I am having surgery (update)

So something has happened to me and I thought I would talk about it.

A few weeks ago I noticed a little marble sized hard growth on my back. At first I thought it might be an ingrown hair on my back, but I wasn’t sure if it was anything I needed to worry about. I didn’t go to the doctor because the clinic we go to was having issues finding a doctor that would stay long enough to allow me to check in with them.

I was going to call them, but they called us asking if we would come see their new doctor because they wanted to introduce her to some of the less neurotic clients lol. I’m occasionally on the neurotic side. but I’m usually very calm, so I was a safe bet.

So we went and she looked at it and said it was probably an ingrown hair, which hello, I nailed. She gave me a antibiotic and said when you are finished in 7 days, we will refer you to someone to have it lanced and drained. Well, 7 days pass and I call them to let them know it’s time. By the way, it grew from that little marble and now it’s twice as long as it was.

I went to this general surgeon and was expecting him to lance it and drain it in that visit, but he told me that it looks like I have Kaposi Sarcoma. I didn’t know what that meant at the time, but it sounded bad and I went from excited to have this thing gone to feeling sudden dread. He couldn’t lance it or drain it, instead he told me they would need to do surgery to remove it, which will be this week on Thursday.

The next day the new doctor at the clinic called and wanted to know what he told me and I told her he said it was Kaposi Sarcoma. She told me that he didn’t write anything in his report about that, just that it needed surgery to remove.

Kaposi Sarcoma causes purple blotches on your skin and is a very rare cancer usually only seen in AIDS patients. Well, I do have the AIDS virus. I was diagnosed with  HIV in 1991, and then 2 years later I was diagnosed with Pneumocystis pneumonia, which the doctors said was a symptom of AIDS. Gradually over the years from 1993 to 2000 my t-cells had dropped to 50 and I was essentially dying slowly. When we moved to Bakersfield, the HIV/AIDS specialist doctor at the clinic I currently still go to changed my medicine. I was still taking AZT in 2001 believe it or not. Anyway, they changed my medicine and my t-cells gradually raised and I’m still alive and today my t-cells are in the 900 range and my viral load has been undetectable for years.

I told you that because the new doctor at the clinic told me that a patient who has a viral load and t-cells in the 50 range would be more likely to get Kaposi Sarcoma than me, so it’s unlikely that I have this rare type of cancer. Plus my back doesn’t have any strange colors. There is bruising on the skin over the lump, but that’s to be expected considering my skin has stretched a tiny amount and that this lump has caused a bit of trauma to the cell structure of the skin where the hair is grown. That spot has a open cell where the hair grows. I know this because I tried squeezing what I thought was pus out, and some did come out, but it was too hard and it hurt too much to come out.

So there are still a few more days until surgery and I will update this post if it’s a small enough update, but if it’s a lot to talk about then I will start a new blog post. Otherwise, I will keep you posted on the progress when it’s all over.

Update: Today is Thursday 8/31/2017 and I had my surgery. The doctor looked at the area that needed to be removed and noticed that the bruising was gone, and told me that he thought it was kaposi sarcoma due to the fact that he saw the purple color of the skin, and he realizes now that it was a bruise from the growth which was injuring my skin and causing it to bruise. So now he knows it is not kaposi sarcoma. So that’s awesome that he doesn’t think I have cancer.

He did the surgery and I am in a lot of pain, as I should be considering I had surgery lol. He said he will send it to a lab and find out what it was and he will let me know next time I see him. In the meantime, I’m not allowed to lift any weight or exercise for 2 weeks and I can’t shower for 2 days, which will be extremely difficult for me since it’s so hot and when it’s this hot, I usually take up to 3 showers a day. I absolutely cannot stand being sticky, sweaty and stinky. Luckily the right guard lasts a long time. We have some surgery wipes that I can use to at least clean my body.

So when I find out what the issue is, I will edit this post again with another update.

Update: Wednesday 9/6/2017

My follow up appointment with the doctor revealed that it wasn’t an ingrown hair, it wasn’t Kaposi sarcoma, it was an infected sweat gland. Who knew? So that’s a relief that it’s not cancer.

