Eric's Story - Ameloblastoma

Ameloblastoma Patient Story
UCLA Health article

Testimonial: Ameloblastoma Treatment at UCLA

“Thanks to doctors like Dr. St. John and Dr. Blackwell, I am well on the road to a full recovery” —Eric

I had the fortunate experience of having Dr. St. John on my surgical team for treatment of my Ameloblastoma. In late July 2020, I was scheduled by my primary surgeon, Dr. Keith Blackwell, for a Fibula Free Flap surgery. This surgery involves an invasive procedure on both the jaw and the leg, and the operation lasts over 8 hours with the patient under general anesthesia. Dr. Blackwell advised me that Dr. St. John would be joining him as the two surgeons conducting this surgery. I did my research on Dr. St. John and learned that she led the Head and Neck Dept. at UCLA. That was reassuring in and of itself.

That morning of my surgery I met Dr. St. John for the first time and was immediately reassured that I was in the best hands with both her and Dr. Blackwell. Dr. St. John was calm, professional but also very personal in her approach. I cannot forget the most assuring thing she told me—“Everyone I operate on I think of like my family.” I knew from that point on that I was lucky to have her and Dr. Blackwell for my surgical team. And that statement calmed me as I was wheeled down to the operating room.

That night, in the UCLA hospital post-operative recovery room, Dr. St. John and Dr. Blackwell were there to advise me on how my surgery went. Again, I was reassured with Dr. St. John’s personal approach—both Doctors reassured me that everything went well, and that in fact Dr. St. John was able to assess the area being operated on and was able to make choices which left me with a less invasive result than previously predicted. Despite being in some pain and a fog immediately after my operation, I was reassured again that all had gone as well as I could’ve hoped.

During my hospital stay, I was visited every morning by Dr. Blackwell and Dr. St. John’s team of doctors, and by Dr. St. John and Dr. Blackwell at times as well. Any questions were patiently answered and solutions were instituted to ease my discomfort and recovery while in UCLA hospital. I should mention as well that the nursing care during my stay at UCLA Hospital was excellent.

Communication since my surgery has been stellar. The UCLA online patient interface has been incredibly valuable as it allows me to ask questions as I recovered from home. I’ve always gotten prompt responses from my doctors with the same concern and care I received when I was at UCLA hospital. And my follow up visits with both Dr. Blackwell and Dr. St. John have been reassuring, with the same level of patience and care I received in the hospital. I never felt rushed through my follow up appointments. Dr. St.John took the time to answer my concerns and again provided a very personal approach to my care.

In short, I can’t say enough about how happy I’ve been with both my surgery, hospital care and recovery, and follow up care for what could’ve been an extremely stressful medical condition. Thanks to doctors like Dr. St. John and Dr. Blackwell, I am well on the road to a full recovery.

All the best, Eric Mischel