Category Archives: ameloblastoma

A few notes on Stanley Tucci’s new book

I recently read Stanley Tucci’s new book, “Taste: My Life Through Food.” I have never met him, and I probably never will, but I wanted to say a couple of things about this book, which I really did enjoy. First (and this is a pet peeve of mine), if you make a pun, it is intentional. When you write “no pun intended” or even the unnecessary “pun intended,” it just doesn’t make any sense. Give the reader credit for recognizing the pun and know that they will derive a sense of satisfaction from “getting it” without being hit over the head by the cue that means “get it?”
Second: as an actor, he ought to know the real definition of a vomitorium. It does not mean what he thinks it means here. Every theater and stadium has them. This term refers to the exits through which actors or audience members enter or leave, often just called “the vom.”
But nitpicking aside, at the end of the book Tucci writes about his almost perfect recovery from the cancer and treatment that altered his ability to eat somewhat normally. This really struck a chord with me, particularly this passage: “Whatever I ate had to contain a certain amount of moisture in or around it, otherwise it took quite a while to get it down my throat or I just couldn’t eat it at all.”
And further: “For everything that entered my mouth, I’d have to calculate what I’d need to augment it with in order to swallow it without without choking.” He writes about often preferring to eat alone, away from his family, due to his embarrassment or frustration about not being able to eat without fear.
I’ve written a few times about my similar reactions to eating after I had the surgery that removed a third of my palate and part of my upper jaw. The roof of my mouth is covered with a hard plastic appliance that covers up the hole, but doesn’t provide the moisture necessary for foods that require it in order to be thoroughly enjoyed. Also, because of lingering (and permanent) numbness in my front teeth and lips on one side, I can’t bite anything directly and also can’t feel if my food has landed where I intended it to go. All this is to say that Tucci put into words the very same things I have gone through and continue to deal with nearly four years after my jaw surgery.
When someone puts these complicated feelings into words and you have an aha moment reading them…well, I had to write about it. Thank you, Stanley Tucci. I hope you enjoy all the things you CAN eat from now on!

The Writing Year in Review: 2018

I did this last year and it helped me see that I had been slightly more productive than I thought. Let’s see what happened this past year in my writing life… A look  back at what I wrote in 2018: A number of pieces for Retrospect, which are listed on my Articles and Interviews pageContinue Reading

Another health update

The online magazine, You and Me, recently published the last of three articles I wrote about my journey from diagnosis to the present. In case you missed the first two, they are here too. Yes, there is still numbness and there are some awkward moments, and my food choices have remained somewhat narrow, but othersContinue Reading

The Writing Year in Review: 2017

I’m copying (stealing?) this idea from a new author friend, Erika Mailman. In a year where it felt like I didn’t do much writing, it’s good to look back and see what I actually did. It felt like a rather unproductive year, writing-wise, but the evidence shows it wasn’t as unproductive as I thought. ForContinue Reading

The Boys are Back in Town!

I had not assigned a gender to my teeth prior to this post. For all I know, they are girly teeth–but the point is I got my new long-term temporary obturator today, and it includes facsimiles of my dearly departed molars. I’m sure it’ll take some time getting used to having teeth up there afterContinue Reading

One Fine Day

I don’t want to forget that this happened, finally. One fine day this week, I woke up and didn’t feel different, didn’t hurt anywhere, didn’t think about the strange new arrangement inside my mouth. I just woke up, opened my eyes, and thought about what I wanted to get done that day. It was theContinue Reading

Living the Toddler Life: Another healing update

In many ways, I have accomplished the sorts of things we praise toddlers for: I’m eating solid foods! I’m using a fork! I’m getting new teeth (coming soon), and sleeping through the night! Oh, and I had to get one of those ear tubes, also known as” tympanostomy tubes or grommets,” due to a caseContinue Reading

Numb and Number: Or, Healing is Not for Sissies

It’s now been five weeks since my surgery. Although I look almost normal, with some visible swelling on the right side of my face, I still feel as though I am wearing a mask.   I can tell the numbness is going away by the sometimes tingly, sometimes sharp messages I’m getting from the nervesContinue Reading

Here’s a visual

  So, yes–right down the middle. Including teeth. It may look almost normal, but it sure doesn’t feel that way! Hurts to smile, or I would’ve tried. Upper cheek and nose are the worst in terms of numbness. Kinda feels like I’m touching someone else’s face when I check for sensitivity. Weird. It’s getting better,Continue Reading

Healing Update: In Which we observe Changes That Have Occurred in the two-plus weeks after surgery

Some things are the same, and a few have changed, slightly. Same: numbness, sensitivity, eating/swallowing related challenges, and getting used to the obturator. I have been getting better at taking it out for cleaning and putting it back in, and was reminded of the story about Eeyore’s unhappy birthday. No one can throw a pityContinue Reading