Day 5… Our view of Salt Lake City from the front of the hospital.

The trach was capped first thing today so Tony is now breathing through his nose and mouth. The trach could be completely removed as early as tomorrow.

Tony wouldn’t wait for me to change, so I walked with him in my pajamas. Ha ha!
He did three laps around the ward. I stopped to snap the pic and had to double my pace to catch up!

Last night was another long night of mucous management and little sleep. Our nurses yesterday were quite busy managing their other patients, so Tony had only received half his nutrition before 7 pm. Today our goal is to get all the nutrition in before 7 pm and see if it makes a difference with the mucous production. The new, smaller trach tube should help too since there won’t be as much mucous-causing irritation.

Tony is now tolerating the bolus feedings well. No acid reflux or nausea. He is having some constipation but was finally able to move his bowels today. (Which is normal after such a long time under anesthesia and the meds he is on. It takes a little while for the system to catch up again.)

Sleeping soundly. Mouth closed, breathing from the nose and snoring just a little. Making up for all the sleep he missed during the night! 😴

Laundry day for me. The Huntsman Cancer Institute has excellent amenities for family members. Each room has a couch that converts into a reasonably comfortable twin bed. The laundry area is adjacent to two family bathrooms where we can shower and freshen up.

As you read through my posts, you might think “TMI” (too much information). As I was searching the internet about what to expect, I didn’t find very much except medical definitions. There were a couple of YouTube videos from people who had partial glossectomies, but nothing as extensive as what Tony is going through. I didn’t find anything at all from a caregiver perspective.

Hopefully sharing our journey will give others the hope and confidence they need when faced with some of life’s greatest challenges. 👊

Just wondering… is anyone curious about what the flap looks like? Should I post a pic, or is that too much?

Due to a lot of positive feedback, I have posted pics of the flap below.

This is the free flap from the thigh to the mouth. Free flap simply means the “transplantation” of tissue from one site of the body to another, in order to reconstruct an existing defect. “Free” implies that the tissue is completely detached from its blood supply at the original location (“donor site”) and then transferred to another location (“recipient site”) and the circulation in the tissue re-established by anastomosis of artery(s) and vein(s).

Can you see the hair follicles? He literally has a hairy tongue at the moment. Ha ha

It kind of looks like they had to take something that was flat and roll and form it into a shape that would allow contact with the roof of the mouth.

I asked the surgeon… that is exactly what they did.