Monday, April 16, 2012

No Surprises



Following radiation on Monday mornings we head over to meet with Catherine at  Project Prepare in The Star area of the Mays Clinic.


The Skyway is the link from the main building to the Mays Clinic.


This blurry photo was taken on a rainy day through a window but it gives you an idea of the length of The Skyway. We have no idea how long it is but we’re thinking it would be a good Par 5.


While we have walked it a couple of times for the exercise, we will sometimes take the shuttle – motorized 8 person golf cart –especially if the meter in the parking garage is ticking away.

Catherine reviews our past week’s experiences and prepares us for our upcoming week and what to expect regarding side effects. She equips us with lists, reminders and lots of encouragement.

One of the points that she stresses is the importance of doing the exercises that The Cowboy was assigned by the speech pathologist at the beginning of the treatments. 13 – 30% of all head and neck cancer survivors develop swallowing problems and these exercises help in preventing these problems.

The neck stretches and swallowing actions help eliminate scar tissue caused by the radiation burns. They take about 10 minutes and should be practiced 4 times daily. However, The Cowboy has just not been feeling up to doing them the last few days. She assured us that that was normal at this stage of the treatment program.

She also will be following up for about 4 weeks after the treatments are completed – to see how he is doing and to remind him to continue the exercises.

I’ve mentioned before that the side effects of the chemo seem to increase as the weekend approaches and this weekend was no better – knocking The Cowboy right off his horse.

He has no appetite whatsoever but he is drinking about 4-5 protein drinks a day. He continues to eat soups, scrambled eggs, fresh vegetables and soups. He also favors smoked sausage and seafood salad. He just doesn’t eat a lot of anything at any one time.



He is now so used to me taking pictures of his food . . . check out HIS presentation of a salad he made for me last week.


Yesterday I purposely roasted a chicken with sage dressing hoping that the aroma would arouse his appetite. It did and he said it smelled wonderful but he was only able to eat a couple of bites.

Please be comforted in knowing that all of this is all very normal and we are not surprised by any of it. We have all the education and tools in our kit to cope with all of it.

I can totally relate to all of our friends and family members with their feelings of helplessness in being so far away. Here I am, right here with him every minute of this journey and I too am overcome with that awful feeling. All I can do is love him – that’s the easy part!

Please be reminded that all of your comments, messages and phone calls continue to give us strength to see this through.

Thank You so much for your prayers. We know they are working!


This all happened so quickly that I don’t have any idea who the patient was.

You can be sure that when The Cowboy rings this bell next week that you will be able to hear it all the way up to Ontario (maybe even to Eliott Lake) and British Columbia!!!!


  1. It all may be expected because of the treatment, but it's not fun. Your love and encouragement are what keeps the Cowboy going. And that is about all we have to offer. So love and prayers for both of you.

  2. Oh, Sharon and Ron, how brave you are. I am in awe of your strength and character. I'm sure everyone wants to help you through, but the best medicine for Cowboy is your love, Sharon, and that he has as you said.

    One more week! I can't wait to hear the bell ring. I can't wait until the skies are blue, again, for you.

  3. Chin up and walk proud.
    Positive thoughts and prayers for you both. Every blog you do brings me closer to you both and I can't thank you enough for being so brave and supportive through this battle. Always remember "we" all are fighting this battle with you. And though it may seem you are alone down there our we are all right beside you day in and day out.

    Stay positive and fight the good fight.