It happened suddenly. One day I was slim and lithe, the next day I caught myself in the bathroom mirror and realised I was looking not slim, but malnourished. Strong words to self. Too Scrawny! Too Wrinkly! Too Flappy! Far too Old Lady!
And it was because of the feeding tube, ironically. That dangling appendage has finally come out, but the procedure for having it removed wasn't much fun. I had a gastroscopy, which involves having a pipe put down your throat so a camera can go down into the gut to check that the end of the tube hasn't got embedded or anything. I think the doctor was hoping to cut the tube and remove the button that holds it inside the stomach by pulling it up and out the same way that his camera went in. I strongly suspect he hadn't accounted for the effects of seven weeks of radiation to the throat, which meant that a) my mouth doesn't open very far these days and b) my throat is now about as wide as a panadol capsule for a significant distance. I opted for sedation during the procedure. I remember clearly they tried to put a thing into my mouth to hold it open, and had to hunt for the pediatric version because I couldn't open wide enough. Enough said re what came next, but the last thing I can remember is fighting frantically to get that stuff out of my mouth, while they tried to hold my hands still.
When I woke up he came around to tell me the button got left inside. He said it would pass through in a few days and hopefully it has. As pleased as I am to be free of the tube, for whatever reason the whole procedure knocked me back and I spent most of the next few days dozing on the sofa, scoffing cherry-flavoured pamol (baby panadol) every few hours for a sore throat and not caring for food at all. Plus every time my jaw moved, there was this crunchy noise in one ear - most annoying.
My energy is picking up again now and the crunch has disappeared. Adventures with Food is pretty well back on track. Cottage pie last night was a great success. Yoghurt is still a failure. It tastes awful and goes claggy. Pear and pistachio choclolate cake with whipped cream - hell yes. Ice cream, mmmwh, not really. But goes down in a milkshake or an iced coffee when there are not many other options. Bring it on.
Word of the day is trissmus. That's what it called when you hold three fingers together and try to put them in your mouth and they don't fit. Though that does seem like it would be a bit of stretch under the best of circumstances. My trissmus thing is much better than it was, so I expect it will continue to improve. Foot in mouth again in no time.
This should be pretty much the end of my cancer story, apart from ongoing adventures with food. I got let off lightly. Hope you all wore your daffodils on Friday.
And it is also the end of my life in Rotorua. I'm all packed up and on the move again.