This is a personal one for me, I really feel the need to share this story and there’s a few reasons why.
1. I want to help bring awareness to a rare condition that although is the most common type of benign salivary gland Tumor it only effects 2-3 people per 100,000.
2. For myself. As the Tumor grows because my surgery has been postponed like so many others due to Covid-19 every day I am more aware of it’s presence. My face no longer is the same shape, it stands out and people have started staring for a little bit longer than normal. I’m growing increasingly self conscious about it.
3. To encourage others to get checked out. We worry too much what other people think. Don’t not go to your Doctor just because you worry they’ll think you’re being over the top. Also…it is completely okay to disagree with your doctor and get a second opinion. Don’t take any chances with your health; life is too short.
About two years ago now (while I was pregnant with Flo, who will be 2 in 3 months) I visited my Doctor because I noticed a lump on my jaw that was at sometimes uncomfortable. It was rather small at that time and only really noticeable when I opened my mouth.
I saw a nurse, who called in a Doctor to have a look and no one really knew what it was so referred me to a special facial clinic, the Maxillofacial Clinic to be exact.
When I was seen there they wanted to send me for an x-ray but being pregnant at the time I didn’t feel comfortable so decided to wait. In that time the lump slowly got bigger. After giving birth to a lockdown baby and slowly losing weight the lump was now very prominent on the side of my face. My face just looks ‘unbalanced’.
When I finally went back in for the x-ray nothing showed up so they then sent me for an ultrasound on my face, a biopsy and an MRI. I was called in reasonably quickly with my results and was pretty calm because my consultant had previously said it’s most likely a cyst and nothing to worry about.
When they say me down and said it was a tumour, my floor almost hit the floor. I had such mixed emotions because of course I’m over the moon that it’s not cancerous but I had been led to believe it was just a cyst this whole time. My emotions got the better of me and I burst into tears when I got back to the car 🙈
My actual diagnosis – pleomorphic adenoma
Going forward I have to have it removed because it will keep growing and could turn malignant/cancerous.
As with any operation or major surgery they are risks. The one I’m most concerned for is losing movement in the right hand side of my face completely. This can happen because the tumour is so close to nerves and in my case my chances are increased slightly because it is actually on my nerve. Usually they stay as far away from the nerves as possible, but in my case they are going to have to peel it away from the tumour before removing it itself.
Staying positive and praying helps.
This is a stark reminder that we don’t always have control over things that happen in life and we are not defined by things that happen. It is how we deal with them and our reactions that we are always in control of.
At the moment I’m waiting, due to the backlog from covid I was due to have my surgery no later than the end of November but I have yet to be scheduled for surgery. I did however receive an apology letter just letting me know I hadn’t been forgotten. I also received a letter asking to share my details with private hospitals in case the opportunity arose for me to have to surgery there; which I of course said ‘yes’ to!
In the mean time stay positive, stay healthy and take each day as it comes. Focus on the good and be thankful for the things you already have that we all take for granted like one another. Cherish every day and every moment as much as you can.