One more week with a tube

parotid gland surgery week 2

Last week on November 20th I had my surgery to remove my Parotid gland because I had a stone that was basically the size of a marble which was preventing saliva from being released into my mouth.

If yesterday was not Thanksgiving, today I would be at the surgery clinic getting the tube removed from my neck.  Since the surgeon is only in the surgery clinic on Fridays, I will have to wait another week to have the tube removed.  It’s been more than a few days since anything drained into the tube, so it’s not doing me any good being in there.

I’ve had more pain in the last few days from the swelling than I had when I first had the surgery.  There didn’t seem to be too much swelling in the beginning, it only started swelling after 5 days.  Today it still seems swelled up, but the pressure isn’t bothering me.  Then again, the day isn’t over yet and I’m thinking about getting the ice pack to help the pressure.

It doesn’t seem to be as red today as it has been so that is a good sign.  When I say red, I don’t mean the sutures, I mean my cheek and ear.  It seems from the picture to be a good healthy color.

Next Friday can’t come quick enough though because I really can’t wait for this tube to be removed lol.  It’s more embarrassing than anything.  Last night I went to our neighbors house and totally forgot myself and I went over there with just my shirt and jeans.  I should have remembered to wear my hoodie so I could have covered my head and my tube.  It didn’t freak anyone out except for me lol.  Oh well.

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Day 5 After Parotidectomy Surgery

surgery scar 5 days

My surgery was on November 20th so it has been 5 days and I thought I would take a picture to show my progress.  It appears that my ear is swelling up and my face is a lot redder than it was.  I had just gotten out of the bath tub when I took the picture on the right, but it has been more than an hour since then and it is still just as red.  All of the red area is completely numb.

The way the doctor cut my face and stitched it up was perfect.  He followed my ear all the way down and went behind my ear lobe before going down following the line of my beard.  Genius!  In my opinion, he did an excellent job.  I saw pictures of other people who had the same surgery and their incisions didn’t look this good, so I feel very blessed that I had such an artist.

My face has a golf ball sized hole in front of my ear where my gland used to be swollen.  I figured it would have filled in by now, but it is still dented.  I’m sure it will fill in, I’m not worried about that.  It is still numb too.

The only thing that isn’t numb is where the tube is sticking out.  I don’t really care too much for having a tube sticking out of my neck.  It would be awesome if I didn’t have to have it in me for 2 whole weeks.  It was supposed to be removed after 7 days, and they even wrote a note on the paperwork that said “Follow-up KMC ENT Clinic next Friday.”  Well, that is the day after Thanksgiving and they are closed that day.  The reason they said Friday and not Wednesday is because that surgeon is only in the surgery clinic on Friday.  I guess he is the only one who can take the tube out so I will have to wait until December 6th.

I have been catching up on my sleep.  Today I woke up to the sound of my alarm on my phone to tell me to take my pills at 8am.  I had other pills to take at 10am and it had to wake me up again for those.  Then my partner woke me up at 12:30pm and I decided I wanted to get out of bed.  I don’t like sleeping the day away lol.

Another good thing about this is that I am losing weight again.  That’s not always a good thing because the reason I am losing weight is because of the medication, but I am using that to my advantage.  I am normally always hungry, so since I don’t feel too hungry all the time, I am eating the same amount of food I ate when I lost 70lbs.  I have been eating a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerio’s for breakfast with a banana and Silk Vanilla Light Almond Milk.  I ate a Yoplait light Strawberry yogurt at 10am which is my usual snack time and I ate a Weight Watchers Smart Ones meal with Fettuccine Alfredo and Chicken.  It is my 3pm snack time now so I will have a banana, then at dinner I will have another Weight Watchers Smart Ones meal.

When I stopped losing weight in July, I was still eating this same diet, although I was eating a little bit more food and I wasn’t getting a lot of sleep which seems to be the key.  I am getting more sleep now and eating the right foods, so I am losing weight again.  When I stopped losing weight I was 192lbs, but then I went back up to 202lbs and fluctuated between 202 and 210.  Last week when I had my surgery I was 208.  Today I am 199.8.  So I will just keep doing what I am doing to help get me back down to 192.  Whatever it takes, right?  This was the boost I needed and hopefully I will continue to lose weight.

Well, back to bed I go.

Recovering from Surgery

I am still recovering from surgery.  Been laying in bed reading the 12th Xanth book “Man From Mundania”.  The meds make me very sleepy though, so it’s hard to concentrate, but I do my best.  My face around my ear and my ear are still numb and it feels very odd to be numb and itchy at the same time.  I’ve never had surgery so naturally I had no idea what this would be like.

There is a tube sticking out of my neck to drain the fluids that I was only supposed to have for 1 week, but since the doctor is only there on Fridays and they are closed the day after Thanksgiving, I have to have the tube for 2 weeks.  It doesn’t bother me, but I was hoping to not have it any more than I have to because it hurts sometimes when I accidentally pull on it.  It’s also very disgusting lol.  We usually go to Golden Corral on Thanksgiving because it’s easier to have them do all the work, but with the stitches and the tube, I just can’t see me walking around a restaurant filling my plate without feeling like I’m being stared at and judged.  I already had someone blatantly staring at my stitches while talking to me and seeing the disgusted look on his face which made me never want to leave the house again.

