The pictures have nothing to do with the post. But you might find this post tl;dr or you might find it a bit distressing or unpleasant. So look at the cats. 🙂
Sigh. So it came back. I knew it would. I hoped it wouldn’t but since it came back a second time I was sure that we are now going to have this as a yearly occurrence. And sure enough – it came back. What is “it”? It’s this stupid area on my tongue, that I never even noticed the first time, because it’s on the underside of my tongue and really – who stares at their tongue all that much? My dentist noticed it and sent me to the oral surgeon. He said – yeah, we need to remove that. We could laser it off but then we won’t know what it is, so we are better off cutting it off. Just stop there a moment folks and picture someone saying to YOU: “We’re going to take a slice off your tongue.” I didn’t really handle it all that well. That first year they used only local anesthesia and I stupidly watched them part of the time and could hear them and I thought I might have a stroke right there in the chair. I was so traumatized emotionally that I couldn’t even process the fact that after the first day it wasn’t so painful and it healed fairly quickly. Somewhere along the line my nerves had snapped and I was completely traumatized. Ended up with an ulcer. Dropped something like 5 pounds in 3 days. I told them if we EVER had to do this again I needed to be unconscious and completely unaware. When the results came back they were the kind that the medical professionals say “oh that’s good” and the patient says “oh dear heavens what is going to happen to me?” All *I* can remember now is that it was “dysplasia“: “Before cancer cells form in tissues of the body, the cells go through abnormal changes called hyperplasia and dysplasia.” Everyone else was like “oh great it’s NOT cancer” and I was “oh dear heavens I could have cancer of the tongue”. No one in my family has or had cancer. A medical friend said to me “and that’s still true”. But it’s not his tongue.
I survived. I wasn’t happy. I refused to look at my tongue for a year. I skipped the 6 month go-back-and-see-the surgeon. I see my dentist 3x a year. I figured if it came back, she would know. It came back. I said you will knock me out so I have no idea what is happening. They said not a problem. But the closer it got to the procedure, the more I thought about it. If it was going to come back every year, well maybe it was time to put on my big girl pants, as the saying goes. How could I survive this? The physical recovery had not been that bad. It was the procedure and the initial terror of the procedure and possible results. If I could get through the procedure, it would be better to not use anesthesia. Especially if it were to be a yearly event, karma forbid. I came up with a plan. *smile* Oh, Komuso Tokugawa, your Downtempo Bluestronica was my salvation. I had downloaded 3 of his Downtempo Bluestronica riffs, each of them just under an hour. I knew that Bluestronica2 was loud enough, with few enough pauses that if I played it VERY LOUDLY through ear buds into my ears, I wouldn’t hear if the world ended around me. And that is what I did. I got to the office, told them I had my big girl pants on, that on their say-so I would start playing the music and would keep my eyes shut, and they could pull out the ear bud when they were ready for me to return. IT WORKED! I was ecstatic! The recovery seemed to be going well. So well in fact that I got overly confident and went out to a plant nursery with my sister on my 2nd full day of recovery. We stopped at a fast food joint for a treat and although all I’d had up to that point was water, I had a dish of what passes for ice cream at the golden arches. That was Saturday afternoon. By Sunday afternoon my entire mouth had erupted in viral sores. Had I been able to swallow pills I’d have killed myself to end the pain. I searched for every home remedy I could find to find some relief. I sent my husband out with a list of items to find – a medical scavenger hunt if you will. Ask Honour about that whole ordeal. On Tuesday I was texting with her and pleading to die. Finally on Wednesday the sores were healing a trifle, the OTC remedies were stopping the pain, and my husband no longer had to bar the door to keep me from heading to the river. And I thought “I can’t do this again.” Sure enough it was the same result – displaysia.
You know the story. It came back this year. The surgeon is sure it must be caused by my tongue rubbing on my teeth. We have tried 2 different mouth guards, and he has ground down the teeth. I don’t actually believe that but I don’t have any other idea. I knew I’d have to call the surgeon and get it removed. I knew I could get by with Komuso’s help. I knew I could not eat or drink anything after the procedure. I would have to gargle with salt water every hour and follow that with a chaser of Rx mouthwash gargle. If I could make it through the first 24 hours of pain, and total gross-out from feeling stitches in my mouth, maybe I could avoid the sores. This is the year of covid19. We sat in the parking lot until it was my turn to come in the side door, wearing my mask and gloves, carrying only my iPod, spare battery, and phone. They checked my temperature at the door. I had to sign 2 different forms avowing I did not have covid19 nor had I been in any contact with anyone who had it. I hadn’t put the pen down before they were disinfecting the counter top. They disinfected the chair and the counters in the room when I entered. Everyone had face shields and gloves and coverups. Yeah, really adds to the calming effort when you can’t really see faces or smiles. 😦 And for me – do you know how WEIRD it felt to remove my mask in front of these strangers???? Amazing at how fast we can be conditioned. I asked it there was any magic wand to prevent the sores this year. The surgeon said that they really get triggered by stress. Sigh. I knew that. I wanted the magic wand. This year the procedure was much shorter than in the past – I didn’t really even have time to disappear into the music. Apparently part of what I thought was “it” was actually scar tissue. We’re waiting to hear the biopsy results. I’m sure they will be the same as the previous years. I asked the doctor if we could laser it next year. We know what it is, we don’t need to biopsy. He said, yeah, that he was thinking the same thing. I was fairly brave. I did end up crying when they give me the needles for the local. Trust me – it hurts and the music hadn’t started yet.
I’m on Day 3 of recovery. So far no sores. The pain was there as expected on the first day, but I kept popping the pain pills, and kept an ice pack to my cheek, and sipped some iced water. That’s how I spent the first 8 hours home. Then I fell asleep and was out for 21 hours. I might wear my big girl pants but they only cover the outside – the inside still goes through the pre-surgery days of fear and anxiety, the actual trauma of the needles and stitches and pain. And of course – I headed into it worn down, as are we all, by life in a pandemic. I still can’t quite chew food, and I’m still more tired than I’d like. My head is still very fuzzy. Spoke to my retired doctor who said, as he has said for year: “You have crapped up ears.” Or some equally technical explanation. I described the odd kind of whooshing or maybe it’s clicking or maybe it’s some other sound I can’t quite identify that happens when I move my head. But not always. And how I’m hearing music in silence. It appears that besides all the other joys I’ve acquired as I’ve aged, I may also suffer from tinnitus. The ‘music’ in silence is not too bad and I’ve had that awhile. It’s that whoosh/drumbeat/whatever when I move my head. He thinks that may be aggravated by the recent procedure and that it might fade as everything else comes back to normal. I hope so. It adds to the general fuzziness from being off schedule and off diet.
I know that in the scheme of things, something like this falls under the self-indulgent category of “first world problems”. I’m fortunate that I have a great RL support team. And that I have my SL escape. You’ll find me there tonight. Calli will be playing big band and jive. I wonder if I’m well enough yet to have a cocktail?