Can you hear me now? Oh, you can? Excellent!

What’s up, hello to December!

I’ve been meaning to sit down and write up this post for the last several days, since last Wednesday I think.  Just kind of been out of it since Tuesday’s activities I guess, I’m sure you’ll forgive me!  😉

Alright, now that that’s out of the way, onto the latest…

FINALLY had my Arytenoid Adduction and Thyroplasty surgery last Tuesday!  Thanks for my Stepmom for driving up from California for the week!  I’m so thankful for your help! 

My surgery arrival time as 6am Tuesday, man, that was early.  Thankfully we were staying at a hotel in South Lake Union so we weren’t that far away from the hospital.  I was in a surprisingly great mood that morning despite waking up at 4:15am.
 

It was my turn up at the check-in desk and I was cracking myself up, she did the usual questions and asked what my marital status was?  I told her, “Single and ready to mingle!”  hahahaha!  We all got a good laugh out of that.  Then she asked if I had anything out of the ordinary or special on my person, lol.  Of course, I had to tell her my shoes and socks!  So she wrote that on the form!  Hahahaha!

We finish up with her and head over to the waiting area, I think I was called back about 15 minutes later.  She took me back to weigh me, since I was three days away from my one year goal, I was pretty excited to have this done.  Sadly, I didn’t reach my goal as I was 7 pounds away from it.  Oh well, it’s close enough!  I’m guessing when I go in at the end of this week, I’ll have hit the goal. 
Put that awesome gown on and jumped in the bed under this incredibly odd, yet awesome air blanket.  It’s heated, but can also be cooled as well.  I meet the rest of the team that’s taking care of business that day, all were friendly enough.  They hook up the IV and the other monitoring doohickey’s. 

Still in that good mood, I finally get hauled back to the operating room.  I get myself moved over onto the operating table, they get that numbing goodness sprayed into my nose, get the scope down the nostril, get my legs and arms strapped down so I don’t move.  Pull the plastic bib over my neck so I can’t see anything and nothing splashes on my face.  I ask if it’s possible to get pictures of everything because I’m so fascinated by everything.  They slather the surgical paste/liquid/whatever on my neck/chin/upper chest, and then flowed the local anesthesia in.  Here’s where the fun begins… I could feel the pressure on the left side of my neck, but not the right.  This is because of the nerve damage and lack of some of the brachioplexus(?) muscle there.  I ask if they’re cutting in and they said yes.  That was interesting, anyway, they get some more drugs flowing through the IV and start cutting away.  Remember, I’m awake this entire time.  As they were working I heard them talk about the amount of scar tissue from my Thyroidectomy a year ago.  They weren’t expecting to see so much of it, and Dr. Merati ended up sending a sample of it to the lab to be tested to make sure that’s all it was.  I was getting fairly warm under everything, and one of the nurses there came over to wipe my forehead, I had to tell her I only sweat on the left side.  hahaha.  She wasn’t expecting that and Dr. Merati said, “Oh yes, he has Horners syndrome”. Remember that air blanket?  They turned on the cooling feature.  WHAT AN EXPERIENCE!  I want to play with that blanket EVERY DAY!  It was a huge rush of cold air that started at my feet and quickly worked it’s way up.  WHOA!  That was awesome.  Anyway, I’m lying there with my neck cut open, talking to the people that are in the room.  Bizarre.  They get word back from the lab, that the tissue was only scar tissue and it’s nothing to worry about.  Relief. 

They continue working and he asks me to make some sounds, and he goes off to the corner to start cutting the implant.  I’m getting excited and ask to see the implant before it goes in, it was almost an acorn shape in a way.  He places it in, asks me to make several more sounds and hum some songs to get the right placement.  He asked how close my voice was to the original one, I honestly couldn’t remember.  That got me a bit sad.  We came to an agreement that what we were hearing was pretty darn good.  He took a picture of my neck with the implant in place!  That got me excited, then he took a picture of my forehead since there was perspiration only on the left side and he said it’s a good clinical photo.  Cool!  They move onto the arytenoid adduction part of the surgery which was placing some stitches in the right vocal fold to move it up closer to midline with the left vocal fold.  Finishing that up, Dr. Merati leaves the room to go talk to my Stepmom and/or my Mom and Stepdad who should’ve been there.  I think he was only able to locate my Stepmom though.  His assistant and someone else continued working on my neck to get a drain placed in the incision and stitch everything up.  Another bizarre experience is the conversation the two of them were having.  Talking  about having to work there and around this time of the year they get a lot of guys from the school in with stab wounds.  Uh…what?  Why are you talking about this?  Hello.  I’m awake, remember?

I finally get moved over onto the hospital bed and get rolled over to the recovery area.  I get hooked up to everything and a humidifying mask put on.  I’m thinking, ok, I’ll be here for like 30-60 minutes and then I’ll be moved into my regular room.  In the meantime, I’m drinking water, apple juice, and some jell-o.  I tell the lady (who I didn’t really care for) that I needed to use the restroom, so she gets me a bottle, pulls the curtain closed and walks away.  Really?  I’m lying in bed and I have to pee in a bottle?  Not much came out.  That’s just a weird thing to do.  That first hour went by.  Then the second, then the third hour.  I’m told I’m not supposed to talk, I fall in and out of sleep, being awoken by the oxygen meter, extremely bored, trying not to look at the people across from me, but didn’t have anything else to read or do since my phone and tablet were with my Stepmom.  My good mood has quickly changed to pure boredom and frustration.  I wanted to get up and walk around.  I wanted to talk.  I wanted to go to the bathroom.  I couldn’t do anything but lay there.  Finally, FOUR HOURS LATER, I’m rolled up to my regular room.  If I had been completely under it might’ve been a different story, but I was awake the whole time so I didn’t really need to come off the anesthesia.

