Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Reflecting on the past year

This is really a nothing-y sort of post. But also, it isn't.

About three months ago I started noticing some very unusual symptoms in the back of my throat, namely lots of bloody mouth ulcers. I've been prone to mouth ulcers all my life and frankly it is a bitch to contend with, but it was never a worry.

But this time was different. I grew this giant mouth ulcer that no amount of bonjela could fix. It gradually grew over several weeks, and after three weeks of thinking "what the hell is going on?", I started to grow anxious, because as we all know, a mouth ulcer that doesn't go away on its own accord after three weeks is potentially malignant.

I'm an anxious person by design but luckily before 2021 I never had to deal with any major health issues. This time around I was convinced that I was going to die. Several visits to the consultant ENT proved inconclusive, but what was perfectly clear was that my tonsils were the root cause of my issues.

Finally, after another recurrence of a massive (2cm+) mouth ulcer in that area, I decided to take the plunge and have a tonsillectomy. I think most of us have a memory of someone they knew when they were a kid getting their tonsils out - a walk in the park they said, recovery in a couple of days they said.

Unfortunately, as an adult, recovery from having your tonsils out is a hellish experience. You can't eat, you can't sleep, it feels like you are being stabbed in the back of the throat by broken beer bottles. As the anesthetist so astutely put it: "kids can just take far more of a beating" .

I'm not going to bother going into detail about the day by day recovery from the operation (there are many posts elsewhere online that adequately describe the nightmare, for example here), but I did have the additional worry of waiting for the biopsy results to find out if there was anything malignant going on under the hood.

Luckily, after waiting for 3 weeks, I got the all clear. I'm not going to die. I never did get a straightforward explanation why I suddenly inherited an alien mass in the back of my throat, but not succombing to an incurable condition is OK by me.

However, what I have come to realise is that all of this anxiety layered on anxiety upon more anxiety has given me a fresh perspective on life. As I weeved through the traffic on the M25 returning from the follow up appointment with the doctor, I couldn't help smiling ear to ear; I felt alive and optimistic again. Lockdown can go fuck itself, life is going to be good again, and most important I'm going to be good again.

The last year and a half has been really shit for many reasons, not least the pandemic. But also some really great stuff has happened - I have met someone really great, and we have a really cute new puppy, and the pubs are reopening. Praise the lord.

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