17 October 2014
After having surgery on the 30th to place two drains in my tumor, I was very happy to be so comfortable two weeks later (Monday and Tuesday) that I didn’t need to use pain medication anymore. But on Wednesday (the day before yesterday), I had what I thought would be a routine post‐surgical follow‐up visit and the x‐ray revealed that the checkmark‐shaped ✓ drain had radically shifted position and needed to be removed, so it was more needles, more cutting and more swelling for me as my surgeon had to make an incision while I was under local anesthesia in order to fish out the drain. So now I’m back on pain medication and back on a soft diet and swollen enough that I’m having some difficulty chewing because it’s hard to bring my upper molars in contact with my lower ones. But as Near Eastern peoples say, “This too shall pass,” and I should be fine soon enough. Plus, I count myself lucky to have such a handsome and personable oral surgeon.
(This x‐ray image is from the 30th, when both the checkmark‐shaped drain and the straighter one were still in place.)

After having surgery on the 30th to place two drains in my tumor, I was very happy to be so comfortable two weeks later (Monday and Tuesday) that I didn’t need to use pain medication anymore. But on Wednesday (the day before yesterday), I had what I thought would be a routine post‐surgical follow‐up visit and the x‐ray revealed that the checkmark‐shaped ✓ drain had radically shifted position and needed to be removed, so it was more needles, more cutting and more swelling for me as my surgeon had to make an incision while I was under local anesthesia in order to fish out the drain. So now I’m back on pain medication and back on a soft diet and swollen enough that I’m having some difficulty chewing because it’s hard to bring my upper molars in contact with my lower ones. But as Near Eastern peoples say, “This too shall pass,” and I should be fine soon enough. Plus, I count myself lucky to have such a handsome and personable oral surgeon.

(This x‐ray image is from the 30th, when both the checkmark‐shaped drain and the straighter one were still in place.)

14 October 2014
“Dozens of teens trash Crown Heights store”

It seems racism can only be accurately labeled as racism so long as the victims aren’t Jews.

Joe Mauceri, “Dozens of teens trash Crown Heights store,” PIX11 (WPIX‐TV), 14 Oct. 2014.

7:13pm  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/ZeDMby1TAIMWP
Filed under: racism 
13 October 2014

Happy Indigenous Peoples Day. I celebrate and honor the indigenous peoples of the Northeastern Woodlands on whose land I have lived my entire life. I, in turn, am part of one of the indigenous peoples of the Levant, an entirely different area of the world where I have never lived.

9 October 2014

I often feel like I am recovering from my treatment more than I am recovering from my illnesses. For example, the sleep study I had on Monday night (into Tuesday morning) was anything but restful and I wound up spending most of Tuesday sleeping to recover from it.

3 October 2014

Unrelated to Yom Kippur: I’m usually so happy and upbeat that I suspect my pain medication is pushing me into something of a euphoric state. I was barely conscious at the time yet I adored everyone who worked in the recovery room and felt bad being rolled away without being able to properly thank them. Since being discharged, I have been taking pleasure in telling people how wonderful they are and how much I love them. Get your love and affection while the supply of generic Percocet lasts.

1 October 2014

I had an operation yesterday to place two drains in the tumor on my jaw that are bigger and more stable than the previous drain. One is bent like a big check mark ✔ and the other has a shallow curve like a gentle smile ⌣. The first drain had been placed in me under local anesthesia in an examination room, but these two were done under general anesthesia in the operating room and I don’t think I fully grasped how major a procedure it was until it was over.

Apparently the anatomy of my neck and trachea had made for a difficult intubation and I awoke in the recovery room with a terribly sore throat that has now largely subsided. In the ambulatory unit, I was able to speak and smile pretty normally because the swelling hadn’t yet really begun. I knew I was still under the effects of the anesthesia, but I nevertheless felt pretty capable and so was surprised when I repeatedly dropped things: Walking to the main lobby, I dropped my file folder and my documents spilled out, then a little while later, I dropped my umbrella. A few blocks away from the hospital, I dropped my jacket. I was also walking more slowly than usual. That evening, I shopped for soft food, and I was disoriented enough in the supermarket that I had difficulty with the otherwise very simple task of opening my two nested canvas shopping bags wide enough to place my purchases therein. (True to my Levantine and Caucasian origins, I picked up ḥummuṣ and yoqurt, and true to my primate origins, I picked up bananas.)

So here I sit with an ice pack pressed to my face much of the day because of a mouth so swollen that I’m having some difficulty opening it wide enough to eat. Also, an unexpected and unfortunate consequence of the surgery was significant nerve damage, so I now have virtually no sensation in my lower lip and my chin, something which has compromised my speech and my smiling. I’m still woozy from the anesthesia too, and while I sit in front of the computer, I sometimes feel as if I’ll abruptly lapse into sleep.

Unfortunately, I had to decline some social engagements yesterday and today. Although the sensation in my lip will take a while to return, I expect I’ll be able to attend some local meetings this weekend.

