One of the things a mother learns is that her children are remarkable. As time goes on, she realizes that her children are more than remarkable – they are capable of deep, really deep thought. For instance, my son Jay (James) is undergoing surgery for cancer of the parotid gland today. On his Facebook page, he posted a profound message – his thoughts before undergoing the surgery. I’m reposting it here (misspellings and all) without his knowledge, much less his permission, but I think he’ll be OK with it.
How to make a face with out moving a muscle-The day before surgeryby Jay on Sunday, February 20, 2011 at 3:07pm
Hello to my Friends, Family, and Loves,
It is Sunday Feb 20th, 2011. I sit here at the computer watching the very last scene of “Pirate of the Caribbean At Worlds End”. I am not sure that I am or will ever be fully ready for what is to happen tomorrow.
Tomorrow, at 0800hr I am to undergo a Perotidectomy, on the left of my face, with full sacrifice of the main nerve bundle that enters the Perotid Gland and the five facial nerve branches that come out of the Perotid Gland. (The Perotid Gland is one of the Salivary Glands that is located just inside the back of the jaw line under the ear)
After the removal of the encapsulated Tumor, I will immediately undergo a nerve graft to try and reattach the severed nerves that control the left eye closure and left side of the mouth closure. I will have a sling suspension that will over correct the eye corner and the mouth corner, on the left side, to help with the closure of both. I will also have a small gold weight put in my eyelid to help with the closure of my eye.
I will be on the operating table anywhere from 6 to 10 hours, depending on the complexities of the nerve graft. It can take upwards of 2 years to determine if the nerve graft worked fully. I have 1/3 chance of a good result (meaning that I can close my eye and mouth and have most of the control of those muscles) , there is a 1/3 chance of a fair result (meaning that the possibility of syncopation of the eye and mouth moving at the same time when I try to move them, or very weak movement of those muscles), and finally a 1/3 chance of a poor/failure result (meaning that nothing works and I have no control of my face on the left side).
I am optimistic that all will go very well and I will be able to move my eye lid and mouth. But I HAVE to be very realistic and understand that I could have one of the other results. I am fearful and worried but hopeful at the same time.
I had thought that I was not a vain person…however with all that is happening, I have found that I am worried that people will treat me in a fearful, shunning, and push away manner.
I cried for one day to get over the fact that I was going to lose my looks (homely as I am). It really is a kill joy when one thinks of oneself as a somewhat handsome faced person and now have to become use to a new face that is not the same or as nice as before. I have found that I am vain and I am upset that I am so shallow, that I put so much stock in my looks and think that I am so attractive that I am going to lose friends over this… and it hits me that I am now acting as though my friends are shallow and only view me because of my looks, for that I apologize and humbly ask forgiveness.
My best friend in the whole world, y’all know her as my wife Sheryl, MW, friend, and tower of amazing patients and love. She told me to expect her to react in an alarmed manner, and I asked that it be my shoulder that she cry on and know that I love her and care for her and that all will be ok.
One of our dearest friends, Mikey aka KyngLlama, asked me what reaction he should have for me? 1: point at me and laugh or 2: treat me with kids gloves. I told him that he IS to point his finger at me fall on the floor and laugh until his ribs hurt. He said “oh good, ’cause the kids glove version was the same anyway”. It is nice to know that no matter what, I am loved and maybe even respected a little by our friends and family.
I still need to pack my bag for a possible three day stay at the hospital… super hero jammies and soft t-shirts and socks. Easy list to complete.
I look forward to those who come to visit me at the hospital and at home, after the surgery. Please do not be alarmed at my appearance, my smile will be very lopsided, but know that I am genuinely glad to see you and appreciate the effort you made to stop by for a moment. For those who can not make it in person, know that I am glad and grateful for your thoughts, prayers, and well wishes.
I go into this with high hopes but realistic thoughts.
God Bless and Keep each and everyone of you.
I wish I could be with him at the hospital, but my right knee “blew up” and I’m not safe to drive the 25 miles to the hospital. So, I shall simply pray from here and request the prayers of others. I am saying the Akathist to the Mother of God, Healer of Cancer. (You will have to scroll down a bit.)
Even if you don’t see this post until later, please pray anyway. Our God is not constrained by time nor place, so prayers tomorrow – or even next year – will be effective today!