30 August 2011

Back to the grind

While the doctor granted me three weeks off to heal, I am back at work today. I couldn’t honestly take another week as I’m almost back to full strength now. It’s hard to imagine that I was under the knife this time two weeks ago. Despite a bit of tightness around the incision, and the fact that I still look like Franken-neck, I could almost forget that the whole ordeal even happened. I had managed to work myself into such a frenzy before the surgery and it really wasn’t all that terrible. Do I want to do it again? No! But I can honestly say to other would-be thyroid surgery patients that the procedure isn't as bad as I thought it would be.

It’s waiting for the results now that I truly find difficult. My follow-up with the surgeon is on September 7. I keep praying for a clean bill of health, then I can refocus and move on. I’ll always have regular blood work and ultrasounds of the remaining half of my thyroid, but it’s a small price to pay in order to make sure I’m healthy. Cross your fingers folks; I really want to rule out the big “C”.

This week is going to be difficult. It’s hard to get right back into the working rhythm after two weeks off. For the first time ever, I think I actually managed to relax and do exactly as I pleased. For the first week, I lounged around on the sofa. During the second week I spent most of my time in the garage cutting, painting and creating Halloween decorations. It was a lot of work but it was “fun” work. I am always at my happiest and most relaxed when I am pouring myself into some sort of craft or art project. Keeping busy at something I enjoy – that is healing!

That’s all for now. I still haven’t posted pictures of the neck but hope to do so soon. It will be neat to see how it fades over time. Right now the ends of the incision are going red, so I am monitoring for infection. I think this is just my skin reacting to the suture knots just under the surface of the skin. I’m so pale that it isn’t hard for anything to stand out on my skin. Either way, I’m not hiding the neck. I’ll proudly show my battle scar : )

22 August 2011

Day seven of captivity

Going on a full week post-op now and part of my incision still has a hard ridge of swelling. My mobility is almost good enough to start driving again, so I think I’m going to trying cruising around the block a few times tomorrow to see how it goes. I’m getting pretty bored sticking around home and am itching to do something productive. Despite the boredom, however, I ma heeding my doctor’s advice and not returning to work until next week.

Yesterday was the first day that I actually started to feel like my old self...stiff Franken-neck aside. My energy was great the whole day so I decided to head out with hubby to do the groceries and pick up some supplies at the hardware store for a Halloween project that I dreamed up. Yes folks, that time of year have arrived – haunting construction!

Desperately looking for something “fun” to do, I decided that I would get a head start on constructing some foam tombstones for our new and improved cemetery this year. You would think that cutting through foam with a hacksaw is relatively easy, it didn’t feel overly difficult, but after an hour of work my neck started swelling up. Darn it! Looks like I’m going to have to nurse it and work in small segments of time. It felt so good to get moving and lose myself in a project but my body obviously has other ideas.

I was hoping to return to the gym today but it seems that walking will be the order of the week. I feel the weight creeping on and my clothing is getting tighter. I’m probably at my heaviest weight ever and really want to get back into some sort of shape – circular doesn’t count.

Patience is a virtue, one that I was never blessed with. I always ask myself what I would do if I had to endure recovery from a “major” surgery. I’m afraid that I would make the crabbiest patient ever.

20 August 2011

Facing my fear

My mother always told me that life has a funny way of eventually making you confront your fears or phobias. As a child she always hated anything to do with feet. She could handle all manner of gruesome cases in the emergency room, but give her anything to do with a foot and all the colour would drain out of her face. I still remember her trying to pull a Plantar wart out of my heel when I was little – I think it was for her than it was for me.

While I pride myself on having a fairly cast iron stomach I can easily tell you that the one thing that always makes me cringe is anything to do with throats and knives, especially when the two are combined. Just thinking about someone cutting their throat makes me want to faint. As a result, I have always avoided gory and slasher-style movies my whole life.

Knowing what you do now, is it surprising that I had such fear and anxiety over thyroid surgery? To prepare myself for the surgery, I tried to look at things rationally. This is a common enough surgery, minimal risk and, in the grand scheme of things, not too horrible to recover from. I knew I would have a small 2-3 inch scar that would fade over time. The thought of having my throat cut open still freaked me out but I had to get on with it anyways.

