Welcome to OCF, Jones! Im very sorry you have a need to use our site. Going thru cancer can be a terrifying experience!! I think its the fear of the unknown that makes it so difficult. Not knowing from day to day whats going on with your health status, what your future holds, and far too many other future uncertainties certainly is not pleasant to think about. Theres ways to get around everything and this actually has worked for many Ive passed it along to over the years.
We can decide to concern ourselves with things we can NOT change ... we have absolutely no control over these things. No amount of thinking or worrying about uncontrollable situations will ever be helpful. Unfortunately most people tend to go down the "what if..." path and dwell on the negatives, only making them more upset. Best thing I can tell you when you start to wonder bout the uncontrollable situations is to set yourself a timer for a few minutes ... when it goes off get up and "change the channel". What I mean is to physically get up from what ever you were doing, walk away and go do something positive. Figure out something that requires you to focus on it and that its something positive to give you a sense of accomplishment. I started doing that way back when I went thru my first OC scare in 2007 and it worked better than I ever imagined it would! I chose to clean out dressers, closets and after a week or 2 every little task I had put aside was accomplished leaving me with a positive sense of accomplishment instead of worrying about things I had no control over. that will take your attention
At OCF, we've been around for a long time! We're are the largest oral cancer (OC) site having people from all over the world come to get info and support for OC. Most importantly, our site is monitored and incorrect info is promptly removed so rest assured you will find only up to date, correct medical info here. In today's world too much emphasis is on looks and being "perfect" in an imperfect world. Everybody's different is what makes the world so interesting! Looking or sounding different carries a stigma making the person affected feel somewhat less of a person than those who have not gone thru such life threatening ordeals. What you see today in the mirror is NOT what you will see next month or next year. The surgery tends to make most patients have significant swelling which will vary greatly from patient to patient. No matter how many we see who on paper appear similar, comparing still does not and will not ever work... we're all individuals with out own unique quirks both good and bad. Having OC 3x in 3 years taught me the biggest life lessons imaginable!!! Its really not about what people look like... the inside is what people see!!! Take the most attractive people in the world and 20 years later they will likely look very different than they did when they were young. This was a very hard lesson for me to learn!!! But I had weeks of being laid up in the hospital to prepare myself for my new life where I look very different than when I went into the hospital for my 3rd round of OC. Sorry to stray off topic!!! This is a subject I have considerable experience with after 3 OC diagnosis my survival odds were almost too low to have any hope. One thing to always remember is in time looks fade, this happens to everyone!!!! The people once considered beautiful will age, people gain and lose weight, sometimes life happens and takes such a toll on people where their daily high stress from daily life clearly shows.
Your question really is almost impossible to answer... remember we are all fellow OC patients/survivors and caregivers... not medical professionals with years of med school, clinical hands on work, one on one patient experience and many years of studying with hands on experiences to be medical professionals. We're regular people life your mailman, grocery clerk, soccer mom, etc so unfortunately asking us such a complex question about what the future may or may not hold is well beyond what any of us could even guess at. What one person went thru does not mean other similar cases would be anything at all similar. Since your surgery was just 2 weeks ago you still probably have significant swelling that will go down more in time. The longer you are out from the surgery the less the side effects should be noticeable. I would have a long chat with your surgeons (hopefully you already have a plastic surgeon working on your team) about what possible outcomes you should expect. Id also ask what other options do you have? Whenever anyone is doing a surgery affecting such a major area as their face and neck, a second opinion is the best possible suggestion I can give you. What one doc thinks is ok may not be possible for you since you had surgery to remove a cancerous tumor, its NOT just not an elective nose job getting done. Your surgery is much more complicated also due to still having significant inflammation from such a recent OC surgery. Theres no rush to get a reconstructive surgery done. Ive been told by several of my own doctors it takes a full year for the body to recover from such an invasive procedure as a surgery. My case is dramatically different than yours... Im like most here who had radiation with chemo which makes it very complex as radiation has devastating effects on the areas of body near where it was needed (scatter rads).
Hang in there!!! Remember we are always our own worst critics!!!! Try not to be so hard on yourself... speech therapists can do wonders if your speech isnt what you'd like it to be. Thats another area where we all critique ourselves rather harshly. What we notice most others do not!!! Plus theres always therapists and other mental health professionals that can help you feel better about everything. Thats an area many of cancer patients do not want to use but it really can and will help tremendously. Ask what options for everything Ive suggested at your cancer center, they may surprise you will how much support they offer their patients.
Wishing you all the very best with everything!!!
SCC 6/15/07 L chk & by L molar both Stag I, age44
2x cispltn-35 IMRT end 9/27/07
-65 lbs in 2 mo, no caregvr
Clear PET 1/08
4/4/08 recur L chk Stag I
surg 4/16/08 clr marg
215 HBO dives
3/09 teeth out, trismus
7/2/09 recur, Stg IV
8/24/09 trach, ND, mandiblctmy
3wks medicly inducd coma
2 mo xtended hospital stay, ICU & burn unit
PICC line IV antibx 8 mo
10/4/10, 2/14/11 reconst surg
OC 3x in 3 years
very happy to be alive