Facing Life After Four Recurring Oral Cancer Surgeries

After four rounds of recurring oral cancer...

After four rounds of recurring oral cancer surgeries, I started receiving encouraging reports from my oncological team at Dana-Farber Cancer Center and Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA. I began, after nearly three years, to think of the future rather than follow a one-day-at-a time approach to life. In short, I began to plan again.

It took time, of course, for me to heal after the fourth extensive surgery--i.e., nerves and blood vessels needed to reattach and/or heal. After two years, I decided, with the consent of oral cancer team, to seek facial work. After a lot of research (I built a career as a journalist for a major news magazine.), I discovered a talented young cosmetic surgeon near my home named Dr. {edited - provider info is shown above the review for registered users}. Dr. R, in my opinion, possessed outstanding credentials, including the distinction of holding the position of professor at New York Presbyterian Hospital, an outstanding cosmetic treatment center. He trains future cosmetic surgeons at the hospital as well as training surgeons in new techniques in the upstate area.

When I consulted with Dr. R, I discovered a positive, upbeat person with a knowledge of oral cancer. I later learned from my oncological surgeon that many plastic surgeons are reluctant to operate on oral cancer patients because of the amount of fat and tissue removed from the neck, which increases the possibility of facial nerve complications. But Dr. R, as he put it, "liked the challenge" and felt more than capable of performing the work.

Dr. R works carefully and in stages. In the build- up to surgery, he used several pre-operation procedures. He injected Sculpture over a period of months to fill in the hollows in my face, especially around the eyes and in my cheeks. Closer to surgery, he used Juvederm to add volume to my mouth and Botox to relax muscles around my eyes and mouth and to enhance surgery.

During surgery on my neck and lower jawline area, Dr. R ran into a tangled facial nerve in the portion of neck/face where the cancer surgeries had taken place. He worked meticiously for about 7.5 hours to complete his work. After the swelling went down, I was delighted with the operation. Not only had Dr. R taken years off my appearance, he had moved the cancer scars toward my jaw line so they were far less noticeable. The "sagging" from removal of my lymph nodes disappeared. I couldn't have been happier. He received kudos from my oncological surgeon for a job as well.)

In the months following the surgery, Dr. R closely followed the healing process. He suggested a serious of laser facial treatments, which lessened sun damage and obvious blood vessels on my face. As a plus, he later approved laser work on the neck area where all the cancer surgeries were performed. The redness--i.e., surface blood vessels--lessened.

Would I recommend Dr. R and his talented, professional staff? I'll answer that question with an enthusiastic "Yes."

On December 9 of this year (2009), I celebrate the one-year anniversary of my facial surgery. I also see my oncological team on that day for hopefully another positive, cancer-free report. And, yes, life is good. The woman in the mirror looks less like a cancer patient and more like a happy, healthy individual--someone who, as a former high-altitude mountaineer, can tackle new adventures. Thank you Dr. R for adding to my confidence.

Manhattan Facial Plastic Surgeon

Dr. is a prefessional, talented, and well-versed cosmetic surgeon. His work as a professor at New York Presbyterian Hospital, a university hospital, keeps him up-to-date on the latest research and techniques in facial surgery. He offers realistic outcomes of treatments, suggests various options, and is thorough in post-operation examinations.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
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Comments (1)

What a beautiful story ! Thank you so much for sharing it here ...You are a very courageous woman to have undergone all of that cancer surgery & still another to make yourself feel more beautiful. I wish you all the best of luck and with Gods blessings you will remain cancer free & feeling pretty. :) Kat
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