April 2, 2014 That first post-radiation cold.
It was only a matter of time before my low immune system took a hit. This week, it is in the form of the common cold. Most people with a common cold feel pretty generally crappy for a few days. Blow their nose a lot. Maybe have a cough, headache, sore throat. But having a cold after what my neck has been through the past 10 months is nothing like what I remember my BC (before cancer) colds being like.
The common cold had me ending up in the urgent care with my throat feeling as if it was swollen shut and my chronic cough (radiation caused damage my laryngeal nerve — which is the thing that controls your cough reflex, put simply) causing wheeziness and an inability to get a deep breath. To quote the doctor, “radiation does so much damage to your system, so don’t be surprised if every time you get a cold or sore throat, it will get this bad.” Not really something I wanted to hear, and I hope she is wrong.
I sometimes wonder if the treatment was worth it. I mean, do I want cancer growing in my body? Fuck no. But knowing what I know now, the long term effect it is having on my life and my health, I think I may have not just jumped right into it. I may have asked for more specifics about my treatment. I may have even asked if there was any way in the world that I wouldn’t have to go through radiation. But what’s done is done, and it did it’s job, and I am (hopefully) remaining cancer-free now.
Someone once said to me that the treatment for cancer is worse than the cancer itself, and I’m beginning to think that’s the truth.