The nerve of some people

nerves-facial-morris

The subject of this blog is not a complaint about someone’s character, rather a discussion on nerves, more particularly the nerves in my face since my Parotidectomy surgery in November.

You can read the details of my surgery in the link in the previous paragraph, or I can give you the cliff notes version.  I had a stone growing in my saliva gland and it had to be removed because it was causing a massive amount of pain.  It was removed by a surgeon at the Kern Medical Center on November 20th 2013.  It left me with a huge scar and a golf ball sized chunk taken out of my face.  It has been numb ever since, but the feeling is coming back, more importantly pain is coming back.

You see all those nerves in the diagram above?  Everything is connected.  Even though most of my face is numb, I can feel electrical impulses when I touch certain parts of my face.  If I touch my jaw line near my chin, I can feel electrical impulses in my earlobe.  If I touch anywhere near the incision area, I can also feel it all the way up my ear.  If I touch my earlobe, I can feel it in the spot on my jaw line near my chin from before.  There are certain areas that even the slightest touch can cause pain from the electrical impulses.  Even blowing on my skin can cause the feeling and possibly pain.

I’m not bothered by it as much as I probably should be because I know that my face is still healing.  The numbness is still there, but it is going away.  It’s like that pins and needles feeling you get when you sit on your foot for too long and your foot goes numb and then you get the pins and needles, although the pins and needles only shows up when I touch my face, and it doesn’t show up in the exact spot that I touch.  It’s a very strange feeling, but I am getting used to it.

The other day my partner touched my face and I recoiled in pain and he was a bit shocked at my overreaction, but he didn’t understand what I am feeling.  Heck, I didn’t quite understand it until now.

My last appointment with the surgeon at KMC was yesterday and he told me that there are more stones growing in the saliva gland on the left side of my face so eventually that will need to be taken care of like the right side, but that may take years to happen.  I am not going to worry about that until the pain comes from that.

Speaking of pain from nerves, am I having massive tooth pain and need to visit the dentist in May when my dental insurance kicks in again.  Right now all they will cover is emergency extractions and right now I am having an emergency in 3 or 4 teeth and I would much rather have fillings than more extractions.  I am using a sensitive toothpaste, but it doesn’t seem to be helping me very much.  I’ve flossed and flossed and that only makes it worse and my teeth are so jagged that they cut the floss in half and I can never get the floss out of between my teeth.  The Listerine helps numb the pain when I finish brushing, and sometimes I just swish with it just to numb the pain 3 or 4 times per day.

It seems I am always in pain.  I feel like I was the worst person in the history of humanity in a previous lifetime and I am paying for the bad karma in this lifetime.  I sometimes feel like I am earning some of my karma back by being a good person, but it doesn’t help at all.  I wonder who I was and what I did to deserve this.  Oh well, it doesn’t do any good dwelling on the past, especially a past I don’t have any memory of.

Anyway, I am looking forward for my next round of pain to end at least before my birthday lol.

Until next time…

New problem seems to be no problem

I mentioned in a previous post that I was having complications from my recent surgery to remove my parotid gland. The problem was that I am still generating new saliva which is causing some pain when it fills up too much and because it doesn’t drain into my mouth, but instead my neck.

I have an update on the issue. It doesn’t seem to be getting too big and I can feel it drain on its own without me having to push on it to milk it, for the lack of a better word. How it does it is very strange, it feels like sweat is running down my face along the scar along my ear. Although I am not positive that that is what it is, that could just be my scar tingling as it has been doing. I am feeling it right now as I type this because I just ate a bowl of cereal which generated some saliva in the gland.

I actually don’t know where the saliva would drain from that gland.  When I have pushed on it before, I feel a vein bulge inside of my mouth which is near where the parotid gland used to be in front of my earlobe, so it is possible that there is a vein, or tube or whatever you want to call it that allows the saliva to travel to reach its destination to release somewhere.  Perhaps that was releasing into my parotid gland which would release into my mouth, or perhaps it had a tube in common with the parotid gland, which is now gone since the parotid gland is gone.

