11 February 2016

Swollen Bear Is Swollen

My keratocystic odontogenic tumor was finally cut out of me earlier this week, and now I have a large gap where it used to be that needs to slowly fill with the appropriate tissues. The procedure was carried out by three surgeons and was rather intense, including carefully separating my exposed inferior alveolar nerve from tumor tissue, but they put me back together so well that my jaw did not need to be wired and I can even speak fairly well. I am now recovering quite comfortably thanks to good medication. I am on a liquid diet for a few days but will be on a soft diet before the week is over. Also of note: At no point in time did anyone at the hospital ask me which three oral surgeons I find the sexiest in the whole clinic, yet those were coincidentally the very three who did the job.

The illustration
“Mr. Bear Came Down with the Mumps,” illustration by L. J. Bridgman for “The Strange Story of Mr. Dog and Mr. Bear—The Christmas Tree,” by Mabel Fuller Blodgett, St. Nicholas, Dec. 1915, 185. (In the public domain.) (Internet Archive) (Flickr)

09 February 2016

My Surgery Is Nigh

The time has finally come when the keratocystic odontogenic tumor (KCOT) about which I have been complaining for more than a year will be cut out of me. A few facts about my procedure:

— The tumor extends from my left wisdom tooth down my jawline to the further (right) side of my chin. Over the course of my long treatment, it was hoped the tumor would shrink. Although it has indeed shrunk, it got flatter and narrower but not significantly shorter. This means I still need quite a long incision for it to be excised, which I estimate from a tape measure held to my face to be at least six inches.

— Because this type of tumor is particularly aggressive, every last little bit of it needs to be scraped out, which necessitates removal of bone tissue at least a millimeter deep from parts of my mandible that are in contact with it. I will also need annual visits to an oral surgeon for the rest of my life to ensure the tumor doesn’t recur.

— There will be direct manipulation of my inferior alveolar nerve by my surgeons. Such intimate interaction with the nerves may leave me with some paresthesia on my face, possibly for the rest of my life. I admit I am concerned about whether my verbal articulation will be affected, and if so, how much.

— My jaw may be immobilized after surgery, and I will eat only a soft diet for a time. In preparation, I have stocked my apartment with soup, sauce, baby food, ḥummuṣ, yoqurt, butter, sour cream, cottage cheese etc.

I have great confidence in my surgeons’ abilities so I find I am not fearful. I will write about the recovery in the upcoming days as I expect to have more time to be online than ever before. See you later.

The drawing
Fig. 88, “Patient with dentigerous cyst,” uncredited illustration in Injuries and Diseases of the Jaws: The Jacksonian Prize Essay of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, 1867, 3rd ed., by Christopher Heath, Philadelphia: P. Blakiston, Son & Co., 1884, 192. (In the public domain.) (Internet Archive) (Flickr)