I thought I was doing pretty well and handling everything like a champ until it came time to take the dressing off this morning. My mother was going to come over and do it for me but I was impatient and ripped the thing off myself this morning; if any hand was going to hurt me, it might as well be my own. My first glance was fairly impartial. It’s a 3-inch scar, fairly flat despite some swelling, and healing well. All of a sudden though, my brain registered that the slash was on my own neck and back came the old phobia. I started seeing black spots and all the telltale signs that I was about to faint. I rushed over to the couch and had to sit down to collect myself.

I really did not think I would have this reaction to seeing my incision. Weird how little fears or phobias can push all rational thought out of your mind. This is something I’m going to have to get over quickly, otherwise I’ll be passing out every morning when I look in the mirror. I have already forced myself to get up and confront the image in the mirror twice again. It really does not look that bad and I just have to keep everything in perspective. I get off pretty lucky having such a small incision but it’s the location that got me. I never once felt this way with my much larger C-section incision.

On a positive note, I could make one hell of a realistic zombie for Halloween. There’s a always a sinver lining ; )

19 August 2011

Looking up

Things are looking up – literally.

I am happy to report that I’m able to tilt my head back more, something that was virtually impossible two days ago without feeling like my head would fall off. I’m still stiff as hell, and find it near impossible to sleep the night through, but I feel like things are starting to heal a little on the inside. I have a bit more mobility and have started doing neck exercises which is thankfully relieving some of the tensions in my shoulders, back and head.

I managed to do a few laps around the block yesterday which felt great. My breathing was still a bit shallow due to swelling so I had to call it quits early and plunk myself down on the porch. I gave in to a small pity party yesterday (more tears, damn it!). I just want to get up and get my life back in order. I miss feeling healthy and I can’t wait to get myself back on track. Tacking proper care of my body has been long overdue and, when all is said and done, I’m going to meet with a nutritionist to help get me on the right path. Now that I only have half a thyroid, I’m going to have to monitor my diet more closely and make sure that I am eating the right foods to fuel my body and keep the blues at bay.

Tomorrow the dressing comes off – I can’t wait! While I know that the stitches themselves are making things tight, the added medical plastic and tape don’t help. It will feel good to air out the inscision. I am also very curious to see how I am healing. I’m sure it will be a bit unsightly but I honestly don’t care. Folks can stare and ask all they like – no sweat off my back. Thankfully I’m not one of those people that is disturbed by scars. I see no point in covering them up. I guess I always grew up looking at scars. My mother’s body is quite the roadmap; I’ve always found her scars fascinating. Scars are kind of like testaments to human strength and the body’s ability to endure far more than we ever give it credit for. It’s like having a piece of your history tattooed on your body and I didn’t even have to pay good $ for mine – ha!

Glad to be feeling in a more positive state of mind today. I’m going to try to go for a longer walk and do more stretches. It’s slow going but at least it’s going somewhere.

As for hubby, I think he’s quietly enjoying this whole experience. My voice is still quite weak which means that I am no longer able to nag…or at least he doesn’t hear me trying. In all honesty though, he has been an absolute rock through all of this. He has had to step up to the plate and take care of the house, cooking and taking care of Andrew. I’m coming out all this with a stronger appreciation for how lucky I really am to have two great guys in my life.

18 August 2011

Hard night, better morning

You’d think I would have remembered something from my C-Section two years ago. That first 24 hours after surgery is always the worst. The pain and swelling got progressively worse throughout the day and I had a rough time sleeping last night. The incision site isn’t that sore itself, the issue has more to do with swelling inside which makes swallowing difficult. Every time I tried to take a sip of water after getting some food down, it felt like things were getting backed up in my esophagus. Every little sip would result in strange air bubbles and gurgling noises – a bit disconcerting. My breathing was also a bit shallower due to swelling. Nothing worth calling the hospital for but I did have to take things slower.

It feels like some of the swelling has gone down today and I managed to get breakfast down with a few less gurgles than yesterday. My voice is also a little bit stronger. I think I’m likely over the worst but I’ll still have to pace myself and try to keep still. I hope to get out and walk around the block a few times. It’s important that I start to move my neck more because things are getting very stiff. My whole back aches from holding my head differently.

