Sandy is home and resting after her operation to remove a polyp or mass in her right sinus.
She was in the operating room for two hours and I waited in the waiting room.
The doctor will talk to us tomorrow morning at her post-op appointment.
When I first got to see her she immediately said "I feel better already."
This could be because she was sedated or, it could be because her lymph is now able to drain normally. The doctor told us at her pre-op appointment that her sinuses are a big part of the lymph and the mass was definitely blocking her lymph.
Dale took a picture of her tonight:
The gauze is to catch the blood that might drain out of her right nostril tonight.
When antibiotics did not clear up Sandy's sinus infection and/or the bloody mass in her sinus her doctor sent her to have a CT scan of her sinuses. The scan showed a mass (polyp or cyst) in her right sinus and Sandy was referred to an Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist.
Sandy is scheduled for surgery on Tuesday morning (December 17, 2013) with her ENT doctor. She and I spent all day Friday at the doctor's office in Oakland and at the hospital, up the street from the doctor's office, getting her pre-op check-up and an EKG taken and her blood drawn.
The doctor said if there is any infected bone in her sinuses he will remove it. The operation is supposed to be just for the removal of a polyp, but, once he is in there he will do whatever needs to be done. (He told us what he has had to do in other cases: go in through the mouth and up numberswiki.com
to the sinuses to remove infected bone.)
She will have packing in her sinuses for three days, and she has to go back to see the doctor the next day for a post-op check-up and again on the 26th.
Until Tuesday of last week, when she finished her fourth course of antibiotics, she had been taking very strong antibiotics for six weeks and the doctor told her not to begin taking her refill as he wants to send the polyp out to be cultured and, if she were still taking the antibiotics at the time of the surgery, the culture would not give a true result.
As soon as she stopped taking the antibiotic she felt sick again (she has a pounding feeling in her sinuses and face and a dull headache) but, when she is taking the antibiotic she feels like she is on the verge of having diarrhea all the time and has to remember to keep taking pro-biotics to keep from having it.
Sandy has been coughing for months.
Then, in September she started to walk on the treadmill. She liked doing it and began to increase her speed rapidly. After two weeks she was up to 30 minutes every day walking very fast. During and after her sessions she would be dripping with sweat.
At the beginning of the third week of walking on the treadmill she got sick and had to stop walking. First it was a sinus infection that caused her to frequently have to blow bloody mucus out of her nose. She didn't make a special appointment for the infection, but waited until her next appointment with her pain doctor. The appointment was just a few days after she started to complain about her sinuses and he gave her a prescription for Amoxicillin.
Two days after starting the antibiotic she told me about a cyst she had known was growing on her abdomen. When she showed it to me I couldn't believe it. It was huge, angry and red and looked like it was ready to explode (she showed me because it had begun to be painful when she was just sitting down -- it had been bad only when she got up). I told her she needed to go to the emergency room immediately and she reluctantly agreed and we went.
At the hospital she was anesthetized and the cyst was lanced, drained, packed and covered. She was given another antibiotic to take with the Amoxicillin and sent home. (The cyst cleared up nicely in two days, but she still had the sinus infection.
At this point I suggested she make an appointment to see the doctor who diagnosed her as having osteomyelitis of the jawbone in 2001 and who she has seen at least once a year since.
She agreed and she went to see him three weeks ago. After examining her sinuses with a light and seeing that she has a bloody mass blocking her sinuses he immediately put her on a nebulizer with a steroid, an anti-fungal, and an anti-bacterial in the more info
mist and gave her a shot with the same contents. She had to sit there for 40 minutes breathing the mist and he talked to us about how osteomyelitis comes back even after years of it seeming to be in arrest.
The doctor sent her home with a prescription of yet another antibiotic and an appointment to see him the next week. Well, that antibiotic didn't do much and at her second appointment last Thursday he put her on an extremely strong penicillin mixed with another antibiotic.
She is taking dozens of probiotics between doses of antibiotics (to keep from having diarrhea -- she learned to do this when this same doctor had her on a pic-line pumping antibiotics into her vein for three months at a time trying to kill the bacteria in her jawbone) and is gradually feeling better (her cough is 50 percent better, but she is still blowing bloody mucus out of her nose).
The doctor also has her taking steroids, which seem to help the pain she has in her breasts when the dose is strong (both times the pills are to be taken 7 on the first day, 6 on the second day, etc). So, by the time she is on just one, or, on the present schedule, 1/2 a pill, they stop working. They are the only thing that has helped reduce the inflammation she has in her lymph.
Well, I don't know what I would do if I were Sandy. She seems to be able to ignore or put up with a lot more pain than I ever could.
