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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know this is a strange question. I just had surgery for lip cancer. I don't want to give up playing but it will be months (if ever) before my lip heals to the point that I can play somewhat normally. Does anyone have any ideas of some way I could protect my lower lip but still be able to play at all? Told you it was a strange question.....
 

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I'm not experienced enough as a saxophonist to answer from that angle, but as a trumpet player I can say there is certainly much hope. Rafael Mendez (google him, youtube him) sustained a severe lip injury that included infection, cauterizing, all sorts of horrible things, gave up his career, then finally came back and became an almost supernatural trumpet legend. Don't lose hope. All the best to you.
 

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I never knew such a thing existed and first may (try to) I express my profound best wishes for a positive outcome for you.

I really think we can only advise to get expert medical advice on this. Reconstructive surgery may be possible to replace any lost tissue, but the normal "protective" remedies such as folded cigarette papers would seem to not be relevant in this case.

I think only expert medical advice can answer this. I'm sorry and feel deeply for this tragedy. We all should take a moment to think about this...
 

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It may be best to ask your physician this question when you are further along in the healing process.
There may be a suitable product that they can recommend.

I'll add my wishes for a speedy recovery.
 

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It really stinks you have to deal with this - It's great you're looking for ways to keep playing. Berst of luck and keep us posted..
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hmmmm.... tell me more about the papers. I need something between my lip and the reed. It'll hurt too much right now with the stitches but that will get better. So, tell me you experience...please?

Thank you very much. I needed to hear this. And, I guess I could always go back to the flute.... but I REALLY don't want to. Unfortunately , MD's here couldn't care less. They just don't get it... guess I need to find a musician/doc!
 

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First of all I want to express my best wishes to you, and hope that you recover fast!
I have struggled a lot with my lower lip the last year. In my case I think it is due to the cane, and I have now converted to Legere synthetic reeds. They seem to irritate much less and cause less lip wear. Before I started using Legere reeds, I used "Compeed" (for feet) a lot, with success. I used the thinner outer parts. The lip has to be completely dry before applying or it wont stick, and you need to take it of directly after playing, as the skin beneath otherwise gets "sweaty." Just an Idea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I used "Compeed" (for feet) a lot, with success.
I, too, switched to Fibracell reeds about a year ago because I was sure that the reeds were causing the spot on my lip. Oh well....that's what I get for thinking! I am familiar with Compeed from my running days (LOOONG ago). Once it has healed somewhat, I can see how this might help to fill in the lip itself. Thanks!
 

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I really don't know, not being a doctor, but my guess is, once your lip is healed up, you'll be able to go back to playing normally. I can't see why not. The body is amazing in how well it can heal. I hope I'm right about that, and wish you all the best.

FWIW, I played a fibracell reed briefly and hated what it did to my lip. The edges of the reed tended to cut and abrade my lip. No such problems with cane reeds.
 

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Hmmmm.... tell me more about the papers. I need something between my lip and the reed. It'll hurt too much right now with the stitches but that will get better. So, tell me you experience...please?
Best wishes as you recover. If you are interested in a cushion between your lower teeth and your lip, buy a box of Ezo Denture Cushions (the Lower Heavy type) and cut a small piece (e.g. 1.5 cm by 2 cm) to wrap over your bottom front teeth. This will provide a cushion to prevent your teeth from cutting into your lower lip.

I have no idea if the following product is any good, but I think it's intended to serve the same purpose as the cheaper remedy above. Perhaps you could place it directly on the reed to avoid all pressure on your lower lip ... I somewhat doubt that though.

http://www.wwbw.com/Comfort-Zone-Clarinet---Saxophone-Artificial-Embouchure-485154-i1470659.wwbw

Again, best wishes.
 

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Best wishes as you recover. If you are interested in a cushion between your lower teeth and your lip, buy a box of Ezo Denture Cushions (the Lower Heavy type) and cut a small piece (e.g. 1.5 cm by 2 cm) to wrap over your bottom front teeth. This will provide a cushion to prevent your teeth from cutting into your lower lip.

I have no idea if the following product is any good, but I think it's intended to serve the same purpose as the cheaper remedy above. Perhaps you could place it directly on the reed to avoid all pressure on your lower lip ... I somewhat doubt that though.


Again, best wishes.
These are wax covered cloth. I've been using them for years. They protect the lip from the teeth with longer playing, but in this case it could make for a more easy gliding surface if irritation is the problem. As for reeds giving irritation I have some occasionally that give me problems, but its nothing 1200 grit sandpaper and a couple swipes can't fix. Without a doubt let the stitches heal and consult your licensed medical adviser.
 

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These are wax covered cloth. I've been using them for years. They protect the lip from the teeth with longer playing, but in this case it could make for a more easy gliding surface if irritation is the problem.
Yes, I agree that the Ezo product works well. When I stated "I have no idea if the following product is any good," I was referring to the "artificial embouchure" whose link followed the statement, not the Ezo product whose description preceded the statement.

Without a doubt let the stitches heal and consult your licensed medical adviser.
I think this is good advice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thank you ALL. I'm starting to feel like I might get to play again....and maybe in a much shorter time. I miss it already. Practice was the first thing I did every morning. Guess I could learn percussion in the meantime......nahhh...
 

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Would something like an EWI machine create less pressure on the lip and allow you to play earlier. My experience with the EWIs showed that very minimal pressure was required, with no vibrating reed. Its not the same, but if you can let your lip heal properly..... ?

All the best in your recovery.
 

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My best wishes to you also. We all have nightmares about things that might end our playing careers. I had to have some oral surgery about 8 years ago, and expressed my concern to the oral surgeon. He told me to consider taking up the drums since I liked music. Some docs are insensitive and just don't get it, like you mentioned. Lot's of folks here have good ideas though, so you've got some brethren, and maybe a sister or too, that are in your corner.

Randy
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I did work for a client whose lower lip was partially gone from a dog attack. We worked on getting him a free-blowing mouthpiece with a fairly small tip opening. He mostly played acoustic dinner music gigs somewhere in South America.
 

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Sorry to hear about that.
What you could try is using a mouthpiece with a smaller tip, which should give less pressure on the lips.
Don't know on what place your lip is operated, but putting the mouthpiece in one side of your mouth could also release pressure on other parts of the lip (I do that sometimes when my 10* tip becomes too heavy after playing a long time at a row!).
Hope you will recover (soon) and be able to play the sax again. All the best.
 

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Sorry to hear of your difficulties. I think it's more important to give yourself time to heal properly, than to try to rush back into this.

Longer term, anything that lessens the pressure on your lower lip will help. You can try different combinations of mouthpiece tip opening and reed strength.

One thing that helped me bite less hard a few years ago was to start using a mouthpiece patch. This helps to keep my upper teeth from moving on the top surface of the mouthpiece, without having to bite as hard to keep them in place. I wish I had made this change 25 years earlier. The 3M clear patches are pretty thin, and don't change the geometry much of how your jaw addresses your mouthpiece, if that is a concern for you.
 
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