This wasn't totally unexpected.

My mouth is still healing. This shouldn't be a surprise to anybody who's had surgery, or who's seen surgery on mobile, thin-skinned bits of the body: things tend to heal slowly when they're either constantly in motion or regularly abused, and a mouth is both. It looks a hell of a lot better than it used to, true, but there are bits that have to be...well, frankly, there's some scarring along the right side of my jaw, internally, that I'm not crazy about. It makes opening my mouth hard; more than that, every time I wedge the tongue depressors in there to stretch, it tears the tissue a bit.

So it's a bit of a struggle.

And, of course, it's making me paranoid as hell.

Occasionally tasting blood, or feeling new soreness here and there as bits of slough finally peel away, makes me certain that I've got some sort of horrible and heretofore-unknown variant of PLGA that's going to fill my entire head. The obturator makes me bite my tongue now and then, but that's not a bitten tongue I'm feeling--oh, no. It's an unusually malignant form of squamous cell carcinoma.

And those lumps where they dissected down to the foundations of the right side of my head? Aren't the normal contours of the fat and muscle and so on, covered by a thin layer of mucous membrane: they're killer manifestations of HPV that are eating me alive. The white stuff at the back right-hand side of my throat isn't scar tissue: it's Something Awful.

In a way, the paranoia is a good sign. It means that I'm no longer so miserable from the horror of diagnosis and the exhaustion of surgery that I don't have an imagination. I've been here before, to a lesser extent, when I've had stuff like pneumonia or a bladder infection or a galloping sinus infection. It's when you start to be really well that you fear you're getting worse again.

It's tiring, though, and it makes me wonder how long this'll continue to happen. I know that at some point, every single thing I do won't be somehow tinged with Perhaps This Will Predispose Me To Another Cancer or Will This Make My DNA Break? The glass of wine I had with dinner last night won't loom large as something that causes nasty things to grow, and I'll eat bacon or salami without thinking twice. Maybe it'll be five years from now, or ten, but it'll eventually happen.

In the meantime, I'll just keep telling myself that my immune system is nice and healthy, as evidenced by my recent state of health, that PLGA has no known risk factors, that I'm perfectly okay and will continue to be perfectly okay.

And I'll try not to panic like I did last night, when I forgot that I'd eaten a brownie for dessert. I flipped out when my mouth rinse brought out dark brown slough.