Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Swallowing after a total glossectomy

Well, At 615 this AM I was able to swallow water for the first time in over 8 weeks. Now it is only little tiny bits of water. Nothing like what you all can swallow. BUT, I'll take it. for the first time in a long time, my throat feels moistened. When I took some water into my mouth and tilted my head back, I swallowed. I could feel the water go all the way down. from the back of my throat to the bottom of the belly. Man I tell you, the things we all take for granted.


I can remember when swallowing water, coffee, or chugging gatoraide was nothing but a normal reflex. All those muscles that are required to make that one simple thing happen, one does not realize. Take away the tongue and see how much you miss. A total glossectomy sucks in more than one way. But the ability to swallow is in the top of the list from my view point. T he Doctor is talking about a special made upper denture that will allow me to be able to swallow even better somehow. I have that appointment in about 2 weeks. And yes they are talking about being able to swallow food as well. Right now, I do not know how that will be possible. I can not see that in my neat future at all. But is sure sounds pretty good. Time will tell.

This is months of recoop time and progress comes in small baby steps. This is something I still have issues with. But no matter what my mind says... my body says....tough stuff!

What will come next? I am not sure. Hopefully the numbness and pain will all go away and the range of motion will return to normal. Again....small baby steps. As have said before, Day by day!

Till next time


JR

Friday, November 7, 2008

Recovering from Total Glossectomy and Neck Disection

When you have such a serious suregery such as this, is does take a lot of time to get over it and try to get back to normal. This surgery is a very difficult and most serious one that will put you on your butt for weeks and will take months to fully recoop from it. It is very hard phycologicaly on you. Some people need antidepressants to help them through it. Nothing shamefull about it. I almost did myself. But I am making it through it without them. I was fortunate to have a lot of family around to help me through the rough spots. They took my whole tongue, 7 lymph glands, half my jaw bone on the lower left side and relocated my left pec muscle to act as a fake tongue. It will never do anything but help cover the hole where my tongue was. It cuts alot of nerves and my shoulder, ear and left side of my face is all numb. When the nerves start to come back I get shooting pains which without meds are horrible.  At first I was just toughing it out.  Then I thought......WHY?  I should not have too.  So we called the Doc and NOW.......I am doing much better and I am happier without so much pain.  I still have it, but the new meds, make if much more able to deal with it.  

This has not been an easy road for me at all.  I know that I have pushed those helping me to the edge.  I do not mean to. But as I said, this is not an easy road to travel.  I have NEVER been through so much before in my entire life.  Some say, well, John, I think you are brave and courageous.  I say, NOPE, I just have no choice.  I tell you all, this type of surgery for this type of cancer will make a wuss out of any man.  I know that I am painting a pretty grim picture here.  But this is not easy to deal with. I deal with it because I have too.  I deal with it to survive.  I deal with it because I wish to live rather than die.  But I damn sure do not have to like it!  I know that all this will pass and I will be able to accept the new norm.  It is a challenge to do that. But all things come with in time.  Time heals all wounds as they say.  

I am going though Physical Therapy now and I am doing well.  My range of motion is increasing.  I can now lift my arm up to my head and turn my head to the side more now.  This was something that I could not do last week.  My eyes got as big as a dollar coin when I lifted my arm up that far.  Shocked myself.  Later I shall be going through speech therapy in order to learn how to talk without a tongue.  I do ok, but unless you are here with me, it is hard to understand a lot of what I say.  They say they will also teach me how to swallow again and possibly, eat.  I said...WHAT?  They said eat.  Yes it is possible to eat without a tongue.  HUMMMM, whodathunkit?  

Last night I went my my son's football game.  They were undefeated the whole season.  Coach Engle, gave me side line seats on the end zone.  That was cool.  But the BEST part of the whole night.... the coach came out and thanked me for coming. Then he shook my hand.  Then the whole darn offensive line came up and either hugged me , shook my hand or a combination of both.  That was the most unbelievable experience for me.  It showed not only a lot of respect for me but showed a huge camaraderie for my son as well.  It also showed just how much class those guys had.  Though they will not continue on to the state finals, they have earned my respect and continued support.  Thanks to all of the Whiteland Highschool Football Team.  GO WARRIORS! 

 In the midst of all the doom and gloom that I have been experiencing,  that really lifted my spirits.  The amount of gratitude can not be put into words, so I simply say...... Thank You.


Till next time

John