3 Months +

Hi everyone. I know it’s been a while since I’ve updated so I thought I’d get you caught up.

Tuesday this week made 14 weeks, which is definitely more than 3 months, post-surgery! This is an important milestone. I am doing well overall and managing to work my half-day schedule walking dogs. (I am sometimes still very exhausted by my 4 dog walks and 10-11K steps/day, but I am doing it.)

Eyes: My vision has definitely improved. The double vision is much better than it was even a month ago. I still notice it some days, or some times of day, but it’s not stopping me from doing anything. I think my brain has just adjusted to it being the new normal. The last time I drove at night I was very aware that I had perfectly focused vision and no problems at all, which was wild! It can be hit or miss still and there will probably still be times when I will choose not to drive when my eyes are “acting up.” Also, I still get dry eye, mostly the right one, really badly sometimes, but drops help. At the end of my days or when I’m really tired, I get the dry eye and my right eyelid can still get really droopy. But overall, I’d say there’s been improvement and I’m hopeful that will continue over time. I haven’t seen an eye doctor yet but it will be time to do so soon.

Swallowing: It’s hard to assess, but I think I’ve made some small improvement. I’ve had 5 speech therapy sessions now with the VitalStim electrode treatment. It’s still so weird, every time! But today they had me eat a Clif Bar after I was done w/my exercises, as they like for me to get in as many swallows as I can when I’m hooked up to the device. And I really noticed, with the assist of the device stimulating my throat muscles, that I could swallow more completely, get a bite down with only one good swallow. It was amazing! I’m not there yet without the device, still usually needing 2 swallows to get food down, sometimes more, but the fact that I could feel that when hooked up to the device means the therapy is working. I definitely feel like eating has gotten easier, less laborious. I have 2 more sessions scheduled next week; I’m not sure when my ST order expires. But hopefully I can get in the 8-9 sessions she originally told me it would take before I saw much improvement.

Voice: Last week I had 2 people I hadn’t spoken to in a while tell me, completely unprompted, that they thought my voice was sounding much better. Some days I do feel like it’s starting to sound much more like myself. But sometimes I still feel like I’m talking in falsetto! It’s hit or miss, and definitely dependent on the time of day and how tired I am. Today in speech therapy I did however hit some low notes on some of the vocal exercises that I haven’t been able to hit before, and I can tell my range is getting a little wider and stronger. So I do think ST has been helping. I find myself now doing my vocal exercises while walking dogs – I’m sure others on the street around me think I’m some kind of crazy person! But it definitely helps to “warm up” my vocal cords, doing the exercises.

Next week will be a busy one for me. ST on Tuesday/Thursday. Follow-up appointment with Dr. Ballay the ENT on Tuesday after ST for him to re-assess my vocal cords. And then on Wednesday, I have my 3-month follow-up MRI to check to see if my tumor is growing back. Right after the MRI, which will be at West Jeff, I’ll take it upstairs to Dr. Culicchia to look at it and for a quick 3-month check up. So I guess by the end of next week I’ll have more to report!

Other than all this, I think this week I’ve learned that I really need to be getting more rest. I don’t really take naps anymore because I’ve been so busy in the afternoons, there’s no time. And this week, with the inauguration, I’ve had a couple of late nights with not enough sleep. I have suffered at work the following day both times, barely able to make it through the 4 walks. So I am recommitting to going to bed early and trying my best to get enough rest.

OK, I think that’s all I’ve got for you tonight. (No good pics to share, so here’s me walking dogs.)

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