I honestly don’t mind the cooking and cleaning, but since it is just the two of us and we really don’t need to cook that much food, it doesn’t make much sense buying and cooking so many different dishes.  I think if we can just get some chicken for the crock pot, a couple of potatoes and a couple of yams and a pumpkin pie we should be fine.  That’s really all I care to eat anyway.

I haven’t been eating as much as I normally have been.  I don’t know if it’s the medicine, but I’m just not hungry which means I am losing weight.  Yes, I have literally lost 6lbs since Wednesday.  I love knowing that I am losing weight, but not because the medicine is making me sick, but because I’m eating right and trying to lose weight.  I don’t know if that makes sense.

Well, I really just wanted to do a status update, but I was up to 3 paragraphs and I figured it was big enough for a blog post so I switched over to blogging lol.  I’m finished so back to bed for me.

Parotidectomy Surgery

parotidectomy surgery

Yesterday was my parotidectomy surgery to remove the entire parotid gland on the right side of my face.  It’s also known as the saliva gland.  There were several stones that were blocking the path which caused the saliva to stay in my gland causing it to stretch, which hurt like a mother trucker.

When I woke up in the recovery room I was totally confused.  I had no idea where I was or how I got there.  I felt like I had been in a car accident, like a Mack truck crashed into my face lol.  That’s a bit severe, but you know what I mean.  I had trouble waking up too.  You know how when you didn’t get enough sleep the night before and people are forcing you to wake up and your body is fighting you and you can barely open your eyes?  That’s how it was waking up in recovery.  I wanted to wake up, but I was having a hard time.

The nurse came over to me to talk to me.  I asked her what happened, why I was here because I was still confused, but then the memory of what happened started coming back to me.  I said oh wait I remember.  She asked me why I was there and I said to remove my parotid gland.

The doctor came to me and was telling me what he found.  The cat scan with contrast told them that the stone was 1cm which is pretty big, but it wasn’t just 1 stone, there were 3.  After the surgery, he told me that it was the size of his pinky finger tip, you know the part of the tip that has the nail and he held his fingers up to where the finger bends.  That was how big it was.  Plus he said there was a lot of infection in the gland.  He sent it to the lab.

He wanted me to come back in 7 days to remove the tubing that is sticking out of my neck into a ball which collects the drainage, and I just called them to make that appointment, but this doctor is only in the surgery clinic on Friday’s and he won’t be there next week due to Thanksgiving.  She wanted to make the appointment for December 6th and I was like whoa, I thought I only had to have this for 7 days.  I asked her to ask the doctor to call me to tell me what to do.  Since he is only in the clinic on Friday, I hope he calls me this Friday to tell me what he suggests I do.  If I can just come in as a walk in and have them remove the tube then that would be fantastic, otherwise I will have to wait until December 6th to have it removed.

During surgery, they intubated me to help me breathe.  When I speak now, it’s with a lower volume and a softer tone.  I’m sure it’s temporary, but I kind of like it lol.

Dr. Trang at Kern Medical Center did a wonderful job with the surgery.  He made sure that my nerves weren’t damaged and the stitches are beautiful and I know it will heal nicely so you barely even notice them.  Scar cream is a bit on the expensive side, but I will use some of that to make the scar go away.

2013-11-21_13-07-57Anyway, he prescribed 2 medications for me.  Keflex which is an antibiotic and Percocet for pain.  I have never taken Percocet before so I don’t know if it’s addictive or not.  I hope not because I don’t like to have any vices.  It says it’s Oxycodone/Acetaminophen which is generic for Percocet.

I told my aunt that I was taking Keflex which by the way I’ve taken before.  She told me that it will cause a yeast infection (YIKES!) so I need to eat at least 1 yogurt a day.  My yogurt of choice is Yoplait.

I fortunately don’t have any pain and I am not as exhausted as I thought I would be.  I mean I’m not laying in bed feeling sorry for myself.  I actually have my normal amount of energy if you can believe that.  My partner said that it looks like the hole in my face is already starting to fill up.  I don’t know how, and I certainly can’t see it filling up or what it would be filling up with.  I’m positive that everything will go back into place and the scar won’t be too bad and everything will be fine.  I don’t have any worries.

Here are a few more pictures.

Surgery Day

operation

Tomorrow is the day I have been waiting for since August.  It is the day that my parotid gland will finally be removed and I will no longer suffer from the pain that it causes me.

There have been some good days and there have been some bad days, mostly bad days.  There was a whole week when I didn’t have any pain at all and I started wondering if perhaps I should just not have the surgery and live with it, but then the pain would come back and that would confirm that I do in fact want to continue with the surgery.

I have been quite depressed lately, not just because of the pain that I’ve had, but also because of the fact that I am having surgery 1 week before Thanksgiving and I will have a fresh scar on Thanksgiving day.  If we were staying at home or visiting family that wouldn’t be a big deal, but we always go to Golden Corral for Thanksgiving.  It’s just easier and less expensive.  I’m not depressed about the fresh scar anymore because I’m sure it will be fine in a week.  I don’t know that for a fact, but I’m sure it will be fine.

