Monday, April 13, 2009

Tamping down the tongue

Waiting to see if my tongue is going to snap back to normal is a little like keeping an eye on the stock market to see if it is going to recover.

Like the market, my tongue has gone through some rough times over the past several months. Even after my radiation and chemotherapy concluded late last month, my tongue continued swelling.

When the swelling resumed, I wanted to cry. But the swelling only lasted a day. It went back down, and for the most part, my tongue has been on good behavior since.

The changes I see aren't only in my head. My doctor noticed the improvement when I saw him last week; my best friend sees it; and family members visiting L.A. for the holiday see a big difference.

The rear part of my tongue is coming along far more slowly. But even there I think things are changing for the better.

It's not only my tongue that's improving. At the beginning of last week, I was blowing my nose so often that I was going through an entire box of Kleenex each day. On Saturday and Sunday, I didn't need to blow my nose once.

I'm still not talking, of course, and I'm not even going to try to get food in my mouth until I'm certain that I'll be able to swallow it.

But things are moving in the right direction. The pain, discomfort and sleepless nights of the recent past are only memories now.

I know I'm taking a risk every time I go public with good news. What goes down could easily swell up again.

Cancer could mock me. For the moment, however, it seems to be in retreat.

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