I could also taste it – fantastic news for anyone who has gone through treatment for head and neck cancer, since taste buds get zapped during radiation. I also managed to drink about a third of a cup of hot tea, cooled to lukewarm. I still had an issue with my mouth burning after every couple of spoons of soup, but drinking the tea, with lots of sugar, after those couple of bites, helped sooth things. Tonight, I managed to drink an entire cup of hot tea, cooled to lukewarm. It took almost all night, but I finished it.

So the new year is bringing progress with it. I have another followup with the ENT this month, and then a followup with the radiation oncologist in February. I also have a followup PET scan in February, to see what lights up now that we’re a few months out from treatment and recovery. We’ll see what we see at that time.