We knew that killer appetite wouldn’t last long.


On Sunday Mathew’s energy level and appetite dropped off somewhat. It progressively lessened and yesterday it was back to the same old story of not eating. He switched back to Ensure completely yesterday, something we weren’t looking forward to at all.

The Radiology staff noted the change immediately yesterday. We arrived for his appointment early and his “regular” shift had an opening so jumped at the chance to do his treatment (that was so sweet of those girls!). I think the change in Mathew shocked them though as they hadn’t seen him in his usual chemotherapy state. I’m glad they first met the earnest, chatty person before seeing the tired version of Mathew.

There are still shorter breaks where Mathew is up to playing a little on his PS4 but for the most part he is either on his iPad mini or napping.

Unfortunately his OCD kicked in regarding bowel movements. That is the curse of cancer and treatment in his case. He is back to imbibing his least favourite dietary supplement – Lactalose, which he hates with a passion. It is mixed with water and Strawberry-Kiwi juice which is the only way he gets it down. The Dole Kiwi-Strawberry juice now is associated with Lactalose and he’ll never drink that again when treatment ends. He also takes 4 Senokot S tablets a day to chase constipation away. This issue is constantly causing him pain in some shape or form and that led to it being the most discussed daily topic. Every day. All the time.

He obsesses about it. Will it hurt? Is this it for the hour/morning/day? Is the stinging going to hurt a long time? Will the next time hurt as much as this time? How much blood is there? The list of questions is on an endless repeat cycle, hour in and hour out. His time in the bathroom is second only to sleeping.

Of course if it isn’t constipation it’s diarrhea. Then the endless loop of questions switches over to THAT cycle. Each is terrible for its own reasons but whichever it is there is always pain and constant worry. It takes a toll on Mathew, constantly worrying about a bodily function that compounds the loss of dignity that accompanies cancer treatment.

In reading other cancer-related blogs, I’ve noticed that bowel movements are the hush-hush topic of conversation mentioned here and there as an aside. It is still one of those topics discussed in the dark recesses of a room with a few notable exceptions. It should be front and centre as it makes life miserable for patients suffering from adverse reactions to treatment, medication or even diet.

When Mathew is receiving his 5 day in-patient chemo he has hourly runs to the bathroom because the iv fluids are flushing the chemo out of his system as quickly as possible. The “other” end movements either stop up, thereby creating an uncomfortable situation, or it starts to run creating a different uncomfortable situation.

There was one time where 12 days passed before Mathew could poop and let me say this, I don’t EVER want him to experience that again! It took so long for his body to heal from that dreadful episode and nothing, not even morphine, took away that pain. The doctor even suggested applying a numbing cream to the area to give him a little bit of comfort.

The post title is misleading today, isn’t it? I’ve wandered off-topic but wanted to bring it up for a while as it is such a huge part of Mathew’s day right now. And ours by proxy. Spending 20 minutes at a time, in the bathroom, every hour or two discussing the finer points of bowel movements and its consequences, is not anything I foresaw when cancer treatment started back in September.

Just so you know.