I have been away from my Year of Firsts updates for so long. Just because I haven’t been updating doesn’t mean that I broke my New Year’s Resolution. Recap for those of you who haven’t been here, I made a NYE Resolution to have one new experience a day for the entire of 2018. No matter how big or small the experience, it all still counts.
I’m going to jump right into it and hopefully catch you up to where I am now while explaining why I’ve been away.
As some of you may know, I was diagnosed with a sizeable yet benign myofibroma in the roof of my mouth. It was an active tumour and was growing. It was eating away at my bone and am told that I was close to developing a fistula, as it was growing into my nose. February 5th was my surgery date. I was so nervous. I’ve had surgery before, but nothing this extreme. Moments before the operation, I was in a room with medical staff running here and there. It was super busy and others were getting surgery and it’s hectic. So hectic that it contributed to my anxiety. My blood pressure was through the roof, so they opted to give me some Valium before the surgery to chill me out. It was weird. I felt that drug hit me within minutes, it was administered via IV so that’s not surprising. But still, I felt like a drunk person. It was so weird. I remember being wheeled into the operating room and there was an entire wall of shelves with what I imagine was supplies. After they put me on the bed, I don’t remember anything. I was out. Next thing I knew, the anaesthesia was wearing off and they were preparing to take me out of the operating room. They had these blood pressure sleeves on my calves and as they were taking them off, I told them, “No leave them on, It feels like a massage.” Everyone laughed. For next couple of hours, I felt in and out of consciousness, I guess. Strangely though, by the time it was for me to get home, I really felt good enough to drive myself home. I don’t know if it was the morphine or what, but I didn’t feel pain. I wasn’t dizzy. I just felt pretty normal. When I got home, I was normal. I was sitting around and talking as though nothing happened. The only thing that was really different was that I have a huge chunk of my head missing, mostly in the maxilla region and that meant I couldn’t eat.
Which brings me to the 6th. Sleeping was kind of tough and the pain was manageable at this point. But what was the most interesting as it was my first time being on a strictly liquid diet. Before surgery, I had prepped by buying a lot of meal replacement drinks, protein drinks, juices, Gatorade, Pedialyte, etc. They only foods I could have were yoghurt and ice cream. So I had tons of that around. I don’t want to jinx it, but I thought that I’d get really hungry not being able to eat, but I have to say these meal replacement drinks work. The weird thing was that my mouth was starting to miss the actual physical action of chewing.
Now, this First was not happy. This is the day where the pain and shock really set it. I don’t know if maybe the anaesthesia and morphine took a while to wear off and maybe the whole experience didn’t feel so real, so now is when it all became real. I can’t even explain to you the pain. Putting anything in my mouth, including water was so painful. So the 7th was the day that I got serious about keeping track of my meds to ensure I don’t miss a dose. But the sort of fun part of that was that I had ice cream all day. I’ve never done that before. A whole day of ice cream. So good!
The 8th was when the boredom really started to set in. I became really familiar with the app store and started downloading apps like crazy. Most of the apps I tried were pretty thumbs down. But it gave me something to do. It was the first time I tried a role-playing game. I didn’t really get too into it. The storyline I was given was bland, but I imagine there are better ones out there. I’m open to suggestions.
Because I’m still on the liquid diet lifestyle, I had someone make a trip to Arlee’s and pick me up some green juice. Up until now, most of my liquids have been on the sweeter side, so I needed something green to break up all that sugar. Good stuff. It burned a little, but what doesn’t burn my mouth at this point?
Our house has been kettleless, since the last relatively new kettle we bought, was forgotten on the lit stove and burnt to a crisp. So now we get to try and have tea from a ceramic kettle. I’ve never had a ceramic kettle before.
I was introduced to clove tea for the first time. I’ve had cloves in many other ways, in cooking and in my toothpaste, but never on its own as a tea. It was miraculous in my mouth. With a little honey, I drank the cup in no time. It had the power to numb my entire mouth. I felt no pain. It was beautiful!
Even though I’m supposed to be on a liquid diet, I started craving food. Not out of hunger, but out of the desire to chew something. I thought about it and decided maybe a frittata was a good way to eat something, but have it be soft enough. Let me tell you, it is tough to eat without the roof of your mouth. I have no hard palate, so the food falls into this grand canyon that exists in my mouth. And when that bite of food finally met the bottom of the canyon, man, it hurt. I figured it was worth a try though.
