Sunday, February 17, 2013

Molly Reflects


So it's been six and a half months since my last radiation treatment. The paper certificate congratulating me on my successful completion of that hullabaloo hangs proudly on my bedroom door. I've been given a few certificates in my lifetime, but never has one meant as much to me. I didn't just deserve this one; I flipping EARNED it.

But now comes a weird time when I feel like I want to talk about what happened, but I don't know how to bring it up and rarely does anyone ask.Who wants to dredge up the subject of cancer when someone's technically in remission, right? That's just... well, even I think that's kind of awkward. And remission, for what it's worth, doesn't mean much besides "I am currently not being actively treated." It doesn't mean it's 100% gone for sure or that it won't ever come back. It just means... wait and see. So it's confusing and lame and I don't blame anyone for not asking because really, what would you say?

So... um... here are some facts in case you happen to be interested.

*The cancer was in my parotid gland. Read all about if you're not too squeamish. Yes, you have a parotid gland, too! Actually, two of them!

*My scar (from the surgery) is still vivid but it usually doesn't hurt, except when Voldemort is angry and/or near.

*The official ribbon for throat, neck and head cancer (they're a team!) is sort of white and burgundy, and I have a .jpg of it on the left side of the blog. Holla.

*During radiation my taste buds went wonky, but they have fully recovered and I can enjoy all manner of good and delicious foods again.

*I can wink, blink, and do all that facial stuff again. The two halves of my face aren't entirely uniform -- perhaps they never will be -- buuut I don't think it's a big deal anymore. One thing that really bugged me in the months after the surgery was not being able to close my eyes tightly. I had to be so careful when taking a shower because I just kept getting soap and shampoo in my eye. And that was painful. It's funny how you sort of take "being able to close your eyes" for granted. It's easy to forget that for a few weeks I literally had to tape my eyelid shut at night because it wouldn't close on its own. (Sorry. Even I think eyeball convos are gross. I will stop talking about that now.)

*School/work resumed roughly one month after treatment ended, and since then I've missed ONE DAY of work.  I do get colds, and I always have had allergies, but they haven't been bad this year. It's as if my body has decided that if it's going to get sick at all, it's only going to get REALLY SICK... and if not, then why bother?

*I do fear and expect to have a recurrence of cancer at some point within the next decade. I don't want it, but I am not naive enough to think that one surgery and two months of radiation have cured me from ever having to think about cancer again. It's not like when I was a kid and had Chicken Pox and then knew there was only a microscopic chance of me ever getting it again, because having it typically makes you immune to it. And, for the record, I HATED having Chicken Pox, and I'm so glad there's a vaccination for it now, and really think those parents who skip the vaccine and purposely expose their kids to it are... well, kind of jerky. Perhaps they've forgotten about the intense itching and the fever and the horrible feelings of crappiness. WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT TO YOUR CHILD? RAWR.

*Also, both my dad (age 43) and paternal grandmother (age 68) died of cancer. So I'm just like yeah, whatever. Bring it on. I'll fight it. What else you got?

*An apple a day does NOT, as the saying suggests, keep the doctor away, as I literally did consume an entire apple every day for lunch in the nine months leading up to my diagnosis. Just in case anyone actually believed it would. Nothing against apples, though. They're still delicious. I just would like to debunk that myth.

*I never did post a picture of my radiation mask because even I have standards, and that thing is creepy, yo.

*I am so grateful to the people who were extra kind to me as things were happening last year. People that come to mind as doing something specific that meant a lot to me are my cousins Amy and Patrick, Emily and Thom, Shannon, Jenny and Chris and their kids, my Aunt Laura, my uncle John, my Grandma, my neighbors Jim and Beth, my mom's friend Fran, Peggy S., Karen & Linda L. & family, and everyone who prayed for me, which I think was a lot of people. I am very grateful and I did feel the effects of that because honestly, all the bad things they say about treatments? They were never as bad as they could've been, and I felt that I was getting these rushes of extra strength from somewhere, so thank you.

I love y'all, even if I didn't mention you specifically.

Okay. So enough about that, I guess.

I leave you now with some random photos off my hard drive. Because I care.

1 comment:

Amy O. said...

Sorry if this is a repeat - tried to post a comment and it doesn't seem to have worked. Glad for your update - I have often wanted to ask but either have hands full of Vianne or felt it was awkward. Thanks for letting us know how you are doing & feeling!!