Christine's Second Surgery

Surgery Day

It’s been a long day. We left home at 4:30am, so that we could check in by 5:15am. Christine started surgery at about 8am, and it took over 12 hours to complete. She made it to the recovery room by 9pm, and finally made it to her ward room at 11:30pm. Coincidentally, just two rooms down from the one she had last year. I was able to see Christine for a little while and she was in good spirits, with her white board in hand (she has a trach and is unable to speak), teaching the nurses how the tubes etc. should be placed. I finally made it home by 2am this morning!

It was a much more challenging surgery than last time, but was completed successfully and pretty well went according to plan. The process was complicated by the extensive scar tissue left from the previous surgery.

Dr Pytynia, the cancer surgeon, was able to remove all the areas touched by the tumor, which meant removing part of Christine’s jaw and neck tissues. She was able to get “good margins” to healthy tissue.

Dr Garvey, the reconstruction surgeon, used her left fibula bone, skin and tissue to replace her jaw. The inside of her lower left arm was used to replace the neck tissues that were infected. There is no skin graft on arm yet, as they will wait for it to heal before applying. The risk of graft failure was too high to attempt now. They were able to put a skin graft on her leg this time.

Dr Hofstede, the oral surgeon, determined that the integrity of the new jaw bone was unsuitable for dental implants at this time, so Christine will have to have her new teeth positioned at a later date. Unfortunately the nerves were too damaged from the scar tissue removal for them to be reconnected.
Finally made it to the ward!

Christine will have to stay in hospital for at least a week to recover from this ordeal. Please feel free to contact me for updates. Thanks for all of your encouraging words and support.

Kinda takes your mind off this Coronavirus business...