Friday, September 21, 2012

Happy Birthday to me!

Hey all,
Just wanted to give a quick update on the face.
It's fine!  Doing good.

My last visit to the good doctor was in July, right before the 4th.  A $40 day co-pay and 20 minutes to say that everything looks good.  This is great news. I don't have to see the doc again until January, when it'll be a year.  Wow, a year.  He told me to keep checking to see if any more lumps come back, no matter how small and if I feel anything weird, then  I should come back immediately.
And I check everyday!
I still have some residual numbness and tingling, but I don't think that should never go away.

Other highlights since my last posting:
1. I was in a wedding at the end of May and my smile was on point, so I didn't mess up any of the happy couple's photos (which was a big fear of mine).

2. It hurts to do sit ups.  Whatever do you mean?  I could do sit ups before -poorly- but still I managed to get in some crunches every now and then.  But now, since the muscle,fascia and whatever else was cut, it feels like the scar is pulling and it's a very strange and odd sensation...almost painful.  So this is my free pass to get out of sit ups and crunches forever.  Or at least until it no longer feels weird.

3.I can wear earrings again without it hurting.  Again, nerves were cut to the ear and the sensation of putting a simple stud in my ear felt like I had put in a 2 pound weight. Pins and needles times 10.  Now, it feels almost like normal. So Hooray for that.

4. The scar is not so noticeable.  I've had one person ask me what happened when she saw the scar.  And I wear my hair up and I don't try to hide it.  I thought the scar would not heal as well as it had.  I confess I had my doubts.  Good job Dr.  Also, I have not experienced the side effect of salivating through the side of my face- Frey's Syndrome- which I was afraid of, for real.

5. I still wonder if there are any other random things growing in my body. Every lump, bump, dimple, scratch, freckle looks suspicious.  I notice everything now, in hopes that I can catch something early like with Timmy the Tumor, which leads me to

6.  This will be my first birthday in some time that Timmy won't be with me to celebrate.  I can't say that I miss him.  He was never invited and eventually would have turned on me, I just know it.  He had to go and nine months later, I have no regrets.

I am not even going to mention Dwayne.

And so friends, these are the updates.  I will be celebrating an birthday in a few days and I will be celebrating it as a healthy and happy individual!

Be well!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Me and my twisted kisser!

Happy Spring everyone!!  I'm glad winter is over.  It was so unbelievably cold and the snow...oh, the snow.  Wait. What?  That's right, we've had a preemptive spring since the middle of February.  And the official start of spring was anti climatic.  But, what the hey...I'll take it.

And back to our regularly scheduled blog.

I got to see my BDF (Best Doctor Finally) this morning. I am always surprised that we are the about the same height.  In my mind, he is way shorter than me, but whatever. After the pleasantries, we got down to brass tacks.  He asked me to give him a percentage judging how much better I thought my face was since the last time we had met.  WHAT?!?!?  POP QUIZ!!  IN MATH!! HUH??  I said  about 20%. I have no idea. I failed statistics.

After a ten second facial massage from Dr. CD (with his COLD hands), he deemed that everything was "feeling" fine.
 Image Detail
 Great.  I talked to him about the pins and needles and he said some medical terms. I caught "nerve, cutting, regeneration." Side note- About three weeks ago, I got sudden burst of feeling in my face.  It's not as numb, just dulled. I can feel pressure and stinging sensations every so often.  It's weird.  Still can't sleep fully on my left side. 

Then I had to do the facial check.  Smile. Frown. Wink. Blink. Scrunch your nose. Open your mouth.  I passed every test, except for the smile. Whomp, whomp.   Dr. CD said that my frown looked really great. Thanks...I practice every day! 

And for the less exciting news. Dr. CD was expecting more progress with the smile. As was I doctor, as was I.  I did practice. Honestly.  Unlike when I used to mark 30 everyday in my practice book for band back in the 5th grade when I really didn't.  I made faces on my way to work. At work. From work. At home. In the car.  At church. (I had to be careful there, lest someone thought I had a caught a spirit. And not the good kind.)  When I mentioned that sometimes my lip area will "seize and freeze", Dr. CD said huh...and typed that into the notes of my electronic chart.  Bet he wasn't expecting that.

He said he'd see me again in July and see where things are.  If things are not better, then we can explore options. 
Me: What other options, Dr?
(See I had learned my lesson from before and was prepared with tons of medical questions)
Dr. CD: I would send you to a plastic surgeon with the University of Maryland.

WHAT?!??!?  No. Mo. Cuttin!

UNLESS, my doctor looked like this!

  Or this...

Either one. I ain't picky.

So, my friends, this is it for now.  Until the next time my folks!

Oh, here are some photo comparisons of what I looked like before and after!  Some improvement, yes?