For anyone else facing thyroid surgery, please know that the procedure itself is not all that bad. While I am experiencing pain, it could be far worse than it has been. It’s like having a very stiff and sore neck with a sore throat. I think the worry leading up to the surgery was far worse and, knowing what I do now, was not worth all the stress or tears. This will eventually be just a small blip in time- an inconvenience and the last resort to finally getting a diagnosis. Now lets cross those fingers, toes and all available appendages in hopes that this pesky nodule is benign.

17 August 2011

Day one post-op

Sleeping last night proved to be about as difficult as I imagined. I managed to pass out around 9:30 p.m. and slept straight through until 2:00 a.m. but had a hard time getting back down again afterwards. My neck was getting sore from being propped up on several pillows and the swelling started to get worse. I took another Percocet and managed to drift in and out of sleep.

Now that I’m up and about the swelling is going down again. I’m spending lots of time with ice on my neck and it feels quite nice. It hurts a good deal more to swallow today so I’ve had to get a bit mushier with my diet. I did manage to treat myself to a decaf Starbucks latte this morning so that’s a good sign that I’m already well on the mend. It was nice to get out for a little bit to enjoy the fresh air.

Not much on my plate right now other than trying to take it easy , which has never been my forte. I must say that the Percocet really chills me out; I don’t think I’ve been this relaxed in my life. That being said, I’m still looking forward to being pill free. As fun as it is to be “chill,” I don’t want to be spaced out for too long. I find myself having to concentrate a good deal more on making sense...hopefully this blog won’t be full or typos.

That’s all for now folks. Eyelids are getting heavy and the neck is needing more ice. I best get some sleep again before Drew comes home and wants to play. I think the poor little fella is wondering why I’m not rolling around on the ground and playing with him. That is going to be the hardest part of all this – not being able to pick him up and hold him. He is far too strong and curious; he has already taken a not-so-gentle interest in my bandages.


16 August 2011

I'm alive!

Feeling very relieved as the dreaded surgery is out of the way. All in all, it wasn't that bad. I was only in the OR for about 2 hours max. The bigger pain (literally) was my reaction to the anesthesia. I was expecting dizziness and faintness due my low blood pressure, but I did not anticipate throwing up after having my throat cut open; it was about as fun as it sounds.

I can't see the scar right now as it is covered in gauze and plastic. I have been applying loads of ice so the swelling isn't too bad. I imagine that tomorrow will likely be the worst day. Thankfully I have Percocet to get my through any pain and I really works wonders. I am trying to type this message after taking a dose, so typing is going very slowly.

Off now to rest and re-ice. I can move my head from left to right a little bit but looking up and down can be painful. All in all I am coping better than I thought. I had myself worked into such a frenzy last evening that I could barely eat, think straight or keep my eyes dry. Thankfully I smartened up this morning, took things into perspective and just went with the flow. Seeing Andrew after I got home from the hospital was the best feeling. Being here for him is all that matters

I am now trying to remain positive as my body heals. I have a followup with the surgeon in three weeks; I will get my results of the pathology report then. There is no sense worrying any more right now. For once in my life, I'm going to just relax and focus on myself.

I really have to give a big shout out to my wonderful hubby, family and daycare provider. They have been spoiling me, lending a hand with Drew and preparing lots of mushy casseroles. I go to bed tonight feeling very thankful and blessed.

No scar pictures yet...I won't get to see this little beauty for another four day. I'll admit, I'm very curious and can't wait to tear this tape off.

15 August 2011

Butterflies in my tummy...

And not the good kind of butterflies…

Tomorrow is surgery day. This time tomorrow I’ll be lying on a guerney with my throat cut open. It’s not the nicest image so I’ll try not to dwell on it too much.

They will be removing half of my thyroid to find out, once and for all, if a pesky nodule is cancerous or not. If all goes well, the results from the pathology report will come back with benign written on it. Unfortunately, while I’m recovering from the surgery, I’ll have the weight of the impending results on my mind. No frozen section biopsies offered here. They want a full examination of the nodule and surrounding tissue. The results will likely take two weeks to come back.

