Friday, March 25, 2011

Calm before the storm (health update)

Things have been quiet here.  Too quiet.  Something is brewing, I can feel it.  Early last week, I caught a vamp. I thought I had him, but then the bastard took me by surprise.  The fight was brutal, and it took a lot of work by the clerics, my allies, and potions to get me back on my feet.  My Wolf nearly got loose one day, that's how bad the damage was.  This week there has been....nothing.  It makes me uneasy.  Today, I am meeting with yet another cleric, who has yet another idea on things that will help me fight the Evils.  We'll see.  I try to enjoy the break in fighting, but all I can think is that this feels like that eerie, prickling calm before a storm.  Well, when it comes, I'll be ready.  I'm done being caught off guard.


So I had the biopsy last week, and considering I've had three surgeries on my jaw, I didn't think the biopsy would be any big deal.  Oh,I was wrong.  The incision was much bigger, and much more painful because he had to cut a section out of my bone in three places.  Using a drill.  My face was crazy swollen, bruised, and painful.  It's been a lot better this week.  On Wednesday, I went back to the surgeon to get the biopsy results.  Good news: I don't have bone cancer! Bad news: The bacteria grown by the culture in my lower mandible, while still the same bug shown by the last two cultures, is now showing a resistance to the antibiotic I'm on.  I'm allergic to penicillin, so it's back to the infectious disease doc on Monday to see what we can do.  The culture from the upper part of my mandible didn't grow any cultures at the time of my appointment, although the surgeon said that the lab was still working on a few specimens.  He said it's possible the hole in my jaw as seen on the CT scan is a genetic anomaly, which I would believe except it's painful to touch.  So he's sending me for an MRI this afternoon to get better images of the mandible and see if it's really something to worry about or just the way my bone is formed.  Erin helped me feel better about all this by telling me that it's possible to determine new damage from anomalous growth on the MRI.  Hopefully, we will have a definitive answer soon.

At any rate, I definitely need a massive surgical debridement of the lower mandible.  The surgeon said it's like excising a tumor - he'll cut until he finds healthy bone, and then cut a little bit more to ensure he's removing all of the infected area.  He'll actually be removing a section of my bone, and he'll have to move my nerve out of the way during the operation, so I will have some post-surgical facial numbness.  He said that the numbness should go away, so I'm going to keep my fingers crossed for that.  Facial paralysis and numbness scare me more than anything else about this whole thing.  The MRI will help him determine how extensive the surgery has to be, and right now we're looking at doing the operation the week of April 4.  And of course, a friend from Pennsylvania is coming to visit April 8.  Murphy's Law, in effect!

I feel okay about this treatment plan. At least I feel like we're moving forward with something more aggressive.  The surgeon called the procedure a "definitive operation", so let's hope he's right.  I'm not kidding when I say that I just can't keep dealing with this.  I need it to be over, or at least on the path to being over.  Surgery after surgery after surgery with no effect isn't cutting it anymore.  I'll say that I'm "cautiously optimistic" and go from there.

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