I was diagnosed with SCC on the gum tissue near my lower pre-molar on 12/14/18. I had surgery on 4/15/19 to remove a sizable chunk of my jawbone, 5 teeth and hundreds of lymph nodes. Of the 54 lymph nodes tested, all were negative. The tumor was 1.9 cm and isolated to the initial pre-molar area.
My recovery has gone very well considering all that was involved. I had a feeding tube in my nose for 10 days. Without my 5 teeth, I have some trouble pronouncing words and will start speech therapy on June 3. I have had some weakness in my left shoulder (same side as my surgery and possibly related to the neck dissection) and am getting physical therapy for that.
I am able to eat pretty much any food that I want. I am not able to open my mouth as wide as before, due to some scar tissue and have to cut food up into smaller bites, but that is not a problem.
I am going to be seeing a reconstructive surgeon and two prosthodontists in June to determine next steps in my recovery.
One option is to have a bone removed from my leg to create me a new jaw bone. My current jaw bone is too thin to support the dental implant process to restore my 5 teeth.
I understand that there could be some risk of weakening of my jaw bone over time without teeth to provide structure in my mouth and I could develop bite problems.
-Since I can eat fine now on the right side of my mouth, would I be okay living this way for possibly another 30-40 years? If not for the potential weakening of my jaw bone and bite problems, possibly so.
-How painful is the process to remove the bone from my leg, insert into my mouth and endure another recovery process. The process so far hasn't been terribly painful. Of course, I wouldn't wish it on anyone and I wish I hadn't had to go through it, but truly, the pain was not unbearable, having a feeding tube for 10 days was not unbearable. But, an 11th day was getting close to being unbearable. I'm truly grateful I didn't have to have it long term.
-Will a feeding tube be necessary for the reconstructive surgery?
I know only I can determine the right answer, along with my doctors and family. But, I would like to hear from others who have been through a similar reconstructive surgery.
Thanks so much!