I Have A Date!

. . . for my parotidectomy surgery . . . March 23rd . . .

Dr. Patricia Gilmer, an ENT surgeon, will take out my dreaded tumor as her last surgery of the day. As it will be a highly sensitive surgery, and to avoid complications, she can take her time if I am last. I have all the confidence in the world in her abilities and she has reassured me that she will do the very best job possible in every aspect. How could I ask for more?

Of course, she has warned me of the possibility of my large “goose foot” nerve being severed, causing permanent paralysis of my face, however she does use a Nerve Monitor for detection which lessens the chance for damage. I asked her how many of these surgeries she did last year and she said “dozens” and when I asked how many had the nerve servered and she replied “none.” Good odds, I’ll take them.

Dr. Gilmer said that the unfortunate part of my tumor surgery will be that I had the eight biopsies done (FNA – Fine-needle aspirations). They caused scar tissue to form all over and about my tumor making the surgery more difficult, thus requiring my full parotid gland to be removed, rather than just part of it. She wished that I had been able to come to her initially for a diagnosis, but alas I didn’t and couldn’t. The general surgeon who ordered all the biopsies was trying to determine what my problem was and going through all the lump possibilities so thought he was doing the right thing in order to form a correct diagnosis. His heart was in the right place and I don’t fault him at all. What’s done is done and I’ll just deal with it. No turning back.

The surgery will be done at St. Peter’s Hospital in the Emilie Gamelin Pavilion, as a day-patient. I will go home that night and not stay overnight. My friend, Kathy (&/or her husband Bill) will take care of me for the first 48 hours, living in at my apartment. I will then get the results from the tumor, whether benign or otherwise. After that I will have the drain removed and get on with the task of healing.

Dr. Gilmer told me that I can expect an indent in my face along the left side. Once the whole gland is removed there is a space left that will cause my face to cave in. (As my Bishop said, “There goes your modeling career!”) If she is able to leave some tissue, then good, it will reduce the effect, but over time it might fill in with other tissue, fluid or fat. We’ll see how it goes.

It will be a full year before I am totally healed. My scar will be unnoticable, at first glance, in about six months, but the worst of my new look will be over in about a month. There will be some normal facial paralysis after the surgery, but should subside over time.

One permanent reminder will be my left ear lobe and surround, which will have one nerve severed (for sure) and be numb forever. The reason being that one small nerve is completely entangled in the tumor and will need to be severed to get it all out. Kathy pointed out that I can have my ear pierced multiple time without feeling it! Anything for a laugh.

Most days I am fine about all of it, other days I am apprehensive, however all in all I have to accept the truth and fight the alternative. And I have and I will. The last thing I want is the “C” word, so forward I bravely march. I am hoping my worrysome anticipation is a “10” and the actual outcome is a “2” – statistics seem to lean that way.

Stay tuned for late-breaking developments as they unfold.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Oh my gosh, I had NO idea. I hope you are OK! I am glad you are staying POSITIVE. We will be thinking about you.


  2. I don’t know how I miss all of this, but I am so glad you are so close to having your surgery and getting it removed. Keep up the positive attitude Auntie, we are praying for you, and wanting only the very best outcome! And your post was wonderfully informative, I had no idea about any of it, and now I feel that much smarter. Much love and prayer to you Auntie!


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