Chordoma, caring and coffee part II

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eatingapple.jpgBy Sophia E.

Continued from Chordoma, caring and coffee part 1

After chordoma

Obviously, a sense of humor has helped during the years as I had to learn to live with several residual handicaps after chordoma surgeries and radiation treatments -- accommodations for which are listed in the following litany, some of which may be helpful to others.

When dining with other people, try not to chew and speak at the same time (it's not polite, anyway). Spitting, coughing, choking and sneezing does not make for an attractive meal partner.

Order food that is moist and slides down easily, and sip liquids when swallowing. Fish, sauces, mashed potatoes, applesauce and thick soups work well. Experiment to find other choices.

Save the bagels, rolls, steak and thick corned beef sandwiches for home when you can cut them into small pieces and take two hours or more to eat. One gets tired of having everyone else's plates cleared while you're still eating and wind up leaving half of your food or taking it home.

Remember to do those throat, lip and tongue stretching exercises two to three times daily. They do help your smile.

Drink liquids frequently and suck on sugar-free candies to keep your mouth moist.

Stay away from alcohol and citrus drinks, as they can irritate and dry the throat. Socially, I still drink wine but drink water in between each sip.

And practice those beginning, middle and final speech sounds if people have trouble understanding some words, especially when you speak quickly. I do public speaking and have to remember to slow down. It's also frustrating when I have to repeat my name a few times, especially over the phone.

Most important, embrace each moment of your life with outstretched arms.

We owe it to ourselves and to life itself to not let each moment pass without laughter, love and friendship. 

I, too, have to work at all these things.

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