Friday, October 7, 2011

Call me "Pokeman"

Another busy day at Mayo. Every time I turn around someone wants to stick something sharp in my body. Oh well. This morning I went in for an MRI. The nurse told me "lucky you, your'e scheduled for a double session". I had never had an MRI before, it was interesting. Basically they squeezed my head into a soft kind of vice then pulled a metal cage over my head and then slid me into a very small, noisy tube for about an hour and a half. I wondered if it would make me claustrophobic but it didn't really. They told me to stay awake and not to swallow. Of course as soon as they say, "don't swallow" all I can think about is swallowing. As it turned out there were brief moments when they allowed me to swallow. They just wanted me to hold my head really still to get the best possible images. Staying awake wasn't too easy either. Basically whenever I am horizontal I always go to sleep.

We were really hopeful that we would be able to get in for a biopsy today. The earliest appointment that they could find was on Tuesday because it had to be done in a CT scanner by a nuero-radiologist. Anyway, we called as soon as they opened and they told us what we had already been told, "we're already fully booked" but the lady was very nice. She told JoLynne, "Let me go talk to the doctor and see if he would be willing to stay longer and do one more procedure. A few minutes later she called back and and said that the surgeon was happy to stay longer for us. Yeah! Who would think I would be so happy to have someone drill a hole in the side of my head. We just really felt like the sooner we had a biopsy the more meaningful our discussions would become. The results should be back on Monday we hope.

They had to do a IV for the MRI. Right after that I was scheduled to have more blood work. (I still can't figure out why they want more blood every day) I suggested to the technician that he leave the needle in for them to draw blood. He just laughed and said "Phlebotomists are evil people, they always want to stick you with their own needle". He was right.

At 10:00 we ran over to get the biopsy. Everyone was super nice and it hurt less than I expected. It is really strange, after the biopsy my face feels different. Suddenly my mouth moves more freely side to side and I feel less pressure in my ear. I wonder if there" was a lot of fluid pressure built up in the tumor that was released when they drilled into it. We went out to eat at an Italian place after and I was still numb and not feeling much. Suddenly JoLynne noticed that I had blood running down the side of my face and filling my ear. She made me trade places at the table so that the waitress wouldn't have to see the grossness. Lucky for me I was eating pasta with a red sauce. They probably just thought I was a lousy shot with my fork and stuck pasta sauce in my ear.

This Sunday is fast Sunday. JoLynne said "Do you think we should fast?" I told her, "sure, why not, with all these procedures I have fasted like five times this week. I'm kind of getting used to it." Shanelle told me "no way dad, it's not fast Sunday for you, it's Fat Sunday" She is convinced I need to gain weight before surgery.

We did lots of reading today about mandibular reconstruction using a fibula bone from the leg. Our neighbor wondered if that would result in my running off at the mouth. He is probably right. It sounds like fibula reconstruction is the gold standard. One paper related that one transplant patient had run a marathon after the procedure. Maybe I will be number two.

No procedures for the next two days (weekend you know), I think my arms will appreciate being needle free.


  1. Hi Eric,

    This past Monday and Tuesday I was up north of you in Warroad touring a window factory and was thinking of you. Then tonight at dinner I got a huge chunk of chicken stuck in my permanent retainer you gave me 16 years ago and I thought of you again. Nice, right? I'm so glad you are progressing so quickly through the discovery process. Best wishes for a quick, conclusive battle plan. We'll be skipping food for you this weekend!


  2. Sorry you had such an earful dinner experience!

  3. Dr Vogel, My mother in law (Rosie Sargeant) just let me know what is going on. Whoa! I am happy to hear that you are getting the best care possible. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family during this difficult period.
    Matt Phillips, DMD
    (one of the many former students that you touched and made a lasting impression on back at BYU)
    PS I have a good buddy from my mission in Nebraska that is a chief resident at the Mayo OMFS residency. His name is Michael Gladwell. I believe this is who you met? He is not only a great surgeon, but an amazing person. I have no doubt that you are in the best possible place. Thank you for your inspiring example!