I have no idea what to expect. I hate surgery and faint very easily coming out of anesthesia. I’ll likely be completely useless coming home from the hospital. In a way, I hope I am released late so that Drew will already be in bed for the night. I don’t want him seeing me in that condition. Poor hubby is in for a rough ride.

Nothing much else to post right now. Just feeling nervous and tired…VERY tired of having this weigh me down. It has been almost three years now and I feel emotionally spent. I have put a brave face on for a while now but I would be lying if I didn’t say it bothers me. I just want to move on with life, have a clean bill of health and get back to enjoying things again.

Please cross fingers and toes for me and say your prayers. I’ll be sure to post some gruesome recovery shots later ; )

08 August 2011

Harvest rejects

August is here and with it comes the explosion of the mighty garden warrior – the zucchini. While my own plants were an epic flop (due to hungry bunnies and overcrowding), many of my co-workers were desperate to offload their own yields. And so our social committee cleverly organized an event in celebration of “National Sneak Some Zucchini on Your Neighbour’s Front Porch Day”.

To be perfectly honest, I thought my coworkers were growing a little more than zucchini (if you catch my drift), but I did a Google search and discovered that August 8th is indeed recognized as a holiday where people ‘donate’ their unwanted zucchini plants to friends and neighbours.

At work, people were challenged to use zucchini in a cooking/baking contest. Folks got quite creative and I was more than happy to help judge. We also had a contest to “guess the weight” of four mammoth zucchinis that were grown in my boss’ garden. The combined weight came in at 25 lbs.

Never one to pass up a good photo op, I offered to take one of the unwanted burdens back home. While the devil would probably be too seedy to eat, it makes a great conversation piece. In the end, I decided to keep up the spirit of giving and lovingly donated it to our unsuspecting friends across the street. They were out for the evening which offered the perfect opportunity to decorate the zucchini with a big green bow and plop it in a basket on their doorstep. They only got in around 11 PM last evening, so I’ll be curious to see if they figured out where the mystery donation came from. I’m even more curious, however, to see what form of revenge will likely be sitting on my own porch when I get home today.

07 August 2011

Fun on the farm

Perhaps this post would be more aptly named, “Sweat on the farm.”

This past weekend hubby and I rented a farmhouse in Douglas, Ontario. We are always in search of little mini vacations close to home – something that Drew can appreciate at his age. Seeing as he seemed obsessed with all things “farm”, we thought it would be a logical choice to spend some time enjoying the real deal.

The house was an absolute gem – a farmhouse built in the early 1930s. While the kitchen was outfitted with a newer stove/ fridge and the bathroom was redone, the rest was decidedly rustic. I am a bit romantic when it comes to older homes; I adore all their little nooks, crannies and oddities. I like to imagine the lives that were lived among the walls throughout the house’s history. One thing is for certain, we were likely sweating just as much as the original owners did.

Unfortunately, our two days were unbearably humid. Usually I tolerate the heat well, but even I will concede that it was almost debilitating. Hubby and Drew felt the effects even more and, as a result, our little “city boy” spent most of his time on the farm feeling sticky and miserable. We earned a much-greater appreciation for how lucky we are to have air conditioning at home. We were hoping for a good steady country breeze off the fields, but were out of luck.

Horrible heat aside, which really has no bearing on the property itself, we enjoyed the vast spread of land on our doorstep. We had our own henhouse to tend, as well as some barn kittens that followed us everywhere. We also had a stable with two of the hugest horses I have ever seen, as well as 38 cattle in the adjacent field. Our task was to feed the cats and hens. It is a messy job but I honestly enjoyed herding the 16 feathered beasts and collecting fresh eggs for breakfast every morning. Drew got a real kick out of the hens – no fear in this child!

Sadly, due to the heat and dry weather, we were unable to make use of the fire pit on the property. Instead hubby and I opted to sit under a big tree and watch the sunset each evening after Drew went to sleep – a cool glass of wine in our hands. All in all, not a bad end to the day.

Would I go back? Probably not as I’ve done it once and there are many other things to visit and do elsewhere in the Ottawa Valley. However, I do think it’s a nice family escape, especially for those with toddlers. My one recommendation, go in the Fall when the weather turns cooler.