Three of them, for the price of one. And a new piece of jaw, all integrated into a transplanted fibula. Not the sexiest subject to write about. In fact, may be a downright turnoff. But the reason this blog started, in part, was to track the treatment, healing, and recovery process of tongue cancer, which turned into even more processes to treat the symptoms of treatments, leading to more healing and recovery. Fact is, this post wouldn’t have been necessary if the mandible hadn’t gotten in the way, literally.
My grandfather had tongue cancer, more than likely from chewing tobacco. The remedy, back in the day, was to have part of his tongue taken out. I never did the tobacco thing but evidently a passed-down gene had me predisposed. Fortunately, treatment today involves radiation and chemo, which most of us would trade any day to having parts of our body cut out. Still, a few decades from now we’ll look back at the radiation process of this era as brutal.
Excess radiation required reconstruction of my jaw (so a part of my face came out anyhow). Hopefully, I’m finishing the last phase of the painful process this month. A few days ago I received permanent implants, the result of a seven-month undertaking involving the addition of (more) titanium hardware in my mouth. But hey, I’ve still got my tongue and I’m thankful for that, even though it received a beating from the installation, resulting in a couple of doozy ulcers and bruises.
Next up this week, I’m back under general anesthesia for touch-up surgery. With luck, I’ll be good to go by the end of this year. Not quite as good as new, but I should be able to get those pirouettes back in satisfactory alignment.
There is no violin playing here. Just record keeping, with a renewed effort on counting those lucky stars, and for the time being, those new teeth.