29 September 2014

💤 I dreamed I was in a shopping mall or hypermarket and ran into a friend on whom I had a big crush in real life. He was very receptive to my flirtation in the dream, so it was a little disappointing to wake from it. 😕 Tonight, I think I’ll do some cleaning to take my mind off the surgical procedure I’ll be having in the morning. Good night, friends.

29 September 2014

The supermarket cashier was very pleased to see me, complimented my shirt—a plain black t‐shirt, but with a small embroidered rainbow flag on the chest—and noted how important it is to have pride. 🌈👕

22 September 2014

I hate it! It’s like torture! I need to repeatedly go to the pharmacy to fill and refill prescriptions, and the piles and piles of Halloween sweets there won’t be discounted until November! ☹ 🎃

17 September 2014

My eureka moment with the surgeon today: It’s not that somehow shrinking the tumor will promote bone regrowth; it’s the other way around. Bone growth is always happening. Keeping the cystic tumor drained will allow the bone regrowth in my mandible to push on and thus shrink the tumor.

16 September 2014

Today and also a few days ago, a car drove past my building while playing obnoxiously loud music that the whole neighborhood could hear, something I find reprehensibly rude, but it was hard to be angry when the song playing (both times!) was “That’s Amore.” ⚞🚗⚟

Last modified 17 September 2014.

12 September 2014

• I am elated to announce that I do not have an ameloblastoma but was instead diagnosed today with a benign keratocystic odontogenic tumor! Although I will still need major surgery to remove it, especially as it is so extensive, and I may even lose some teeth, my mandible does not need to be resected!
• Even though I was told it would be there for six to eight months, the drain was nevertheless removed today as it was apparently not doing its job very well. Today’s surgeon said that the next step would have to be “decompression” whereby I think she was referring to marsupialization. Although I’m not looking forward to that either, the drain was quite the nuisance.
• I also saw the sleep specialist today. After briefly examining me, he determined that my obesity and neck circumference are only borderline problems, and that the primary cause of my obstructive sleep apnea is micrognathism, an abnormally undersized mandible. Can you believe it? I am scheduled for a sleep study after the High Holidays.
Shabbat shalom.

12 September 2014

About my biopsy on Thursday, the 4th, and subsequent follow‐up appointment with the surgeons on Friday, the 5th

• I was only expecting a consultation Thursday and not the biopsy.
• One of the surgeons asked me questions and felt around inside my mouth.
• He suggested having the biopsy done that very day and I consented.
• Another (apparently Jewish) surgeon asked if I were Muslim.
• Multiple photographs of my face were taken from various angles before and during the procedure.
• The affiliation with a school of medicine meant there were plenty of surgical trainees observing the procedure at all points.
• The biopsy was a surreal experience: I was awake and relaxing with my hands comfortably folded on my belly and my legs crossed at the ankles as the mass that has been on my jaw for years was painlessly cut open while faces hovered over me that used multiple Latin anatomical terms with which I was unfamiliar.
Lots of dark brown fluid, about a square centimeter of soft tissue and a minute bit of bone were taken away from me.
• A surgical drain about which I was not informed ahead of time was sewn into me and will be there for six to eight months, so long as the mass is what they think it is.
• My tongue and lip were numb thereafter but I was thrilled the hard bulbous mass had become more of a soft pillow.
• There were many loud and annoying children in the drug store while I waited for my prescriptions to be filled as the anesthesia wore off.

• When I was back at the hospital the next day, the overhead examination light that descends from the ceiling was not working so a penlight and a smartphone light were used to peer into my mouth.
• I learned I would need to irrigate my neoplasm with salt water through the drain three times a day for six to eight months. The surgeon demonstrated and it was fairly painful, like more water was being pushed into a balloon or bladder than it could comfortably hold.
• Another oral surgeon summoned me into his office to discuss the extensive bone loss and tooth resorption I have suffered. He was the second surgeon to suggest to me that the bone loss had made my jaw very fragile, and he asked if I participate in any rough‐and‐tumble sports that might result in a broken jaw.
• That night, I went to the local gay men’s discussion group and told them my story in far more detail than they probably wanted to hear.

Comments of mine on Facebook
• It is definitely associated with the wisdom tooth, and the mass extends from the wisdom tooth down my mandible to the further side of my chin. The surgeons think it’s likely a KCOT, although only the biopsy and CT scan results will tell for sure.
• It definitely needs to be surgically removed. The delay of six to eight months is to give some time for the mass to shrink in the hope I’ll have some bone regrowth as a result.

10 September 2014

This week in the story of my health care

☑ Tuesday: Dermatologist visit. Got some good topical prescriptions.
☑ Wednesday: CT scan of my mandible as ordered by my oral surgeon.
☐ Friday morning: Another visit with the oral surgeon whereat I should finally get a proper diagnosis based on the biopsy and CT‐scan results.
☐ Friday afternoon: My first visit with the sleep specialist.

5 September 2014

Written 4 September.

What with registration, consultation and a biopsy, I spent three and a half hours at the hospital today, then over an hour at the pharmacy waiting for my medications. I also now have a drainage tube in my gum that should be there for the next six to eight months. Details to follow, whether you want to read them or not.

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