By Gasper Tringale.
What makes his death even more 'of interest' to me is the fact that he died of complications from Esophageal cancer, which is one of the many types of Head and Neck Cancer. I wish I had known about this earlier or I would have followed his journal more closely, but now that he's passed away, maybe that was a blessing for me. Reading his thoughts on his treatment is only a little bit disturbing in it's similarities, now that I'm out of the woods. If I had been in the middle of my treatment, I would have been a bit more disturbed. I did really identify with his thoughts on pain and the inability to convey it's intensity or even accurately describe it.
I will say that the last few weeks have taught me one thing - that my future is kind of set. I may be out of the woods as far as the tumors and the radiation side effects, specifically the side effects that make pneumonia a real issue. I've resigned myself to the fact that, barring a return of the cancer, I'll likely meet a similar end, though hopefully far down the line.
The issue is the swallowing. Since ending my treatment, my ability to swallow has come back to a certain degree, though the muscles doing the work are all confused and screwed up, making each swallow somewhat less than a sure thing. The risk is always there that the muscles will fire wrong and I'll send whatever I'm eating or drinking into my lungs, adding to the risk that I'll develop pneumonia. I imagine that the older I get, the more the swallowing issues will become a problem.
I had originally titled this entry "RIP Christopher Hitchens", and while there's nothing religious about that sentiment, it somehow seems out of place.