Post-Radiation Funk

Some have written to see how I am since I’ve only posted twice since completing my radiation treatments (radiotherapy). Simply put . . .

I haven’t felt like writing!

Tomorrow will be two weeks since they rang a bell and showered me with gifts and a certificate and even my mask to take home after the last session of radiotherapy. Now here’s my update on the last two weeks . . .

The only difference is that I haven’t had to go to radiotherapy, but I am just as tired, if not more so, two weeks later; still pink or red skin on my face (like a sunburn) needing a special cream three times a day; still a bitter, metallic taste in my mouth with no food tastes coming through; still a swollen throat inhibiting swallow; still a left ear infection requiring drops twice a day; and the twice daily eye drops will be from now on; and the eye patch after 2 or 3 hours in the morning; and I sleep/rest 10 to 11 hours each night and still have lost 8 kilos or 17 pounds.

I was hoping to see more progress by now and maybe I was expecting too much! The surgeon yesterday said he thinks I look great and the facial swelling is down and some in the neck plus all put one scar is healed and we’re treating it with Fucindin. He is always encouraging! And the ENT said the ear infection is almost totally gone but the drops into most of July. So a little progress!

To help with my nourishment, and thanks to my sister’s encouragement there, I’m drinking protein shakes every morning and drinking an occasional Ensure plus Gatorade to make up for my less liquid now (because hard to swallow). And I eat soups at night, as the most solid food I can eat now. I’m making homemade soups and yesterday when in the city I stopped at an Auto Mercado Supermarket which is the only one with a large selection of canned soups. So I’m making a little progress on the “no-taste” and “hard to swallow” problems! But it’s still been a little “funky” two weeks! 🙂

The docs can’t say exactly how long to get my eating back to “normal,” only that for many people it takes months, not weeks! Not encouraging! 🙂

“We all get in a funk sometimes.
It doesn’t mean you’re failing, or ungrateful, or stupid, or lost.
It means you’re human.

The Funk happens. For all of us. We can’t be happy all the time. We don’t need to be.”

― Scott Stabile

The only hair that radiation “took” was a big splotch behind the left ear, thus I just wear it all buzzed short (#1 guard).

¡Pura Vida!

18 Replies to “Post-Radiation Funk”

  1. Have been thinking about you, but guessed that post-radiation recovery was likely very hard on you. Our mental expectations for recovery are usually a bit ahead of what our body can actually handle. It is good that your doctors think your recovery is going well–not that it makes your day to day living any easier at the moment–but still, that is good news. Hope that the swallowing eases and taste returns sooner rather than later. Sleep is healing so good that you are able to do so. Know you want to be strong enough for your trip later this summer, so fingers crossed that all will be well. Take care, Charlie.

  2. Hang in there, Charlie! I’m continuing to pray for you and looking forward to seeing your photos from your next trip!

  3. I have thought about you so many times. Thank you for this update. As I mentioned, my brother had a similar surgery so I am mostly familiar with what you share here. You are in my prayers and I hope you will continue to update as you feel up to it. Lately, I have been drinking the clear Ensure fruit punch…….it is very tasty! God bless.

    1. Glad you understand Mildred! Not easy but doable! How long did it take for your brother to get his taste back? Assuming his radiation in the head like mine. And yes, Ensure is a helpful tool at our age! 🙂

  4. So glad you are past the radiation part. Bless you for being so positive and patient. Hope you gradually feel better and better.

  5. Charlie,
    Sincere congratulations!
    You’ve come so far and have responded so well to your treatment. I cannot imagine how exhausting this has been, with a serious physical toll. Yet, you have stayed positive and achieved healing and hope. Glory to God!
    God bless you, Sam

    1. Thank you so much Sam for keeping up with me after all these years and for your kind encouragements! I know it will get better, I just need more patience! 🙂

  6. It’s great to hear from you here! It is totally understandable if you don’t feel like posting as much as you usually do. I’m glad to hear you are trying out the protein shakes. Anything that can help you get stronger and feel better is good. It sounds like those treatments are more difficult to deal with afterwards. I’m hoping you will feel a little better each day! You remain in our prayers!

    1. Thanks Bonnie! And I’m so glad your suggested the protein shakes which just might be my biggest help now or those Ensure drinks! I’m using both! And I Know that it will get better in time, just need patience! 🙂

      Now you take care of your health too!

  7. So glad to hear from you. The treatments were clearly rough ,expected, and that you don’t feel like writing is to be expected. You have many friends out here. Here is an idea—- just send an occasional emoge ? when you don’t feel like writing so we have an idea how you are doing.

  8. Holding you in my thoughts and prayers. You are a good person, Charlie, and a positive influence for many. Wishing you the best recovery possible!

    1. Thanks so much Deborah and I appreciate you keeping up with me even though I’m not sure we’ve met in person! But really, all expats in Costa Rica are neighbors of a sort! 🙂

  9. Sorry to hear you’ve been in the funk. The radiation fatigue is funny – builds slowly and then lasts a while after all the excitement is over. At least that was my experience. Sounds like you’ve found some workarounds for the eating difficulties. Good! Side effects can be frustrating.

    1. Thanks AG! And yeah, the docs told me this would happen. Funny though that the next day after writing that I felt better. At two weeks past radiation much of the bitter, metallic taste is decreasing or simply less and my saliva is no longer thick! Incremental improvements! 🙂

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