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.

Advertisements

Jumping Through Hoops For Surgery

Life isn’t fair, is it?  Murphy’s law says that if something can go wrong, it will.  Well, something is very wrong with how long it is taking to get my surgery.  I have been in pain, no, agony for going on 2 months now and I was told I could get surgery to help, yet I don’t see it coming.

I was diagnosed with Sialolithiasis which means my right Parotid gland (saliva gland) has stones in it.  You know how you get kidney stones?  Well, the saliva gland can get stones too.  The problem is that the stones are preventing the saliva from being released into my mouth and that causes it to swell up.  I can push on it and I can feel the saliva squirt into my mouth, and that relieves the pressure which is very painful.  I have been doing that for years, yes this has been happening to me for many years.  I would guess up to 10 years that I can recall.  I know it’s more, but I can’t be sure when it began.

So first thing that happened was it started and I waited a few days to call the doctor.  I figured that it has happened so many times in my adulthood and that I was almost positive it would go away from pushing on it, but it wasn’t going away, it was just getting worse and worse and there was a blockage preventing the saliva from releasing.  I made an appointment which meant I had to wait for a weekend.  I went to the doctor and he gave me an antibiotic and saw me again in 7 days.  I came back in 7 days and he gave me another antibiotic and told me that I might need surgery.  If this antibiotic doesn’t help in another week then I could get surgery if I chose to.

Naturally, it didn’t go away after that 2nd week.  In the past it has always gone away after taking the antibiotics, but this one has stayed with me.  He sent me to have an ultrasound which showed that I had a stone that was 1cm.  Look at your ruler, that’s nearly half an inch.  He then referred me to an Ear, Nose, Throat specialist who sent me for an CT scan with contrast which showed that I have multiple stones, not just on the right side, but also on the left.  The left side swells up as well, but not as bad as the right side.  The doctor said that the left side were much smaller, so it’s not as big of an emergency as the right side is.

The ENT doctor referred me to a surgeon at Kern Medical Center aka KMC which I always joke and call it KFC.  He gave me my options and I chose to go to LA, but then changed my mind and wanted to have him do the surgery.  Before he can do anything, he needs my original doctor to sign off on it because I have some other health concerns that had to be tested before he would do surgery.  My doctor had blood drawn and did an EKG which showed heart trouble.  UGH!

heart monitor I finally went to the heart doctor today and they gave me another EKG and put a heart monitor on me that I have to wear for 24 hours.  It has been recording since around 2pm or so.  I had to change my physical therapy for my scoliosis issue tomorrow from 10:45am to 2:30pm.  I hope that gives them a full 24 hours, but the nurse told me that I could take it off before 24 hours was up if I had to.  They also made 2  more appointments for me, one in 2 weeks and then another in October.

October?  What?  I needed my surgery like a month ago!  I’m so sick of this pain.  I mean, the pain isn’t as bad as it was for 2 months, but it’s still bad.  The pain from my saliva gland makes me think my teeth need to be pulled.  I know having my teeth pulled isn’t the answer because that’s not where the pain is coming from, the pain is just travelling to those places.  When I don’t have pain in my saliva gland then my teeth are fine.  If the problem was my teeth then I would feel the pain in my teeth when I didn’t feel pain in my saliva gland.

So I am hoping that I can get my surgery in October because I don’t think I can wait very much longer after that.  I just can’t take it anymore.  Nobody should have to live in constant pain every day like this.  There really isn’t anything I can do, so I guess I have no choice but to deal with it.  I really hope that it gets taken care of soon.

Today I found out that I have Sialolithiasis

Sialolithiasis

I have been dealing with a problem in my right saliva gland, called the parotid gland, for at least the last 10 years.  It comes and goes at the least 2 times and at the most 5 times per year.  The doctors have always given me antibiotics, or by the time I get to the doctor it has gone down so I don’t mention it.  This time around I had the issue and I made a special appointment for it because it was too painful to ignore.

inches and centimetersThe doctor put me on antibiotics which lasted 1 week.  I saw him a week later and was still in pain and it was still swollen and he gave me more antibiotics.  Because it wasn’t going away, he sent me to get an ultrasound and when he found out that it was 1cm, he suggested surgery, but asked me if that was what I wanted.  Not everyone wants to have surgery which would scar you, so he wanted to know what I wanted to have done.  For scale, see image (left).