It reminds me of when all this came to light in 2001 and the MRI of her head showed infection in her jawbone above her two upper front teeth (as well as other areas) and she said, "Oh that's why whenever I touched my two front teeth with a glass it hurt so bad." When I asked her why she never told me about how her teeth hurt she said, "I thought everybody's teeth hurt like that."
Today is Thanksgiving and the thing I'm most thankful for is that Sandy didn't need surgery last week after all.
We drove to San Ysidro on the Mexico border on Monday, November 16th, and took the shuttle into Tijuana to see Dr. Villafana on Tuesday, but he thought all she needed was her dentures adjusted (he showed us how completely out of alinement her dentures were after he examined her bite and marked the places where her dentures were not meeting as they should).
He also spent over an hour with us explaining Sandy's MRI that was taken in September and, on a light box, carefully pointed out all the pictures where her jawbone looks healthy and solid -- even at the area where Sandy thought there must be more infection because it was so painful and "soft" to the touch.
Then he spent another hour working on her dentures and made them fit perfectly. He sent us home warning us that it would take at least three days before Sandy's headaches and body aches would diminish because it takes time for the adjustment to correct the alinement of all the bones connected to the jawbone. (We understood because Sandy had cranial adjustments -- back in 2002 when she didn't have teeth or dentures for nine months because of the amount of surgeries she was having at the time.
It took more than three days (about a week), but now she is feeling much better and feeling very positive about her future.
Sandy is much better than she was when she came to live with us eight and a half years ago. Even one year ago. But it seems like the closer she is to getting her jawbone free of infection and dead bone, the little bit that's left is able to let her know it’s there loud and clear.
She has been having pain in her jawbone at tooth sockets 21 through 23 (bottom left of her jawbone near the front) and it radiates up the side of her head across the top of her head and down the back of her head into her neck and down into her torso and breasts. The headaches this causes makes her nauseous (coffee enemas, eating soft foods three times a day, and taking two aspirins a day are all helping her cope).
The sharp, stabbing pains have gone from her breasts since her last oral surgery on September 18th, which was to remove abnormal nerve endings growing out of a bone graft at tooth socket number nine (for which she had to be put to sleep).
However, her breasts are still swollen and they hurt and her back hurts — and the pain is excruciating whenever she does anything that causes her to move her arms like cook. She loves to cook and it infuriates her when she can only bear to stand in the kitchen for a half hour at a time.
So she is going to have another oral surgery on Tuesday, November 18, 2009.
Her doctor who diagnosed her as having osteomyelitis of the jaw (infection of the jawbone) and osteonecrosis of the jaw (death of a section of the jawbone) in 2001 has told her many times that this condition is chronic, hard to treat, difficult to have, and is rarely cured.
But, judging by how healthy her jawbone looks everywhere Dr. Villafana has removed infected and dead bone in the past five years, and that he has not removed any from tooth sockets 21 through 23, we think after this surgery Sandy has a better than good chance to recover completely.
Update on Sandra Petry, Bonnie’s Daughter
Note: Sandy had all of her teeth removed in 2001 because of osteomyelitis (infected and dead bone) of the jawbone. Since 2001 she has had several dentists in the U.S. and Mexico remove infected and dead bone, a tip of a retained tooth root, dead and infected bovine bone grafts, and abnormal nerve endings, from her jawbone.
Sandy’s surgery this time was one of the most traumatic she has experienced, because this area, where tooth #9 was located (upper, left front tooth), is the area where no dentist, even with sleeping gas, has been able to get her numb.
By the way, this was the tenth oral surgery to repair Sandy’s jawbone performed by Dr. Villafana in Tijuana, Mexico since November 2004. Dr. Villafana is the only dentist who has been able to make an improvement in Sandy’s overall health (her body, especially her breasts, has been swollen and painful due to the infection in her jawbone). With each surgery by Dr. Villafana Sandy has felt a little better.
Tooth #9 had a long, thin root and when it was extracted in 2001 by Dr. Andrew Landerman in Santa Rosa, CA, the tip of the root broke off and remained in Sandy’s jawbone for almost three years (the tip was extracted in 2004 by Dr. Clark’s dentist, Dr. Benjamin Arichega, in Tijuana, Mexico).
Tooth #9 is one of the two upper front teeth. Sandy remembers as a child she learned to never drink out of a “glass” glass because if the glass bumped against her front teeth it caused terrible pain. (She never told me about this — she thought everyone had the same reaction when a glass touched their front teeth!)
This time the anesthesiologist was successful in getting the area of tooth #9 numb, but Sandy did not go to sleep or forget what she was told was happening while Dr. Villafana worked on her (before the surgery the lady anesthesiologist told her she would go right to sleep and not remember anything when she woke up).
It takes an awful lot of anesthesia to put Sandy under. Her dad was like that as well as her brother and sister.