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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.

Broken Leg Update

Leg scar

It has been more than a month since I broke my leg (December 8) and had my surgery (December 16). In my last post I posted a picture of my leg post surgery with the staples still in my skin. They took the staples out 2 weeks after surgery, and this is what it looks like now, almost a month later.

I’ve been doing pretty good, but I haven’t really felt like blogging, or doing much of anything actually. I spend my days in bed playing video games on my PlayStation Vita that my partner bought for me for Christmas. I just bought Lego Batman 3, which I bought because it was on sale for $8, little did I know I already have it on my PlayStation 4. I try to avoid buying games I already own, but I guess this one slipped. I also bought Batman Arkham Origins Blackgate because it was on sale. Other games I have are Minecraft, Terraria, Lego Jurassic World, Little Big Planet, Q*Bert and Ratchet and Clank Full Frontal. I haven’t gotten very far in any of these games because of my addiction to Minecraft and Terraria lol.

The first night when I broke my leg I fell, and then again the night of my surgery, which I spoke about in my last blog post. I haven’t fallen since because my partner has babied me and wouldn’t let me get out of bed for anything. He has brought me all my meals and fed the dog and taken her outside. He’s been a complete angel.

Today I almost fell as I was leaving my bed on the crutches to go to the front door for therapy, but I put my right leg on the ground to prevent myself from falling, and even though I am not supposed to do that, it didn’t cause any pain. I felt tingling in my heel and my toes, and that told me I am not ready to start putting pressure on my leg, but I was only trying to prevent falling. The doctor told me that I can’t put any pressure on my leg until April. The physical therapist said some patients can do it sooner, some later. I heal fast, so I’m sure I’ll be walking with a cane in March, but I won’t hold my breath.

My leg doesn’t hurt as much as it did, but it does still hurt. I have chosen to stop taking my pain medication because it’s Percocet, and the last thing I need in my life is to become dependent on a drug. I would much rather have pain, than become addicted to pain pills.

tens unit

At Physical Therapy, they use a TENS Unit with heat, then I do about 6 or 7 leg exercises, then TENS Unity with cold, and then I go home. They sent me home on the first day with a long piece of rubber with knots on both ends for one of the exercises, and told me to buy a ball and a dog leash for the other exercises. I went a step further and also bought a TENS Unit so I could use that before and after with heat and cold. They wanted to sell me the same one they use on me for $60, but it only has 1 function and doesn’t have all these fancy schmancy buttons, and it also only has 2 plugs for 4 pads. This has 4 plugs for 8 pads. It’s a $200 machine, and Amazon sells it for $35 with free shipping, although I paid $5 for shipping to get it faster, and it comes tomorrow.

The one thing that has been on my mind is the gym. Even though I have a broken leg, I’ve been paying for my membership every month. I tried going there on Monday, the day they charged me, but they said I needed a note, so I brought them the note from the physical therapy office on Wednesday, but it was already too late. But that’s okay, I paid for 2 months I didn’t get to go, but whatever. It’s only money lol. That was said in sarcasm. They did freeze my account and asked me when I would be coming back, and both my partner and I said in unison April 15th, to which I replied JINX, but I guess he didn’t get it because I said it alone. Oh well.

My partner will be giving my bicycle away because we are going to try to get me a adult tricycle because he thinks 3 wheels are more stable than 2. Little did he know, I’ve wanted a tricycle for years, so this works out. I stripped my bicycle of the things I didn’t want to give away so I can use it with the new bicycle in April. I will also be changing my route to the gym so I am riding in neighborhoods instead of riding on Hughes Lane, which is a busy street. I normally try to stick to neighborhoods, so I don’t know why I rode on Hughes. I guess it was just easier, but I will be changing my route, that is if I’m allowed to go back to the gym at all lol.

Anyway, I’m getting better and I will most definitely be filming the TENS Unit on my leg to show how it moves my muscle, because I’m messed up in the head lol. So look forward to that. Tootles!

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…

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.

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.