He referred me to an Ear Nose Throat doctor who sent me for a cat scan with contrast and when I saw him on Wednesday, he told me that I needed to go to yet another doctor.  Are all these doctors getting a kick back for these referrals?  I mean honestly, why do I need to have so many referrals?  Anyway, he was trying to send me to Los Angeles and I told him that I’d rather go to a doctor here in Bakersfield because I don’t want to have to drive (well, I don’t drive, I’d have to be driven) all the way to Los Angeles just for a consultation to be told that I have to come back for the surgery and then after surgery.

So I went to a doctor at Kern Medical Center today for the consultation and he told me that I have 4 options

  1. Live with it.
  2. Ultrasound which they don’t do there and my insurance doesn’t cover.
  3. Surgery where they use a scope to go in there with a camera and grab the stone and pull it out, which is also not available there, I would have to go to LA and most likely make several trips, which we can’t afford and my insurance might not pay for it.
  4. Have him do surgery to remove the entire gland and give me a huge scar.

I decided on option 4, but when I told my partner out in the lobby he said “Oh no tell him you want to go to LA.”  Without thinking I went back to the counter and said I need to tell the doctor that I want to go to LA.  Then we got to talking, my insurance company probably won’t want to pay for that because I bet you that will cost more than having it removed.  Plus, we’d still have to go all the way to LA and probably make several trips.  I can’t afford that dammit!  If I could have afforded that, then I would have just done that in the beginning.  Sheesh!

Well, the doctor at KMC told me that before he can do the surgery (when I had told him I was up for option 4) he needs my doctor to sign off on it.  So I made an appointment for Tuesday of next week so I could talk to him and tell him that I need him to call that doctor’s office and give them his okay.

This is what I have.  It’s called Sialolithiasis.

parotid gland “Sialolithiasis (also termed salivary calculi,[1] or salivary stones),[1] is a condition where a calcified mass forms within a salivary gland, usually in the duct of the submandibular gland (2) (also termed “Wharton’s duct“). Less commonly the parotid gland (1) or rarely the sublingual gland (3) or a minor salivary gland may develop salivary stones.”

This is what he said will happen.  They will have to start cutting right at the edge of my sideburn just at or near the top of my ear which is where my glasses are, go all the way down below my earlobe and turn towards my neck and go down my neck.  It’s a big gland as you can see in the image above, so naturally they have to cut a lot.  He said there will be a pretty big scar, but I’m okay with that.  Neosporin has a cream for scars to help them disappear.

I have no issue with scars.  In fact, I feel scars give you character.  Perhaps the doctor will let me keep the stone so I can have something to show when I tell the story of how I got that scar on my face.

As always, I will keep updating this blog on the progress.

Swollen Parotid Gland

swollen parotid gland

There is this strange thing that happens to me at the very least 1 time and at the most 4 times per year.  My Parotid glands swell up because there is a blockage and it hurts like a mother effer.  I wouldn’t normally use such profanity, but it really hurts lol.

What is the Parotid gland?  Nobody has ever heard that term, but apparently it’s a saliva gland.  This is where your saliva comes from, well, one of the many glands anyway.  I am not a medical professional or even a student so don’t listen to what I’m about to say if you expect to get an education from this, this is only my assumption based on my experience with this.

So you have these glands that produce your saliva.  They release saliva through veins that run from the gland to the inside of your mouth and it oozes out into your mouth.  If there is a block, your gland fills up with saliva and you can literally push on it and you can feel, and even see saliva squirting out of the inside of your cheek either into your mouth, or on the bathroom mirror depending on the direction of the vein and the position you are facing the mirror.  No joke lol.

When I feel it filling up, I push on it and it releases the saliva which gives me some relief, but sometimes the block is so bad that even pushing on it won’t release the saliva.  This happens to me all the time.  Although, pushing on it really hurts until the saliva squirts out, but then it still hurts, but it does give me some relief for a while until it fills back up.  I try not to think of anything that will make me salivate, but then everything makes me salivate.  I can’t win.  It’s like trying to think about baseball when you have an erection, it doesn’t always work.

About 2 weeks ago I could feel swelling and pain from my Parotid gland and we went to our regular appointment and the doctor gave me some antibiotics which was supposed to help.  The doctor told me that if it doesn’t help then I may need surgery.  When we went back a week later it seemed like it had gotten better because it wasn’t as swollen.  The doctor asked me if I wanted surgery and I said it wasn’t necessary.  Oh boy was I wrong.

