Step by step

Tomorrow it’ll be a fortnight since they discharged me from the hospital. And man, was I in bad shape. Unable to swallow even liquids and croaking rather than speaking, sleep-deprived and generally weak, with tinnitus, a nose both blocked and runny, and too many skin problems to list here …

I’d been warned the radiotherapy would keep kicking in for another week – that is to say, it would last a week before the side effects even started going away. Which proved to be true. There was very little improvement my body made during that first week.

This week was better. While the changes appeared imperceptible from a day-to-day perspective, they seem almost impressive in retrospect. My neck no longer looks like I was badly sunburnt yesterday. I laid off the painkiller and the expectorant. I don’t tire as quickly/easily. Bit by bit I tidied the flat and nearly caught up on my languages- and internet-related backlog. And so on. I’m even blogging now.

Most tellingly, while last Thursday I only managed one swallow of tea, today I’m into my third cup, in addition to a cup of coffee, three bread rolls (soaked in tea or bouillon before being put into the mouth), and a baby food jar – and I’m not done yet. I can’t have haggis, but I do mean to have tattie mash this Burns Nicht.

Sure, many troubles persist. I salivate too much to leave house without a pack of paper tissue; I can’t gargle; morning hypotension remains an everyday occurence; my voice seems to get, if anything, worse; there’s more. (And it will be some time yet before I can enjoy a bona fide dinner worth its name. I never enjoyed eating much; I’m sure I’ll turn into an epicure for a while now.)

Still, I feel I’m through the worst. Patience, that’s the order of the day now.



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