Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Mouth Punch Biopsy

I still have strange bumps on the roof of my mouth that usually appear while I eat. They are often painful and irritable. They vary in size and hardness but are filled with what seems like salt water. (?)

They're tough to show you, but take my word for it.

So, I was sent to the Ear, Nose & Throat doctor. He, like everyone else, was mystified. If you look carefully at this shot, you can actually see the little opaque bumps up there.

First, he wanted to make sure it wasn't some nasty virus seeping up through my palate into my sinuses or, worse, to my brain. To do this, he had to numb my nose with spray anesthetic and then insert this long-ass tube camera up there. NOT fun.

Yay! No brain virus. But what are they? Me, eager for the upcoming "upper hard palate punch biopsy".

He hole punched out a block of the roof of my mouth about 1 cm cubed.

Then they very dexterously stitched me up with unnecessarily long floss-like thread.

There's the hole.
It healed very quickly and with minimal pain. Unfortunately, the results came back revealing... nothing. It ruled out some specific things (such as GVHD), but did not identify any other causal specifics.
So, he had me come back and do it all again- that time with two bigger punches. Again, the results revealed nothing. He suggested taking yet a bigger piece of my hard palate, this time under full sedation and possibly using a graft of skin from behind my ear if we inadvertently expose the bone (!), but...

My BMT doc seems content to call it GVHD and I suppose I agree. There are countless ways a body can give the finger to its invading graft cells and one of mine is my mouth bumps. My doctor and I hope that it'll just go away when it's ready, but I hope in the meantime to stop the futile steroids that simply are not the right anecdote.

I'm pretty sure all of this is just balancing out for the fact that I've never had any dental work done ever- not even a cavity filled. I now understand the terror trips to see the dentist can elicit in people!


Abby Wood said...

Oh my Lord. I can't believe you posted a picture of the hole in the roof of your mouth. That's my second favorite picture from this blog ever. (My favorite is the one with the pink panties about cancer kissing your ass or something.)

Hang in there, woman. Can't wait to catch up again soon!

Anna said...

OUCH!!!!!!!!! That looks so scary. I can't believe they just wanted to keep taking chunks out of your palate. That doesn't sound right. Geez, how long can we keep saying "Hang in there sweetie!"? I'm sorry you have to go through all this.
I love you xoxo

Katie Windle said...

It sounds like Dr. Hole Puncher was enjoying his job just a little too much. I'm glad you and Miklos reigned him in. I couldn't agree more with Abby, great photos. xx K

Avital and said...

I'll stop complaining about the irritating splotches on my tongue now...

Anonymous said...

Hey, I just stumbled on your blog when researching bone marrow transplants. Umm, I come from a family of doctors and have a medical background, and I'm glad you didn't let him keep punching holes in your mouth. I've seen that diagnostic technique before...you shouldn't perform repeated invasive (and destructive) tests when 1) the symptoms don't warrant it and 2) you don't know what the heck you're looking for in the first place. Take care.

Abby Wood said...

Per anonymous's comment, maybe we should call him "Dr. Fishing Expedition." ;)

Hope the holes have mended!