Saving My Face Update.

Perhaps, this is a bit too personal for a blog like this but, having posted a short draft of a memoir I was working on a few years back to deal with the effects of facial paralysis, I guess I can post an update. It has been five years since I was diagnosed with a tumor on the left side of my face.  Of course, in April 2010, we didn’t know yet what it really was (a schwannoma tumor) and that I would lose the motor nerve controlling movement on that side of the face.  However, after two trips to the operating table, nerve grafts, subsequent follow ups and the like, one can say that I’ve come a long way these years, which have gone so fast. Today, I had an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) at the UH University Suburban Health Center in South Euclid, Ohio.  This was the first one I had in at least two years and was rather apprehensive.  The MRI in itself was not a problem.  For me, it was what would my surgeon, Dr. Rod Razaee, see on the images made of my head.  Later, when I was in his office and saw the look on his face as he came in, I realized that it went well.  Dr. Razaee said that, at least on his part, that there were no recurring tumors and that everything looked fine.  He then made me to the standard facial movements for him like for the other follow-ups.  The central part of my face (nose and upper mouth) are practically normal.  My left eyelid is still a little weak which makes the eye itself appear slightly more open than the other.  As for my lower left hand side of the mouth, it is the area with the least nerve regeneration and that’s why I no longer have a symmetrical smile.  However, at rest, I appear perfectly normal.  Once again, the doctor told me that I exceeded most expectations of patients with such surgery.   In response, I couldn’t resist showing him the driver’s license card i had renewed recently and how, upon seeing what my photograph looked like with my crooked smile, I told the lady taking it “Well, at least I don’t look drunk!” As we continued talking about how, among other things, I need to lose weight, Dr. Razee said that something that would be surprising to many other people I know regarding me.  “You seem like the type of guy who, once you set your mind to something, goes at it.” and on his own reminded me about the memoir I told him I was working on as I was going through that first year of this experience.  Overall, Dr. Razaee seemed quite pleased with how everything has progressed and I must admit that, considering where I was five years ago, I do agree. About half of that original draft got lost when my computer crashed a few years back and I never thought about trying to get it to a publisher.  However, I have learned that there are a lot more people out there than one would suspect that had some form of facial paralysis and my story isn’t unique.  This is not the end of this story either.  I mean, not only do I still have to see my other surgeon, Dr. Maroun Semann, but Dr. Razaee said for me to see him in a year for another follow-up.  At least, i know that don’t need to do another MRI and I’m healthy.   That’s really the important thing, right?


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