Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Second Operation - Modified Radical Neck Dissection

I was told by my family that I was more calm and composed during my second surgery (though it’s going to be more intense) as compared to the surgery I had in less than a month ago. My advice to you is this: (1) a positive attitude is the best way to approach ANY surgery; keep an open mind about what to expect after the surgery to lessen fears. (2) Have confidence in your surgeon. (3) Most importantly, have faith in God.

October 14: Dr Amin wanted me to do an MRI Scan (of the neck and brain) before the surgery. The MRI Scan is even scarier because I was confined to a small space; the whole procedure took me 45 minutes each. I lie inside a large cylinder (like a 1.5 meters long tunnel) and I was asked to wear a mask and it was a little uncomfortable lying still with the mask on. An injection of a special contrast dye was given into my bloodstream. The radiographer sits in the control room next to the scanner with Mom and observes through the window. The scanner made a loud banging noise while it was working so I was given a headphone to listen to the radio (Hitz.fm) to block out part of the noise and to help me relax. The song that was playing on air when I finished my session was Kris Allen' Live Like You're Dying. It felt as if the radio was trying to send me a message - to live like you're dying. I couldn't agree more.

It turned out that the results were very encouraging – No trace of cancer detected in both neck and brain. There was also NO recurrent tumour detected in the right submandibular gland, only soft tissue oedema from previous surgery. This was excellent news (well, at least for me) but Dr Amin still wanted to do the operation as originally planned.

i) MRI of Brain


"NO focal cerebral lesion seen. The ventricular system and basal cistern appear normal. Brainstem and cerebellum appear normal".

Radiologist Impression:

"Normal examination".

ii) MRI of Neck


"Right submandibular gland has been excised. There is NO recurrent mass lesion in the right submandibular bed. Residual soft tissue oedema in right submandibular bed and adjacent right lateral pterygoid muscle. Multiple enlarged lymph nodes, the largest node measures 1.3 x 1cm. The left submandibular gland and both parotid gland appear normal. Nasopharynx, orophyarnx, larynx and trachea appear normal”.

Radiologist Impression:

"Residual oedema in right submandibular bed and pterygoid muscle from previous surgery. NO evidence of recurrent tumour detected in right submandibular bed associated with reactive right and left cervical lymph nodes".

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