This week started out where the last ended and much on the same downward trajectory. Even though chemotherapy is over, we spent several hours at the infusion center on Sunday trying to get hydration and potassium into my wife. After about 3 bags of potassium solution and some saline, we headed for home; however, we did schedule a return trip the next day for more hydration. While this sounded like a good plan, Monday found a way to go off the rails.
My wife started hydration at 8 AM at the infusion center. While there, she also had a blood draw for lab work. Then shortly after 10 AM hydration was stopped, and she got her usual radiation treatment. Having completed her business at the hospital, my wife got in her car to head home only to get a call from her oncologist instructing her to check herself into the emergency room and get her potassium levels up.
At the ER, they did another blood draw for lab work. Her potassium level was in the basement. They hooked her up to an EKG machine and started pumping more potassium into her. The doctor also decided to add magnesium to the mix as well. After many hours they did another blood sample for lab work. Finally, my wife was .01 below the normal band for potassium. The doctor made her promise to fill a prescription for a potassium supplement at a local 24-hour pharmacy and take it immediately and then sent her home. She got home sometime after 7 PM. After a few minutes to refresh, we jumped into the car and set off to get the prescription filled.
The potassium supplement “tastes like the strongest orange whiskey that you can imagine. It is very salty and burns all the way down.” My wife vomited this stuff up several times over the course of the week.
Nevertheless, the remainder of the week was better for my wife. She had another IV bag of fluid on Tuesday and was feeling even better on Wednesday. She was able to eat mashed potatoes and ice cream in addition to “smoothies”. Her favorite treat this week was a concoction of ice cream and lemonade from Chick-fil-A. On Wednesday, she even broke out the Cricut Maker to craft t-shirts for the radiation crew since the next day was her last radiology treatment. This week, the radiological oncologist warned her that the full effects of the radiation treatment will not be felt for another two weeks. My wife has to take several medicines to ease the pain enough so that she can swallow anything. It hurts from the throat to her stomach and without the medicine, eating and drinking would be almost impossible.
My wife has been in good spirits this week and tried to eat several new things; however, it was not unusual for her to be unable to keep them down. The sores in her mouth have gone away.
Saturday, we had a family gathering at the house to belatedly celebrate her birthday. It was a fun time, and she did very well. For much of the gathering, it was hard to tell that she was even ill.
While this week started badly, it finished in a happy Norman Rockwell sort of way. Sunday (tomorrow) is the next blood draw and I expect that it will show improvement in her lab results.