Bil Browning

Great news!

Filed By Bil Browning | May 01, 2007 3:45 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Bil Browning, cancer treatment, oral cancer, personal, smoking, update

snoopy_dance.jpgI just got back from my follow-up visit to the surgeon and the biopsy results are in. I'm happy to say that they were negative and while I had a large tumor, it wasn't cancerous.

*does happy dance*

Instead, it was a "fibroma of lip and buccal mucosa." (Warning: gross pictures if you click the link! Mine looked like the first one.) Now, I'm sure you're asking the same thing I did. "What the hell does that mean?"

It seems I bit my lip or damaged it somehow (I don't remember biting my lip, but I don't want to hear any jokes about oral sex!). When I did, I tore up a spit gland. It got infected and sealed over - which caused a blister/tumor thing. It had to be removed surgically though since there's no other way to get rid of them, so I'd have ended up in oral surgery anyhow.

While I want to kill my regular MD who told me, "I'm a betting man and I'd bet you even money that that is the beginning stages of oral cancer," there is one truly funny part. The MD warned me that if the tumor "popped" then we were in real trouble. And it just kept popping. Why?

Because I quit smoking and was using the gum. Which produced more spit. Which grew the blister/tumor each time since it was located over a spit gland. I knew quitting smoking was bad for your health, but no one listens to me... *laughs*

So all's well that ends well. I truly appreciate all of the support and encouragement I got from visitors around the nation. It was a really scary thing to endure, but all of your well wishes made it that much more bearable.

So thank you, dear readers, for being the wonderful, compassionate, caring individuals that you are. And thanks to Alex for taking charge of the blog while I was out playing John McCain. I appreciate all of you and I'm sending you virtual hugs!

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Joe Miller | May 1, 2007 6:15 PM

Congratulations Bil!

I don't remember biting my lip, but I don't want to hear any jokes about oral sex!
Must... resist... urge....

That's awesome, Bil. That's also a really fascinating story. I didn't know that that could happen to a salivary gland.

Me either, Alex. But I prefer to use the more butch term, "spit gland." It's much more Brokeback Mountain.

While I was happy that the biopsy came back okay, I still can't believe it happened. Only to me...

Thanks for the kind words, Joe!

A. J. Lopp | May 1, 2007 7:34 PM

The trumpet great Wynton Marsalis recently had a similar scare. He had a bump on his lower lip that would not go away ... and eventually, he could tell it was affecting his playing. He had to visit several doctors before one told him it was an infected hair follicle, which had gotten abscessed and in turn the pus (yuck!) had calcified. Marsalis had the bump surgically removed and did not know if he would be able to play trumpet as well again. In a recent interview on Charlie Rose, he admitted that the entire experience changed the shape of his lip slightly so that he had to adjust his playing technique. But about six weeks ago I was in the audience when Marsalis and his band played in Louisville, and his final number convinced me that he was playing as great as ever.

So, Bil, if you happen to play a trumpet, be prepared to experiment with your technique somewhat.

(Oral sex? ... No, I absolutely did not mean anything about oral sex!)

Mike/Columbus | May 1, 2007 8:53 PM


Really glad to hear your good news. I lost a sister just a couple years ago to oral cancer which started on her tongue. Oral cancer is a very ugly disease the way it progresses. Any sore that doesn't heal in or around your mouth within 10 days should be looked at. My sister never was a smoker and did not really fit any of the high risks (poor oral hygiene, tobacco use, heavy alcohol use). It can happen to anyone.

BTW, you are still quitting right? :)

Zach Adamson | May 2, 2007 12:24 AM

I had the same thing happen to me, but when I saw my doctor he said go see a surgeon and have it cut out. So i did. never had another problem. Surgeon said the liquid part of the spit comes from under the tongue (and shoots out sometimes when you yawn), the slimy part of spit comes from these mucous sacks all over your mouth when the 2 mix, you get spit. Tjey are like pores. And like pores, sometimes they get blocked.. and keep producing this slim, till it pops, then it usually fills back up and pops. till you have the sack cut out.
Its really quite common, more a bother than painful and mine was close to the outside of my mouth so as it got larger it was visible. Looked like I'd been in a bar fight. So off it came.
Congrats that it was all good news.. !

Congrats! That is good news all around.