Since my tumour removal was in my hard palate and nose and that whole area in between, the tumour had also grown into my bones and around my teeth. That being said, after removing the tumour, the doctor warned me that my teeth were going to be super sensitive. Oh my God, was he right. I felt like my teeth were and still are pounding all the time. ALL THE TIME. That being said, brushing my teeth is super tough. Sometimes I have to put some Orajel on my teeth just so I could brush them. Even then, commercial toothpaste was way too harsh on my wounds. Because my surgery was done through my hard palate, there were no stitches because there was nothing to stitch it too, so my entire wound/incision was cauterized. That being, my entire mouth was burnt. Imagine putting your regular everyday toothpaste on a burn. You wouldn’t. So I did some research and found this natural toothpaste. It seems to clean my teeth well without irritating my wound.
Singles Awareness Day, one of my favourite days of the year. It’s the day I buy myself a gift and tell myself how incredibly amazing I am. LOL. Because I’m amazing, I thought I’d give another go at eating. Tried out these broccoli-cheese tots. Their gooey texture made it a bit easier for my mouth to handle. Everything still gets lost in there and I felt a bit icky eating the entire tray, but in the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t so bad.
I went to a follow-up appointment with my surgeon. He said things were looking good. Knock on wood. Thank God. Don’t jinx me, please. At this point, I was in way too much pain. I hadn’t been able to drink water for over 12 hours. I thought maybe I had pushed my mouth too far the day before by trying to eat because my mouth was so irritated. to my dismay, when I asked the doctor when things will start to feel better, he said they really won’t. And by that, he continued to say that it will take 3-6 months to fully heal, but in the meantime, it is going to hurt and it is going to be very painful. What really got me upset was when I asked why the pain was getting worse and not better, he told me that there will be no consistency. Some days will be good, other days will be bad. It’s not like any other type of surgery where with time things get better. It’s very possible things could get progressively worse. And that my friends is a serious bummer. In the meantime, he gave me this thing called Magic Mouthwash. You read correctly. Magic Mouthwash. Coincidentally, or maybe not coincidentally, my insurance doesn’t cover this mouthwash “because it’s a compound.” I don’t even know what that means or what that has to to with me. It costs $50, so I had to make some phone calls and ask for money for others, which I HATE to do. I’m unemployed and certainly didn’t plan on getting ill in this way. It’s absurd that insurance doesn’t cover it. Anyways, this Magic Mouthwash is supposed to be magic. It’s typically used for cancer patients that experience mouth sores due to radiation. It’s made up of Maalox, Benadryl, Lidocaine, antacid, antihistamine and anaesthetic. It really was like magic. I’d just swish it in my mouth and my entire mouth was numb. It was a miracle. The prescription says I can only use it four times a day, but I really wish I could use it every second of the day.
This day’s First was scary. Super scary. I was in bed after getting ready for bed. It must have been around 11 PM. I tasted something super salty in my mouth and had no idea what it was. I went to the bathroom and looked in the mirror. My mouth was full of dark blood. When I spit, I spit out nasty and huge blood clots. The clots I assume were responsible for my cauterised mouth. I rinsed my mouth with water and didn’t think much of it. The doctor said there would be blood, maybe this is what he meant. A couple of hours later, I felt that salty taste in my mouth again. I went to the bathroom and was bleeding from my mouth, much like a bloody nose, but from my mouth. Because of where the blood was coming from in my mouth, putting pressure on it with just my mouth wasn’t working. So I got an ice cold glass of water and kept the water in my mouth as long as I could and then would spit out. Put the water in my mouth again, spit out. Again and again and again until I got the blood to stop. I didn’t know what else to do or what I was supposed to do, so I went back to bed. A couple of hours later [again] I felt the salty taste in my mouth again. This time was different because, by the time I got to the bathroom, the blood was pouring out of me. I looked like a Carrie doomsday horror movie vampire fountain. Blood was shooting out of me as though I turned on a sink faucet on high. It was scary. I started to shake and felt so weak. I had some gauze and put it in my mouth, trying to put pressure on it with my tongue. In less than 10 minutes, I went through more than 10 pieces of gauze. The gauze wasn’t just soaked, it was swimming in a pool of blood. It was crazy. I went to the ER, it took more than a half hour to stop the blood. At the ER they applied some lidocaine and epinephrine to my mouth. Apparently, epinephrine acts as some sort of vascular restrictor? Or so the physician’s assistant told me. By the time I was discharged and got home, It was around 6 am. I got in bed and hoped that nothing like this will happen again. Positive vibes everyone. Positive vibes.
Peace and Pistachios,