I'm jumping ahead to present day, but rest assured I will post part 4 of my story.
I've been dealing with an ongoing problem involving my right Parotid salivary gland that started just after surgery and got surprisingly worse when the gland was further damaged by radioactive iodine treatment. I generally experience pain when I chew food. And, occasionally I experience flare ups. During a flare up, I have constant pain and swelling in the gland and jaw area, including a not so pleasant phenomena where several times a day the gland randomly releases a bitter tasting liquid (is it saliva? I don't know) -- the jaw/gland pain also triggers migraine headaches. The flare ups last on average about two weeks. But that all changed when I started experiencing my most recent flare up, about four weeks ago. I thought it would only last at most two weeks and then it would work it self out. That unfortunately did not happen, the pain and swelling just gradually escalated to the point I had to avoid chewing food entirely --which I suppose I could view as a positive in my favor if I lose a few pounds.
To help resolve the issue, I was instructed to apply hot compresses to the area, in hopes it would help stimulate the gland. Okay sure, no problem, I can do that. Last night I prepared a hot compress applying it to the area while I sat back, relaxed and read. I must have kept it on about 15-20 minutes until I noticed I didn't feel so well -- I became quite nauseous. You see, I have nerve damage on the right-side of my neck and cheek and have no feeling in that area-- it's completely numb. I did not know I had burned the hell out of my skin of both my neck and cheek. I'm sure if I had feeling there, I would be in a lot of pain. But luckily I feel nothing, except nausea. To add insult to injury (pun intended), I must confess that I do not like to bring attention to my neck and the long 10 inch scar that resides there or even the slight neck deformation that appears on the right-- yet I'm also not one to cover up, it's just plain uncomfortable. And now, I have a bright red blistery beacon of a burn to bring everyone's attention to my neck. Fabulous! This, my friends, is nothing more than a rookie move. So if any of you have numb areas and need to apply hot compresses, for goodness sakes proceed with caution and be smart about it, test the hot compress on an area you have feeling first-- if it's too hot, don't put it on your numb area. Please, learn from my ridiculous mistake.