Chairman H

Yesterday I had the weekly review with the oncologist. She asked at one point if I started feeling facial pain? I said I hadn’t. Well, I am now.

I had hoped a three-day break from any therapy would give me a period of relative grace, but that’s not to be. I didn’t end up feeling any better over the weekend, but nor did I end up feeling any worse. Now, a couple of sessions of radiotherapy into the week, I feel generally blech. How do I describe that? Greatly run down, not exactly nauseous, but without any appetite or ambition for food and the aforementioned pain.

The pain is manageable, but only a third of the way through therapy; it’s what it foreshadows that has me worried.

I’ve got the beginnings of some ulcers on my tongue. My cheek is raw in patches. And it’s painful to swallow.

To a degree, I think I’m lucky in that large swathes of my face remain numb from surgery. Without that, I figure I’d be feeling it a lot more.

I also spoke to her about my numb quad muscle, and she agrees there’s something amiss. Either they’ve nicked a nerve in the surgery, or the bruising is so deep that it’s still to heal. The latter is by far the preferable possibility as I don’t know if it can be fixed otherwise.

Today has been like many days to come, I expect. I spent a couple of hours in bed when I got home, dozing. I’ve done my best to eat and drink. I feel listless and weak. I’ll go back to bed in a minute. Tomorrow I’ll do it again.

I’m sure there are those curious as to how I look. Like I said, I’m no oil painting currently, but I have to accept that. I look in the mirror, and I’m reminded of Chairman Mao, which is very different. Gone are the sharp cheekbones and hard jawline. My cheeks are puffy and rounded, with one looking like I have a ping pong ball stuffed in it – though it has got smaller. The expression is gormless because half my face is immobile, and my mouth is mostly agape. My nose is slightly off-kilter.

As I would joke with the nurses in the hospital, I’m not about to become a contestant on Bachelor of the Year. I guess that can wait.

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