My never-ending rotation of side effects presents a new combination of villains every day. It’s like a new Avengers movie every time I wake. This past week’s nemesis has had a common denominator among the cast of bad guys — a new nemesis: phlegm.

When one’s neck is exposed to intense, daily, DNA-disrupting levels of targeted radiation to kill a malignant tumor, one of the major side effects is that one’s phlegm-factory goes into overdrive. In a healthy person, the normal amount of phlegm just goes away or something science-y like that, but it’s not like that for me.

Did you know your throat is divided into two paths? Apparently, there are two passages back there, called pyriform sinuses. In my case, my left tunnel is mostly blocked due to Mr. Tumor McTumorface, and its current severely inflamed status, thanks to radiation. Right now it’s so blocked up that I’ve gotten spaghetti noodles and pills stuck there. The other thing that gets stuck there? Phlegm. Especially when I sleep.

For the last seven nights, I’ve been training myself to sleep on my right side, so that the drainage is assisted by gravity. It mostly works. But for my entire life, I’ve slept either on my left side or my back. Neither of those two options are good for my phlegm issue. Do I get an award for the amount of times I use the word phlegm in a single post?

Retraining myself to sleep on my right side just feels weird. It’s like wearing joggers backwards. It really shouldn’t matter, on the face of it, but it just does.

I’ve met my nemesis, and it’s name is Phlegm.