Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well.
— Mark Twain
Dear readers, this is a long overdue update. As much as I dislike the idea of procrastination, I have to admit that I have fallen into the trap of putting certain things off far too often and writing this post is among that lot. So I finally determined to get it done. Oh, who am I kidding — my to-do app has been screaming at me for a week now to do this and frankly, I just want it to shut up. This will be brief, but at least it will be.
I had a CT scan last week which came back pretty clean and helped the doctor determine how we are going to proceed with the surgery. In short, they are going to remove more tissue from my tongue, reconstruct the right side of my tongue with skin from my neck, remove some of the lymph nodes on the upper right side of my neck, and possibly put in a tracheostomy in case swelling during the surgery blocks my airway.
That all happens in mid-June. About three weeks or so from today. Then comes an extended absence from work while I do whatever you do during things like this. Sleep a lot and watch Netflix, I guess. I suppose I'll be back to the applesauce/pudding/mashed potato/soup diet, too. Yippee.
To be honest, I'm pretty scared about this. I'm not scared about the surgery. I'm not really scared about the recovery — although that's certainly not going to be any fun and will involve a lot of pain as things heal up. No. What I'm really scared about is what life looks like afterward. At this point it's a total unknown. The reconstruction is to help with swallowing and speech and to try to allow what's left of my tongue to operate as normally as possible but just what does that mean?
With even the small-ish amount that has been removed so far, there were a couple days where it was really weird to take my pain meds. You now how you can put some water in your mouth and hold it in the back of your throat until you pop the pill back there? I couldn't do that. It just ran down around the side and down my throat. It was the strangest feeling. But the human body is amazingly adaptable and by the end of the second day, it was back to normal. I still have a slight speech impediment when pronouncing some sibilants. Some 's' sounds have a slight 'sh' sound happening on the side of my mouth. Anyone I mention it to says they don't hear anything different so maybe it's just because it's actually inside my head that I can hear it. Anyway, given how much more is going to be done this time around, I have no idea how much harder it's going to be to adapt and/or adjust to those changes.
My standard joke is goes like this. Basically, I'm going to end up with a bunch of neck scars, half a fake tongue, and I may very well sound like I'm constantly suffering a traumatic brain injury. There goes whatever slim chance I might have had of ever getting a date again.
Don't judge. Humor is my coping mechanism.