About six weeks ago, I noticed that I was having difficulty speaking and swallowing. After a CAT scan and an MRI, it was discovered that I had a nice sized tumor at the base of my skull, and it was making its way to my neck where it turns out some very important nerves are located. Specifically, my hypoglossal nerve was under attack, which accounts for the trouble I was encountering. My tongue refused to work. It felt like this half dead thing just taking up space in my mouth. I couldn’t really eat anything but soup, and I was sounding like a stroke patient when I talked.
As you can imagine, I was depressed and I was frustrated.
So I was prescribed 10 days of radiation… after which, I felt ten times worse. My previous knowledge of radiation was limited to Hiroshima and Madame Curie. As a cancer treatment, I was clueless. Not so, any more. The thing about radiation is you don’t feel it right away. I didn’t begin to feel it until the very end. Besides the overwhelming fatigue, it was also inflaming the nerve it was supposed to be rescuing. So my symptoms became much worse. And I wanted to crawl under my covers and stay there forever. Or at least until October when The Walking Dead comes back. Finding out the effects of the radiation would linger for about eight weeks didn’t do anything to curb my hibernation inclination. But (thank God for buts – especially Tom Hiddleston’s), I was told that I would start to see some improvement after two weeks.
These last two weeks have been hell, but low and behold, today I had a small victory. Though it may seem like nothing to anyone else, I found, to my delight, that I was able to once again pronounce my C-Hs.
I sound a little bit more normal now, and it’s amazing. Not that there’s anything wrong with people who have a speech impediment, but I don’t think I appreciated what a gift it is to be able to speak clearly and articulately.
I’m still having the swallowing problem, so still basically hungry all the time. Drooling like Homer Simpson every time I see a pizza commercial. How much soup and Ensure can a girl take?? I need food!
But things will keep improving. I’m just grateful for any little victories.