Diary of a Lung Cancer Patient – Day Forty Eight (10/26/2020)

I am totally fatigued, worn out, kaput. Add to that my incessant cough has returned and I am losing weight hand over fist when I am supposed to be maintaining my weight, and it is quite depressing. I am eating like 6 – 8 meals a day, drinking between a half gallon and gallon of water each day (which results in multiple trips to the bathroom each night).

I am going to have to set up an appointment with a dietician to see what I can do to get my weight back up. In a matter of approximately one month of radiation, I have lost 11 pounds and I need to stop the downward trend so the radiation is focused on the affected areas of the right lung.

In the meantime, while eating all the time, I pray. If it is God’s will, I will get to stay. If not, I understand that we don’t always get our way, but God does get His.

God Bless,

R. I.

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Diary of a Lung Cancer Patient – Day Forty Six (10/24/2020)

Yesterday afternoon I was feeling pretty fatigued and, and I am not sure what to call the other feeling. I thought my glucose might be very low, lower than I have ever had it before, but I don’t have a way to check my glucose level at home.

I made a homemade soup with plenty of carbs and protein for dinner and that didn’t help either. Finally, I went to bed and crashed for the evening.

This morning, I woke up feeling as low as I did last night. I ate a healthy breakfast and still no progress. Lunchtime, more food, no change. I slept most of the day, waking up occasionally to see what condition my condition was in (throwback to Kenny Rogers & The First Edition), and my condition had not changed.

Finally this evening, I got a craving for a 1950’s style cheeseburger and a chocolate malt. Fortunately, there is a B-Bop’s Burger Joint a couple miles away. I drove over and got two burgers, two fries, and two chocolate shakes and came home. In my shake I put malt powder and gave half of everything to Mrs. Iowegian.

It did not take long for me to scarf down my dinner and it hit the spot! It’s 7:30 at night and I’m finally ready to roll. I hope it carries over to tomorrow because it’s too late to do anything now.

God Bless,

R. I.

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Diary of a Lung Cancer Patient – Day Forty Five (10/23/2020)

This morning on the way to radiation therapy, the radio station I was listening to asked people to call in and tell them who they were envious of. I started thinking about envy.

Envy is a feeling of discontent with one’s own life, and wishing they had someone else’s life, luck, or wealth. To be envious of someone else, means what you have is not adequate. That would include family, friends, home, values, etc. It means you are willing to give up what you have, for what they have.

I don’t find myself envious of anyone. Does that mean I have a perfect life and glad to have cancer? No, but it means I would not be willing to give up what I do have, experiences, memories, and especially family and friends, to have the life of another.

So, I guess what I’m trying to relate is: “Concentrate on what is cherished in your life and not on what is challenging and you won’t be envious of others.

Make sense?

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Diary of a Lung Cancer Patient – Day 44 (continuance)

So, here is the situation as of right now. The first in the chemo cocktail has been causing a side effect of feeling like my pelvis and lower spine is in a vice being crushed with flames burning my legs. To remedy that, they have been giving me steroids that have increasingly caused my blood sugar to rise. Today it was over 500 and that is with taking Metformin to try and control. It took 1500 ml of saline and 20cc’s of insulin to get it down to 292 in three hours. Afterwards they tried the first chemo and in 10 minutes the pain was excruciating. They cancelled that treatment and will come up with another that I will have to start all over.

I’ll get the details on the new chemo next Wednesday after they check my eyes for diabetic retinopathy as my vision has worsened since this treatment started.When I got home, Mrs. Iowegian tells me that she has been unable to keep anything down all day and she has a headache. I took her to Urgent Care and they gave her 1000 ml of saline which her body absorbed in 40 minutes. Dr suggests it is not the flu, not covid, more than likely she ate something bad. Gave her a script to anti-nausea meds to Hy-Vee.

Drove to Hy-Vee and they could not find the script and told me to have the doctor send it in again. Did so and they had it before I hung up with the Dr’s office. Hy-Vee told me to come back and wait in line again in 20 minutes or so. I was not going to increase my chances of catching something there, so I left. I’ll go back later and use the drive thru.

Now the wife is mad because she did not get her script and I am wearing a mask even at home to make sure it is not contagious.

Life is good.

God Bless,

R. I.

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Diary of a Lung Cancer Patient – Day Forty Four (10/22/2020)

Today, I have coughed less than any other day since the beginning of July this year. I don’t know what has changed (although I wish I did), I am just happy that the coughing seems to be ebbing.

Maybe I’ve turned the corner on this thing. If the coughing completely desists, I wonder if my voice will return…

Anyway, thank you all for the prayers and positive thoughts, I know they have made a difference in this battle.