 Dang it, Dwayne!

 Glad you are gone!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Be careful or your face will freeze that way!!

Hello all! 
One month out and my face and scar are looking good!  Well, at least according to Dr. CD. 
Today I had my 4 week post-op appointment, which took all of ten minutes.  And eight of those were Dr. CD typing up notes in his computer.  The other two, I got a quick facial massage.

Well, more like the good doctor feeling the scar and making sure everything was on the up and up.

So, he looked at my face and said that it looks good.  See I knew all my hard therapy work would pay off!

Don't judge.

Apparently I heal slowly and then really quickly because my co-workers said that they noticed a difference today from Friday.

And my mother said that she noticed a difference as well.  (She also said that she tries not to stare so much so as to not make me self-conscious.  Well, now knowing that you watch my mouth intently when you're around, makes me more self-conscious.)

I was told to continue doing what I was doing.  Saying the alphabet in a mirror and over enunciating the letters.  Massaging my face.  And my personal favorite, singing in the car.  It's fun.  It's cheap. And I sound awesome.

Now, I just have to keep on using my scar cream to help it fade and soften.  My Monday night co-workers assure me that it is looking amazing for a month out.

I can't open my mouth all the way enough to bite into a sandwich without me biting my lip but at least less water is falling out my mouth when I drink liquids.

Brushing my teeth, well... still needs work.
 Image Detail

I go back to Dr. CD in eight weeks to see how things are going.

So, this really may be the last in this series.  I thank you all for your support and love and visits and laughter and prayers and cards and flowers and gifts and cash.  Especially the cash :p

Thank you all for helping me get through this and I was happy to entertain you while I was healing.  And if I ever have any other health related concerns that I can turn into a comedic blog, watch out!!


 This is an old picture but what I am aiming for!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

IT'S ALIVE!!!!!!!

Yes folks, I have come out of hibernation, out of hiatus and out of active convolescence and have rejoined the working world.
And yesterday kinda kicked my butt.  I went back to both of my jobs.  No use sticking your toe in the shallow end.  JUST JUMP IN THE DEEP END!  And man it was cold!

Actually it was not that bad. After the 100+ emails and staring at my desk for twenty minutes trying to figure out where I had left off, things were pretty much back to a regular pace.  Co-workers expressed concerned and chatted about the scar AND checking out this blog (score!!).  And then at the end of the day, I went to job #2, where I was greeted with the "how're you doing?" and "did it hurt?" 

Clearly they are not following my blog.

Today was not bad at all.  Little less pain.  A little more tingling.  And that's never a bad thing!

I went back to my Tae Kwon Do class tonight and YES MOTHER, I took it easy!  I updated everyone on my progress and then I was able to share my story with a classmate who had had his jaw broken.  We bonded over face and neck surgeries!  Awesome. I guess this is how pregnant women bond by sharing birth stories.  You just don't get it unless you've been there.  Like war.  Or surviving band camp.

And after listening to me tell the tale of my epic, life changing surgery and displaying the wickedly awesome scar, one of the younger students, age seven, tells me that I should tell people that I survived a shark attack.  She is a funny kid!!

I then talked with my aunt, WHO also has had numerous neck surgeries and she just encouraged me to take it easy still and to take my time getting back into the swing of things so I don't hurt myself.
Point taken.

I will say that since I have returned to work, time seems to go so....much....slower. I'll be at my desk thinking at least forty minutes has passed.  Nope, only four. But on the other hand, it feels good to breathe fresh air and to feel the sun.  Oh, sunlight, I missed you.

I do not miss daytime television.  This is what I learned, television wise, over the past two weeks.

1. Maury Povich pretty much has the same show on everyday.  Woman doesn't know who the father of her kid is.  She brings on at least three different men.  He is NOT the father. She runs off the stage and wails.  Guy dances on stage. And repeat. OR the guy denies he is the father. Maury says he IS and the girl laughs in his face.

2. Wendy Williams.  She wears wigs. And looks as if she is about to fall over.  How you doin?

3. There is a Golden Girls marathon on Hallmark channel. Everyday.  And I watched.  Looking back, I remember watching this show when I was younger.  Now I get the jokes and how inappropriate for a child to watch.

4.  There is NOTHING on between the hours of 12 and 5 pm.

However, I did use some of my time productively and am now happily addicted to Downton Abbey.  It's on PBS and it's set in England around the start of the first World War and it is awesome. Like a period soap opera.  I am also hooked on Switched at Birth, the Bridal shows and any cooking show where someone gets voted off. I am blaming that on the Percocet.

I am guessing that this might be the last blog for a little bit. Not sure what else I can write about as I continue to recover day by day. I will update after my follow up appointment in early February.

