It has been a long time since I posted anything on here about my health care process.
For a couple of months after the treatments ended in March I was making what the medicos told me was normal progress along the healing path but then about the end of May things started getting a bit odd. Even during the first healing period I felt that the healing was taking longer than I expected but was assured that it was pretty normal for people who had gone through what I had.
My sense of taste was returning to normal and I finally started producing a little saliva again. The sores in my mouth seemed to be healing and causing less trouble and I was able to eat more and different things than when I was under treatment.
At the end of May I went to the dentist for a cleaning and check up. At the end the hygienist gave me a fluoride rinse and told me to gargle it then not drink anything for at least half an hour to let the fluoride remain on the teeth for a while. Demineralization of the enamel is just one more of the side effects and fluoride rinses were prescribed. WIthin minutes of the rinse the pain caused on the remaining sores made me give up and rinse it off in a matter of a couple of minutes at best. I assumed it had just been a bit too strong for the very recently healed areas and expected to continue on with this after another eek or so to let the area heal over again. Instead the pain in my mouth seemed to get worse instead of better.
When I went in for the follow up appointment at the beginning of July I was needing to use pain killers again. I had been able to go without these since mid April. I had also noticed that I was unable to ope my mouth as wide as before. No big Macs for me I could barely open wide enough to get a slice of bread in between my teeth. The docs sent me for another ct-scan and another follow up to that and in mid July they told me it looked like I might have another tumor growing in the right side of my mouth causing the pain and restricting the jaw movement.
The radiation oncologist called in a surgeon and so as of tomorrow I go under the knife again to get a biopsy sample and determine for sure if this is scar tissue, something benign or cancer. The surgeon is of the opinion that it is probably cancerous as he says the timing of the symptoms and the look with the ct-scan suggest that to him.
Tomorrow therefore I go in to St Joseph’s in Hamilton where first they will do a tracheostomy to be sure they can give me oxygen or anything else I need during the operation. This is necessary because I can now barely open my mouth at all and they aren’t at all sure that in an emergency they could get a tube in and down my throat. The anesthetist needs this tube to quickly regulate the level of the anesthetic. Then they will be cutting into the mouth from under my chin in order to get the biopsy samples and finally securing another feeding tube so I can get better nutrition again since I am physically unable to get most foods into my mouth now.
Once they have the biopsy results we will be having another appointment where the docs will tell me of the future treatments. The surgeon thought that he could operate on the mass to remove it and the plan till I hear about the lab results are to remove this and then rebuild the jaw joint with a bone taken from my shin. Whether this will still be the plan after the biopsy I don’t know yet.
I have to admit this has all knocked me for a bit of a loop. From feeling like I was getting better and just worried about how long it was taking I am now wondering again whether I’ll make it back to health or not. I know that in general it is not a good thing if cancer keeps showing up in different places as it is very difficult to track it down throughout your body and try to treat it before it does any more harm. With all that I just didn’t feel much like sharing it with the interweb even though I have received nothing but support from any of you kind enough to comment here.
In the last week of July I got to go up to Algonquin with my brother and 2 sisters for a bit of a family vacation. There we did what we had always done in the park. I just did it a lot less and slower. A bit of canoeing, a bit of hiking, some fishing and a lot of sitting around campfires just talking, eating and whiling away the hours. It also gave me a chance to tell them about this before I went public with it.
So tomorrow Sheana is going to once again drive me up to Hamilton for more treatment. This time they are planning on keeping me in hospital overnight and then she is coming to get me home again on Friday. My friend Deb has agreed to come over Friday night to baby sit me in case I need anything during the night that I can’t take care of myself and of course I’ll try to take advantage of her if I’m able. That seems unlikely at this time but we’ll see. Meanwhile as if this wasn’t enough of a downer I’m going to miss the bikers gathering at Port Dover this week and lord knows that has always been high on my list of things to do. Nothing like thousands of guys and gals in leather and a bunch of noisy expensive bikes to make you happy.
Take care everyone and I hope to share more with you in the next weeks.