Happy New Year 2021

It just occurred to me that I haven’t posted here for months so the start of a new year seems to be a propitious time. Time to reflect and the mirror for these reflections is deep this year. Not a year to simply reflect on my recovery and marvel how life goes better than I ever hoped but to marvel equally at the ridiculous circumstances so many of us have found ourselves in.

Brexit…….such a passé dinner party subject…….Oh wait a minute! No dinner parties allowed.

Covid 19 is the new Brexit. I’m an avid listener to Radio 4 in the mornings. I’m a creature of habit; rise at 7 and spend an hour and a half in the quiet of the morning catching up on some computer work, checking in with friends on Facebook ,Twitter and WhatsApp and a cup of tea back to bed with Stan to listen to the radio. ALL we have heard for the last 9 months is about Covid.

Much has been reported about the impact on cancer services by the Virus and some figures have a 75% drop in referrals. It’s a tragic situation. It’s also a horrible thing to be grateful I was ill and treated before this year.

As far as my cancer goes all seems to be well. I’m still in remission and the magic 2 year anniversary is just round the corner.It’s reckoned that if you get to 2 years cancer free your chances are pretty good. I have had fewer face to face check ups this year as hospitals have to face extra Corona Virus precautions. My usual care is shared between Maxillofacial and Oncology. My MaxFax consultant has been shielding himself so I have had telephone consultations with him. I have been scoped at oncology twice this year and I’m now on three month check ups. Recovery has been largely uneventful with the odd glitch. In August I developed a swollen painful cheek that was diagnosed as a parotid duct stone and I was sent for a fluoroscopy. It was an infectioun. I’m a surgeon. I knew it was an infection….but I’m still at the stage that I knew it was cancer. I ended up at A&E while waiting for the scan and being put on antibiotics. I got better. Better ……… but a plea to my consultant fell on deaf ears and I had to get scanned……even though I was better. I told him I was better. I was mighty grumpy about that…..I was better and I had to have even more X-rays on top of the ten lifetime’s worth I’d already had. X-rays give you cancer!

Generally my saliva has improved to such an extent that I rarely think about a dry mouth through the day though I must admit I do have a tingling mouth irritation most of the time but I’ve got used to it. I still chew xylitol gum and that keeps my mouth moist and more importantly keeps the pH up to protect my teeth. I still have a battery of mouth care products and three monthly visits for a fluoride varnish at the dentist.

BioXtra is a mild mouthwash that’s excellent for dry mouth and you should be able to get it on prescription from your dentist or GP though it is available OTC

I can’t use Duraphat all the time as my mouth gets sore so every now and then I take a break and use Oranurse for a week or so. The GCMI paste plus is a calcium and fluoride based paste that replace lost calcium from your teeth and I use that last thing before bedtime to coat my teeth, then pop in a xylimelt and Zzzzzzzzz

Eating is practically back to normal with just a tiny sip of water needed at times. Dry meat like chicken breast is still a challenge but eating with plenty of gravy it’s a doddle. I enjoy a real ale occasionally and Prosecco went down nicely this Christmas so things are looking up.

More tomorrow. Lost concentration for now.

Published by Dani Akrigg

I'm 68 in 2019. Retired Veterinary Surgeon

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