So until then, from me, my face, Timmy and Dwayne, thanks for reading and I hope you got  at least a few chuckles and smiles.

From both sides of your mouth!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Oh, the nerve!!

Well hello there!
It's been two weeks since I had surgery and the recovery has been good.  No infections, drain removed (ahem, Dwayne) and sutures have been about for about a week.  I've had some itching around the incision because it's healing.

Eating has been an issue though. Since the incision was right in front of my ear, scar tissue formed in the area making it difficult for me to open my mouth wide enough to get food in.  Never thought that'd be a concern.  So I have continued to consist on soft foods.  My palate has been graced with "real food" but it hurt so bad that I had to take Percocet or Tylenol last week to deal with the pain.  As of yesterday, the pain has greatly subsided, but I'm still taking things slowly.

I have had A LOT of itching inside my left ear.  My mom, aka Florence Nightingale, said while cleaning the area after I got home, she found blood in my ear. GROSS. But I am thinking that it was from surgery.  But it itches, bad. And then it hurts.  It hurtches. I've been using ear drops to address this annoying part of recovery.

The main concern now is possible nerve damage in a small area around my lip.  Dr. CD said that when I came out of surgery my entire face moved just fine.  During surgery, they used nerve stimulation to follow the nerves to avoid them when taking out Timmy and after to make sure everything was still working.
Yup. They Tasered my face.

But the last two post-op visits, Dr. CD seemed concerned that that one area was still not working when it clearly was before.  Maybe I just have a lazy lip.  At my next appointment, he may talk about what can be done to get it working again.

Here are some photos to illustrate my point.

Warning: The person appearing in the photos below did her own hair and is still in bed.  She is suffering from Socialitewannabe-itis.  It was caused by being confined to her home for two weeks. It is not catching and the cure is to return to work.

Exhibit A:

This is my face at rest.  I now understand why people tell me to smile.  I look pissed off. Or sad.  Definitely tired. But mostly pissed off. Is this a practice mug shot??? Everything looks okay.  You can hardly tell that my lips are not matching up and are a little off. 
And now that I said that, you are looking again and thinking, ...well maybe a little.  Sorta. Kinda.

Exhibit B:

Aww, she's smiling.  Again. Not much difference. She's just someone whose smile is slightly favoring one side.  Not too bad. Okay. What's the big deal, you say???

Exhibit C:

Clearly you can see what I am talking about!  I am not doing my Pop-Eye impression, this is what is going on now. That one part just doesn't move as it should. Hopefully the nerves will wake up and do their job.  Every other part of my face works fine.  There is tingling in my face as the feeling slowly comes back.  My ear is getting less numb and the scar tissue under the skin is not as thick as it was last week. My speech is okay except that my lip gets in the way when I say words that start with the letters F and V. And C. And O. Wait, I am saying the alphabet right now and noticing how much we need our lips to correctly pronounce words. Correction. My speech is fine but it sounds like I have something in my mouth.  Like chewing tobacco.

Furthermore, I have taken to mostly using straws because liquids seem to fall out of my mouth more often than it did previous.  I can get a tight seal on the right side of my mouth.

Lastly, Exhibit D:

This is not my attempt to look enticing or to seduce anyone, but my failed attempt to whistle!  One whole side doesn't work.  It's kinda funny to see me trying.

Well, since you've asked for more, here is one of my version of Edvard Munch's The Scream:

This is as much as I can open my mouth.  Apples and ice cream cones everywhere are rejoicing.

So this is how I'm doing. I am hanging in there and getting my backside into gear as I return to both my jobs on Monday and then into the swing of things.  I did take a walk early this afternoon.  To all the mothers out there. I was bundled up in layers. I had on gloves and a scarf and a hat.  I wore glasses and the incision area was well covered.  I looked like a very lumpy and suspicious person walking around the track.

Until next time...

Friday, January 13, 2012

Could you hold the crust?

A quick update on the continuing saga that is this blog.

Thanks for reading this.  The comments that I get from my readership make me happy.  I think it's like Tinkerbell. Applause gives her life.  Laughter gives me life. 

This first video is from Wednesday morning, prior to my appointment.

This second video is from after the visit and it stars my momma.  And me. I apologize in advance for the footage. Apparently I don't know how far away the keep the camera away from my face. I think it gives the video a certain realness and intimacy.  Better than the Kardashians or the Braxtons.  The other thing is that I didn't realize how shifty my eyes are.  I blink a lot. No. A LOT! How come no one ever told me this???  And also, my eyes actually look like green. I never know what color they are.


Yesterday, I gotta call from Dr. CD yesterday letting me know that the needle biopsy was what they had suspected all along, a pleomorphic adenoma (which kinda sounds like some kind of dinosaur or an amoeba). So that is the GREAT NEWS!

