Week 19 – Still progress

Weeks after treatment            4

Pain                    1/10

Mood                 8/10

Energy               5/10

Side effects     3/10

Everything is getting better, the phlegm is gone, the swelling in the back of the neck and gums is reduced considerably. When the phlegm left the building, the dry mouth is replacing it, but it is indefinitely less annoying than the phlegm

The taste buds are primarily out of function but i can taste salt and spices (not any spicy).

I begin to do fitness and work again, my energy is still limited but now i feel that life has began again. I have gained a little weight but most of my clothes is still out of reach due to my reduced size 🙂

Week 18 – Breakthrough!

Weeks after treatment            3

  • Pain                    1/10
  • Mood                 8/10
  • Energy               4/10
  • Side effects     4/10

Finally i feel the things are in progress!, the NG tube came suddenly up by itself just before Easter in the end of the week, i am not going into details how… – but it seems my body felt healthy enough to reject the annoying foreign object in my throat. 

I then had the choice on going back to the hospital in order to get a new NG tube or try to drink the needed 6 daily protein through the natural way.

It worked!, the protein drinks are not enjoyable, but diluted with water they go down the throat without much problems. For the first time in a long time, i sleep well at night, within the next days, the phlegm is reduced considerably, the tube had probably also been a partner in crime in generating the phlegm.

It’s just great that whereas the side effects before had a crippling social effect, they are now just annoying, so it has been a big turning point 🙂


Week 17 – Second week after treatment

  • Weeks after treatment            2
  • Pain                    2/10
  • Mood                 4/10
  • Energy               3/10
  • Side effects     8/10

The pain is now on a level where i do not need morphine anymore, the doctors told me three times, that i needed to scale down on the morphine before i should stop using it. I did for reasons unknown to myself not listen and did a full stop…- the result was 4 sleepless nights, so do as the doctors tell you to!

The mood is again taking a dive, the pain in the neck and throat is reduced but the phlegm continues to be bothersome and the tube seems to irritate my throat even more. I am very sick of being sick, my possibilities for doing anything is severely restricted and it is very difficult to not know whether i will be hit with a lot of late effects.

I am in a very self-pity mode, my family went to visit relatives for a few days which was very good as i was not able enjoy their company and they can not do anything to alleviate the side effects.

I watched Deadpool 2 in order to get in a better mood and had a laugh when Deadpool goes into self-pity mode and gets this answer:

Week 15 – Finally last treatment!!

  • Radiation Therapy                     33/33 –              Done
  • Chemotherapy (Paclitaxel)    4/5 –                   Done
  • Pain                    6/10
  • Mood                 7/10
  • Energy               4/10
  • Side effects     9/10

The day i have looked forward to for 2 months finally materialized.

The radiated areas on my neck is quite red/violet, so i will probably get some kind of burn degree. My wife and my kids were all with me for the last accelerator treatment and the personel were so kind to show my youngest one how it all worked, in order to demystify the treatment.

After my last treatment, my beloved wife had arranged a surprise for me! – a lot of friends and family had came to the Hospital in order to celebrate i have finished treatment, they brought cake and champagne, i was thinking about being social and have a drink with them trough the tube 🙂

It was very nice and good to see them all, afterwards i went home and directly fell asleep in a good mood, even though i know that the next 2 weeks could be the worst.

Week 14 – Even when the moods get better, the cumulative effects of the treatment are hitting hard.

  • Radiation Therapy                     26/33
  • Chemotherapy (Paclitaxel)    4/5
  • Pain                    6/10
  • Mood                 6/10
  • Energy               4/10
  • Side effects     8/10

The effects of the treatment is setting in with full effect. The pain is getting worse, so I am getting morphine both as pills and low dose patch

Morphine has no side effects for me while using it, however it does not remove the pain,but makes it bearable.

My skin at the neck is slowly turning violet and is irritated, I daily use aloe Vera on the skin, but it can only limit the degree of burns.

The phlegm is going from merely being annoying to have a crippling effect, it is impossible to have a longer conversation without spitting every sentence out, telephone conversations I totally avoid.

A few times a day i have to throw up the phlegm, especially when i am doing anything which resembles exercise, like bycicling.

To get to the hospital is a matter of planning what to bring to spit in, when i am going with the train or bus.

The smell of the phlegm is also terrible, especially for myself but also for my nearest family. My youngest daughter does not want me to sit beside her at sleeping time, I do not blame her at all.

I wake up multiple times at night to spit,clean my mouth and sometimes throw up.

I react by isolating myself socially as I am not able to converse, just nodding.

Week 13 – After the terrible weekend, change of chemotherapy.

  • Radiation Therapy                     20/33
  • Chemotherapy (Paclitaxel)    3/5
  • Pain                    5/10
  • Mood                 7/10
  • Energy               5/10
  • Side effects     7/10

After i conferred at my weekly meeting with my doctor about the effects of tinnitus, he prescribed another chemotherapy called Paclitaxel.

