If the readers of this blog post will excuse me, I’d like to indulge in memorializing the state of biological functional affairs almost one year after the last ugly operation.
It may be more interesting reading tidbits about sex, not drugs, and rock & roll.
The last post touched on drugs. It was only an exercise in throwing out some random nonprescription thoughts. If I wanted to semi-blindly lance opines more interesting it might be of sex and rock & roll. But since discussing sex is so taboo (for many), it’s better left discussed by those of higher intelligence, indians, or therapists. Even though everyone on this earth is a result of sex, it’s monumentally safer not touch the subject (even though every form required throughout radiation/chemo asked several questions around one’s sex life).
And rock & roll? Who doesn’t like music. And who growing up in my generation or anywhere near it doesn’t like a little rock & roll? I couldn’t talk about r&r music anyhow because I’m relatively lost when it comes to who is who. Of course I recognize some of the big names, but don’t ask me what they’ve written. Never paid that much attention. Possibly indicated by not ever listening to music blaring loud and am not so comfortable with headphones — it’s like having your brain unnaturally infused overpowering other sensory. Manufactured music is a nice compliment (at times) to cruising through life, but it revolves somewhere in the outer shells, not near the center. But then again, maybe I’ve deprived myself from developing multi-task thoughts.
The rock & roll more pertinent (for most of us) may be ‘let’s hit the go button.’ It’s time to rock & roll. But doing simple things, like reading this post out loud, is a rock & roll distraction.
Last week I had a two-month check-up with the oncology surgeon who slit my neck. The result was that everything seemed OK. He confirmed what Dr. Rad said two months ago, that the results of the latest CAT scan were clean. Physically, everything seems to be well. But appearances are definitely deceiving.
Trying to keep perspective front and center, knowing that I kicked the nasty (or had the nasty kicked out of me), is damn hard when the residual symptoms of the therapies used to get rid of the nasty stuff are also nasty. Getting rid of nasty stuff left other nasty stuff. But I guess the difference is that one can kill you and one is just a supreme pain in the neck.
Forgetting the cosmetic appearance, the divot in the throat or the misshaped neck complete with visible lump and scar or the issues with not being able to eat anything remotely dry, the problems are all physical. Non-stop dry mouth. A constantly swollen and sore tongue swelling enough that I sometimes have trouble talking. I can’t pronounce or roll the double r in spanish anymore. The base of the tongue feels like it’s tied up. I’m constantly fighting with an invisible collar on my throat and at times feels like someone or something is chocking me. There still is the non-stop ringing in my left ear. Breathing during heavy exercise is restricted as the inside of the throat is swollen. And teeth problems persist in the lower left quadrant. Since I’ve had the last root canal, the roots of the teeth and jaw area have been in a constant state of a low-grade throb. Chewing on the left side is avoided. I’m schedule for yet another root canal tomorrow.
In short, describing a “supreme pain in the neck” might be saying that there is constant multiple-discomforts bordering pain, and it never lets up. I can see why anyone would want to avoid radiation at all cost. If I had it to do over again, I would have tried to aggressively pursue a natural approach. It may not have worked, but either way, I wouldn’t have the supreme pain in the neck conditions.
Looking back during the last year since chemo/radiation has stopped, the moisture in the mouth may have gotten a fraction better. The swallowing has gotten significantly better, even though I still have to cough food back up for a second swallow (sorry). But the tongue and throat irritation has gotten worse. I’ve traded nuggets, gaining some and giving others away. When I asked the surgeon why these issues, he said it is most likely scaring. Much like a cut, when there is damage done to tissue, scar tissue can result. I may just have lots of scar tissue in and around the left side of the neck and throat compounded with lymphodema.
Regarding the tongue, his assistant therapist said that “radiation is the gift that keeps on giving.” I didn’t need to hear that disagreeable phrase from her. I had heard it before. She elaborated to say that the effects of radiation never get better, only worse. And it could continue for years. Even ten years later there could be more negative effects. Why didn’t I hear that loud and clear before signing on? Apparently radiation kills off small blood vessels and nerve endings. As the small vessels die, blood delivery gets chocked off. No one needs that kind of gift. She is a good therapist, but needs to come up with a different catch phrase.
But I need to shake all this off and concentrate on rock & roll. The rock & roll of life. If I give myself a good perspective face slap I’d be reminded that my grandfather, my dad’s dad, chewed tobacco most of his life. He ended up with tongue cancer and had most of it cut out. I remember him talking with my dad when I was young. I couldn’t understand a word he said and I think my dad just nodded to be polite. At least I still have my tongue even if it’s half beaten up. That thought enough should keep me in the rock & roll spirit. And I am. I’m as chipper as a chipmunk who just escaped the jaws of a hungry cat. It’s just that during the escape, the cat took a vicious swipe at my neck. Now I can’t be pissed at the cat, only thankful for escaping.
But this is all diary notes. This is no pity party and I’m not complaining (am I?). No, I’m not. It’s just a digitization of the current state of biological affairs.
P.S. A huge nugget I’m humbly appreciative of is just being able to pass some time peddling. Today, was able to go with a couple of friends on a mountainous 50 mile ride. That is truly the gift that keeps on giving.