The on-going, first-hand tale of a journey through medical oncology... and what happens after.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thin skin

When your skin is dry and flaking all the time, and your face and scalp seem to shed a pound of flesh each day, it does not take too much imagination to think of being thin-skinned. I am pretty sure that, between the weekly cetuximab doses and the twice-daily doxycycline pills, I have never had such dry skin, and I would be surprised to learn that I have a normal number of skin layers protecting me from UV rays and what-not. And then there is the daily ablution and cover-myself-with-moisturizers activities that suck about thirty extra minutes from each day, which is enough to wear off the skin flakes even faster, and wonder how I would handle the daily application and removal of makeup.

But wait, that is not all! In addition to the physical effects of skin-thinning, we have a bonus of general personal prickliness - which I attribute to the fatigue of having chemical poisons pulsing through me on a regular basis, and the burden of thinking about an uncertain future for me and my loved ones. That is more sucky than the skin-shedding, in my opinion.

But enough complaining - on to the latest news! Well, there isn't any latest news. We talked with my oncologist on Wednesday pre-treatment, and she confirmed that the tumors are shrinking (though I had more detailed info than she shared with us) and that my blood work is quite good (though there was a slight drop in my phosphorus levels). She had spoken with the liver surgeon, but was uncertain about the means to decide between two additional chemo treatments (one more after this one) or four additional treatments. It made sense to all of us that there would need to be an additional CT scan, but her experience made her uncertain about getting one after just two more treatments and he had not been clear with her about that. She is checking in with him, and we should know something more soon. I imagine that we will need to take another trip to OHSU for a secondary consult in the near future. In any case, there will be a short (2-3 week) recovery period after the chemo in preparation for the surgery, and then another month to recover from that before we start chemo again. Woo-hoo.

So, working through things and living day-to-day... trying to exercise, trying to stay balanced, trying to remember things as the chemo-brain returns. Just your normal chemo experience, round two.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Keep your eye on the prize! Thinking of you and yours. Peace. X

Fred said...

For such a flaky guy, you're pretty articulate.

Mikey said...

Your strength through all this is amazing, Ed.

Anonymous said...

From one who daily applies much moisturizer and other products to my face and skin and takes them off again each night, and then applying more nighttime stuff, I can sympathize. Wink!
KSJ

CalamityJayne said...

Hey, it only takes me 5 minutes to put my makeup on. What's taking you so long? ;)

Ed said...

@Jayne - I imagine that you are only appying makeup to your face. I am covering my face and scalp with an antibiotic cream, allowing it to dry, and then covering most of my body with moistuizing lotion. Then I apply anitbiotic cream and bandaids to the areas (mainly fingertips, toes, and the soles of my feet) that are cracking from the dryness. Plus, I am relatively new at this whole facial care thing. ;)

Anonymous said...

You are truly an inspiration to me. I complain about little things, read your blog, and i am in awe. I'm so sorry you are having to go thru this, but i have led people to your site, people who need to know LIFE is possible. Keep up the Good Fight ED! I'm depending on you and your stories! =)