After announcing our STOCKUP sale yesterday that referenced my health problems, a bunch of people have asked if I'm doing okay. The overwhelming support of friends both digital and IRL is good for the soul.

The short answer is that I'm doing well. But I've been through some things, man...

The long answer starts on a late November morning. I was having my usual large mug of coffee when I noticed that not all the coffee was making it down. In fact, most of it was dripping out of the left side of my  mouth. I soon discovered that nearly the whole left side of my face was immobile. I called my primary care doctor who ordered me to call an ambulance and be taken straight to the ER because she feared I was having a stroke.

I wasn't about to call an ambulance. Other than half my face being paralyzed, I felt fine. So I drove myself to the ER at the University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital. Seeing my symptoms, the ER admitted me straight to the examination area. They performed a bunch of tests and scans. Finally, the ER doctor came back with an official diagnosis.

Him: "I have good news and bad news. The good news is that you are not having a stroke."

Me: "Thank god."

Him: "The bad news is that your CT scan shows a large mass present on your mandible. I've contacted our oral surgeon for a consult."

Me: "Shit."

A couple days later I'm at my oral surgeon's office. My Bell's Palsy has grown worse and now it excruciatingly painful. I can barely talk. I can't close or blink my left eye. The surgeon performs a very painful biopsy cut from my gums and mandible and sends it to pathology. The biopsy leaves me with a large wound in the front of my mouth that now makes it impossible for me to talk and I can only eat through a straw.

The nerve pain in my face was a constant, making work difficult. All I could manage was warm compresses, sleep, and ibuprofen.

A few days later the results of the pathology report come back.

Him: "I have good news and bad news. The good news is that you don't have cancer."

Me: "Thank god."

Him: "The bad news is that you have an aggressive odontogenic keratocyst that has to be removed. It's invaded virtually your entire mandible."

He tells me I will have to have a triple resection of my jaw. He will take my left leg's fibula, remove it, cut it into three pieces, and replace the diseased mandible with the fibula. I will lose all my bottom teeth, several salivary glands, and require a nerve bundle transplant. I'll be in a leg boot for 6 weeks and will require a skin graft for the leg. The surgery lasts 8 hours and that I will be in ICU for a week post-op.

Fortunately, since the keratocyst was benign, I didn't need immediate surgery, but the sooner the better.

Surgery was February 7th. I was in surgery for 12 hours. I was kept unconscious for an additional 24 hours. I spent 9 days in ICU.

The surgery was successful, but there had been a couple of complications the doctor had to deal with.

I spent several weeks eating nothing but protein shakes and crushed pain pills. My face was swollen and bruised. I had a boot on my leg thus limiting my mobility.

The surgeon had warned me that it would take me six weeks post-op before I would feel halfway decent. He was right. I didn't return to meaningful work until the last week of March. Last week I finally returned to full time as the pain in my healing mouth had finally started to ease up.

I'm still on a soft food and liquid diet and will be for a few more months. My face is still swollen quit a bit (people still stare at me when I go out in public). I still have no bottom teeth, it might be a year before I can get implants. There is a bright red scar that runs from ear to ear on my neck. My Bell's Palsy is about 80% healed, though I still can't lift my top left lip much.

But ... the good news is that the worst is behind me and that I am doing much better. The bad news is that Apex, my passion and occupation, was left mostly neglected by me for 4 months. Thus the rough patch Apex is now experiencing and the STOCKUP sale to help us get back on steady ground.

Apologies for the lengthy explanation. A lot of wild health stuff happened all at once. And I've left off many of the juicier bits ... such as my bad reaction to Oxycontin that caused me to hallucinate talking giant rabbits for a whole day.