I’ll admit I get a canker sore once in a while (I’ve read that one occurrence every one to three months is average for 20% of the population). So about a week ago I thought nothing of the irritation starting on the inside of my lip. It looked like a canker sore for about a day, and then it decided to get mean, grow really big and turn into that beauty you see over there. I still thought little of it for 3 or 4 days, playing it off as a blister that would fade before long. I tried without luck a couple of times to get some fluid out of it.
After almost a week of this so-called blister not getting any smaller (and if anything getting bigger), I decided to finally try to figure out what it was. Looking for a “lip lump” took me here. Those pictures look familiar! I read some more and am pretty convinced that it’s a mucocele (it could be cancer though!) and that I have a date with some oral surgery to drain this thing and remove a salivary gland. Sounds like fun to me!
Update Mar 8, 2007: I went to my doctor on Tuesday. His diagnosis confirmed that it was a mucocele (although calling it a diagnosis might be generous — he didn’t do much more than glance at it and chat with an intern). I got a referral to a ear/nose/throat specialist. Being pumped to get this thing cut out, I went to the specialist. He again confirmed that it was a mucocele (with a more thorough diagnosis I might add — he poked it, pushed it, checked areas of my mouth), although he seemed to prefer calling it a cyst over a mucocele. Unfortunately, he said he couldn’t perform the procedure at his office because he needed an assistant and apparently didn’t have any of those at his office. So, he’s been scheduled to do it a week from tomorrow at a local hospital. On his surgery order, the nurse told me he order general anesthesia for the procedure. WOW, a little overboard? But after checking with him, he orders general only so it’s ready if needed. We’ll start with local anesthesia (zylocaine with epinephrine he said) and if I have a lot of trouble with it for some reason, then we can put me under. So it seems I need to make friends with this lump for another week.
Update Mar 13, 2007: I think things are finally squared away. I got a call later on the Thursday the 8th from the hospital wanted to get me in on Friday to run a couple of hours of pre-anesthesia tests (blood work, chest x-rays, etc.). First, I don’t want hours of tests for anesthesia I don’t want. Second, I hadn’t heard anything from the doctor about an appointment for tests (I ended up getting a letter in the mail Thursday night telling me about the appointment that the hospital called me about during the day on Thursday). I decided that I just wanted the order written up as local anesthesia. I won’t need general; I’m tough. I called the doctor’s office back and spoke to a nurse. She said she’d check with the doctor and get back with me. She didn’t call. I called the doctor’s office again at the end of the day. Got an answering service. I called the next morning and spoke to a nurse again. She said the order was changed to local, the hospital knew about it, and I was good to go. After a few more calls to the insurance company, my family doctor and the doctor’s office, everything was FINALLY taken care of (afaict). The proof is in the pudding though.
Update Nov 9, 2008: I wonder why I never finished this story. I went through with the surgery on Friday, March 14th I believe. I ended up just having local anesthesia and that was fine. It didn’t hurt; I just felt them tugging and saw them grab and use various cutting and grabbing tools. I don’t remember the healing process much but don’t think it was TOO bad. Today, I still have a slight bump where the mucocele was and a can feel some scar tissue with my tongue on the inside of my lip. It’s just a bit harder than the rest of lip.
A funny part about the surgery was that it was done the Friday before St. Patrick’s day weekend. We had plans to go to Chicago for the weekend and party it up with some friends and ended up still doing that. On Friday night, I was drinking beer from a straw in some bar in Chicago. Straws were supposed to be a no no because the pressure from sucking could damage the healing / stitching. So, I just pushed the straw far back into my mouth on the right side and sucked gently. The weekend of beer was just my form of pain medication.