New Day: 12-14-2016
Update Stephen Jay Jackson,
Squamous Cell Carcinoma, Head and Neck, Throat Cancer Recovery Complications…
For those of you who have been following my cancer journey on YouTube, I thought I would move things over here to my blog in order to produce more content without using video every day.
I would love to record videos that often, however, life doesn’t permit at this time. Until then, I will be updating this blog daily to give you an inside look at my life after conventional treatment.
This will be the beginning post, and I will try and follow this up, each day, with a current post as to what is happening with recovery.
So, for now, let’s play catch up from the time I completed treatment, until now.
Of course, after treatment ended, the whole left side of my face was very sore and felt like I had just burned myself with a heat lamp. That kind of a feeling really hurts. The other thing is, my throat felt like my neck looked.
Here’s what I looked like:
- Chemo Pic Line
- Stomach Feeding tube
- Down to 130lbs
These are just some of the things that can happen towards the end of your scheduled radiation treatments. Many people will end up in a different situation, however, this is my story.
Follow-ups went fine for the first couple of weeks until I started to get a little swelling in my throat. The swelling was making breathing kind of difficult, so I needed to schedule an appointment with my ENT in order to sort things out.
After visiting with my ENT it was discovered I had a slight case of angioedema. I have already been on a regimen of 5 mg of PredniZone daily, and it was suggested that I increase this amount to 10 mg daily.
This helped a great deal with the angioedema, and allowed me to get back to more normal breathing and swallowing.
Soon after that, I began having a problem with my molar tooth on the left side of my face where the radiation treatment took place. It appears that part of the filling had shipped loose during treatment. And there was a hole in the top of my tooth.
Also, on the side of my gum, a piece of Mandible bone was showing. This is called “RadioNecrosis“. When bone is damaged, the body rejects it. The skin will not cover it, so the bone must be scraped or removed in order for healing to take place. (below last molar)
From here, the only thing I could do would be to make an appointment with my primary dentist. The two areas began to become painful, and as a result, I needed to mix my daily medication regimen with 400 mg of ibuprofen.
This helped a great deal in managing the pain, because quite frankly, morphine really doesn’t help with this type of pain unless you’re on a large dosage. Of course I don’t need that problem, so I am making do with the ibuprofen for now.
Finally, a dentist appointment.
While at the dentist, they noticed the cavity and decided to fix the tooth without drilling. They have some sort of aluminum oxide which is used to convert the cavity area back into good bone. After receiving four treatments, the process actually helped my tooth to heal, or so it seemed.
They could do nothing for the RadioNecrosis at that time.
Roughly, about a week later, the pain started to come back. This time, with a vengeance.
I returned to the dentist only to find out that the dentist did not want to pull the tooth, nor di they want to deal with the RadioNecrosis. Their recommendation was to perform a root canal on that specific tooth. You all know how I feel about root canals, and also, I don’t have root canal money, so that would have to be something we would visit later on if we can figure something else out.
On top of all that, the dentist wanted to talk to my ENT to find out what other options I had, in terms of seeing any dental surgeon or someone more specialized in the radiation cancer side of dentistry. Believe it or not, they did, and they got me setup at OHSU dental.
In the meantime, I’m still dealing with the pain, and taking up to 4 Advil, or 800 mg, every 4 to 6 hours. This, by the way, is not recommended for anyone experiencing any type of pain. This type of regimen could very quickly damage your liver and other important organs.
I got set up with my new dentist.
An appointment was made with my new dentist and all I had to do was wait for the day. That day turned out to be three weeks from the date it was located.
While I was waiting for that, I have begun to have swallowing issues. Yes, swallowing issues. My throat hurts constantly, and it is becoming more and more difficult to swallow. I don’t know how many times I have talked to my ENT about this issue, but I done some research on my own and found out some interesting facts.
Anytime anyone experiences radiation treatment to the neck area, they are risking medical conditions that can occur to the soft tissue in the throat. Basically, aside from getting a condition called angioedema, there is another condition which makes the skin in the throat turn into scar tissue. The scar tissue becomes very hard and not elastic.
When this happens, it becomes extremely difficult to swallow because the throat does not push, or work, the food down as it normally should. In fact, the person becomes very frustrated because as they are swallowing, the stomach is trying to push the food back up. Then we begin to aspirate and this is no fun at all.
So while dealing with that, I also have the pain from the tooth, which has now affected the whole complete left side of my head and neck. In fact, I’m in so much pain, it’s very difficult to get out of bed and do my normal chores of the day. However, I’m a trooper, and I need to get through this.
All right, my dentist appointment this HERE! December 12th, 2016
Okay, it looks like we got some work done today. The dentist at OHSU came up with a simple plan of grinding down the tooth so it is not in the bite path, take all necessary x-rays to make sure the tooth is not cracked below the filling, decide on whether a root canal and a cap is required, or a simple root canal.
Also, he addressed the RadioNecrosis. He scraped the area a little, then got out some serious looking tweezers, and pulled on this bone until it broke off. Under the bone, my gum had already been healing as though the bone shard was being pushed out. I got lucky so far…!!
Today is December 14, 2016, and the pain from the tooth is subsiding.
I am not completely recovered from this tooth issue and it has become even more difficult to swallow as of today.
We’ll see how I feel tonight and tomorrow morning.
Also, I’m having a difficult time working the Rick Simpson Oil into my daily routine. If anyone has a suggestion, that would be appreciated.