It has been a little over a month since my 17 hour challenge. Day by day I find myself feeling a little more like normal. I couldn’t be more pleased with how healthy I am. While I was given a 6 month recovery time prior to my surgery, I am one month into it and I am going out with my friends and returning to work next week. It is a miracle. I could not be more excited to get back to working at the James Cancer Hospital. Although I loved it before my diagnosis, my appreciation and connection to the hospital is now something much greater than just love.
Day by day my swallowing is improving. From not being able to swallow water, I am now able to eat soft foods and liquids without much trouble at all. Although the right side of my throat is forever paralyzed, with time I will be able to compensate and create a new “normal” for myself. My voice is weak. It is raspy and hoarse due to my paralyzed right vocal cord. Although it will never be back to my original normal, I am able to receive vocal cord injections which help with my volume and swallowing. So far I have had two vocal cord injections following my original 17 hour challenge. During the injection the doctor sticks a large needle through the front of my throat and into my paralyzed vocal cord. From there he injects it with something (I have no idea what…. but it looks like milk) and this makes my vocal cord larger, allowing my vocal cords to meet and produce sound and swallowing. The injection is uncomfortable. The middle of my throat is not some place I ever imagined receiving a shot at. Although the injection is not necessarily fun, it helps tremendously. It allows those around me to hear my voice better when I am speaking which you do not really think about how frustrating it is without a strong voice until you lose it forever. While the frustration is felt, again it is overpowered with thankfulness. My foot is still unable to move. This makes walking very difficult. Since my nerve compression damage is so high up in my leg, the recovery time will be long. Many doctors tell me close to a year, but nerves are something that leave you without solid answers.
Day by day through my troubles and improvements I never lose sight of my blessings. I am lucky. I am happy. I am healthy.