I will never say that chemotherapy medication is a good experience, but the effects of the new medication were marginal compared to Cisplatin, my tinnitus disappeared and my loss of appetite was removed. Sure i had the same flu effects and pain, but my mood was much better and now i had the tube , i got my needed proteins and my fast weight loss was stopped.

Week 12 – Second dose of Chemotherapy and first mood swing

  • Radiation Therapy                     14/33
  • Chemotherapy(Cisplatin)       2/5
  • Pain                    4/10
  • Mood                 4/10
  • Energy               5/10
  • Side effects     6/10

The effects of radiation are slowly setting in, my neck is more sensitive and my gums are swallowed. From the effects of the Cisplatin were out of body till a new round , i had roughly 1½ day which i enjoyed.

As my tinnitus was getting worse, i mentioned it at the weekly meeting with the doctor and we agreed that i could try one more round and if the tinnitus were still worse, then they would look for an alternative.

Second round was much worse, the flu-effects hit hard, the swallowed gums were even worse and my loss of appetite was magnified, . For three days my only intake was fluid and bananas, i lost about 3 kilos. The weekend was terrible for me and my poor family.

I could feel my limbs were cold due to lack of food and my mood was really dark because i really tried, but could not manage to intake any food. The tinnitus were continuing. When the effects worned out, i managed to eat some food, which immediately helped my mood.

I told my wife that if i did not eat anything or little again for the next round chemotherapy, i would ask for a NG tube also called a nasogastric tube,which is a tube that carries food and medicine to the stomach through the nose. Contrary to the US where the PEG tube is much more used, in Denmark, the NG tube is primarily used for shorter treatment durations like tonsil cancer, when your food intake is too low.

The NG tube has it advantage in it is very easy to “install”, it takes about 1 minute and i did not feel unwell at all. The disadvantage is that it is very visible in your face and the tube in the throat is annoying when you sleep.

Even though i did not like to present this very visible “add-on” to my kids, my mood was relived now that i could bypass the mouth and i could inject food even when i was not hungry.

Week 11 – First week with full radiation therapy treatments and the first dose of Chemotherapy

  • Radiation Therapy                     8/33
  • Chemotherapy(Cisplatin)       1/5
  • Pain                    3/10
  • Mood                 7/10
  • Energy               6/10
  • Side effects     2/10
My first dose of Cisplatin, a new world for me with walking around with this rack, just to go to toilet

The first week with all-inclusive on radiation and chemotherapy, the radiation is working hard to numb my taste buds, but otherwise no noticeable pain.

The first time of Cisplatin is a different manner, i went to the Hospital to get my first dose, it takes about 3 hours from i arrived till i left. Cisplatin is administered through a vein and expect the little sting, i did not feel anything before the next day. I was given a whole lot of medication.

  • Some unknown medication which should alleviate the worst side-effects from Cisplatin the first 3 days.
  • Prednisolone to counter the nausea effects,  Cisplatin has a very bad reputation for.
  • Calcium pills which counter the calcium loss effect Prednisolone has.

The next day i felt the effects of the chemotherapy, i did not feel any nausea, but my first experience happened when bought a durum roll and the meat tasted horrible like metal.

The loss of appetite was not in full effect, but the Cisplatin made most food taste horribly, so i was primarily eating baked potatoes and mashed potatoes from then. I began to realize how large-scale and on how many aspects this treatment would hit me.

Week 10 – Further introduction for the cancer treatment plan and the first radiation therapy treatment

The last meal i would taste regularly , before my first round of Chemotherapy, had to be a good one.
  • Radiation Therapy                     2/33
  • Chemotherapy                           0/5
  • Pain                    2/10
  • Mood                 8/10
  • Energy               8/10
  • Side effects     1/10

Now the fun begins, first i have a schedule at the Hospital for fitting a mask i need to wear during the radiation therapy in order to fix my head during treatment, so the radiation only affects the specified area.

It takes about 15 minutes and is not unpleasant, some sort of warm wax is fitted around your head and then you just need to wait for it to harden.

Secondly i needed one more CT/PET scan in order to specify the location for the accelerator , this scan is shorter than the first one and the contrast fluid is much less unpleasant.

The first radiation therapy works just as promised, i can not feel anything and my taste buds are not affected, yet…., 32 more to go.

Week 9 – Continued recovery from the surgical operation and first appointment for the cancer treatment

  • Pain                    4/10
  • Mood                 5/10
  • Energy               6/10

The second week after surgery was also quite painful, but bearable. I went to my first meeting with the Oncologists at the Hospital, which confirmed that i had HPV tonsil cancer and it was found at a very early stage, so even when cancer sucks , my case was a very light case and survival prognosis were more than 90 pct. if i did the treatment.

Nevertheless they did not hide that i was in for a rough and intensive treatment, it was 6½ weeks, where i had to go to the Hospital 6 days a week to receive the 33 doses of radiation therapy and 5 times chemotherapy.

As the Hospital was quite far from my home, i had to spend 2 hours alone on transportation.