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Up from the Abyss
November 21, 2004

Hi, All!

It turns out that a couple of days after the last time I wrote, Nov 5, was he bottom of the barrel as far as how I felt throughout my cancer treatments. I finally began to feel noticeably better beginning about a week and a half ago. I can now speak reliably although my throat gets sore if I jabber on too much. Because most of the pain is gone from my throat I have also begun to take small sips of liquids and feel ready, maybe, to try some very soft foods.

Interestingly, it turns out that drinking and eating is about more than just pain. I've actually forgotten the skills to some extent and am afraid to eat partly because of a fear of aspirating some of what I'm trying to swallow. I'm sure I'll get the hang of it, again, but it will take some practice. Meanwhile, I've lost about 35 pounds through this ordeal. My nutritionist wants me to adopt my present weight (215 lbs) as my goal weight. I'll try.

Almost more important than talking, eating and drinking is that my energy is beginning to return. For a long time I only wanted to sleep all day, either in bed or covered up on the couch. Now, I wake up in the morning ready to take on a project or do some kind of social or other activity and get only a short nap during the day. Last Sunday we drove up for a short visit with my parents and that worked out ok. Bob Gaston accompanied me to help finish winterizing the boat on Thursday and I found that I still had a bit of energy left at the end of the day. Since dining out is still awkward, Sandy and I celebrated our wedding anniversary by going to an F&M basketball last evening and this afternoon we'll see a movie, Polar Express, at the local cinema.

It ain't much, but it is better than it's been, and I'm pleased. There's still a long climb back to normalcy but I finally feel like I'm on my way!

Thank you all, once again, for all your love and support.

Bill Stine