It is with much joy when I received word that my therapy was complete. But it doesn’t mean that I am back to normal. I will never know what that will feel like as I will always have some minor adjustments to make in the near future. For example, I will always have to have a water source with me because of my saliva glands. I may always have to keep massaging my lymphatic system in order to keep water from building up in my neck. I may never get the full hearing in my left ear and I have learned to live with the ringing these past months.
Last week, I went to my speech pathologist doctor who is in charge of me being able to eat foods again. She informed me that I was making great progress and did some tests and came to conclusion that I was ready to “graduate” and be on my own. I still have to do certain exercises and activities to keep my neck limber and not as stiff. But that is my new normal and I am ok with it. It means I survived and this is the new me. Some days are better than others still. For example, I wake up now with a dry mouth and have to drink some water to alleviate the dryness. Some days, like in the afternoon, my mouth will dry up pretty bad and luckily I have water with me. Having a dry mouth is bad because it can affect your enamel on your teeth. But there are some days where I feel that my mouth is not dry even if it is for an hour or so.
I also know and can predict which foods I can easily swallow. Take hamburgers for example. I love me a Whataburger any day any time, however, the burger is dry for me when compared to In and Out, Burger King or Wendy’s. In fact if I go eat at Whataburger I would rather prefer their Fish sandwich. I can also tell the density between liquids which helps when trying to swallow certain foods again. I love my morning breakfast tacos and nothing helps it go down than a nice cup of coffee with cream. Water just has no density and doesn’t really help. Coffee with cream, carbonated drinks like Coke, orange juice, and certain tea’s really assist in breaking down the foods enabling me to eat. Carbonated drinks really assist in breaking down any breads or foods made with wheat or corn.
What is left for my treatment are just now follow ups with my doctors. And this is normal protocol and the standard of care for cancer patients. I have a couple of doctor appointments for the remainder of this year and then I will have some yearly follow ups followed by a follow up in five years. Yes, they will most likely stick a camera down my nose to see the throat and I am ok with that. I am grateful that they are planning to ensure I remain cancer free. Now it is time for me to focus on my career and my family, as it should be.
Again, thank you all for your prayers and positive thoughts and vibes.