Hi there, on 9 Feb last year I had half of my tongue removed, a free flap taken from my left forearm for reconstruction, a skin graft from my tummy to fill the hole on my arm and the lymph nodes removed from the right side of my neck. The tumor was towards the right lateral edge of my tongue and was classed as T2 with no spread, thank God. I have never smoked and only ever drank a glass of wine maybe two or three times a year. So, the surgery was lengthy - 8 hours or so. When I came round I was immediately conscious of the tracheostomy. Pain was well controlled with a self administering morphine device. After 5 days I asked for it to be removed and replaced it with paracetamol. On day 11 I returned home after having the fantastic news that the lymph nodes were clear and the margins around the tumor were also clear. No radiotherapy or chemo. I never had any pain from my tongue area or my donor arm - just tingling which I still have in my tongue. My main issues were of course eating, drinking and talking. While in hospital I was fed through a nasal gastro tube. Before I left, I was able to eat yogurt and puréed food. I used the same meal delivery company as the hospital and had puréed meals delivered at home for about a month. This was supplemented with fortisip fortified drinks in order to eat the right number of calories. I ate weetabix too. Gradually I moved to fork mashed food and then normal eating within 8 weeks. I had some stiffness in my neck and right arm. I imagine nerves were affected by the lymph node surgery. My speech improved but was noticed much more by other people. I felt as if it was taking ages but everyone who saw me weekly commented on the improvement. Now almost a year on, I have a slight lisp on the s sound but that’s about it. I deliver training and run courses so I have to speak a lot!
I’ll stop rambling now! You will recover faster than you think. Try and be patient and rejoice in the small steps. Wishing you all the very best in your journey ahead.