Monday, March 3, 2014

"how does it feel? how does it feel? to be without a home, like a complete unknown, LIKE A ROLLING STONE, " like a rolling stone, by bob dylan

i have had a very bad bout with salivary gland stones. well, one stone in particular. it was large- felt like a boulder, but probably was about the size of a small pea. it was round, hard and rolling around inside the salivary gland under my tongue. it caused my lymph nodes to swell- especially on one side. my husband and i were eating dinner a few weeks ago, and he said, " OMG, you have a lump the size of a goose egg on your neck!". really, a goose egg? i have never seen a goose egg, but since they are usually, i think, larger than a chicken, i was somewhat worried.

it literally came up in an instant. i got out the old stand-bys- heating pad, large glasses of sour lemonade, and ibuprofen for the pain. for those of you who may not know, i have been having salivary gland issues since my whopper dose of RAI. it took about a year to develop, but they have stayed with me since then. the first episode that i had sent me running to the dentist. " tell me it is a bad tooth!" i cried. although, i somehow knew that it was not. my dentist said no, he was pretty sure that it was salivary stones and sent me off to an ENT who confirmed the diagnosis. the ENT said that the RAI had flooded my salivary glands( somewhat common) and left scar tissue behind. this makes me, or i should say, them, susceptible to stone formation.

i have said that i think that there is somehow a link between the" darn it kidney stone" ( shirley D. stone) that i had and these salivary stones. maybe the same types of chemical compounds found  in foods that some think may cause kidney stones, can cause salivary stones as well. it just seems like too much of a coincidence to have both at the same time. i had been eating a lot of kale- baked kale chips are the bomb, when this happened. i am not sure if it is at all related, but i am sadly removing kale from my diet. i have noticed, unscientifically of course, that alkaline foods- such as chocolate, seem to make my mouth feel worse when i am having a bout with salivary stones. the food that seemed to feel the best, and do the most good was pineapple. now this is very subjective, i am just reporting how it went with me. something to consider,though. and for the record, i am NOT removing chocolate from my diet. i am just trying to cut down on it a bit, and definitely not have it when my salivary stones are flaring up.

ok, here comes the interesting, but gross part. you can stop reading now, if you want to. but, i passed the salivary stone at work! i kept rolling the stone around with my tongue from time to time, and my mouth was getting so sore that i could not eat. my mouth also burned, and, as i mentioned , i had that goose egg lump on my neck. so one day, last week, i touched the stone with my tongue and i felt a hard tip that i had never felt before. i went to the restroom, lifted up my tongue, and was able to see the tip of the stone poking it's mean head out from my poor, sore salivary gland. i pressed on it, and it came out in my hand. gross, right!!??. immediately, i felt better. the lump on my neck  went down some, although it is still swollen a bit. my mouth felt better and i was able to eat lunch.

i really thought that i was going to have to go to an ENT and have it surgically removed. i have researched this topic a little, and  that is sometimes  the case with larger stones . i have since read that rinsing with salt water may help with the pain - you have to be careful here,though, and mix it up correctly. one teaspoonful of salt per 8 oz warm water is about the right proportions. i found out, the hard way, that extremely salty foods will  set my whole mouth on fire when i have a salivary stone.

i am going to have to keep an eye on this, i know. i am going to read and research all that i can on the prevention and treatment of salivary stones. of course, i worry about salivary stone cancer, which is increased with exposure to radiation( uh, great, right?). i have not found an ENT doctor that i really like yet, but i will. and to answer bob's question, the rolling stone felt really, really bad!!