The quest for an opening

Of the mouth, that is. We visited with a new ENT who examined me for the first time, and I have to say that sometimes it’s nice to get some fresh eyes on things – someone who is not completely familiar with my long, oddball history with oral cancer and the aftereffects. He thinks the problem is the muscle at the mandible rather than fibrosis, but wants to look at my last CT to check it out. He also wants to use the flexscope on me (that’s the one they snake down your nose to look at the back of your mouth and throat when you can’t open your mouth), something he could not do Tuesday, but wants to do next Tuesday on our followup, by which time he will also have the CT report and the scan itself. He asked if, when I ate soup or other liquid-y foods, I had issues with leakage. I told him I had gotten pretty good at keeping it in most of the time. He asked me if I drooled, at which point I laughed, because yes, in fact, from time to time, I do. He pointed out that I have some paralysis on the left lower side of my mouth, which I’d not really noticed as such before – I’d chalked it up to the chunks of muscle and nerve they removed during the surgery, which in turn affected my ability to fully close my mouth. I was right, but not for the precise reason.

In any case, we go back next Tuesday to see him again at which time we’ll have some kind of idea on a possible path forward. Which is good, because not being able to open your mouth is a real pisser (and because I have another tooth that’s cracked half off and it needs to come out, which would be a lot simpler for all of us involved – particularly me – if I could open my mouth a bit wider than 12mm).

So again, for those of you stumbling across this site because you searched for oral cancer: make sure that even when you’re feeding through a tube that you’re opening your mouth throughout treatment. Trust me, you do not want to go through the things I’m going through.

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