Nutritionist and Throat Coach?

During  your  first week of treatment, it is a whirlwind of activity.  You go from appointment to appointment and in between, someone calls you and tells you to go to a different one.

As soon as I finished my first chemo infusion, I get a call from the Nutritionist asking me to stop by her office.

Now a few (actually…way too many) words about my weight.

I feel these following stories about my weight are germane (or LaToya?) about the nutritionist story.  However, I am sure they will not be as entertaining to you as they are in my own head.  Plus, add the fact that I had surgery yesterday and was in pain earlier today and am currently on morphine, well….this may not be pretty.  If you feel the need to skip down, I certainly don’t blame you.  I’ll let you know when the Nutritionist comes back in.  But for those of you with time on your hands and with nothing else better to do…..

Background…weighed around 6.5 lbs when born.  Pretty much always been skinny.  My Dad was lean, until he met my Mom.  He weighed 155 lbs when he married and four months later, weighed 200 lbs.  Good southern cooking.

In high school in the mid-to-late 70′s, I did what I could to gain weight.  When Rocky came out?  I was on the raw egg milkshake diet for awhile.  However, the best milkshakes were those from The Hamburger Wagon and I drank a ton of them but could never gain weight.

My senior year in high school, I am 16 yrs old (started early) and playing on the high school football team.  I would love to  make up stories about how great I was but I imagine there are a few of my former teammates who may read this and would throw the BS flag so I guess I have to tell the truth.  I weighed a whopping 140 lbs my senior year.  I didn’t start but played on every special team and could run like the wind.

It was regular practice in high school for the coaches to “alter” the players’ weights in the game program so as to fool the visiting team.  If you had a player that weighed 230, you may list him at 200, etc.  Well in my case, the coach added weight.  I think in our senior year program he had me listed at 165, much to the amusement of my teammates.

Senior year….last regular season game.  We are playing our arch rivals, the Magee Trojans.  We had only lost one game that year and I think they had only lost one or two.  BIG GAME.  To underscore how big this game was, Mendenhall had (and I think still has..) a population of around 2,500 and Magee had 3,000 and more than 6,500 were at this game.  HUGE.

Right before halftime, we score and are about to kick off.  Magee had this kick returner that had already returned three or four earlier that year for touchdowns so our plan was to “pooch” kick.  A pooch kick is one that doesn’t go very deep, just over the front line, and most people aren’t aware of this, the ball is actually live.  If the kicking team gets it first, it is theirs. So the pooch kick is called, all of us fast boys were lined up on one side, the ball is kicked and I am running as fast as I possibly can to get this ball.  Here it comes!  Glory!  Girls!  Shaving cream commercials!  (well…) and I see the ball floating down right in front of me and I kick it into a higher gear and about five yards before I get to the ball, the Magee fullback steps up and catches it.  This particular FB weighed 225 lbs.  His thigh is as big as my waist.  For those scoring at home, I weigh all of 140 lbs and am running at top speed.  I remember lowering my head and that is pretty much all I remember the rest of the night.  The following Monday, as we watch the tape, you can see me hit is thigh and spin off like a helicopter in the air.  For those old enough to remember the highlight of Mark Duper from the Miami Dolphins….it looked just like that.  I got credit for the “tackle” but the FB really just fell down.  I also saw on the tape that I jumped off the bench and went running back out on the field for the punt return…came out in the 2nd half…even had a pass thrown to me but don’t remember a thing.

By the time I graduated high school, I had bulked up to a Charles Atlas like 145 lbs.  Everyone was telling me…”just wait…college will put that weight on you.”  So I went through the “freshman fifteen”, the “sophomore sixteen” the “junior….?? and the first and second senior year whatever and finished college at 155 lbs.  Whew…!

Joined the Dallas Police Department, later the SWAT team where we worked out on duty and had peer pressure to spur you on and had a quarterly physical fitness test that you had to pass to stay in so 16 years later, I had made it all the way up to 175.  Would run every day, even on the weekend.

Then I leave Dallas and join the corporate world with travel and expense accounts.  About four years later, I am down to running once or twice a week and had extreme pain in my left knee.  I had already had my right knee scoped earlier but this hurt.  It felt like someone was turning a knife in it.  Went to the Dr., of course he prescribed rest.  That didn’t work so went to rehab.  That didn’t work so had an MRI.  The Dr said he couldn’t see anything but it still hurt to blue blazes so I had that one scoped.  A couple of days after surgery, I visit the Dr and he asks, “Mr. Finley?  Were you in a car wreck?”  Ummmm…no?

“Were you hit by a car?”


“Do you play extreme sports?” Doc.  Whats going on?

