2 Months

It has been 2 months since I broke my leg and had surgery. The picture on the left was taken last month  on 1/20/2016 and the one on the right was just taken on 2/18/2016. I wanted to show how it’s healing.

My leg still hurts from time to time if I twist my leg at the knee, but that’s about it. My partner was giving them to me every 4 hours like clockwork for the first month because he didn’t want me to be in any pain, which I appreciate. After so much time had passed, I guess he just forgot to give me the pills unless I asked for one. But that’s a good thing because I should only be taking them when I actually need them. They are so expensive that I’d rather only take them when I actually need them.

I go to Physical Therapy 3 days a week and that has helped a lot. I went to Physical Therapy at a place only a block away on the same street a couple of years ago for my back when I found out that I had scoliosis, and I didn’t like going there. I’m HIV+ and they didn’t want me to be in the open room with the rest of their clients, so they put me in a room by myself, which was very awkward because I had to ring a bell when I was done with my exercises and wait for the guy to come give me the tool for the next exercise. I didn’t tell this place that I am HIV+ because it’s not relevant. I’m not going to bleed or ejaculate on anything, so there’s no reason for them to fear me. That other place told me that they want to put me in a room by myself because they don’t want me to catch a cold from one of the other clients, but I’ve been going to PT at this new place for at least a month and I haven’t gotten since yet, and yes, there have been clients who were sick and I never caught their cold.

My doctor told me that I can put pressure on it in between the middle of March until the beginning of April. I wonder if I will replace the crutches with a cane by then. I sure do hope so. I am so sick of crutches. I will blog about that when that time comes.

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.

No More Tube!

tube removed december 6th

We went to the surgery clinic at Kern Medical Center today to have the tube removed from my neck.  It would have been removed last week if it weren’t for the fact that my surgeon is only there on Fridays, and that was the day after Thanksgiving.  I honestly did not mind having the tube for that extra week because there was still more fluids draining, so I feel the extra week was warranted.

I don’t have very much swelling anymore, thank goodness.  When I did have swelling, it felt like my stitches were going to pop so I used ice to help bring the swelling down.  I think the swelling was what hurt the most, besides of course having a tube inside my neck, which hurt like hell every time I accidentally yanked on it.

Without me even having to ask, my surgeon Dr. Trang told me that they tested the stone that was in my parotid gland and they did not find any traces of cancer.  I didn’t think there would be, but it’s good to know that there isn’t cancer anyway.  I do have more stones growing in my left parotid gland, so there is a good chance that I will have to go through this all over again in a few years.  Hopefully not, but if it happens then it happens.

You can’t even see the stitches along my ear, but you can see it behind my ear and along my neck.  You can’t see my neck in the picture above, but it’s there.  I’m not too worried about scarring.  If I have a bad scar then I will buy some scar cream, if I don’t have a scar then yea for me lol.  It really doesn’t phase me one way or the other.  I’m just glad I don’t have a stone in my parotid gland, well, I don’t have a parotid gland anymore either.

There is a mushy lump on my face down near my jaw near my ear, but Dr. Trang told me that it is just saliva that has collected in that spot and it should absorb into my body.  It will go away on its own.

The thing that I am most happy about is that it is all finished and I can move on with my life pain-free, well, until my back starts hurting again, or some other thing causes issues lol.  I know it’s going to happen, it always does.  You know the saying, if it isn’t one thing, it’s another.  That’s how life is for me.  It sucks, but I think it is why I am such a patient person.  That has too meanings lol.  Get it?  I’m patient as in not impatient and I am a patient as in going to the doctor’s office lol.  I thought it was funny.

If you have no clue what I am talking about, please read this post: Parotidectomy Surgery

Anyway, this is hopefully the last thing I have to say about this issue.  It’s all good!

Swelling From Surgery

December 2 2013 I had my parotidectomy surgery on November 20th, and at first I didn’t notice any swelling because I was totally numb, so if there was any swelling, the pressure didn’t bother me.  After 5 days the pressure from the swelling felt like it was going to pop my stitches.  I Googled swelling after surgery and what I read on more than a few websites was to use ice to help with the swelling, so I did, and it did help.

There is a tube sticking out of my neck that drains the fluids into a little bulb that is squeezed to create a vacuum.  The fluids were red at first, but then it turned pink and day by day it turned a lighter shade of pink, and after 5 days nothing came out, it was empty, but that was when the swelling started.  I think the swelling was preventing any fluids from coming out.  When I started using ice, fluid started coming out, but it was a dark color of red, much like the blood you see at the bottom of frozen meat.  When I stopped using ice, the fluid turned back to its pink shade, but not much is really coming out now.

My stitches seem to have turned white around the top and along my ear, but it is still black on my neck, but it is turning white.  My partner says that it looks like it is healing and there won’t be much of a scar at all.  I am sure there will be a scar, but it won’t be noticeable along my ear, but more on my neck.  If I grew a beard it would basically cover the scar up completely, but I’m not into growing beards.  For one, it itches like crazy and two, I am sure it would still be stubble after a month.  I don’t grow hair very fast on my face.  I can literally go for a whole week and it just looks like stubble, as if I haven’t shaved in a couple of days.  I can only tolerate it for one week, I have to shave because the itching drives me insane lol.

I will see the doctor on Friday to have the tube removed from my neck.  I really look forward to that because this tube is driving me crazy.  I keep accidentally pulling on it and that hurts like hell because it is stitched onto my neck.  I can see that it has been pulled out a little bit, but not too much.  When I first came home from the hospital after surgery they put tape on the tube on my shirt, and that tape only lasted for a few days and then I had to toss it.  I didn’t have any of the same or medical grade tape to keep it on my shirt, so I just let it hang loose, big mistake.  Last night I had the bright idea to use the packing tape that I use to tape the labels on the envelopes when I sell keychains and earrings on Etsy.  I don’t know why I didn’t think of that earlier.  It would have saved me a ton of pain.

The numbness is still there and it drives me crazy lol.  It is starting to go away so that’s good.  I was worried that I would start feeling pain again if the numbness went away because I ran out of the Percocet that the doctor gave to me after surgery.  I have prescription strength Ibuprofen, but I also have something that my regular doctor gave to me for the pain that is just as good as the Percocet, that is Tramadol, but I only take 1 pill twice a day unlike the Percocet which was 2 pills 4 times a day.  I do seem to be doing good without the pain meds though.  Occasionally I will feel what seems like I am being stuck with a needle multiple times in one spot, but it goes away after a few minutes.  It doesn’t hurt bad, but I expect there to be some pain considering my face was opened up and stitched back together after 4 hours.  No biggie.

So anyway, that is my update.

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.

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.

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.