So not “all better”, but better

Happy New Year!

I guess in all the hub bub of Christmas and New Year’s (which for us was the same  weekend) I forgot to update the blog (apologies to those seeking an update).   Let’s see….

The week of Christmas I was home sleeping in our guest room while trying to maintain “limited contact” with the kids.  This posed an interesting challenge.   We “played” a lot of exciting games such as, “let’s watch a movie from opposite sides of the family room!”, “let’s go for a walk 6 feet apart!”,  “I’m going to take pictures of you building a pretzel cabin from across the kitchen!”, and “what’s open on Dec. 25th?”   We also were thankful for having a few play dates with school friends (who could actually play next to them).

The kids took postponing Santa’s visit really well, but the big drawback was having them out of school for 2 weeks without their new toys to play with (and a Mom with a restraining order against them).

On Fri. Dec. 30th, 17 days after my radioactive iodine treatment (and a day after the isotopes “quarter life”), I declared myself “safe”, went to a neighbor’s cocktail party, and slept in my own bed for the first time in over 2.5 weeks.   Rick’s Mom (Grandma C.) also arrived that afternoon and Santa finally came to our house!

The next morning I had encouraged the kids to come into our room for snuggles in bed (which I had been anticipating for months), but instead they headed straight for the living room to count presents (I did get my snuggles later).   New Year’s Eve felt like any other “Christmas” morning with feverish paper tearing, squeals of delight, and lots of calorie-laden food.  We then enjoyed the long “Christmas”/New Year’s weekend before Grandma C. headed back to the midwest and the kids headed back to school.

So how am I?  Inching my way closer to “better”, but probably looking at a long road until “all better”.  Discouraged with all my annoying symptoms (pain, swelling, numbness, swollen tongue, no sense of taste); I tried complaining frequently to my husband, but this didn’t seem to make my symptoms better.  Not to be discouraged, I tried complaining some more, but oddly, it didn’t seem to be making any difference.  So I started calling my doctors (again….and again).   And they didn’t seem to have much advice either.  So I made appointments to complain to them in person (as clearly once they saw my pathetic state they would slip me their magic “cure” pill they ration for only their most desperate patients!)

And so last Thurs. I found myself back at Dr. Facts’ office for my third “post op visit”.  At this point I was 6 weeks from his surgery and clearly back where I expected to be after 1-2 weeks.  He agreed that I was healing “much slower than average” and wasn’t sure how long things would take to resolve.   He referred me to a facial aesthetician for lymphatic massage (um…you had me at “massage”).  

So I met with her and she discussed trying to stimulate my lymphatic system to help drain the excess fluid in my neck and under my chin and also suggested  ultra sound therapy.   But first she needed me to confirm that there were no contraindications with my Cancer treatments, so I called (again) my endo and Dr. McPreppy who both gave the therapy a “thumbs up”.  She also recommended applying “moist heat” to my swollen areas…which I roughly translated into “soak in the Jacuzzi” (I mean, what easier way is there to maintain constant moist 101 degree heat?).   The first night I immersed my neck in the hot spa, I woke up at 1 AM with a horrible sore throat, which seemed to lessen throughout the day and the next.  I have no idea if something was actually draining through my esophagus, or I coincidentally contracted a fast-passing virus?   But I think the heat helped the swelling to some degree.  Just to be sure I’ve been soaking in the spa nearly every night since 🙂

Tomorrow morning I go in for the lymphatic therapy and then in the afternoon have an appt. with my endo to check-in re: how I’m doing and get blood work done to check my TSH and T4 levels.   A couple days after the radiation therapy I started taking two hormones (T4 & T3) and over the past three weeks have weaned myself off of the T3.  The biggest impact this has had on my life is going from two fasting periods a day down to one shorter period in the morning only.   I would probably have celebrated this milestone with a bowl of evening ice cream if ice cream didn’t taste like licking a frozen battery (though admittedly this hasn’t stopped me from eating it).

So for now, I’m easing back into “normal” life and trying my best not to think about the aches/pains, horrible constant taste in my mouth, and misshapen tongue in hopes that they’ll secretly improve (like a not-watched-pot coming to a boil).    It would be helpful if there were a catchy phrase for “healing patience” [Bodies Heal When You’re Having Fun!]    All I’ve got is “smile and eventually you’ll feel happy” – so if you see me smiling wave and nod, but maybe minimize the comments on how delicious your meal is 😉

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