Friday, August 24, 2012

Surgery is Not for Sissies


I've never had surgery before so I was taken aback at how really terribly bad you feel when you start to come to. During my very fleeting moments of consciousness afterwards, I thought I must be having complications, possibly dying. Apparently, I can be very dramatic even when I'm on a pain pump. I couldn't tell anyone or ask questions because I couldn't speak.  Nobody warned me-probably because they knew I would flee for the hills if I knew how bad it was going to be.

Then, I was amazed at how much better I felt the next day. For about a week I felt appreciably better every day; it is remarkable how quickly the body bounces back.I still found it hard to swallow, I was hoarse and I tired easily. There was tweaking of the thyroid replacement to be done over the next few months. Pretty acceptable results-considering loss of body parts was involved. I hyperbolize; they were very tiny body parts! Prognosis is as good as it can be.

Bruce and I were so moved at the love and concern showered on us. My friends from Bible study brought meals. My lovely friend and prayer partner who lives next door brought me two scarves to cover my scar-one silk and one cashmere. Such luxury and such incredible empathy. I received cards and calls and each one carried a boost of energy and well being! One of my favorite cards had a photo on the front of a large group of people. Inside, my friend had written, "We all think you look better without your thyroid!"  I laughed out loud for the first time in a while.

I am very grateful to have bounced back so quickly. The surgeon opined that my throat was so sore because the tube they use for this particular surgery has transponders or some such thing on it. They use the extra equipment to test the larynx while they are in there to confirm they have not injured the nerve so that you can continue to speak afterwards. Apparently, when they tweak the nerve, the larynx spasms against these boxes on the tube. OR some such excuse.

At the post-op appointment, the surgeon gave us the pathology report. The larger cancerous node in the right lobe was completely removed; they strive to cut around it and not through it and they were successful. 

Collateral to that excision, he removed 6 lymph nodes in close proximity (on purpose) and also part of a parathyroid lobe (by accident) According to Dr. Daughter, they are about the size of a pea and impossible to see. She said that the chagrin of the surgeon over this is evidence that he is extremely conscientious.  The parathyroid excision caused a calcium deficiency, which responded well to treatment-although I may never again be able to look at TUMS without gagging.

The small node in the left lobe tested benign; however, he thought the safe route was to remove it since thyroid cancer could return if any thyroid tissue remains. I’m SO GLAD he did, I would not want to have to do this again! The surgeon also took the bandage off; sadly, he put another one on. This one was less visually noticeable but just as restrictive. After another week to 10 days I was down to just a bandage at night. 

Scripture referencePsalm 138:2-3

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