It’s Been a While…

In fact, three months have gone by since both my last examination and posting on here: so what’s changed? Well, I saw the Consultant last week: he’s pleased with my progress, saying that there is no sign of the cancer in the treated area. He’s happy enough to sign me off for another three months, stating that should I feel any ‘differences’ in my circumstances – no matter how remote – then I should report in immediately. I’m not sure if that made me feel any better or confident in his prognosis, but as I do definitely feel in fine form nowadays, I’ll let it pass…

Regarding my persistent dry/sore throat issues, I picked up some useful information on one of the Macmillan forums. Whilst chatting to his ENT consultant about a similar problem, this individual was told that, apparently, a lack of saliva is not the whole story.  We have three large pairs of saliva glands and numerous small ones, and the radiotherapy causes some damage to these: some of them do recover with time, though the smaller ones are sometimes permanent casualties.

Even with a reasonable amount of saliva back in his mouth he was still getting a very dry and painful throat, which paradoxically seemed to be made worse by drinking water: exactly what I am experiencing. It turns out that we also have a mucous membrane lining in our throats, and this too is damaged by the radiotherapy.  Water gives me temporary relief for a few seconds, but washes away the little bit of natural lubricant that my body is managing to put there.  Oily foods during the day are sufficient to keep the dryness at bay, but night time is when it’s most uncomfortable. Having gone through various unsuccessful attempts with recommended mouth sprays, it seems that it’s just another thing to get used to. That and the wobbly jaw.

Honestly? This is pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of things: a year after the thumbs up from my consultancy team, I’ve come out of this in pretty good shape. Others I know well have not been as lucky, and I’m reminded what a complete crap shoot this whole experience can be. Quick diagnosis can be a significant factor in successful recovery, so I cannot emphasise enough that, should you feel that there is something ‘not quite right’, go straight to your GP and ask questions – and don’t be fobbed off with non-committal responses.

Apart from this, Liz and I had our ‘special’ holiday – the one we cancelled from last year. If you ever get the opportunity to go on safari, grab it: it’s a life-affirming experience. Attempts to sneak a lion cub back via hand luggage were quickly and firmly discouraged…

Lastly, I finally got to see the Peter Gabriel tour I had to miss out on last October!

Hope you all have a joyous time over the Christmas and New Year period!!

PS. Peter Gabriel doing his thing, followed by some cute ‘n’ cuddly things…

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