Thursday, October 30, 2014

Not one of the 3 percent

Today is the day I have been anxiously waiting for.

The results were due back from the biopsy taken during surgery. Though there was a 97% chance that the papilloma were not cancerous, but until I could hear the words for myself, I haven't been able to sleep through the night.

The phone just rang.  It was the nurse.  It's not cancer.  Deep breath.  Smile.  Cry.  Smile.

I didn't say anything; not because I couldn't but because I couldn't.  The nurse said that she would have more information for Rachel when they spoke later this afternoon.

Smile.  I am not one of the 3%.

In lesser order but still of significance, is the cause of the papilloma.  This was caused by a virus, which was confirmed by the nurse.  All of my research shows that there is a potential for recurrence, but the nurse said that this is not necessarily the case.  When I have my follow up appointment in a few weeks I should be able to ask more questions, which will include what measures I can do prevent it from coming back.  For sure there were be daily medicine to suppressing the laryngopharynheal reflux and probably a few other measures.

Now three days into my quiet time, I am starting to figure out why not talking is so hard.  At first I just felt alone because I couldn't speak or tell anyone using words how I felt or what I was going through.  It really wasn't that I had anything significant to say, just that I couldn't say anything.  Then things seemed compounded because even as I had some small amounts of human interaction, the normal reaction of people when you don't talk to them (or can't talk), they don't talk back to you, which creates further isolation.  At night I have taken to writing down questions on the whiteboard just so I can hear Rachel talk to me.  I am sure that it is hard for her and others as when you have a conversation using words, there is a normal interaction and affirmation back and forth and when you can't talk, that doesn't exist.  A one way discussion isn't very much fun on either end but it's ok to talk to me.

Just a few more days now of silence and then I can do more than just nod and smile.

I wanted to express some gratitude to the many people who have sent me encouraging messages and offered to help.  I feel pretty guilty to warrant such sympathy when I feel fine... but I am extremely grateful for you just to have taken the time to write to me.  The most comical interaction was when Jimm Giles asked on Tuesday if he could get me anything and I responded with one word: "cheeseburger."  Probably not what he was expecting to read.

Responding to an email or a text message at this point is just as good as being able to answer the phone and say hello since I get to use my words and it makes me feel normal.

Yesterday was also a significant step forward toward normalcy as I was able to get on the (bike) trainer after work last night and sweat a little.  I kept the intensity light so that I was not breathing heavily and staying inside instead of riding on the roads was helpful as the wind had no opportunity to dry out my vocal cords.  Though cleared to run immediately, I have just been taking long walks until the drainage in my throat goes away as I shouldn't be clearing my throat as it will aggravate the surgical areas.

I was also able graduate from liquids and eat real food!  I had a mashed up pot pie for lunch and then had soft noodles for dinner.  Rachel brought home coffee cake which was like a little slice of Heaven.  There really is not a hard limitation on food other than my throat is still very sore and with my tongue still being numb, it is hard to swallow.  That is why pudding was my friend at first but now I am slowly moving onto more solids.  My taste buds are numb, so even the normal saltiness of the noodles was not there for me.  As things continue to improve, I hope to enjoy my first crunchy food soon!

It was because of your thoughts and prayers that I am not one of the 3%.  Thank you.