Eleven Days After Whole Brain Radiation

I want to go to sleep and not wake up until all my symptoms are gone. But I guess that’s unrealistic. My throat isn’t any better in spite of the meds and home remedies. And I’m still starting the day with vomiting, which isn’t a great way to start the day. It doesn’t help my raw throat much, either. My throat is still congested; I still sound like a frog; my ears still feel as if they’re going to explode, and I still get esophageal spasms every time I swallow. The spasms extend from my throat into my Eustachian tubes. Eating or drinking anything takes forever. I swallow, wait 5 or 10 minutes for the spasm to stop, swallow some more, wait 5 or 10 minutes, and repeat. So it takes a long time to eat, and it’s exhausting.

I’m developing sores on my neck and scalp. And they itch. I’m trying not to scratch, because the last thing I need is an infection on my skin. I clean gently, pat dry, then liberally apply pure Shea Butter. So far, I have no mouth sores. There are sore spots inside my ears and nostrils; they get the same Shea Butter treatment, and that seems to help.

I’m having no trouble sleeping. I think it’s my body’s way of giving me respite from not being able to swallow, and the spasms.

My eyes have become super dry. And my vision is a little off, especially at the end of the day. I haven’t even worn my contact lenses for a week, because I just couldn’t read with them. I can read with my glasses, but even then I sometimes have to strain to really see. We live in a desert, and my aging eyes are dry anyway, but this feels different.

I’m not feeling very steady and find myself shuffling around like those ancient men and women you see in nursing homes. They’re shuffling along with walkers, or hanging on to the wall rails, or pushing their wheelchairs along with their feet.

On a lighter note; I tried to take a bath a couple of days ago, thinking it would help me feel better. I totally didn’t take into account how low down the bathtub is, how inflexible I’ve become, and how hard it might be to get in and out of the tub. It was basically a comedy of errors. It took 10 minutes for me to figure out how to get in, turn around, and sit down, without dropping on my butt hard enough to break my tailbone. I managed it. But in the process, I somehow opened the drain, and all that lovely hot water infused with bath salts disappeared down the drain in no time. So then I had to figure out how to hoist myself up, close the drain, and get more hot water into the tub. And then I had to figure out how to lower myself back into the water without splashing all of it out of the tub and all over the bathroom floor.

Spud came into the bathroom once to see what I was doing. He gave me one of those ‘you’re-a-crazy-human-and-I-want-nothing-to-do-with-you’ looks and plopped himself down in the doorway to watch the fun. I can’t blame him – it was pretty funny.

So then I had to figure out how to get myself into a standing position. The only way I could do that was turn myself over so I was on all fours – and that took a few minutes. Spud sat in the doorway with a concerned look on his face, but I know he was snickering at me. At one point he left, and I thought perhaps he had gone to get Steve for help. But nooo. He went to get Peanut, and they both sat in the doorway snickering.

I finally managed to turn myself over and stand up. And I decided then and there NO MORE BATHS! Until we win the lottery and can get one of those walk-in bathtubs. Or until I can work on losing weight and working on my flexibility.

It’s okay. You can laugh. You know you want to. I would be laughing, but it hurts my throat.

Onward and Upward.

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20 thoughts on “Eleven Days After Whole Brain Radiation

  1. Ruth, part of my wants to cry and part wants to laugh – dang you are in a tight spot. If there was something I could do, I would. Hang in there kiddo – a better day is just around the corner. BTW, when you do get to the point of swallowing a pill, I was given something called, “Pill Glide” – it’s an OTC spray – makes it easier to get them down – was introduced when I had neck surgery – may or not be of use to you but wanted to pass it along. hugs – lots of hugs.

  2. I’m so glad you have retained a very healthy sense of humor, Ruth. I would have been screaming as I watched that warm water drain away. I’ve never seen a ‘walk-in’ bathtub, but could imagine they would be sensational (keep buying those lottery tickets) xxxxx

  3. I’m sure I can’t provide any info you don’t already have, but — when my mom was having such problems, we got her two gizmos. On is a handle that screws on the side of the tub, to provide something to hold on to. They really are sturdy. I checked hers every week to be sure it was tight, and we only had to tighten it about once every 2-3 months.

    The other thing was a bath bench. It’s just a seat that sits IN the tub. You can adjust them to the same height as the tub walls, which makes it easy to get over to the bench. We’d fill the tub up, and then she could bathe without having to stand in the shower or sit in the tub. It was vaguely tin washtub style, but it sure did work.

  4. I can’t see the humor there, I’m afraid, but I admire you for being able to see it. And I admire you even more not only for having the courage to deal with it so pragmatically but also to share it here in all its particulars. I am always thinking of you and wishing you well in this journey.

  5. Hope you find a way with baths. Can hubby help with sponge bath?

    Keep moving daily…very important. Take your time. Otherwise you will weaken even more. Where my father is in the hospital, there are signs in every hospital rm. about the importance of moving.

    Your effort on the Internet to be caring is impressive….given your condition.

  6. Angelika Schwarz says:

    There was once a dancer named Ruth,
    Who could pivot and boogy real cooth.
    But one day she sighed…
    For she had never tried;
    A Bathtub Tango in her youth.
    Although not feeling very well,
    She thought a bath could be swell.
    She rolled, and she spun,
    Thought this ain’t so much fun,
    While Peanut and Spud barked; what the hell!
    After climbing out with a heave…
    Learn: don’t bathe again without Steve!
    But you were a brave Pocahontas for sure,
    Crazy girl: For taking the Tango Bathtub tour.

  7. Oh dear Ruth, this is hard to read. I so wish some of us sister-friends could be there to help you in and out of the tub. Although my reasons are far from the same as yours, I have trouble taking a bath because of my knees, I can’t get back out of the tub by myself. While in Germany, they didn’t have a shower and I had to take a bath. I swear it took me 15 minutes to get back out of that tub, I couldn’t get my knees to work well enough to lift myself out. It was funny but scary at the same time.

    I’m so sorry that your body continues to suffer so horrendously…one thing after another, I don’t blame you for wanting to go to sleep until this all passes! I’m amazed at your generosity of heart (you know what I’m talking about) even as you suffer all of this which makes me want to scream in agony, so I know it must make you want to howl and rant and curse in agony and anger.

    I continue to hold you in my heart and prayers. Praying always for relief and resources that will help heal all of this sooner than later. xoxoxoxox

  8. I am so sorry you have to go through this. I know I don’t know you personally, but I am truly hoping for your recovery. As for your throat, you might want to try sleeping with blue chalcedony (a stone) on your neck overnight. I’ve heard that it works for those exact symptoms… not sure if you’ve tried that for a home remedy yet, but it could be worth the try!

  9. Eunice says:

    Along with everyone here I read and wish….That I could be beside you during this time…You are carried in my heart blessings to you and Steve

Ruth passed away from cancer. Please remove from list

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