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Staring Down Cancer

A second opinion

CT scan istock.jpg

This jaw bone necrosis is a tough nut to crack.  

My oral surgeon scheduled surgery for me for next week. He believes that my back molars on the bottom left need to be removed permanently for the jaw to heal. His plan is to remove the teeth, push back the gums and scoop out all the dead bone until he reaches living bone. He would then cover that up with gum tissue and sew it closed.

His theory is that if he can get the dead bone out, then the oxygen therapy (me and the submarine) might have a better chance at healing.  It made sense, but I was troubled about never having any back molars on the one side. Fortunately, his approach seemed reasonable. Remember I went to seven oral surgeons before I found someone who has ever worked on jaw necrosis.

The week before, I had gone to another surgeon for a second opinion. He sent me to get a CT scan of the entire jaw. I did it reluctantly, because I figured since so many surgeons knew so little, he too would come up with nothing.

So off I went to his office. He pulled out the CT scan, which basically said I do not have osteomyelitis of the jaw, and although I do have jaw necrosis, the worst thing I could do it would be to take out any teeth and have any surgery!

Once again, the big ball of confusion – which is basically my life – presents itself. Now what? I am still in pain, taking Advil every four hours and penicillin four times a day. This surgeon is calling the other surgeon today to refute his plan.  He is then sending me to a friend of his, who he claims is the “jaw whisperer,” to see if he agrees.  

Man, I am tired. I guess this won’t end until I’m six feet under.  As the patient, it is exhausting trying to decide who is right. I was on the Internet last night till 3 a.m. I am breaking it down, but in medicine there is always a percentage of the unknown. I will keep searching. I really don’t want to lose my teeth, but I can't let that color my investigation.  

If you don’t hear from me next week, I will be in surgery. That's if I don't run away to Switzerland.

Noreen Fraser is living with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer. She is the Founder and CEO of the Noreen Fraser Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to funding groundbreaking women's cancer research. To stay in touch with Noreen, please 'LIKE' The Noreen Fraser Foundation on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.  Noreen can be contacted via email at noreen@noreenfraserfoundation.org.