After studying her facial MRI for 20 minutes, Dr. Villafana worked on Sandy for an hour and a half. Then he immediately came out to the waiting room and talked to me and told me everything he found and did. He is a real sweetheart and wants Sandy to recover from this disease as badly as we do.
He opened her gum on the inside (back along the roof of her mouth) and looked at the palate bone (the roof of her mouth). He said there is a hole in the bone where another dentist, Dr. Swann of Milpitas, CA, removed a “torus,” and it has healed normally.
Then he opened her gum on the outside (up to the area under her nose) and removed (by cutting, not cauterization, like he said he would three weeks ago) all the abnormal nerve endings in the area from tooth #9 back to tooth #13.
Note: Since 2001 Sandy has lost so much bone due to oral surgeries to remove infected and dead bone from her jawbone she had to have bovine bone grafts placed in her jaw so she could wear dentures.
Dr. Villafana explained that abnormal nerves growing where they do not belong is a common complication of bone graft procedures.
Dr. Villafana cut and trimmed (so the nerve ending is now deep in the bone) one large nerve ending growing out of her jawbone at tooth #9 that was attached to her gum tissue that he said would give Sandy a lot of relief as, until now, every time she bit into anything or chewed anything, that nerve was being pulled on, which was irritating both the bone and the gum tissue.
Then he drilled into the bone at tooth #9 and found a small piece of a bone graft that had not integrated into Sandy’s bone. It was inside the bone that is now part graft and part Sandy’s bone. That particular bone graft was placed in her jawbone by Dr. Swann in 2003. Dr. Villafana said the small piece he removed didn’t look infected, but it certainly didn’t belong inside her jawbone.
I thought it was funny Dr. Villafana would say “it didn’t look infected” as everything we have read about foreign objects (retained pieces of tooth roots after extractions, ligaments that normally surround a tooth root but should be removed when a tooth is extracted, non-integrated bone grafts, even the roots of root-canal-filled-teeth) left in the jawbone harbor bacteria and the toxic waste the bacteria produce.
When we left Dr. Villafana’s office, at one in the afternoon, Sandy was feeling okay, but Dr. Villafana told us that Sandy would be in serious pain when the anesthetic wore off because of how extensive the surgery was. He doesn’t believe in pain medication and recommended she have acupuncture, but we had not scheduled anything like that.
When we got back to the motel we got in the car and started for home right away. It was around 3 pm. (We only stayed at the motel one night because we drove nine hours on Thursday and packed the car Friday morning before we went to Tijuana.)
By the way, Dr. Villafana’s office is five minutes from the border and our motel is five minutes from the border as well. We go in and out of Mexico — from the motel to the dental office — in a shuttle bus and it took us more than an hour and a half to get back into the U.S. this time when it usually only takes 20 minutes to cross the border coming back, and that’s because we have to get out of the shuttle at the door to customs and walk past a U.S. customs officer and show our IDs and go out another door and walk a block to get back in the shuttle on the U.S. side (going into Mexico the Mexican customs officers just look in the shuttle and wave us on).
In the car Sandy fell asleep and I drove. Traffic was moving until we got to the area of Highway 5 near Disneyland. Then, for 20 miles or so, traffic stopped and started (only going between 5 and 10 miles an hour) and there were five lanes of traffic going our way stretched out in front of us for as far as the eye could see. It looked like a giant parking lot and I suddenly felt really, really exhausted.
We hadn’t been on the road three hours yet (I usually drive nine hours with a couple of gas and food stops after Sandy has her oral surgeries), but this time I made a command decision and found a motel for the night. It was only 6 pm, but we both went to bed and fell asleep immediately.
As it turned out it was a good thing we stopped, because at 10 pm Sandy woke up and was in terrible pain. She waited to tell me how bad she was feeling until I woke up to use the bathroom at one thirty in the morning. We decided to find a hospital and go to the emergency room to get something for her pain. The hospital was not too far away and they took very good care of Sandy. She was even given pain pills to last until she gets the stitches out. (We thank God Sandy has Medicare — which is due to her osteomyelitis doctor, Dr. Robert D. Tufft of Oakland, CA)
We went back to the motel and tried to go back to sleep, but I couldn’t, so we took our showers, got something to eat (Sandy had clear soup) and headed home early Saturday morning.
It only took us six hours to get home because there was light traffic and we only stopped for gas and to use the restroom once. Sandy slept the whole way home and, after more clear soup she slept the rest of the day and all night, too. Today, Sunday, her face is swollen and her eye is almost shut, but she is doing okay.
Thank you for your prayers. I know they helped. I told Dr. Villafana that at least a dozen people had sent email messages and had called to tell us they were praying for Sandy (he hugged us when we left and told us he’s sure he got everything out of her jawbone that was causing her distress).