For years I have dealt with shrapnel coming out of my neck. If you are a regular here, you've read the posts. It seems that the leftover bits of Doppler wire that was placed in my neck during my surgery in 2007 are being rejected by my body years later. The wire was placed to allow a Doppler ultrasound machine to check the blood flow to the newly placed radial forearm free flap taken from my forearm that was now in my mouth replacing my cancerous severed tongue. This was necessary because if the blood supply stopped the new section of tongue (radial free flap) could die.
When the wire was no longer needed the doctors just yanked it out. I remember thinking how odd that was to just pull. I even questioned the doctor about it. I felt the wire snap and was told that it would heal and any parts remaining would not cause a problem since they were made of a surgical grade material. Well I can tell you that's a load of crap! My neck has NEVER fully healed.
For years and up until last month, SIX years after surgery I still have small bits of wire making their way out of my neck. The first time it happened, I felt it and thought it was a stiff stray hair. (Pulling Hairs) Since most of the hair on my face that was subjected to the radiation field is gone now, I thought I'd just pull it out with tweezers. So...I tugged. One small problem...this little "hair" was lodged in an artery and wasn't a hair at all. It was in fact a left over bit of Doppler wire. When I yanked it out I had a nice stream of bright red blood that shot it's way across the sink and ran down the mirror. The pumping blood looked pretty cool for a moment until I realized the severity of the situation. Well that was a fun night. Last month another small piece made it's way out and once again my poor ravaged neck is beginning to heal.
|This all came out of my neck, one piece at a time,over several years|
Now if that's not enough...many of you know I have been dealing with an "infection" on my cheek for years. At least that is how it has been treated. Every three or four months for years this bump rears it's head and the doctors throw antibiotics at it and it goes away for a few months. Guess what....IT'S BACK and it's most likely not an infection and probably never was.
Dr. Kim who was at MD Anderson began the antibiotic regime, I can't recall how long ago, but years. And even though I have had countless CT scans and MRI's nothing has been brought to my attention that this might indeed be cancer. It's possible that this could have been a result of all the radiation to the head and neck. I took 60 grays (gy) over a six week period near this area after surgery. (Radiation Dosages)
When this thing rears up it's painful, but now the pain shoots all the way up to the back my eyeball like a bolt of lightning. On my last visit to my new primary care doctor he also prescribed antibiotics. I took the 7 day supply and asked for another week because it still looked puffy.. I think the second was a 10 day supply and he used a different drug in case the "infection" was resistant to what Dr. Kim had prescribed. It seemed to heal up, but a week after finishing the second round the lump was back and this time it popped like a grape. The skin pealed back and I was left with a dangling thing and a very bizarre knotted lump. The dangling thing is still in question, but appears to be a blood clot. It has a vein running in and out with a small sac in the middle. Even more gross is the knotted lump left on my cheek that if touched I feel it at the back of my eyeball.
|Blood Clot removed from cheek|
I'm not expecting this to be serious at all, but I am SO TIRED of fighting. Life doesn't seem to get any better. I know I should be so grateful. I can eat, speak, drink fluids. I've been off the feeding tube for years. I can walk fairly well, my eye sight is good after the cataract surgeries and I have a wonderful puppy to keep me company, but I'm still depressed...tired of fighting...tired of this kind of shit happening and wondering when will it all end.
I'm tired of being in pain. I'm tired of wearing bandages. I'm tired of looking ugly and people staring and asking questions. I'm tired of people saying "I'm sorry." I'm tired of all the drugs. I'm tired of doctors and nurses and needles and tests. I'm tired of coffin like MRI's, CT scans, and X-rays. I'm tired of talking about cancer. I'm tired of people treating me like I know nothing...that I'm just a sick old man. I'm tired of not being happy. I'm tired of not wanting to go out in public because of all the above. I'M JUST SO F'N TIRED!!!
And I'm probably a little bitchy too...
As I finish this post I hear that Valerie Harper has three months to live from terminal brain cancer and once again I am humbled. It sounds like she is taking the news gracefully. The world's Rhoda Morgenstern might not have much longer to live. May she have my kind of luck and be around for a long time.
Hello? HELLO? This is Carlton, your doorman. I just want to let you know there's a ton of people in the lobby that just want to say, "I LOVE YOU RO!"