I finally did it. Well, actually…the surgeon actually did it, but I showed up on time, hospital bag packed, instead of running away in denial, so pat on my own back, okay?
My thyroid is now history, and as it turns out, it was a much uglier and sick organ than expected. However, I hate to be a name-caller so let me just add that it was an ugly, sick and cancer-free thyroid. You go girl.
It was a completely wild experience, one that I am still recovering from honestly. My brain is not working at full-power, and I imagine that has something to do with the thyroid medication and major adjustment my body is going through. I have wanted to sit and blog my thoughts for days, but every time I try to form something that sounds like me, I find myself staring at the screen, my brain simply numb. Maybe just typing it all out, free-thought, would be better. List form seems easier, onward.
* Surgery was nearly four hours long. It was a mess in there. My neck, I mean. Not the Operating Suite. However, parathyroids were damaged, things were sliced and implanted into my neck muscle, I came out with a wicked-looking drain tube and an overwhelming sadness because anesthesia makes me weepy. And itchy. Must have done the same thing to the woman on the other side of the curtain in the PACU, because she was sobbing too. That nasal cannula with the oxygen was heaven though. Panic attack averted.
*I wish that the patients didn’t have to ask for their scheduled pain meds. If I am prescribed one every 4 hours, just bring it to me. When I have to ask for it, I feel like a junkie, so I won’t ask. So the nurse will think that I am brave. I don’t know. Martyr? Idiot, more like it. All I know is that if someone would have just brought it to me, I’d have taken more than two in four days. “As needed” means “Mindy won’t ask even though, ouch” That shizzle hurt. But I brought some home, prescribed of course, and take them as needed.
* The incision didn’t really hurt and still doesn’t more than a week out. At least not on the skin surface. The stupid drain tube hurt, when I swallowed it felt as if it were scraping the inside of my neck. Thousands (hundreds?) of times, for days. And my neck and shoulders were oh my gosh the worst. It was as if I were in a car accident. Four hours, flat on my back, arms rolled up in blankets and tucked under my side, neck pulled back to expose my throat for that long? Brutal on the muscles. Take the pain meds. Whew.
*The drain-tube removal is the worst thing I have ever felt happen to my body in my life. Dead serious. He pulled it out and my entire body went numb from the feeling. It was painful and bizarre, felt like he was a circus clown, pulling twenty scarves out of a hole in my neck for 30 seconds straight, but in reality, it was 2 seconds and maybe four inches long. I sat there, mouth agape and breathing hard, for a good minute before I could even blink. So gross. Wait, I take that back, having a bladder catheter can be worse. Ugh, it’s all awful. And I am a baby.
*Okay so post-op, I feel fine. Surgery was on the 7th. Today is the 18th. Aside from this crazy muscle tightening in my neck that feels strangling and a weird lump that lasted a week, it’s all manageable and mostly a non-issue. Oh, but sneezing and yawning are the worst, sometimes a muscle in my neck kinks up when I do either of those, and that hurts like the dickens, but mostly no problems. When the muscle tightening occurs, I rub in some lotion, rubbing in the direction of the scar, not up and down there so much, and also have had success with an ice pack helping things feel better. I honestly have no idea what is going on in there, and the internet hasn’t given me much info, but I imagine it is just adhesions as things knit back together. I’ve had two c-sections, so I know what it feels like when things heal and repair through muscle-layers, it just feels extra dramatic and noticeable when it happens around my esophagus and near my vocal chords.
*I was happy that I didn’t seem to have any vocal issues afterward. There wasn’t a lot of power behind my words for a few days, but I didn’t have to whisper. My voice does seems a bit deeper, and when I try to sing (not that I ever could “sing”) higher notes, the vibration causes me to cough, so I assume things are still swollen inside and things are touching and can you tell I do not have a medical degree?
*Until my neck-implanted parathyroid decides to work again, and it WILL WORK AGAIN POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING, I have to take about four truckloads of calcium a day, like clockwork, or my hands and feet get tingly and I will curl up into a muscle-cramp ball of fun, and then something about my heart will get angry and murder me, so for now it’s copious amounts of horse pills and magnesium and Vitamin D (but stay out of the sun, don’t let the incision site see the sun for a YEAR, pfffffft) did I ever tell you how much I hate swallowing pills? I walked into that hospital completely pill-free and walked out with a purse full of stuff…good times.
*I have no idea if I was a crazy mess prior to surgery due to my thyroid or not, I’ve made a real effort to try and avoid learning too much about this stuff because I just wasn’t handling it well at all and I have other medical stuff I need to handle, you know, with Corrigan, so it was with willful ignorance I signed the consent for surgery and it worked out fine for me but thyroid stuff seems to be a contentious issue…lots of old-school ways of treatment and people suffering symptoms that are ignored, labs vs actual patient symptoms, just a big mess of stuff where everything feels connected but maybe it is, and maybe it isn’t. So I was having a really rough year or so, emotionally, and now I feel….fine. Not sure if that is the numbing- brain haze that people report as a side effect from thyroid medication, or if I was just wildly out of whack because of my sick thyroid and now it’s gone and I am better. All I know is that my emotions were best described as “well, that escalated quickly” before and now I am like “Huh, okay. That’s cool.” I kind of like it, so if it is a side-effect, I will consider it Wellbutrin.
*Weight has remained exactly the same, again though, only 11 days out. The 2X clothes are still hanging in the closet. I knew better than to pack them away, but I feel so much better emotionally I will gladly take a bump in pants size to feel better. But not two pants sizes, c’mon. Those 50lbs were not easy to lose! I had no sense of smell for most of winter, after a lovely bout of influenza, and then in the last weeks, I had this strange phantom cigarette smell issue, that combined to make me not want to eat anything. Ever. Ever ever ever. I’d eat when my blood sugar dropped and my hands shook. I came out of surgery with full smell working fine(hooray!) and an appetite (boo!).
*My incision site is healing up so well, cosmetically, I couldn’t be more pleased if I cared about that kind of stuff. I don’t, not really. If this thing ends up being purple and hideous, oh well…it means I went through something. But the fact that it is healing up so well pleases me in that I know my pre-surgery and post-surgery care is working. I simply took Nano Silver, as usual, with a slight bump in intake for weeks prior to surgery (I have had previous bout with MRSA after surgery) and treated it topically, as soon as allowed (though, honestly, I was dabbing the steri-strips right away) with Tea Tree Oil afterward. Nothing else.
*I’m glad it’s gone.
I know this is just the beginning. I know that I haven’t been on this dose of thyroid medication long enough yet to know if it is “right” for me quite yet. I know that things can change monthly, many times over the years, and I have to be prepared, but for now I feel better. And that’s good stuff.