Well it seems that the MRI didn’t pick up any cartilage tear because I DIDN’T HAVE ANY.  It was gone, vamoose, sayonara.   The Doc said there were a few pieces floating around that he cleaned out but nothing left to trim.

Of course, it probably had nothing to do with the fact that “for fun” we would run from the SWAT station to the Cotton Bowl, (about 1.5 miles) and run up AND DOWN the steps all the way around and then back to the station.  I’m not sure what the foot pounds of that was but it can’t be pretty.

So now I have a bum knee….can’t run anymore, and get all the way up to 195 lbs.  I am a load, or at least I feel like one.

But I finally figure out how to get cardio without running, start watching what I eat and get back down to around 185 lbs.  Not bad but probably about 5-10 lbs more than I should be.

NOW THE NUTRITIONIST STORY …thank you for your patience

Before treatment, I heard from a friend of my sisters that had gone through throat cancer and had lost 30 lbs in two weeks!  Holy crap!  So I figure I need to start fattening up for the week or two before I start, and I do.  My first day of treatment, I weighed 189 lbs.

My second day of treatment, I met with the Nutritionist.  We talked about my weight and what was about to happen and she said something that I would bet that all of us would want our nutritionist to say……

“Mr Finley…you need to gain weight.  I want you to eat whatever you want, whenever you want and however much you want.  I want you to put chocolate syrup on it.  I want you to eat cream on everything.  I don’t want you to worry about cholesterol, calories, or fat.  I want you to gain 10 lbs in the next 10 days.  You will need to eat 5 times a day.  I want you snacking before you go to bed.  i want you snacking between snacks.  Got it?”

Got it?  Well, first let me say..”I love you”… and secondly…absolutely!

Wellll…..It hasn’t quite worked out that way.  Has anyone seen the Twilight Zone where Burgess Meredith (trainer Mickey from Rocky) is a big book lover but can never find the time to read because someone is always bothering him?  In the last scene, he has thousands of books around him, he is the last person on earth and he is delighted that all of his dreams have come true….and breaks his glasses.

So this Nutritionist tells me to eat anything and everything I possibly can on the same day I receive chemo and the accompanying nausea.

End of week one……I’ve lost four pounds.

I’ve got an all-you-can-drink coupon at the bar and I’m ordering water!



I’ve spent way too much time on the previous stories but I will tell this one quickly.

Due to radiation aimed at the throat, my throat will swell up and it will be painful to swallow.  So in order to prepare you for this and to do some preventative things, you go see a “throat coach” every week.  My first session they gave me a list of four exercises to strengthen the throat and to offset, even if just a little, the effects of radiation.

The exercises are saying…..”eeeeee” in a falsetto voice for five seconds at a time, pressing your tongue to the roof of your mouth for five seconds, swallowing hard, and sticking tongue depressors in your mouth and clamping down on them to strengthen your jawbone.  Oh…and doing these 40 times a day.  Nothing embarrassing about those at all.

And every week I meet with them so they can monitor my progress.  Oh joy.


Thanks for bearing with me on this morphine addled ride.

Next up….Port Placement….(and not the after dinner drink kind)


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5 thoughts on “Nutritionist and Throat Coach?

  1. Mike…before I proceed with my recommended throat strengthening exercises, I need to know if there are young eyes that might misconstrue my recommendations? You might need to advise Captain T of that too…

  2. Ex-Occifer Finley.
    Not sure why but Ex-Occifer Finley stuck in my mind as the primo way to refer to you. I think Bubba Clyde created that moniker. Not sure but I still like it so that’s what I call you.
    You were never anywhere close to 195lbs when I left Texas in 94.
    You were definitely a skinny dude during my 85-94 stay in Dallas.
    You evidently did some seriouse eating after I left Texas.
    Well, I am back in Texas now and I was thinking of you (and the other Dallas area Parrothead maniacs, Lessard, Zahorik, etc.) the other day when I bought tickets to the May 4 Jimmy Buffett concert here in the greater Dallas area.
    After you beat this throat menace let’s make plans to see JB together soon. Hey, if Lessard can make it to Hattiesburg, we can get together for a Buffett concert!
    In Hoc Signo Vinces Magister Finley

    • Jay…If you read, I hit 195 around 2008 or so….lack of working out and traveling too much will do that to you.
      Good to hear from you. BTW, that was McNeil that coined that moniker.
      Agree on JB. Lets go!

  3. Yummy….
    you got it!
    Hope Lodge
    2121 SW 16th St
    Gainesville, FL 32608

    • No doubt but I have to say that Taylor has found a recipe that just may rival Doubletree. However, in order to confirm I must taste test again! For science.

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