Last weekend began like most other holiday weekends with one exception; the right side of my face appeared to be swollen. The swelling was on my lower jaw, where I had a tooth extracted two years ago.
An oral surgeon extracted the tooth because the area of the extraction is where the radiation field was. The ‘radiation field’ is the area where I received thirty-seven days of radiation therapy during my treatment for my throat cancer in 2009.
For cancer patients, it seems our journey never ends.
Although cured of cancer, my body has never returned to normal.
But don’t get me wrong – I’m not complaining. Lots of people have it worse than me. Much worse.
It was Easter weekend, and I had planned to go for a walk at Crescent Beach and Blackie Spit Regional Park. But as I was driving there, I glanced in the rearview mirror and noticed that the swelling was even more noticeable than it was when I first got up that morning.
So, I decided to return home instead.
When I had the tooth extracted in May 2018, the oral surgeon scheduled me to return every couple of weeks for check-ups to ensure the extraction area was healing.
The radiation treatments had destroyed a lot of red blood vessels in my lower jaw, which prevented the extraction area from healing correctly.
So my surgeon prescribed thirty days of hyperbaric oxygen replacement therapy. Each session lasted for approximately 90 minutes.
I wrote about the treatments in an earlier blog This and That
So, last weekend, when I got home, I called the oral surgeon and left a message.
Within a few minutes, my surgeon called me personally and said he would send me a prescription for antibiotics and would have his office contact me during the week to set up an appointment.
As mentioned earlier, I’ve seen the oral surgeon every month for the past two years. The area is often infected and had to be cleaned and packed with a gauze strip, soaked in medicine.
I love both Mouna, my dentist, and Ben, my oral surgeon. They are like family to me, and so are their staff. I used to fear dental appointments – now I look forward to it!
So when I went to the surgeon’s office a few days ago, I wasn’t too concerned. The antibiotics had done their job, and the swelling had gone. There wasn’t any pain, so I was hoping that everything thing was okay.
They took an x-ray, and then Ben checked my mouth.
But this time, the news wasn’t good.
My surgeon is going to make an appointment for me to see a specialist. He said that the specialist would probably need to remove the affected area of my jaw bone. They would take a bit of bone from my leg to replace what they remove from my jaw.
But it won’t be for a couple of months – because of the Covid 19 restrictions.
I left his office and was driving home when it all started to sink in. I pulled into the Willowbrook Shopping Center parking lot and parked my car. I turned the engine off and sat there and cried.
“Danny, man up! You’ve gone through worse! Stop feeling sorry for yourself!”
Yes, I know, Spanky. But it never seems to end.
Holly was happy to see when I returned home.
I phoned my buddies Norm and Robert and told them. Not because I wanted their sympathy (I was already feeling sorry for myself). I called them because we are very close and we share everything. The three of us have secrets we will take to the grave with us.
After speaking with my pals, I made a coffee and started watching a movie on Netflix. I needed to watch something humorous – so I watched Hangover. It’s a guy flick and silly, but I was soon laughing out loud. Every few minutes, Holly would lift her head and stare at me – wondering why I was laughing so much?
Today, I’m going to Elgin Estate to walk. My gal pal, Denise, sent me some photos of some Vanilla Leaf plants she found growing there. You might recall the story I wrote last year about the Vanilla Leaf plant.
Anyway, I’m feeling okay now. Writing about my feelings has always been like therapy for me. It’s like when I talk to my close friends about something that’s bothering me. It always makes me feel better.
Yesterday, there was a snowstorm in Chicago. I once spent a week there with my buddy Court. We were there on business. But I can’t write about that trip – because what happens on the road – stays on the road!
Dedicated to my friend, Dr. Ben Kang
I hope that my stories are a gift to your head and heart.
Stay safe. Be well. Laugh often.
Today’s tune from Danny’s library (purchased):