Saturday, May 7, 2011

A Jaw Dropper

This February we had a little scare when Melanie had a routine CAT scan of her jaw durning an orthodontic appointment.  What the orhtodontist found was a lesion in Melanie's lower jaw down by the roots of 3 of her teeth.  You can see it in the image above by looking at the lower teeth and counting 5 teeth in from the left and looking down by the roots.  That roundish dark area is the abnormalty that was found.

Here's another view where you can see that it is deep from front to back of the jaw as well.

And one more view just for fun.

Melanie was referred to an Oral Surgeon, Dr. Nix, for evaluation and treatment.  I tried to keep cool about the whole thing, but I was distressed by the rough edged appearance of the lesion and the fact that it was eroding the cortical bone (hard outer bone).  These are signs of aggressive tumors that require aggressive surgery to remove.  In addition, Melanie has been sick more than normal this past year, and when Dr. Nix did her evaluation her lymph nodes were enlarged.

I pretty much had myself stressed out about the whole thing.  It's funny I discovered that having a bunch of knowlege and information about oral pathology stored in my brain is a wonderful thing when I am diagnosing a patient's disease.  However, when it was my own daughter, it was almost as if I knew too much and could picture too many possible awful outcomes for it to really be beneficial.

Fortunately, I also know the value of prayer.  I prayed for knowledge and peace and a good outcome.  Immediately upon finishing my prayer my mother called just to talk, and she is always a wonderful source of comfort to me.  In that conversation I discovered that she and my dad were planning a trip to come visit us in April.  Also upon completion of my prayer I was prompted to discuss the information and x-rays with my friend, mentor and all around best dentist ever, Dr. Palmer.  He was the one who put my mind at ease by letting me know that it was most likely a traumatic bone cyst (basically a hollowed out area of the jaw) which would require surgical debridement and biopsy then heal nicely on its own.

The day before her surgery, Melanie received a priesthood blessing from her father and Uncle Kimball.  The next day Melanie had her surgery, and she came through it really well.  Dr. Nix indeed found that the area was hollowed out and consistent with a traumatic bone cyst.  The biopsy results confirmed the diagnosis a week later.

I am so grateful for the way things turned out.  Melanie's face was swollen for a few days, and she had some residual numbness in her jaw, but she has healed well.  I am grateful for the power of prayer, priesthood blessings, and the comfort and support of family and friends.


Ronielle said...

Oh my goodness. What a scary situation to have to go through for your family. I am so happy that everything went well and that Melanie is recovering. I love you guys and give Melanie a big hug for me!

My name is Andrea said...

I had no idea...thank goodness she is ok. Parental Panic is horrible. :)

Terry @ La Bella Vie said...

Wow Heidi, this is an amazing story! It is enough to restore my faith in the power of prayer which I all too often forget when in panic mode especially when it comes to health issues.
I am so glad this had a happy ending for all of you, and just as a side note, your mom is a great source of comfort to me as well, I think she is my "Angel Neighbor"

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