First week after radiation…it’s over, but it’s not over

Before I had surgery last October, my voice sounded like Minnie Mouse, and I felt as though I spoke a bit like Elmer Fudd. I had difficulty swallowing which made every meal an adventure. Seven months after surgery I felt as though I had made quite a bit of improvement. I knew that the tumor was still a big problem, but I felt better on a day-to-day basis than I had felt in months.

Today, a week after my last radiation treatment…I’m sad…so crazy, I know. I’m happy that radiation is over, but my tongue seems back to ground zero…I’m having trouble enunciating again, my voice is hoarse (although not as bad as pre-surgery), swallowing is difficult…I need to think about it, its not so automatic. My head hurts, my sinuses hurt, my throat hurts, and my memory, which I was warned could be affected…feels affected. I feel myself phumphering for words. I’m told this is due to a combination of total body exhaustion and swelling from the radiation; it will take a few months for things to normalize. It took seven months for things to improve after surgery, and it could take about that long for things to improve on this go around.

I was told that some things might be permanent. I’m thinking what things can I live with, or rather what things can I live without?

It is disconcerting that while the radiation may be over…the side effects are not, and that what I need most right now, is something that I possess the least of…patience.