Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Procedure

It’s the morning after and my face feels like Evander Holyfields punching bag. But I finally got to sleep last night around midnight and got some rest. I promised the story and pics, so here they are. I’m still on pain pills, so if I ramble a bit I apologize in advance.

We showed up way early to the medical center. All because I wanted to make sure we beat traffic. It was a good thing cause I had to spend 20 minutes in the little boys room replaying a certain scene from Dumb and Dumber. Pretty sure it was the nervousness of having my face cut on, not knowing who I’d be when it was all over.

We were called back to the procedure room where the lovely nurse gave me two valium to chew up. Not a bad taste if you like eating bark or weed roots or something. She said by chewing them up it would get in my system faster. And they did. J

The doc came in, some chit chat, jokes, he met Vic, then it was time to start. The first part was the numbing of my nose. When I had the biopsy they also numbed my nose and it was quite painful. Afterwards I teared, sneezed and snotted for 5 minutes, it wasn’t pretty. But my nurse yesterday was awesome. One little stick and that was it.

They let the numbing take effect for about 10 minutes then it was time to start carving the turkey. Slice, slice, slice, a little blood, more slicing. No big deal really except it was taking place right in front of my eyes. The doc told me to keep my eyes closed, but I had to watch. Big roundish chunk they removed, right off the end of my nose. Then they cauterized the site to prevent bleeding while lab checked the first cut of meat. There’s nothing quite like hearing the sound of your flesh being burned, unless of course it’s the acidic smell of your flesh being burned. I tried to get Vic to take pics of this part, but she wasn’t getting any closer than she had to for that procedure.

Then it was out to the waiting area while the lab determined if they’d gotten all the cancer. The valium had kicked in real good by this point, so the iPod was cranked. I tried to read some of Tom Clancy’s – Hunt for Red October, but between the nerves, excitement, valium and smell of burnt flesh,,,,it wasn’t a real possibility.

They called me back in and the doc explained he’d gotten ALL the cancer on the first hack. This was great news!!! Although he took a lot of the end of my nose already, he would have had to take much more if there were still cancer there. Again, this was great news to me. I was able to relax a little now. So now it was time to rebuild my nose.

To rebuild my nose they had to take cartilage from my ear so out come the needles again to numb the ear. Once numbed, more slicing, cartilage removal, pulling and stretching of skin, more cutting, more skin removal and moving, slicing, stretching etc. This was by far the longest part of the procedure. And according to Vic through it all my mouth NEVER STOPPED. She said the valium had me just a humming, telling every Navy story I could think of.

Near the end I found out my doc was also a triathlete. His name is Mark Baucom if anyone knows him. We talked about my efforts this year to lose weight and Curahee. I told him I was still primarily walking, but had started running a little each night. Walk 5-8 minutes, then run 2-4. He said his sister was like me, started out walking, then would run the distance between 2 telephone poles, then walk a while and repeat. She kept at it and was now running races. He then tells me I can start walking again in 2 days, and will be able to start running and lifting weights in 1 week. MUCH better news than I was prepared for. So I’m pretty happy right now.

With everything done it was time to go home. I was worried the girls would be scared of my bandages and stuff when we got home, but they weren’t. Alyssa says I look like an elf. I didn’t realize til I got home how little bandages I actually had. And since they’re skin colored, they don’t stand out.

I worked a good portion of the afternoon. My teams had some integration testing and patch loadings taking place and I just couldn’t keep myself away from it. But eventually I did, cranked the iPod and layed down.

Well, that’s about it. It wasn’t best case scenario with regard to size of the removal, but it surely wasn’t worst case either. Doc says that when it heals I should look better than when I walked into his door. I gotta say,,,,the man is confident, and I like him. If there are two people in the world I don’t mind being a bit cocky and arrogant, it’s fighter pilots and plastic surgeons.

Vic took pics during the procedure. And here they are.

Here I am this morning. The color of these bandages really make me look almost normal. But I don't see where Alyssa gets the Elf comment.

One more thing, Haily lost another tooth. It was so loose I was able to pull it out with my fingers.

Thanks everyone for your thoughts, prayers and emails of support and encouragement.

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