Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Road Goes Ever

Goes. Doesn't look like a real word there.

Busy day, after two false starts. I post-poned the first physical therapy session so I wouldn't have to struggle to make it to a Lord of the Rings trivia thing later at Bookman's with a friend from The Plaza, Ista/Andrea. I was late and blew it utterly anyway. I knew all the answers for the ones I was there for, dammit. Even Caras Galladhon! She won anyway, and they gave everyone 2 tickets regardless, so she gave me her second, which was very sweet, considering.

The second appointment was a mix-up. They'd called me to re-schedule, because my therapist called in sick. I wrote down Tuesday, but apparently it was to be Wednesday. So, Wednesday it is and back I went.

My therapist, Janice, is an older woman, which is probably a good thing as I won't be distracted by a hot young chick groping me. She was very nice. Patient and slow and made me feel like she knew what my issues were, like she'd had experience with this particular surgery's issues.

Let's enumerate those while we're here. In order to fill in the void left in my neck when they removed 27 lymph nodes and I'm sure plenty of adjacent tissue, as least near the two nodes that were cancerous, my surgeon took a good section of pectoral muscle and detached it from my sternum on the one side and shuffled it under my skin, blood supply and nerves intact, pivoting it up into my neck area and reattaching the loose end to my jaw. I have a chest muscle in my neck, and it's always tight, like it's in a constant state of flex. The added feature is that, since it's still attached to my shoulder, when I move my arm or try to do anything that used to involve a chest muscle, my neck flexes and it has a tendency to pull down on my jaw.

The whole thing feels like an experiment that hasn't been proven effective yet and they're still working on it, but the procedure has a name and everything. Radical Neck Dissection with Cervicopectoral Flap Reconstruction. The neck dissection has been around since at lest 1906. Not sure how long they've been doing the reconstruction part.

So, I have a big chest muscle swung around and in my neck, laying on top of my collarbone and attached to my jaw. Flexing pulls my jaw down, but the whole thing is also tightening up a bit and pulling my chin down all the time, making my posture worse than it already was. This combined with the lack of real neck muscles and the tendons all around the area are overcompensating for the lack and everything is tighter than Dick's hatband. My neck feels like it's got a foot of steel cable running down it.

These issues and the other throat problems I have still from the radiation and chemo: muscles that hadn't been used for over a month, atrophied and burned with radiation. Means I have to learn how to swallow for the third time. At least everything I drink doesn't come out my nose like the first time.

Anyway, Janice ask me a lot of questions, listened well to my answers and offered some good suggestions. She checked my range of motion, mostly regarding my neck, but a little around the shoulder. I mentioned a problem with my tracheotomy scar, which seems to have gotten tighter. She massaged it, gently at first, then rather vigorously, but it does seem a lot better. She then began to press upon my tendons and certain muscles to both get an idea of what's going on, and to stretch them and get some more range of motion out of them.

Pretty standard physical therapy I suppose. While lying on the table, another patient came in, and though I couldn't see, he had apparently had his foot torn or cut off and reattached. Good times. Janice arranged my appt schedule. I'm approved for 15 sessions and they set me up for 10 already. About twice a week.

And then I was on the road, heading north to meet up with Andrea and her friend, Dave. We went to Armadillo Grill in Scottsdale. Appetizers were half price. There wasn't much I could choose from with my no-saliva issues, so I got fried pickles. I was expecting pickle chips, not kosher spears. They were good, but difficult to eat since I can't open my jaw very wide anymore (Janice is going to work on that too). That and the acid in the pickles messed with my tongue and cheek. Nerve damage from surgery and all. Figured I needed some more food in me for the long evening so I got the bread pudding for dessert. Not bad. Mine's better. Still pretty hard to eat.

The concert was at Arena (I hate typing that - Jobing is a horrible construction of a non-word and naming an arena after it, with the dot com part, is ridiculous). Starting at 7:30, the orchestra and choirs came out right on time. I had been wondering what the concert's format would be like. The Fellowship of the Ring played on a giant screen behind the orchestra, complete with subtitles (since the symphony was louder than the film in places), while the orchestra played the score exactly as it is played out on-screen, right down to the voice-work. There was a female performer singing the lead parts as well as the song "May It Be" for the end credits, and a young boy from the boy's choir singing during the credits as well.  Pretty cool evening.

1 comment:

Colleen Chapman said...

Funny how Lord of the Rings keeps popping up at all of the times in life that we need it. I hope the concert was the best thing ever and it took your mind off of things for a while.