Well, my thyroid surgery is behind me. In a word, it was surprising.
I read on forums that this surgery was “a walk in the park.” Surprisingly, it wasn’t.
The recovery has been harder than I expected. My neck muscles were so stiff that I couldn’t lift or turn my head. I woke up with a pounding headache and wave of nausea. My throat and neck were sore, of course, and my voice was painfully hoarse. My chest was (and still is) tight and sore from having the necessary breathing tube. I slept maybe an hour here, an hour there because I was next to loud and confused patients who didn’t understand how the call button worked to get the nurse’s attention. Not exactly a walk in the park.
But I came home 24 hours later and have steadily improved. I’m not flat on my back at all. I want to get up and do things, but it just hurts to laugh, cough, or talk a lot right now. Sneezing is torture (I get a sharp pain in the middle of my chest). The kids came home on Wednesday and we’re back to a regular routine, except Mike is home and he’s the one who takes them to their activities.
I’m not sleeping well and Mike isn’t either, as a result. Maybe next week when my mood is cheerful again, and all these symptoms are over, I’ll realize it wasn’t so bad. But I promise I won’t use the phrase “a walk in the park.” I’m mad at those people who said that!
On the other hand,
I was so prepared to hear news that the surgeon saw cancer. Surprisingly, I heard good news, instead. The surgeon spoke to Mike, but I was updated by our friend, Jim. Jim is a trauma surgeon at the hospital and he was there when I woke up from recovery. Only the affected side of my thyroid was taken. The other side wasn’t even touched (to prevent scar tissue). I will not need to be on a replacement hormone for the rest of my life. Half of my thyroid can perform the function of the entire gland. My surgeon will get final pathology results next week, but he is 98% sure I have nothing to worry about. He has done thousands of thyroid removals, so I am positively hopeful. That was a good, good surprise.
So, no matter what I’m going through right now, I must keep things in perspective. My human nature, however, just wants this time to hurry up and move on; it’s the biggest deal in the world right now.
And my human nature is writing this blog and re-capping the experience. 🙂
I took this picture on the night before surgery. We stayed in a hotel a few blocks away from the hospital. The convenience came with a price tag, but just look at how much I’m enjoying the fancy desk and mirror. 🙂 In this light, you can see the tumor (or at least the enlarged thyroid) on the right side. I hadn’t seen it that clearly before.
We both had a terrible night’s sleep (I hopped out of bed at 3:30 a.m. afraid that I overslept). At 5:15 a.m. we walked down quiet D.C. residential streets, toward the hospital.
I couldn’t eat or drink anything after midnight, so waiting for Mike to get his coffee was torturous. That’s a fully stocked bakery case. I couldn’t help but notice.
A selfie before seven a.m. I was so calm. I knew people were praying for me. Some were even up that early already checking in on Facebook telling me they were praying. That brought so much comfort.
I took another selfie a few hours after I was rolled into my room on the 5th floor. In the recovery room, I heard Jim tell the nurses “I want her on the 5th floor. Yes, put her on the 5th floor.” I don’t really know if this is the case, but it sounded like he was in giving orders and pulling strings for me. 🙂 ha. Later I found out that my room was next to his own patient (one of the disoriented ones that kept me up all night long). That makes me really laugh for some reason.
My throat was so sore. I was allowed to order anything I wanted from the room service menu and I whispered to Mike to order chicken noodle soup, ginger ale, and a popsicle. I only ate the popsicle – two of them because the room service worker came back with a second one – and it was the best tasting meal of my life.
I took this pic before we left to go home. I was pretty out of it, but feeling okay. It had been a busy morning of visits by nurses and doctors (parades of at least 10 residents and students on rounds since it’s a teaching hospital).
After I got home, I was allowed to take off the bandage. The incision is 3 inches across. It took me back a bit.
I’m self-conscious about it and glad to have scarves to cover up. My friend, Karen, bought me this pretty scarf. I love it.
Today, I got out of the house for the first time and went for a walk. I’m starting to feel better all-around. I’m wearing sneaks and yoga pants, my face is swollen and I brushed my hair with my fingers, but the scarf and denim jacket say I’m ready to go out and enjoy nature.
And nature, this time of year, is so beautiful.
The kids went to the pumpkin patch with Pops & Nana. Meet “Creeper” and “Petal.” Once again, Pops & Nana so lovingly took care of the kids and gave them a home away from home! I have the best in-laws in the world!