I will have a tube (I don’t know how they are going to do that, will there be like an IV port coming out of my neck?) draining fluids for 7 days which will be removed the day before Thanksgiving.  I can deal with that.  I mean, it’s only a week, right?  I don’t have any plans on leaving the house during that week.  I plan on lots of bed rest and catching up on my reading.  I’ve neglected my Nook for such a long time, it’s time for an excuse to read a book or two, or three.

Anyway, I’m not scared or nervous.  I’m sure it will all work out and I will take pictures when it’s over and more pictures next week when the tube is removed the day before Thanksgiving to show how much I’ve healed.

What more is there to say?

What more is there to say?

Before I discovered Twitter and Facebook, I used to blog up to 6 times per day.  With Twitter I can sum up my thoughts in 140 characters and with Facebook even more.  That took the fun out of blogging which is why I don’t blog as often as I used to.

I’ve come to the point where I honestly can’t think of anything to say, even in a 140 character tweet.  Yesterday I was bored and said this:

“They say if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all, but something is better than nothing.”

I think this was directed at myself because I don’t say much anymore.

Lately all I do is sit here looking at all the wonderful and sometimes snotty things other people say in their tweets and/or Facebook updates and think to myself, why didn’t I think of that?  Why can’t I think of anything to say anymore?

Today I was bored and said this:

“When you don’t get any mail you think “No news is good news.” But sometimes it’s nice to get SOMETHING, even if it’s just coupons.”

What’s the point of even having social networks anymore?  I become friends with people and never say a word until their birthday and then all I say is Happy Birthday.  I’d love to read more books or play one of my MMORPG games, but I can’t even get into those because I’ve become bored with them.  Is the problem that I’ve just become bored with everything?

I’ve been playing The Sims Freeplay on my phone a lot more than I used to play it, but only because I have something to accomplish and I’m guessing when I accomplish all of my tasks I will get bored with it again.  What I need is something to be excited about.  I remember playing EverQuest for sometimes 16 hours a day every day for 8 years until I became bored with it because everyone in my guild left to either go into another guild or to play the newest game.  I also started playing other games, like Lord of the Rings Online, but I had nobody to play with so I eventually got bored with that and the same thing happened with EverQuest 2 and DC Universe Online.  MMORPG games are more fun when you have people to play with.

Well it seems that I had more to say than I thought, but that seems to be all I can think of for now.

Depression About Surgery

scarIn August I went to the doctor to get help for an issue I was having with my parotid gland on my right side.  I had a cat scan with contrast and they found several stones and the only way that I can get them out is with surgery to remove the entire gland.  The problem is, it will leave a huge scar on the side of my face that will look like the image to the left.

Most people wouldn’t want to have a huge scar on their face of all places.  I mean, a scar on your arm or your leg or stomach is normal, but your face, that’s like the one place that you want to keep scar free.  Well, without thinking I said that if this is my only option other than living with it, then just do it because I can’t continue living with this horrible pain.

I still feel that I want to get the surgery, but I have also sort of gone into a depression knowing that I’m going to have this on my face soon.  Not only will I have this on November 20th, but I will have a tube sticking out for 7 days which means it will be removed the day before Thanksgiving.  I will have a fresh scar during the holidays.  I know that the holidays are just like any other day to me, but I still don’t understand why I couldn’t have had the surgery by now so it’s all healed up BEFORE the holidays.  I mean, this started in August and we’re in November now.

I’m sorry, I’m scatterbrained.  I’m just going through something right now.  I know it’s all mental, but still, I just don’t want to have to be out in public with this on my face for Thanksgiving, especially since we always go to a restaurant for that holiday.  I know it’s probably silly and you are thinking oh get a grip, get over it, but wouldn’t you be worried about this too?

This is going to go one of two ways, one I will be fine and I won’t think it’s that big of a deal and we will go out and eat and it will be fine.  Or, I will be so depressed that I won’t be able to get out of bed until New Years.

The issue here is this is my face, which is the first thing that people see.  People judge you as a person before they even talk to you.  I know, RuPaul says it’s none of my business what other people think of me and I usually think that too, but it’s my FACE!  Why does this have to happen to me just before Thanksgiving, or at all for that matter?

As if I haven’t been through enough in my life with being diagnosed with HIV at age 21, then upgraded to AIDS at 23, being diagnosed with having Parkinson’s, Scoliosis, being homeless as a teenager just because I was gay and being abused throughout my childhood.  It just seems like I am a target for something messed up.  Why me?  Why do I have such a messed up life?

Well, I guess I should just be thankful that I am still alive despite the fact that I was supposed to die in 2000 and nearly died in 2002 from Steven-Johnson syndrome, which is another messed up thing that happened to me lol.  Eh hem, as I was saying, at least I have a roof over my head and I’m somewhat healthy and not homeless.

I suppose it could be worse.  I could be homeless and not have any medical insurance and would have to just live with the pain for the rest of my life.  So I guess I should be lucky that I can have the surgery.  But I still can’t help but feel depressed about the scar.  UGH!  Life sucks.