Aug 06, 2010 - 12:12 am
Hi Everyone, I've caught up on posts and wish everyone the best. I've mainly been watching my favorite commercials this last week recuperating from neck dissection of the left side. Everything went smooth, but I want to quickly give a few specifics for those of you contemplating post treatment surgery to remove some of those pesky lymph glands.
My surgery was on one side, my left. I chose to have it because my one area of any activity after my 6 month PET continued at 3.3; I got tired of worrying about that spot. The surgery took two to two and one-half hours. Fifteen lymph nodes were removed. They included the remaining node (of two, the first being removed in original diagnostic biopsy) that showed spread from my BOT primary. That node, and two more, total of three, showed some presence of SCC, so the surgeon says good we removed them. Again, the two next to the originally affected node did not show in the PET, as the amount was simply too small. The surgeon said there was no way to tell if the radiation treated nodes would have spread the c anytime now or later, but was glad to lose them. Me too. Other lymph glands further away from the originally affected node showed nothing. Now we are on a three-month (with him) schedule and regular watch cycle.
Recovery has been o.k. I've apparently suffered no lasting ill from the operation. My ENT had told me that about 5% have a non-major loss of vertical movement from the shoulder on the side treated, or ongoing numbness in the neck or shoulder. After eight days my "lifting" motion for that shoulder is fine--problem would've shown right away--and the numbness is disappearing daily toward the point of incision. Oh, they used super glue to close the incision, which is more routine these days I guess. No staples, no stitches.
It's a bump compared to radiation and chemo. My case is no recommendation either way for the surgery, but I hope this info can give some of you a better idea of what was involved.