How different our lives are when we really know what is deeply important to us, and keeping that picture in mind, we manage ourselves each day to be and to do what really matters most.--Stephen Covey

Sunday, November 27, 2011

My Tonsillectomy Recovery : Part I

I'd just like to start out by saying that my tonsillectomy was not just a typical tonsillectomy. At the same time, I had a partial thyroidectomy as well. If you have read some of my past posts (here, here, here, & here), you know that I spent the 6-months after Jake and I got married trying to figure out what was wrong with me... a little background, the last night of our honeymoon, I spent hugging the toilet. Not fun. I spent the entire month of June sick as well (not pleasant) and ended up at an endocrinologist office and finding out that I had a toxic nodule (more here). Treatment is an anti-thyroid drug (which isn't used widely in the US for any length of time), Radioactive Iodine Treatment (RAI), or surgery. I opted for surgery mainly because the small dose of iodine they gave me for the uptake scan of my thyroid gave me some strong reactions and Jake and I want to try to start a family in the next year and you have to wait 6-months to a year after RAI to try to become pregnant--Jake and I would have waited the entire year. It's not to say that we are going to start trying right now or that it will happen in the next year (because it's in God's hands), but we wanted to keep it open as an option. And, with thyroid problems and my cousin being diagnosed with thyroid cancer, we wanted the nodule to be removed and properly biopsied to be sure.

Anyway, the partial thyroidectomy was a breeze. Seriously. My incision looks amazing (props to my doc!) and it's healing well only after one week. I got my stitches out today and will be able to start a vitamin E oil on the incision to help reduce the scarring and help it heal. I got the pathology report today as well and everything was good. Which was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders because I was pretty worried about a cancer diagnosis. I was staying positive and praying that it was benign, but was prepared to take the worst if it came to that. I'm still waiting on my hormone levels to even out--they took blood today at my appointment, and everything is in the normal range but "on the higher side" so they will take blood again when I go at the end of December for my 6-week follow-up appointment. And at the beginning of January I have an appointment with my endocrinologist as well. I'm assuming that it takes some time for the hormones to leave the body/level out again and I am hoping everything returns to "normal" soon. It is safe to say that if I had just had the partial thyroidectomy, I would have been back to work this week. Today even. I have a little bit of stiffness in my neck where the incision is, but it's not uncomfortable or anything.

The tonsillectomy on the other hand. Well, let me sum up my research that I did before surgery. It's pure torture. It's not like a tonsillectomy for children--and if someone doesn't understand this as you are an adult going in for one, direct them to the various forums and websites that people have written to help adults get through the tonsillectomy. You'll read some horror stories. I didn't read them to get myself all worked up and worried. Actually, they didn't scare me--and people don't understand this. They just prepared me. I just wanted to be prepared for what I was getting myself in to and have the best recovery possible.

And I've had a good recovery. Here are some things that I have found absolutely necessary:
  • a warm mist humidifier (seriously!!)
  • ice packs (for the neck)
  • warm packs (for the ears)
  • a lot of ice
  • Gatorade & water
  • pudding (banana has been my fave)
  • applesauce (to help swallow pills...)
  • Panera Bread chicken noodle soup (cooled to room temp)
  • mac & cheese
  • Vaseline (for chapped lips)
  • baby wipes (you won't feel like showering--they are good for freshening up or if you are feeling clammy/hot)
  • a husband/friend/mom/boyfriend/whomever, that can handle you being a baby and be at your beck and call (trust me on this!)
In the next couple days, I'll update each day of my progress and how it went for me. My story is not as difficult as some of the stories I read online during the months before my surgery. I don't know if that is from my preparation or just my pain tolerance or good meds, or perhaps a combination of all of it, but I don't have a horror story. Expect it by the end of the week. I am staying off the heavy pain pills now and have been more alert during the day.

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