Secondly, the sutures came out relatively easy. No medications were needed and no doctors were harmed.

Dr. CD, you just got another day to practice medicine.

So everything is going well. Keeping quiet, sitting still, resting my paws, as they say in the doggie world. Not quite sure what I will chat about next.

But I think that a cross country trip with my mom and filming the whole thing would be EPIC!!!

Hmmm...stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

With friends and family like this...

On Tuesday, I felt that I had recovered enough to receive my public once again and was prepared for visitors.  Well, yes and no on that point.

Yes, I felt well and was mentally prepared but no in that I was not expecting how much my face would hurt from laughing so hard! Ouch.

But let me back it up a bit.  My family and members from the church had visited on Saturday and Sunday.  My mom, fearing I would fall down the steps or pass out from the 10 foot walk from my couch to the bathroom called my grandmother to come over to sit with me. I guess even at age 33, she still needs to arrange day care for me.  My mom-mom came over and brought my godson and his sister.  The kids really didn't want to come in and look at me, because the drain was in.  So they made themselves scarce and hijacked some poor kids bikes and skateboards and played outside.  Mom-Mom and I sat quietly watching television, talking about random things, the weather, the price of gas, her arthritis, who had recently died in the community.  You know, things crucial to my recovery.
My grandmother had to get going before dark because she doesn't see well.  So she had to get up off the couch. 
Now the thing about my couches, well the one, is that while they are comfy, they slowly, suck you in.  One is broke and even I have had to roll in the floor and stand up because there is no way you're standing right up. Maybe I should give Joe Rogan a call and they can use this as one of the challenges on the reboot of Fear Factor. Anyway. So I am watching helplessly as my grandmother pretty much has to lay in the floor and then stand up, using her cane.  It really wasn't funny as me admiring her tenacity in trying to do this herself rather than asking for help.  Hmmm, doesn't sound like anyone I know, right??

On Sunday a church member came by, dropped off some sustenance (applesauce and pudding, SCORE!!) and was on her way.  She had to go because we were about to get laughing and I knew my face was not going to fare well after that.  What can I say, we cut up!
My pastor and the first lady came back shortly thereafter. She cooed over me and made sure I was alright, asking questions, you know, the normal questions you'd pose to the sick and shut in.  Now my pastor...he sat far away and appeared like he didn't want to look at me.  I think it was Dwayne.  I know it was Dwayne.

 Dwayne is like that boyfriend that your friend FINALLY gets and even though he's not the greatest, she is so happy that you don't want to tell her what you actually think of him because he is really the grossest, dumbest, inappropriate etc. person in the world.  You get my drift.

That or he was trying to remember where he had placed his exorcism pamphlet because he was expecting my head to start spinning.

He said that he thought I looked like I was in a lot of pain. I wasn't.  Another reason why Dwayne had to go.

On Saturday or Sunday night, or wait, what day was it, well on another day, my cousin and her kids (my godson and his sister) came over because again I am an invalid and should be watched 24/7 came over for a few hours, wait it was Sunday night because we watched the game, okay I'm back. My mom had to go home for a bit and the shift in wardens began. Again the kids played outside until it became too dark and GASP they had to come in and look at my face. My godson does not do squeamish stuff but I did convince him to sit next to me and he also assisted with the drainage procedure and getting me things from the kitchen. See, that wasn't so bad. Just practice for what I'll have him do when I refuse to go to a nursing home and I'm living in the in-law suite over his four car garage. Just sayin'.

On Monday, I reconnected with a friend from college.  She was surprised to hear that I had had surgery and was wondering why no one had told her.  This is funny because her husband reads my blog! D'Oh!  It was a great conversation and I may have promised that I would be at her annual cook out this year.  (If I don't show, I am planning on saying that I was under the influence of Percocet. Wait, I should not have said that here...umm, Love ya C!)

Yesterday, I got a package from a dear friend in Florida. And it. was . AWESOME. See below. The jammies will now become my uniform while I am in my house. Can't wait to start reading the books.  I have the time.
The set up.


My reading material.

Day planner, notebook and GLEE!!!

Lounge wear.

This is by far one of the best cards I've ever gotten. So spot on.  The inside says that our friendship is golden.  Indeed it is, dear friend!

Then two old and dear friends came over and they brought lunch.  SO delicious.  Except that it took me about 45 minutes longer to eat 1/3 of the food. And I didn't have any salad. And it looked wonderful. After three minutes, my jaw started to ache really bad and I had to stop eating.  It hurts in my temple and all the way down. I guess this is what lock jaw feels like.

I asked these dear friends their thoughts about my recent surgery.
Disclaimer: I am not a rapper but somehow these two think that I might be. But admittedly, I do have some Franken-ear and Franken-neck going on.

I love my family and friends!