Saturday evening the Parotid gland had swollen up again so I pushed on it and the saliva went through the veins, but then got stuck so there was a little bubble with saliva sitting in that vein and it couldn’t exit.  It’s still there.  That one little tiny mistake has given me massive amounts of pain since Saturday night.  I’m not the kind of person who cries when he’s in pain because I am literally always in pain so I’m used to it.  When I broke my arm earlier this year I didn’t cry once.  This swollen Parotid gland and saliva bubble pain is so bad that I want to cry.  I haven’t, but I want to.  Or maybe I’ve just bottled my pain emotion so much that I just want to let it out lol.

So I called the doctor’s office yesterday and they scheduled me to come in today at 11:30 a.m.  The doctor gave me a prescription for Norco as well as 2 antibiotics which he said I don’t take right away, he said to wait for it to get worse.  WORSE?  Holy crap!  I went to Truxton Radiology and had an ultrasound then went back to the doctor’s office to have blood drawn for a test specifically for this problem.  He said I will get a letter in the mail with the information for the surgeon referral which will most likely have the appointment in the letter with an address.

I am ready for this thing to go away.  You have no idea how ready I am lol.  I am just sick and tired of being in pain all the time.  If it’s not one thing, it’s another.  If it’s not my curving back which turns out to be scoliosis, then it’s my freakin’ Parotid gland.  I guess that means I’m getting old lol.

Doctor’s Appointment

doctor who

We went to the doctor’s office today, and no, the doctor’s office wasn’t in a TARDIS lol.  Doctor Who fans will get that, anyone else will be like what is he talking about?

We had our regular appointment that we made last month and it’s very convenient that I was sick at this particular time of the month because I needed to see a doctor.  I have chest congestion, nasal congestion, a sore throat and my saliva gland is swollen causing a lot of pain there and tooth pain.  Of course, he can’t do anything about the toothache, but the tooth is only hurting because of my saliva gland, I’m assuming.

He gave me a prescription for Bactrim which is an antibiotic for my saliva gland.  That happens to me a lot with my saliva gland.  I think it happens two or three times per year and it usually goes down by the time we see the doctor so I never bring it up.  One time it was happening around the same time we saw the doctor and I was prescribed an antibiotic and I don’t remember if it helped, but I do know that this is not a normal thing to happen.  He told me to come back in 5 days and if it’s still swollen then he will send me to get a cat scan and I might need surgery.  When we came home I looked in my mouth and saw a black spot on the inside of my cheek which is probably what is causing the blockage in the saliva gland.

drawing-of-spine-deformities-scoliosis-and-kyphosis-curvature-of-the-spine-and-hunchback-or-round-ba

Last month I had some x-rays on my back and today he told me that I have a curve in my spine.  He didn’t specify which way it was curved, but he told me I need to sit up straight more so I assume it’s the one on the right in the image to the left.  So I need to learn to sit up straight because I have a tendency to slouch.  When I’m sitting on the bed, the couch, my desk chair, my bike and anywhere else, and even while I’m standing, I’m always slouching.  It’s mainly because I’m always trying to be as relaxed as I can because of the back pain.  Perhaps what I need is a brace to force me to sit or stand up straight.  I would totally wear that if that would help.

I try to take good care of my body but I guess I’m not doing as good of a job as I should if I am having all these health issues.  I have no one to blame but myself.

I mentioned that I haven’t lost any weight this month and he said that it’s okay because I have been riding my bike and he said you shouldn’t expect to lose any weight since you are building muscle, which we all know weighs more than fat.  He said that he likes me at the weight I am right now, so he’s happy with how far I have come.

Left Me at IHOP January 1, 2013 – Right Me at Morro Bay July 25, 2013

What a difference a change in diet makes.  I went from eating whatever crap I wanted, whenever I damn well felt like, to watching what I ate, counting my calories and only eating healthy foods and using the Noom app and I lost 70lbs.  I not only look healthy, but I feel healthy.  I am very happy with my progress.

2009 before I was looking for a specific photo yesterday in an old folder and I found a picture of myself from 2009 and I was even fatter than my before picture.  I looked like a balloon.  I couldn’t believe how fat I was.  I remember taking that picture too.  I was trying to get a good picture that I could use as my profile picture for the blog and all of my social networks like Facebook and Twitter, but I looked too blown up so I didn’t use it, but I didn’t delete it either for some reason.  OMG I can’t believe how fat I was.  Holy cow!  So yeah, I am never going to let that happen again.  As embarrassing as that picture is, I still feel like perhaps it would make a good before picture lol.

So I have to go fill this prescription and I will see the doctor again next week about my swollen saliva gland.  I really hope it goes down because I am sick of always being in pain.