Saturday, October 11, 2008

And so it begins

Actually, it began thee or four days ago, but because I am a procrastinator, and grumpy, and one of those head-in-the-sand people who believes if I just ignore a problem it will go away on its own, I haven’t mentioned it yet. But I guess the time is here to let you know that Blaine? Feels pretty much like lukewarm dog shit.

Some of the typical side effects from this kind of radiation can include dry mouth and pain. He not only has both of those, but has the bonus of a lovely thrush infection as well. His sleep, which is crappy even on a good night, has been interrupted even further by the chronic burning in the spots being radiated. He asked me last night – rhetorically, of course – "how can a teeny tiny laser like that make you feel so crummy?” Unfortunately, my Cancer Caregiving for Dummies book provides no easy answers. We remind each other to be grateful for modern medicine, in spite of the drawbacks of treatment. It’s sort of a play on the old adage: “That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” We’ve revised the saying for our own needs: “That which hopefully saves you makes you feel crappy in the meantime, so just suck it up and be thankful this option even exists.”

I know he’s disappointed that the effects are happening more quickly this go round. When he had five weeks of radiation in 2006, he felt pretty decent until week 4-ish. This time, he started hurting after only one week, and its getting consistently worse each day. At this point, he has four and a half weeks to go. His goal of working all the way through treatment is not looking likely. I reminded him that it’s probably to be expected, considering two of the areas they are radiating have already been radiated. It’s not like the tissue on that side of his head is healthy and normal to being with.

But still ---- discouraging. Disheartening. Probably a few more “d” adjectives I could share if I wasn’t too lazy to open a thesaurus.

My decision to stay home this weekend and skip my trip to Chicago was the right one. Could he have managed the kids in my absence? Yes. Would he have felt good doing it? No. And would I have enjoyed myself while I was gone, knowing he was struggling back home?

Would I?

(crickets chipring)

Heck yeah, who am I kidding? I *still* would have had a great time, because that’s how shallow I am. But I’m relieved I stayed home, because it makes things easier on him. And that’s the sort of thing a caring, compassionate wife would do. Not that I’m necessarily caring and compassionate …. Just that I’m racking up some major brownie points for later!

We still are thankful for the many blessings being thrown our way. First and foremost, the large number of people who are praying for his recovery. If you could add “strength to feel as good as possible during treatments,” it would be most appreciated.

Also, I normally avoid talking about money on this site because it makes me feel skeevy, but the Air Force has agreed to provide his supplemental nutrition for the next few months while he’s undergoing treatment. That’s something that has come out of our own pocket for the past two years –- and we’ve done so happily because it makes him feel one hundred percent better -- but even a few months worth is a bonus, so we’ll take it, and gladly.

His boss, who has been incredibly understanding during this.

The pain management doctor in San Antonio, who not only confirmed that Blaine’s current pain management program is perfectly acceptable, but who expressed disbelief that anyone here would even question it, thereby making Blaine feel validated and not like some low-life-drug-seeking-scum-bucket like the doctors and pharmacists here make him feel. (Oh, hello, Mr. run-on sentence.)

And …. Um …. Milk Duds. I’m very grateful for Milk Duds.


Brenda said...

Kristie, Blaine and family,

You are still in our thoughts and prayers. And we agree, for the most part, the AF is the best thing that could have ever happened to us concerning medical issues. Even with some of the arguments I've had to have with Tri-care.
We will continue to think of you all.

Mama Bear said...

Continuing to pray for strength and comfort as Blaine fights this devil one more time. Keep up your spirits. We're rooting for all of you!

Leeann said...

God bless you guys, Kristie.

Seriously, I wish Blaine a speedy recovery, with as little pain as possible. I wish you the strength to fight for him and to support him, because even though you are not the one with cancer, you are both going through it AGAIN and it just sucks for both of you. I wish for your kids to feel confidence in their father's recovery and that they feel supported by friends and family.

God, please hear our cries and bless this family.


Dianna in Louisiana said...

Huge hugs Kristie--- Your strength and ability to keep living and enjoying life despite all you've been through is really amazing. Thank God for the support you receive. We'll definitely keep praying daily that Blaine's recovery be as painless as possible.

Tami said...

I'm sorry that Blaine is feeling so badly.

It's wonderful that you have those things to be grateful for and I thought the run-on sentence said it perfectly :)

Your ALL in my thoughts and prayers!

Anonymous said...

Will continue to pray for Blaine's healing, his comfort thru treatment and for you and the kiddos as well!!


Anonymous said...

Hard to believe that even WITH milk duds + any other scraps of chocolate "your" sweet life with Blaine's - thanks to the battle aka cancer, is a giant SUCKFEST! Think it is about time you add back the music, starting with your All About Me Classic:)
You do, however, make responding to geographically inconvenient SOS requests easy - for SURE wishing and hoping that Blaine has the strength, patience, tolerance and sense of humor (that is huge as it relates to your marital bonding) to overcome all the crap, feel MUCH better asap, and finally get his due reward....that being cancer free already & forever!!!
I will repeat, glad for you and the kids that you are closer to family this time - might even save your mom some bribe $$'s! Wishing you ALL - All the best! Take care,
P.S. You can't ever be accused of being boring - look at you alternating between cookie dough and milk that considered multi-tasking or double dipping?

jadine said...


