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.

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.

Parotid Surgery

A couple of months ago I mentioned that I had pain in my saliva gland aka my Parotid gland.  I went to the doctor who gave me an anti-biotic medicine and said I may need surgery and even asked me if that was what I wanted.  He sent me to Kern Medical Center and that surgeon told me that I had Sialolithiasis which is apparently a very common thing.  I’ve never heard of it.

The surgeon at KMC gave me some options, have it removed with a scope in L.A. or have surgery to remove the entire gland.  My partner didn’t want me to have it removed because it would leave a huge unsightly scar.  He said we could go to L.A. to have that procedure, but then we discussed how many trips we would probably end up making, so he changed his mind.  See, I told the surgeon that I wanted to have him perform the surgery because I knew it would cost money to drive to L.A., and you know that I would have to come 2 or 3 times.  But the surgeon today told me that the stones are too big to be removed with a scope anyway.  The scope would fit in the, I’m just going to call it a vein, but the stones were way too big to be pulled out of said vein.  So surgery is my only option.

My surgery will be in late November, which just happens to be 1 week before Thanksgiving, and I will have a port in the back that will drain into a container which I will have to be mindful of.  I will have to keep that on me for 1 week and then he will remove it.

On one hand I’m very excited to finally have this removed to fix my problem, but on the other hand I’m not looking forward to having a huge scar on my face lol.  I mean, if that’s what it takes to end this constant agony then so be it, but why did it have to be my face?  Why couldn’t the gland be inside my mouth?  Or why couldn’t the stone be somewhere in my stomach where I never have to worry about people seeing my scar?  Why of all places did it have to be on my face?  I mean, I’m not a model so it doesn’t matter, it’s not like I’m going to lose any modeling gigs, but still.  You never want to do something that will put a scar on the first thing people look at when they see you, or bring too much attention to yourself when you are trying to stay invisible.

Well, it’s inevitable, so there is nothing I can do but learn to live with it.  I’m sure the scar won’t be too bad and I can use scar creams that will make it disappear, so there is something to look forward to.  I’m just glad the pain will finally be gone soon.

So until November…