There Is No Zero Because Zero is Not Exactly a Number

and because I have no more cancer treatments to count down. Sure, there’s weeks of recovery and years of follow-up, but the acute phase of treatment is officially over and I am a happy camper.

What I am doing to celebrate:
1. Completed and will mail out our application for Canadian citizenship.
2. Long nap.
3. Dinner and music with friends.
4. More socializing and napping over the weekend.
5. I am taking a leap of faith that I will be in good enough shape to go to Brazil in 5 weeks’ time, so we started looking into visa requirements.

In the end, EBR was kind of anticlimatic. I certainly experienced nothing approaching what other patients referred to as the “worst pain of their lives” although if I swallow the wrong thing or the wrong way, it does hurt like hell. The burn on my neck is also plenty unpleasant, but it’s just that. I take mostly over the counter medicines, and just one spoonful of codeine cough syrup at night to control a really nasty cough. How bad can that be? I also appear to have all my taste. Which is amazing. Either I got lucky or they really did aim “away” from my mouth and throat.

Recovery will be slow. In fact, for the first couple weeks I may not recover at all as the radiation continues to do its work. But at least I won’t have a 150 minute hole in the middle of every weekday. The burn may let up in about 3 weeks, but I will need to put heavy sunscreen on it forever, and I need to stay out of chlorinated pools for a good month. So I will still be rocking the dorky Tilly hat until the burn is healed enough to use sunscreen. The swallowing pain may stay with me for 6 weeks or more, though I expect that it will decrease slowly, just as it ramped up slowly. As to the fatigue, who knows? My guess is I will feel waves of it for a very long time, as I just got through about 9 months of intensive treatment including 2 kinds of radiation and 3 surgeries. But I’m hopeful that it too will start to remit in a few weeks and that I can get back to being me, at least most of the time.

Luckily, I have a very non-stressful year to look forward to.

As to the future of this blog, there will still be cancer blogging, as I left a few aspects of the year undocumented and would like to tidy that up while it is fresh in my mind. Though I certainly will feel empowered to address other topics, or take a summer break as I did last year. We shall see.

11 replies on “There Is No Zero Because Zero is Not Exactly a Number”

  1. Hi, Jonathan,

    Congradulations. I am happy for you.

    I have good news for you, too. My book is accepted for publication. It will come out at the end of next year.

    What is your schedule like? When is a good time for you to update my recommendation letter? I am travelling in mid June and won’t be back until mid August. Thank you.

  2. Jonathan,

    Sorry to clutter your inbox but I am actually travelling in mid July.

  3. What an incredible experience. Thanks for sharing, and congratulations for getting through it.

  4. Congrats, Jon! I’m glad to hear you can still taste food and that, in the end, the treatment wasn’t as bad as you thought it may be. Love to you and Carrie.

  5. You deserve a BIG CELEBRATION! I’m glad to hear you came through relatively unscathed – especially with the taste buds intact. Let us know if you move forward with plans for SA. An exciting venture for sure. We’re off to Alaska Thursday. Take care.

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