So I don’t think that I have much to worry about. It seems to be correcting itself, despite how freaking strange it feels lol.

december 18 2013 When I look into a mirror I don’t even notice it much anymore. I mean, I see a little lump, but it looks normal considering there is still a hole beside it. The hole isn’t even that noticeable anymore. I mean, when I look at it in the mirror with a shadow on it, it’s very noticeable, but I just took a picture using the flash and you can barely see it. All you can really see is the scar, which seems to stand out along my neck. When I touch it with my fingers I can still feel a hole, but it does seem to be filling in.  When you look at the image to the left you can definitely see where the saliva is filling up in the saliva gland which has no exit into my mouth, but instead in my neck.  It’s that little marble sized ball.

I will definitely be speaking to my doctor about what is happening because he told me that there was a collection of “spit” (his words) that has collected and it will be absorbed into my body, but it’s nothing to worry about.  The very fact that it is still collecting, or generating new “spit” that is draining into my neck seems like it should be something that I should worry about, but I am sure it is hardly a problem considering if it were draining into my mouth, I would end up swallowing it, so it ends up being absorbed into my body regardless of how or where it drains, so again, I don’t see that much of a problem.

So that seems to be it for now.  My appointment with the surgeon isn’t until March, but my next appointment with my regular doctor is in January. I will mention it to both doctors and if it is an issue then I will post another update, otherwise I don’t see much of a reason to add another update on this because it doesn’t seem to be causing as much of a problem.

Parotidectomy Surgery Complications

glands

It has been 3 weeks since I had my surgery and everything seems to be healing well.  My scar isn’t red and it isn’t too noticeable, except for the scar from the hole from where the tube was draining the fluid for 2 weeks which is quite visible, but disappears with a Band-Aid.

My face and ear are still numb, although the feeling is coming back slowly, but it is coming back.  But it still feels very strange.

The only thing that seems to have gone wrong is that I still have a saliva gland that seems to still be producing saliva with nowhere to go.  According to the image, there are three glands.  Parotid, which was removed, Submandibular and Sublingual.  The Sublingual gland is under the tongue, no problem.  The gland that is still producing saliva is my Submandibular gland which is below where the Parotid gland used to be.  It is still producing saliva, but it is not releasing into my mouth.  Instead of releasing into my mouth, it stores the saliva.

This is a really big issue because that is what my Parotid gland was doing.  It wasn’t releasing the saliva, so I was having to push (or milk) it out of the gland and into my mouth.  I have been trying to do that with this gland, but it is not releasing into my mouth, instead, I can feel it releasing under my skin.  I can tell because it tingles.  I don’t want it to release saliva inside of my body, but if it doesn’t get milked, it just gets bigger and bigger and next thing you know I will be rushed to the emergency room because of how painful it is.

The surgeon told me when I came back last week to have the tube removed that it was just some saliva that will be absorbed by my body, but I had no idea it was still producing more saliva.  I only know it is producing more saliva because I could feel it getting bigger and under more pressure when I ate some chocolate the other day.  Sweet and tangy are what seem to generate a lot of saliva for me, which over the years has been a major issue for me because when I start generating a lot of saliva after drinking orange juice, my saliva gland would get backed up and it wouldn’t release the saliva into my mouth.  That’s what I was trying to get surgery for, forget the stone, I want my saliva to be able to release into my mouth as it normally would without me having to milk it.

I can live without orange juice, which I have lived without for years because I know that sour causes this issue.  The one thing I don’t think I can live without is sweet, because I have a sweet tooth.  I love sweet flavors, such as sweet tea, or sweet coffee, or sweet oatmeal.  I can live without chocolate and cookies and so on, but I can’t avoid other sweet flavors because there is almost always something sweet.

My next appointment with the surgeon isn’t until March, but my next appointment with my regular doctor is next month and he will advise me on what to do.  I just hope by then it isn’t too painful.

I was hoping that my last post on this issue was my very last post.  I guess I jinxed myself by saying it was my last post.  This seems to be a pattern with me though.  I say I will never have to worry about something again, but then it comes back and I have to worry about it some more.  It’s a “if it can go wrong, it will” type of thing.  Murphy’s Law.  Why does Murphy seem to always be hiding in the shadows cursing me?  Darn you Murphy!

I will certainly update this issue if it becomes too unbearable and I end up in the ER or when I see my doctor in January, whichever comes first.