My doctors have been amazing, and the nurses were sweet and helpful. Check out my pre-surgery hairstyle one of the helpers sweetly did for me. Pretty fashionable huh? :)
It's been 11 days after my thyroid surgery and about 50 days since my leg surgery. When you just listen to all of this, this test and that and this surgery and that surgery and this treatment and that, it sounds like a lot to go through within a couple of months, and you'd think I'd be battered and bruised and sucked dry of energy by now. But in all honesty, I feel and look the same, except for this new huge scar across my neck. I feel as healthy as I did before all of this started and I thought I was the healthiest human being on earth.
I also really want to talk about how once you go through it, despite how scary everything may sound, none of it involves pain that is worse than....than stubbing your toe. So it's really not that bad at all :-) Just in case there's someone out there facing something similar and you're scared.
There are so many procedures that can sound downright terrifying but when you go through it they're okay and the few bad ones are the fairly common ones that you wouldn't even think twice about normally. In fact, let me list out my most unliked parts ranging from their levels of pain/unpleasantness involved:
1. Surgery; Thyroidectomy - no pain (on account of me being out like a light maybe but in the end, what matters is that you feel no pain).
2. Nausea from the anesthesia - bad bad bad especially when your throat had been cut open the previous day and you feel doing something like retching might pop open your raw wound and your leftover thyroid area tissue might come spilling out :P
3. Countless needle pricks - very little physical pain but mentally unpleasant.
4. Night in the ICU - highly uncomfortable but no pain, and the discomfort only mainly from being unable to move freely because you're hooked up to so many machines. And remaining still is not one of my fortes. And don't forget being thirsty to death but not being allowed to drink. It made me remember the rich man from the Lazarus story in the Bible (the beggar, not the one that Jesus raised from the dead) and like him I wanted to call out 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus with a little water so I can cool my tongue.' But alas, even the freedom of speech was taken from me that one night.
5. Neck harmonium :P - well I just call this the harmonium. After the surgery, there was this pipe coming out of my neck (gak!!!) and into this contraption that looks like a harmonium. And I had the tube coming out of my neck for the next 3 days after surgery. But this was still not the worst because there's nothing more shiver-inducing than...
6. Peeing in a bed pan while lying prone in bed! - how do I explain the horror of all that this act involves! Luckily for me, it was only that one night in the ICU that I was forced to do this but I have to say, because I peed in a bed pan that night, I am forever scarred. But remember this if you ever have to do this - if you can pee in a bed pan without getting up from bed, you can do anything!
I'm awaiting my next line of treatment which is the radioactive iodine therapy. I don't know how bad that's going to be, but I know it's not nasty like chemotherapy so I thank my lucky stars for that. I'll just be really radioactive for a few days and I've gone through a somewhat similar experience before so I believe the worst is really over.
It's also really bad looking at your thyroid floating around in some liquid. I would've posted a picture but I think it would be appropriate to show some respect to my thyroid and leave it alone. But maybe I can use this one - my last picture ever with a thyroid :) Before I was being wheeled into the operation theatre.
But more than anything, this is mainly to thank everyone who called, messaged, emailed, visited, gave me flowers and wished me well in the past couple of weeks. I can't explain in words how truly grateful I am. You've all taught me one very valuable lesson - I will treat every single sick person I know with so much compassion than I've ever been able to show before because I know now how even the smallest show of concern can mean so much to someone lying in a hospital bed.
And to everyone, it is not easy to really comprehend how terribly you need your your family and friends when everything in your life is going great. But you WILL need them at some point in your life, and they are soo precious and important keep them close and love and cherish them.
Oh and make sure you have insurance :-) Even when you think you're young and healthy. You don't know what may happen.