Continued prayers for your family, of COURSE!

Question: since the San Antonio doctor confirmed Blaine's pain management/meds to be appropriate, does that mean he gets them back? I sure the heck hope so!

And you may joke, but you're a fabulous wife. Since you and I are not married, I'm making that assumption based on what good a friend you are :)

Anonymous said...

Reading that post just made my heart hurt.

I have two "friends" who are going through cancer treatment right now....Blaine and a teenage girl here. While I pray for both Blaine and my friend's daughter, I am also constantly aware of how petty some of life's problems are by comparison.

We'll all just increase the prayers, change the requests a bit, and hope all the pain meds at least make that part easier.

God Bless you all!


Anonymous said...

May the road start to rise to meet you!!!

Anonymous said...

Many prayers and happy thoughts going your way!
God Bless You

Pam D said...

Praying for all that you ask for Blaine, Kristie. And, praying that you will always be able to feel God's presence and know that He will never, ever leave you or forsake you. May He fill you with His strength, surround you with His peace, and brighten your days with His joy.
With Georgia hugs...Pam

Chris said...


I started reading about your family on the Caringbridge site and have continued to follow your blog. My mom was diagnosed with head and neck cancer and I used your previous posts about Blaine as a guideline on what to expect. She went through the same thing that Blaine is currently going through again. She had chemo along with the radiation. I know that even when the radiation ends it is a long road to recovery.

As a family member it is so hard to not be able to make it better. I applaud your strength and courage.

Your family is always in my thoughts and prayers.

Stay Strong

lizinsumner said...

Kristi - you're a good wife; but then, I always thought you were anyway. And Blaine?? I'm praying for you, man - I'm praying real hard. I watched a close friend of mine battle anal cancer (of all the cancers that one could get, she had to get THAT one)....through surgeries and permanent colostomies and radiation and baldness and months of TPN and so, believe me, I have a very good idea of what you're experiencing, and I know it's definately no picnic, or walk in the park, for that matter. Hang in there, Blaine - we're with you!

Karen - Mommy to four sweeties said...

Praying for comfort and strengh during Blaines treatment and recovery. Also praying for complete healing this time!

katy said...

I hate that Blaine feels so horrible. It is hard to remain positive when you feel like crap.
If it helps, I dug into the halloween candy I have already purchased and I am eating some milk duds with you in mind.

Grandma J said...

I continue to pray for Blaine, his pain management, his sleep, his ability to eat, or suck down the supplements, and his general comfort level.
Honestly, I can't believe it was six Thanksgivings ago that you were served up your gigantic crap sandwich. The thought that your family is still chewing around the edges of that stale bread makes me want to scream.

Dear God, is it asking too much for the Escoe's to catch a break?

Amy said...

and I know you are thankful for Diet Dr. Pepper and Sonic ice.

Keeping Blaine in my prayers.

Stefunkc said...

As I ran by your house 6 times this morning in a 6 mile run I just couldn't stop praying. Praying for the wonderful healing of Kendrie and the recovery and healing of Blaine. You are so inspirational and I needed the reminder of the strength that you have to keep me going. Six miles is nothing compared to what your family has lived through and still faces on a daily basis. You continue to amaze me.

AVT Coach said...

Yes, I am keeping you guys in my prayers. I know the many friend who are praying will give you strength. My friend Caroline from a blog called "The Zen In You" had designed a prayer blog for all faiths. It is a peaceful neat site. You can find it at You can post prayers on her site too or just read the ones she posts.
I did not know you knew stefunkc, made the connection from her site. It is a small world since I found each of you through an entirely different way! Hope your husband has more good days than bad this week!

Nancy said...

My husband developed such painful mouth sores during chemo that he was hospitalized and fed through an IV. He was also given pain meds via IV for his mouth sores and it sure took a lot, but they did manage to control the pain after three days. So I do feel for you and your caregiving and I know that Blaine is going through just a horrible pain. I DO hope that his pain can be alleviated and THANK GOD for his pain doctor.
And next time, I hope that someone can come in and watch over your home while you go to Chicago 'cause you need to regroup.
Love and prayers to all of you.

Jen said...

I hope that he's feeling a bit better now.

And while it sounds like you made the right decision to stay home, you've both been through this enough to know that you've got to give yourself permission to enjoy certain things as well. I hope that you have enough support that you will be able to take some time for yourself as well- it really will help you to help the rest of your family.

I'm very glad that Blaine's nutritional supplement is now being covered- that's a very good thing to hear!

Good luck to all of you.

Trish in Leesburg, VA said...

Always thinking about you all and praying for complete recovery for Blaine! :) Kristie, you are such an inspiration to me. You are a caring mother and compassionate wife, even when faced with chronic illnesses. My husband has complete renal failure. Some days it is harder than others, but your ability to keep the humor even under the toughest circumstances inspires me to keep pushing forward. Thank you!