God Bless,

R. I.

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Diary of a Lung Cancer Patient – Day Forty Two (10/19/2020)

Today, my radiation oncologist showed me the CT Scan from today compared to the first CT Scan. My body is responding well to the treatment and the tumor is about 1/3 the size it was originally and no longer totally opaque (now you can see through most of what is left). He says I am responding “extremely well”.

He also addressed the VA suggesting my cancer had further metastasized to the lower two lobes of my right lung. After reading the report from the VA, he called the doctor who had read my CT Scan from last week and told him that I was currently in chemo and radiation therapy and have been so since the end of September. The doctor at the VA pulled up the scan and they read it together and both now agree that it has not metastasized anywhere.

This is totally great news as far as I’m concerned!!!!

God Bless,

R. I.

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Diary of a Lung Cancer Patient – Day Forty One (10/18/2020)

Slept for 8 and one half hours.

Woke up to find snow on the ground (2″).

Pulse was at 110 before I even got out of bed so I decided to chart my pulse for the last 30 days. On 9/18/2020, my resting pulse was 68 bpm. Not great, it used to be 52 bpm earlier this year. Now, my resting pulse is 83 bpm and the largest increase in my heart rate came during my 3 days in the hospital where it jumped 13 bpm total during that time. This leads me to believe that one of the new medications is causing it to go up.

Just now looked at my rate for today and it’s 86! I hope it is some medication causing this rise and not another physical malady.

Took a two hour nap this afternoon as it is too cold to go outside (can’t risk catching a cold) and nothing on TV but pro sports (and I am not a fan of watching people who make millions of dollars to play trying to claim they are discriminated against. If they want to make a political statement or stand, do it off the field.

Ate a lot of food today to try and get my weight back up as I have been on a downward trend since I got out of the hospital and in the end, only gained one pound today.

I am looking at this as a critical thinking exercise to get my weight up and my heart rate down. There has to be a cause for each that I just haven’t found yet.

Tomorrow starts week 4 of radiation and on Thursday I’ll be having my 3rd chemo.

God Bless,

R. I.

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Diary of a Lung Cancer Patient – Day Forty (10/17/2020)

Long day.

Trying to keep track of what meds I’ve taken and what I haven’t was taxing.

Slept good throughout last night, and got through the day without any naps.

Got out to get a photo I’ve been wanting to get.

It’s now day 41 and I am still wide awake.

Eating a lot even though I am not hungry and still lost 1.1 pounds today.

God Bless,

R. I.

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Diary of a Lung Cancer Patient – Day 39 (10/16/2020)

Where do I start? On Tuesday Mrs. Iowegian said she wanted to go to Ledges State Park to see the leaves changing. I agreed that we should go as I was feeling pretty good, so I packed up a couple of cameras to make the trip. 15 minutes later, once I had the truck all ready to go, Mrs. Iowegian said she had a headache and no longer wanted to go. She has done this multiple times in the past and it tends to irk me.

I told her I was going anyway, which infuriated her. I jumped in the truck and left. The scenic route I usually drive when going out for autumn photos is usually a 105 mile circuit. Most of that route is county roads that are off the beaten path. I drove to the Ledges, then up through Boone, Iowa on Hwy R21 to Hwy E18, across to Hwy P70, to E41, to R18, and then Hwy 210 to Hwy 69. I give you the detailed route in case you are bored and want to figure out the route.

While driving through Boone, I started having heartburn (which, in no doubt was caused by letting the Missus irk me). I stopped and got some antacids and continued on my photo trip. By the time I got to Hwy P70, I had consumed a good portion of the antacids to no avail. But bullheaded me continued driving, stopping to shoot photos and eating more pills.

When I got home, my esophagus had swollen pretty much shut. I tried eating dinner but had to wash down every bite with water. An hour later, I was in pain trying to swallow. I called the online nurse for the VA and she recommended that I get my butt to the Emergency Room at the VA Hospital.

They did what they could to ease the pain by giving me what they called the ‘cocktail mix’ which numbed everything from the mouth to the stomach. They did a CT scan which indicated that I might have pneumonia (which I didn’t), so they monitored more. They could not get my heart rate below 118 and my respiration below 105. Finally, at 11:30 PM, they admitted me for “monitoring”.

On the 14th, they just kept pumping meds into me and telling me to rest. This sucked as visitors are not allowed in to visit patients at that hospital, so most of the time I was isolated. The staff though, was very compassionate and caring.

Yesterday, they did an endoscopy and found that my esophagus was very irritated (due to the radiation therapy) and gave me more meds. By yesterday afternoon, I was on the road to recovery for enough time that they let me come home at 4:00 PM.

I got home and laid down in MY bed to rest a little, and didn’t wake up until the alarm went off at 6:00 AM this morning. I feel pretty good except I am tired still. I am now on 26 different medications to help with the chemo and radiation.

Now, you know the rest of the story so far.

God Bless,

R. I.

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DLCP – 10/13/2020

Hospitalized. Will update when I get home, hopefully soon.

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