The moment they get my bed situated in the room, I jump out of it and run into the bathroom.  Of course I still had to pee in the bottle, because they need to know how much came out.  LOL.  I peed over 32 ounces, cause the bottle overflowed.  Hahahaha!

Meanwhile, my Mom, Stepdad and Stepmom were all up there patiently awaiting my arrival in the room, but again I wasn’t supposed to be talking.  I had to write everything on a piece of paper.  Funny, but frustrating at the same time.  After a bit, my Stepmom left, ended up ordering dinner and watched some Top Gear with my Mom and Stepdad.  They left shortly after, I think when the nurse came in to take a look at the bandage and clean everything up a bit.  Boredom set in again.  I go walk around the floor for a couple laps every hour or so, then go back and lay down with the mask on, drink lots of water etc.  Eventually, I fall asleep around 9:30 I think, but I’m awoken every couple hours so they can check my vitals and give me my antibiotics.  Yay. 

I wake up in the morning and go for another walk.  Wasn’t much to see.  No view of anything, some art I guess.  But it was good to move around nonetheless.  The nurse that morning was attractive!  Thank goodness!  hahaha!  She told me that if everything looks good and I feel good, that I’ll be discharged in a couple hours.  I ordered some breakfast, drank a bunch of water and walked around.  Decided I’d put on my socks for the day. 

I get my things tidied up and I get dressed, my Stepmom shows up, the nurse comes in and goes over my discharge instructions, cleans up the wound again, and gives me the leftover items.  I put them in my Coach shower bag/thing and she says, “Oh that’s a nice bag, you don’t see those everyday in the hospital!”  hahahaha

We head down to the pharmacy to pick up my prescriptions, and head out.  She needed to get some more Seahawks gear so we head to one of the stores across the street from the Clink.  Then ended up heading back to U-Village for lunch and some walking around, shopping.  Eventually, get back to the hotel and unpack, and just relax.  The hotel had a holiday dinner in the lobby going on, that was pretty tasty. 

Thursday ended up heading home to grab some things and was dropped off over at Kenji & Myra’s before she headed down to Tacoma for Thanksgiving with her family.  Ended up taking a nap while I was there, then we ate and played Cards against humanity!  Luckily I was able to start talking again around noon Thursday, but still needed to keep it to a minimum.  Thanks for the great hospitality you two!  Thanks to Mike and Jolla for going completely out of the way to get me home that night as well! 

Stuck around home Friday except to get some tires put on the car that evening, walked around Fred Meyer looking for a new fan since my trusty one finally bit the dust.  Apparently, it’s difficult to find one locally during the winter.  Who knew?  I can’t lift anything heavy yet, so it’s likely just as well they didn’t have one.  Went to Target on the way home to walk around and see if there was anything leftover from the madness earlier in the day, didn’t find a fan there either.  Of course, didn’t talk much at all Friday, Saturday, Sunday. 

What a Seahawks game yesterday!  That was a fun one to watch!

I go back in on Friday for my follow-up appointment and to get my stitches removed.  I’m hoping that they’ll have a surgery report for me and a copy of those pictures.  Apparently Dr. Merati told my Stepmom that there was a vein or artery stuck to something that it shouldn’t have been.  She couldn’t remember exactly what he said, so I’d like to know for sure what he saw in my neck while he was in there.  I’m not enthused to have external stitches this time around, as with my Thyroidectomy the stitches were internal and they used Derma-bond to seal it up.  This time the scar looks pretty gross, and it’s going to be difficult shaving where it is.  Hmm… We’ll have to come up with some good stories again, Phil!  🙂

Anyway, my voice is clearly better than it was before and has changed everyday since as the swelling continues to subside.  It’ll continue to change over the next couple months as the rest of the neck does it’s healing process.  I’m happy with the result, and certainly look forward to hearing it get better as the days go on.  I’m certainly able to swallow easier, but will need to work with my Speech Pathologist to learn exercises and how to swallow correctly again. 

Next up, need to talk with my Endocrinologist about getting some blood work done to see if we can reduce my dosage of Levothyroxine.  Everyone is shocked when they hear how much I take everyday.  Since I’ve lost so much weight since my original prescription, it’s likely that I need it to be reduced.  Overdosing it can cause some pretty severe problems with your heart and lungs.  Then I have an Ultrasound in January to check on the cancer side of things to ensure it’s still gone.  I’ll begin working with a nose specialist soon as well to get my breathing difficulties squared away as well.  It’s been a tough year, but I’m really enjoying where things are heading and knowing that things will get better is always good!

For those of you that might be interested in seeing the scar, here you go, it’s certainly larger than I thought it would be.  If you’re not interested, you should stop here! 

This is the drain sticking out of the incision.

 
This one is from the Thursday after surgery.  You’ll also notice the Thyroidectomy scar below it exactly one year after.  

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