Wait and see

Last week marked the fourteenth since my operation.  We headed over to the hospital clinic to see my plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Dr A.

My neck dissection scar is ‘softening’ well.  The fibulectomy scar is healing well too.  In place of my left, lower gum, the fibula flap is settling well.  You know, the usual.

The outlook for my lower, left lip is less hopeful. Dr A doesn’t think the palsy will improve with time.  It may, he cautioned, but he didn’t think it had improved since my operation.

And what about the funky protruding jaw?  Yes, he agreed, the plate needs to go.

Off we toddled to get an OPG.  That’s a dental x-ray or a ‘pano’ (panoramic) as the Americans call it.  To recreate my jaw, they sawed the fibula into several sections and held them together by the titanium plate screwed into the bone at each end.  The bone sections must have fused before they can remove the plate.  For obvious reasons.

This is what my jaw looked like on 9 May this year, the day they found my tumour.

Dental x-ray - 9 May 2011

And this is what my jaw looked like last Monday.  (For those following along closely here, the left jaw appears on the right of the first photo and the left of the second photo.  Just keeping you on your toes.)

OPG - 14 weeks post-op

It’s hard to see on this reproduction, but the bones have fused nicely closer to my chin.  A question remains about the top-most join that is obscured by the titanium plate.

They’ll need to do another OPG, perhaps even a CT scan for more detail.  But all going well, I’ll have my plate removed sometime mid next year.

By then, Dr A will also be better placed to decide if I’ll need ‘debulking’ surgery to remove excess soft tissue as well as the plate.

Wait and see.

From now on, I’ll try to write on Sunday evenings and schedule my posts for Monday mornings.  There’s not as much to report, but the reflection still does me good.  Thanks for the indulgence.

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