Week 7: That's a Wrap
I don't know about you, but for me, it has been a looooong 7 weeks since I first started chemoradiation therapy for HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer. I do want to spend some time reflecting on the process, but I’m still too sore and too tired to give that justice here and now. Because, ironically, although I will no longer have any more external-beam radiation treatments, now that I have had my 70 Grays worth of what David insists on calling zapping, my body is in peak defence mode. So this will just be a short post, celebrating the fact that treatment has finished, and I now move into the recovery phase.
The pain this week is different from previous weeks. It’s almost like having clarity as to where my cancer is. All the side-effects of ulcers, and reactions to the drugs, have diminished, and I’m left with a particularly brutal pain only in my throat. But it is so focussed that every swallow, involuntary or not, makes me wince. This is called dysphagia. I certainly can’t eat or drink any water. I certainly cannot speak more than 1 or two sentences. But it physically feels like the culmination of all the treatments, having their crescendo, their time, to make the point about what they are trying to fix.
So for the next week I am going to keep a low profile, and let my body repair itself without burdening it anymore. I won’t lie – I’m really pleased now I don’t have to go into hospital every day, although I feel like I haven’t properly said goodbye to the people there yet. But they did allow me to take my mask home with me, and now I’m just deciding on what kind of object d’art I should make out of it 😁.
When I did get home, David had prepared a wonderful gift for me. He had secretly contacted some of my friends ad family and asked them to send him a photograph of themselves so that he could create an enormous collage called “Fuck Cancer”, which really was just about the nicest present I could have gotten, with everyone on the same (radiation) wave length.
To be continued....