Sunday, 11 April 2010

Cool Guy

Well, I said I'd be back soon and here we are again.

Though the post-radiotherapy month of nothingness seemed long, I guess it just blip for someone of my grand old age and when it came to an end, boy did things start moving again.

Over the past two weeks, I saw the dentist, who could give me a filling if I didn't mind. Mickey Mouse one it was with no anaesthetic and then she asks if I could see the hygienist. Of course. Tomorrow? Jings! Well, bit of a bump back to earth here with lessons on tooth brushing, advice on cleaning between teeth (with new tee-pee brushes, which are weird) and strong advice on the need to comply if I want to keep my teeth in a post-saliva existence.

Two days later and I'm back again for a chest/neck CT scan (with contrast!). Nae bother really, the contrast being a dye they can follow through your system, which I guess helps spot unusual blockages on the way. Understanding here was that I'd get results from the scan the following Tuesday at the 'joint consultation'.

The joint consultation was kind of where it all kicked of in earnest back on October with a large cast of experts from: ENT, dentist, oncology etc. Surprisingly though, Anne and I were simply met by this one guy; the surgeon.

His technique reminded me of some managers' approach, with an opening gambit asking me why I thought I was there!? Eh? Well, to get the results of my scan and confirm that surgery is going ahead.

Well, pretty much he said, but there's no real 'result' from the scan, though, yes, he would be going ahead with surgery on 12 April. You see, the scan is never really conclusive and in actual fact his experience shows that they will go ahead with surgery and then find that in up 45% of cases, what they have removed was completely benign. Great.

What about complications? Ah, well, Guy usually asks his students which items (apart from the glands that have to go) from neck muscle, nerve running to shoulder and jugular vein can safely go. It seems there are plenty of other veins, he'll take the muscle round about - "which will leave your neck a little uneven", but the nerve is important for neck, shoulder movement and he'll look to avoid damaging that completely. Goodness.

Oh and he'll try to make squiggly incisions, not because he can't make straight ones, but apparently they'll help healing as shoulder movement may put too much tension and pull open a straight wound. Beard?

Topping this was his advice on recovery. The oncology guys reckon I'll be in for two days? Erm, yes, two days minimum, maybe more like four, it just depends on how well the 'drains' work on your wounds. Yes. Drains.

And, after that? Oh, could be 6-8 week I think, because your still recovering from radiotherapy, which is a pain for us surgeons, and the operation takes 5-6 hours - a long time under anaesthetic.

If radiotherapy doesn't help surgeons, why do they do it first? Really doesn't matter to me says, Guy, I'll chop out just as much whether I operate before or after - just to be safe!

I guess that's great, and there's nothing else to do but pack my PJs and slippers and get to St John's for 8am tomorrow!

Gory details to follow in a few days...

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