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       A Rodent Ulcer - Life goes onÖ..



I am writing this account to try and help other members of Letís Face It (LFI); who possibly like me were surprised to discover that they had a rodent ulcer.

About ten years ago, my dentist pointed that I could possibly have a rodent ulcer, this was subsequently excised under a local anaesthetic at a local hospital. In 2009 my wife, Jennie was concerned that I had developed another rodent ulcer, (It looks like a small pimple on your cheek but it does not heal). This after a consultation with my GP was diagnosed after a biopsy at Hillingdon Hospital, near Uxbridge in May 2009.

I had surgery in the Royal Free Hospital, Hampstead in the July of the same year. I was on drips for one week and then was able to enjoy solid food and a hot drink again. The surgery involved taking a skin graft from the left thigh, transferring this on to the face and also cutting away part of the roof of my mouth. I was discharged after twelve days and after about 3 months recovering at home with Ensure drinks; and regularly having the dressings changed on the skin graft, I eventually returned to work in November.

Afterwards I had regular appointments in Hillingdon Hospital with different registrars from the Reconstructive Facial Surgery Team at the Royal Free. In December I had a moan at the registrar asking him how long was the waiting list to have the facial surgery flattened? He, (bless his heart) could not answer me, but assured me that the revision would be done on the 1st March.

So, I did as I was told; starved myself from the evening before and arrived at the Royal Free Hospital about 8:25 am. They were very busy, the surgery was actually done at 2:30 pm. Subsequently, I spent the night on a hospital trolley and went home by taxi the following morning.

I must admit that in this day and age, when everyone seems to0 criticise and condemn the NHS, I have nothing but praise and appreciation for the way that I was cared for. Some of the staff in Ward 8 of the Royal Free had been transferred from my local hospital, Mount Vernon so I could not resist asking them what was the weather like in Northwood that morning! My only criticism of the system, is that psychologically I had not been prepared adequately for the change in my appearance (several times people have sat down adjacent to me in a bus or train, looked round at me - got up and sat somewhere else!) However, I must not forget to remind everyone that Christine Piff has trained as a professional counsellor and is always willing to listen.

As an aside about the recent surgery, the moral is if you donít ask you donít get i.e. I asked if there was any chance of me having porridge for breakfast? Not expecting to get it. And one of the staff made me some - it was delicious!

On the 7th March the sutures were taken out, apparently within a week it will be okay to go swimming again! QA final thought if you are someone diagnosed with a medical problem that requires corrective surgery - you are never alone. The full resources of the NHS are available to you, sometimes the psychological ones you have to ask for - remember if I had not asked for porridge - I would not have had it in the Royal Free! Not forgetting the help that is on offer from Christine and fellow members of Letís Face It. Finally, your real friends will stand by you - surgery doesnít radically alter your character or personality.

Alan R Woodward - Northwood





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