Status of the Mandibular Swing

I continue to exercise my jaw, mostly by talking, (and most of that is to myself when Gail is at work) to try to get back the range of motion that I had prior to the surgery in November. The term “mandibular swing” still makes me think of the cinematic ‘Predator’ and the way in which his jaw operates. Ugly… just plain ugly.

I can’t quite get three fingers, stacked vertically, in my mouth, but its really close. The hinges of my jaw are functioning brilliantly, clicking only occasionally. In fact, sitting here right now, I can’t make them click. When I open and close my mouth I can feel the pull in my neck immediately under the jaw line. There is a region along the jaw line that remains numb, or has a reduced sensation that varies in width from about 1″ wide to 3″ wide. It actually feels like I’m wearing a scarf cinched too tight all the time. The numbness extends in an arc up to the scalp and encircling the right ear. And no, the right ear doesn’t have all the feeling, but I can hear perfectly.

The other things that I feel when I open and close my mouth are associated with the split lip and the sacrificed tooth. There is a definite ‘pull’ slightly right of centre. And it feels as if the jaw is still trying to do something about that missing tooth. I’m pretty sure, however, that it is more about the musculature and the floor of my mouth trying to train each other in their new duties. The less than acceptable autonomic function of the tongue isn’t helping.

My ‘keloid‘ style of healing (big, lumpy scars) is really making itself an annoyance on the inside of my lip. The cut line, or the scar tends to find its way into the gap created by the missing tooth. While I’m waiting for the radiation therapy to begin, I’ve let my beard grow back. I am very pleased to say that it will, eventually, totally cover the scar on my chin. But I am not particularly fond of those unkempt beards that cover the neck/throat, so I’m, once again, thinking that I need to resume the use of the vitamin E goop to help with the scars from the neck dissection.

My lips are feeling much better. True, the lower lip tends to be dry, and is really sensitive to the cold winds of winter. I do not have much, if any, control over the lower right lip. The lower left looks slumped.

This morning I find the tongue to be even better. The range of motion is improved. I can ‘swipe’ all of my teeth, front and back, inside and outside, with only minor discomfort in a couple of locations. There is still quite a bit of numbness on the right side of the tongue, but for the most part, I do have significantly improved control. It sounds/feels like I’m still talking with unnecessary sibilance, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was less so than a week ago. I do have to be aware of which telephone I use, here at home. One of the handsets seems to amplify the speech defects making it a little tough on the person on the other end of the phone. The more I talk, the tougher it is to maintain a consistent level of elocution.

I am constantly aware of the various sensations, or lack thereof, in and around my mouth. A lightly metallic sensation coats my mouth. Its not quite a taste. What I actually do taste appears to be slightly skewed, or lacking in intensity, but even that sense is starting to rebound.

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