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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Stuff I do differently since cancer treatment

Pretty much smooth sailing, folks, just like this scene last autumn at Lake McConaughy, Nebraska.

Not even going into the whole taste deficit here - pretty much a non-issue, and have moved on. What I will talk about is dealing with the neuropathy and pain from the treatment areas.

Take pillows, for instance. Not a fan. I keep one of those neckbone pillows  handy, propping my head up with it any which way. That gives me enough support to keep from putting the ear that was removed and reattached from pressing into a pillow.

Still taking not-hot shampoos, and not using a hair dryer. Hot water/hot air still make my treated side of the head go ballistic, pain-wise. Getting better at toweling off with a little stronger pressure, though - I have figured out where I can rub stronger and where I need to dab lightly, after all this time.

I am skipping a hat this summer, so far. One, I am not out that much. Two, I think my treated area reacts less (or I care less, who knows?) to the sun. I am carrying one around in the Cheekymobile, just in case (just like having an umbrella).

Using fluoride to 'soak my teeth' about twice a week, but also brushing with it at least once a day (dry-mouth toothpaste the other time). Still have the teeth I started with - amazing!

I continue to 'dance different', meaning when "Great Aunt Edna" (not her real name, and not my aunt) runs over with her arms wide to give a big hug and smooch, I duck and offer my right (non-treated) side, and deflect her right arm down to keep it from wrapping around my neck. I also don't do well with someone coming up on my left side - there, I just gave the bad guys the key to my Kryptonite. You want me to spill my guts about state secrets? Just act like you might smack/touch/kiss/glare-at my left cheek. I will fold like the origami I love to make.

Mobility - still exercise the neck and shoulders to fight against the muscle damage done by radiation (that is some of the damage that takes years to show up, and thankfully, I am around to see what it might look like). I want to keep driving my Cheekymobile for many more years, so looking left and right are on my 'have to do' list. Jaw is holding up well. I still have a stack of tongue depressors so I can make sure I am not losing ground. Some anesthesiologist someday will thank me for it, when they have to create an airway and can actually do it without too much fuss.

Sleeping is still messed up, but face it, probably due to middle age. I can handle that.

Bills have been manageable, especially if I can keep the MRIs down to one every-other year.

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