Feb 08, 2013 - 6:49 pm
I'm home. A bit worse off for the wear unfortunately :(
Surgery started with a look see around and a larygoscopy. There was a suspicious area in the back of my tongue that warranted further examination. Turns out they took out my lingual tonsils. They're off to the lab along with more BOT biopsies and the tumors.
Then came the major surgery and alot more than I imagined or anticipated. I had a selective neck dissection left side. They removed two large tumors as well as other lymph nodes. The tumors were over 4cm each and had grown, wrapped and intertwined into sensitive structures in my neck, nerves, arteries and muscles. This presented challenges as it was very time consuming and delicate surgery. In all, I was under the knife for over 5 hours. We won't know until the pathology reports come back but the tumors were whole and intact. With the removal of the tumors, it means that rads will be more targeted and not as strong so that's a positive. If in fact the tumors are encapsulated, chemo won't be necessary.
I awoke in severe pain as I was having bladder spasms from the catheter as well as the surgery. I was taken to ICU because of my heart issues. The pulled out and replaced the catheter (yeah guys... cringe) and it really didn't solve the issue. By 1am I was in so much distress that I begged the on call ICU doctor to just pull the dang thing out. He did with the promise of it going back in if I didn't urinate within 6 hours. Fortunately, but with much pain and irritation I did so within 4 hours.
Here's where it's really Ouch :( Due to the delicate nature of the surgery, nerves were stretched and moved, Arteries were carefully worked around and muscles cut and repaired, The morbidity of this surgery was much worse than I expected. While the Team is very pleased with the results, I wasn't mentally nor physicaly prepared.
I have a large very nasty looking scar on the left side of my neck with what looks like holes the size of golf balls. It looks horrid! I have a tube draining fluids coming out of my neck and a little collection ball pined to my t-shirt. My left ear is totally numb and the feeling will most likely never return. My tongue is numb and the feeling should return in 4-5 months but not 100%. I have left shoulder pain and limited movement. Head and neck movement is obviously limited. I have physical therapy prescribed and will have to work on this pretty hard in order to get some of it back. I had thought I would be able to go back to work next Wednesday but there's no way! I have to go to my local ENT next week to get the drainage tube pulled and I have to return to Baltimore to have the staples removed (all 20 of them). The pain is averaging 4-6 or more until the meds kick in. So the discomfort along with the fact I look like an experiment of Dr Frankenstein has me down and out for a little while.
After this comes the appointment with the Team to discuss the treatment plan. It's still looking like early March.