Newsome’s Weblog

5 Year (Post Radiation) Anniversary!
May 6, 2013, 6:28 pm
Filed under: Cancer | Tags: , ,

Five years ago yesterday was my final radiation treatment.  I know that several different head/neck cancer blogs have links to my page, so if you are reading this and are going through (or about to go through) radiation treatment… this is for you:

You can do it! There were times that I thought that the last treatment would never get here.  Keep pushing! As much as everyone wants to help, no one can do it for you. It is something that you can and will do for yourself.  I did it and if I can do it, you can do it! I’m no superman or tough guy, but I wanted to live so I had to fight for it.  You can do it!

Here’s a little something that was never discussed on my blog during my radiation: I thought that I had 30 treatments to go through and on the day of my 15th treatment, I found out that I actually was getting 33 treatments.  It was only “3 more”, but to have thought that I had made it past the halfway mark and to be told that I wasn’t there yet was devastating.  Unless you have been there or are there now, you can’t understand what a blow that is…  It felt like I slid backwards in my forward progress, but I was still on track.  I just didn’t know what the track was 🙂

Don’t ever get discouraged.  Your struggles and pains are not unique.  Tons of us have been there and you can make it.



Back to blogging
July 15, 2012, 7:39 am
Filed under: Cancer

For some strange reason, I haven’t blogged anything in quite some time. Oh, I hear you… You are saying “yeah yeah yeah… We’ve heard this before.” I recently found out that people discovered my blog while looking for information about tonsil cancer. I’m sure my lack of new content on here made them think that something had happened to me. Well, something HAD happened to me. I developed a severe case of laziness with a mild, but manageable condition of lethargic procrastination. I am fighting this at the moment while I type this, but hopefully the condition will get better and I’ll return to normal.

I am alive and well… seriously.
October 28, 2009, 7:46 pm
Filed under: Cancer, Health

goldfishOk… I admit it.  I have the attention span of a senile goldfish and the stick-with-it-ness of…  see, I didn’t even want to finish that sentence.  My blog posts are few and far between these days and I need to work more on my blog to keep it up to date. Since my last health related post, I am doing a ton better. So much better, in fact, that I no longer get to use my sickness as an excuse for not being able to do something.  That used to come in handy.

My appetite returned late last year and I am still eating everything within site.   I’ve gained about 25 pounds and most of  my 29″ waist pants are now too tight to wear without risk of injury.  I want to add that the 29’s were loose on me.  I should be wearing a 30″, but I am wearing my 31’s that I bought on my decent down to scrawnyville.   I need to be careful and slow down on my one-man assault on dinner or I’ll shoot past my original weight.

I see my radiologist and surgeon every 4 months for checkups.  I just saw them last week and I got another good report.  🙂

2008/second half in Review (Part 3)
January 4, 2009, 3:01 am
Filed under: Cancer

(since this is part 3, scroll down to start with part 1)

scaleBack on the liquid diet train

Due to radiation, I had lost my sense of taste – so food was as appealing as wet cardboard. A few weeks before our family vacation to Canada, I started to slowly come off the liquid diet and started eating soft food. After a while, I could start to taste a few things – meat and cheese were the first. I couldn’t eat much at a time, but at least I was starting to eat again.

Remember how I said that I stopped using the “mouth stretcher”? Well, I was getting tired of not being able to open my mouth very much, so I jumped back into my old mouth-stretching routine. Unfortunately, I didn’t reduce the time that I stretched or the tension setting on the device. After a few days, it became painful to even drink water. I was forced to go back to the liquid diet. I went to my surgeon and he said that I had what looked like an ulcer in the back of my mouth near the surgery site. He gave me some anti-biotics and told me to return in about 3 weeks. To drink each of my protein drinks, I’d have to use a prescription mouth numbing liquid, followed by Ulcer-ease (over the counter numbing liquid), then spray my throat with Chloroseptic – and it still hurt!

I go back to the surgeon and he says that it doesn’t look any better to him and that he wanted to biopsy it to make sure that it wasn’t cancer. I told him that it was hurting less, so he decided to wait another 3 weeks and check it again. This was a long 3 weeks. I was worried that I had cancer again. I was already getting skinny, but after another month and a half on a painful, liquid diet – I was down to my lowest weight of 125 lbs. When I finally go back to the surgeon, he looked at my mouth for less than 10 seconds and says “It’s healed”. Talk about being relieved! It was just what I wanted to hear.

To say that I was sick of Ensure and protein shakes would be putting it mildly. I’m eating regular food now, but I have to be careful with spicy foods.  My throat can’t take spicy too well.  I used to be able to eat really hot stuff – I mean, throat burning, tongue scorching stuff hot enough to make the people at the next table tear up.   Now, not so much. Maybe soon.

2008/second half in Review (Part 1)
January 3, 2009, 5:19 pm
Filed under: Cancer, Random Stuff

“How I snatched the pebble and learned to hate trismus”

I completed my radiation therapy on May 5, 2008 and I was thrilled to be through with it. My energy was gone. The last few weeks of radiation had really burned me out (HAHA – just a little “sunburned throat/peeling neck skin” humor). Remember this thing – I was having to use the “mouth stretcher” more than ever because of the trismus (lockjaw). Remember the fitted mouth piece – during the last few weeks of radiation, I could hardly open my mouth because the radiation was shrinking (read as tightening) the tissue in the back of my mouth. I had already cut portions of the mouth piece away using my Dremel tool to help it fit in.

Sidenote: what are these folks thinking when they make a dental piece for radiation?!?! Hmm, you already have difficulty opening your mouth, let’s see if you can fit this inflexible, billiard ball sized, space-age resin wedge in your pie-hole.

Cutting some plastic off of the mouth piece helped for a week or so, but not for long. Each day before getting radiation, I would sit in a chair and use the “mouth stretcher” for about 45 minutes so that I could spend the next 5-10 minutes struggling to force the mouthpiece between my teeth. It got worse every day.


Once I left the radiation clinic for the last time, pebble in hand, I put the “mouth stretcher” away because I didn’t want to see it again. Unfortunately, this was a bad thing. I was still on a liquid diet and I didn’t feel much like talking, so I didn’t really notice that my mouth continued to tighten. Will this cause problems? Oh yes – stay tuned.

The letter from my doctor (photo at right) explained it all. If you haven’t seen the movie “Saw”, it probably won’t make sense.

1, 2, 3, Floor…
June 11, 2008, 12:06 pm
Filed under: Cancer

On Monday evening, I stood up too quickly and I collapsed from not eating enough. I guess I fainted because when I came to, I was in a pool of blood with more pouring out of my forehead. Luckily, I was on the phone with my mother when it happened – I wasn’t feeling too well after the collision with the floor. She lives less than 1/4 miles from me and she was there in 2 minutes.

Here is a before/after photo. I seem happier BEFORE getting stitches for some reason. In the after photo, I sure do look swell (read as swollen) Har har… Click the photo for a larger version.

Oh. I can safely say that hardwood flooring is named correctly.

Finger lickin bad
May 2, 2008, 6:50 pm
Filed under: Cancer

Arggghhh – my skin is killing me! I am itching and burning like a combination of a sunburn and poison ivy. My neck looks and feels like KFC’s Extra Crispy Chicken – no, more like Church’s Chicken. I’ll save you guys the horror of posting photos of my neck.