How has your week been going?
Mine has been pretty interesting. I found out a couple of week ago that the doctors thought the cancer may have returned to my mouth. The chosen course of action was to go and get some biopsies done to determine for sure if it was in fact cancer or something else. The main problem with this, which normally would have been a very minor problem was that the samples required were inside my mouth and one of the symptoms that had alerted us to a problem was an inability to open my mouth.
The doctor decided that the answer was to give me a tracheostomy. This was necessary only to facilitate keeping me alive while under anesthetic in case anything went wrong. Anesthetists want to have an airway available to administer oxygen etc and to either deepen or lighten up on the coma as needed. Normally they just put a tube in your mouth and down your throat but again I couldn’t open my mouth so they carved me a new airway.
This had to be done under only local anesthetic. It is a very interesting feeling to be lying there while doctors cut your throat open and then introduce a tube into the trachea.
You can hear anything they are saying and this particular doctor is part of the teaching staff at the hospital so there were about six residents in the room as well as the normal staff. he was describing what he was doing as well as giving orders to the nurses etc to actually perform the task. Although there was never any real pain except for the very first needle I could also often feel pressure where someone was holding, or pushing in a tool, or spreading apart the incision just before placing the tube in the slot. This was all done within 1/2 hour and as soon as it was I was put under by the anesthetist so can’t comment much more on how it all went.
The plan was also to then cut into the mouth from under my jaw to get the samples required and then close everything up and send me away to heal till they got the results and could decide on further action.
I was to go back to see the surgeon again yesterday to check on the condition of the tube and my throat and when we got there the doctor said he had managed to get the results from the biopsies already.
Guess what no sign of cancer.
During the operation once I was out he had managed to get my jaws pried far enough apart that he didn’t need to go through the bottom to get inside so I don’t have any scar there to worry about. He also found that what had been causing so much trouble and pain in my tongue was a mass of necrotic tissue which he figured had happened through the radiation treatment. Unlike usual this hadn’t sloughed off but had set up shop and then caused all sorts of trouble. I know lots of vegetarians say you shouldn’t eat dead flesh but I can assure you you shouldn’t eat your own dead flesh. The doc had removed this tissue and said the old ulcer now looked all nice and shiny and he could see no reason why it shouldn’t heal up now.
I already have much less pain from my mouth. This is offset by a good deal more pain and discomfort because of the tracheostomy but along with a verdict of no sign of cancer I’ll take that trade any day. I am currently using less than half the pain medication I was using before going under the knife.
The surgeon then consulted with the resident and they decided to remove the tube right then and there in the examination room. What had been planned as a few months of getting around with the tube in place became a few days. I still have to get my jaws to relax and ope again but there is no mechanical reason they won’t it’s just going to take time and some dedicated physio to return to the big mouthed jerk I have been for decades. I still have a feeding tube in lace to help get better nutrition to help with the healing of everything and a rather impressive hole carved in the front of my throat but the world since yesterday at about 3:30 looks a lot better than it has for the last couple of months.
Now I go back to the previous situation of a follow up appointment in the beginning of September and assuming I am getting some use from my jaw and we don’t find any more setbacks they will kick me out the tail end of this and I can go back to training for the marathon I had planned to run this October.
That might need to be set back another year though. I don’t want to overtrain and hurt anything.