Friday, 30 June 2017

K, Seeya, Bye!

Gosh life is busy right now.

We moved into our new house on the 8th June and let's just say we haven't messed around getting stuck into a renovation. My posts might not be as regular for a while as we are currently working full time, being parents and then coming home to the building work so time is literally so sparse. Does anyone ever wish we had an extra 6 hours in a day and 3 days in a week?

If you follow me on Instagram or have read my previous post you may know I recently had my tonsils out. Following the experience being a bit of a shock I decided to share my journey with you in case you may be due to have the same procedure done.

**I will warn you - this post does contain post op pictures of the site which are gross to say the least. If you do have a weak stomach it's probably best not to read too much further..**

So why did I need my tonsils out? It's been a long time coming to be honest. Basically I haven't felt very well for just over two and a half years now. When I say not very well it is quite hard to explain. Very run down would be a good starting point, exhausted very easily closely follows and then it is my throat. I have had a large raised lymph node on the left side of my neck for the same amount of time I have felt rubbish. I also have a very weak voice and have a sore throat everyday all down the left side.

Lymph nodes are a scary subject. I have had various tests, scans and blood tests over the time I have been feeling unwell for all sorts of scary things and luckily each one has come back clear but it still left a question mark over what is causing my lump and pain.

After being with different doctor's for 2 years, not finding a solution and being at my whits end of feeling shite I was referred to a fantastic consultant who specialises in Ear, Nose and Throat. He went over my symptoms, I had an MRI scan and a camera up my nose and down my throat - not so nice! The consultant  was as baffled as I was. He had a few theories about what could be going on and also thought my tonsils looked suspect so he decided to take them out in order to see if they were contributing to  any of my problems. After talking through several possibilities we realised it would be a process of elimination and different treatments to find a solution.

One thing the consultant suspected was undiagnosed chronic tonsillitis. This may have been causing me to feel unwell for so long. Chronic tonsillitis is basically when the tonsils become infected frequently without the full blown fur, gunk and symptoms of tonsillitis that would knock you off your feet. He wasn't 100% sure this would be the cause but the only way to expel the chance was to remove mine. He talked me through the procedure and said I would receive a date shortly within the next few weeks.

The date come through and the operation was set for May 17th. Don't ask me why but I didn't consider it too much. I think I was more excited over the concept of solving my problem and finally feeling better. I didn't do any research. I only knew of a few people who had also had the procedure done and I knew everyone reacts to surgery different so I didn't feel it was worth asking too many questions - or so I thought.

I like to think I am an optimistic person. Having this done proved that.. a little to much. I knew I had to have two weeks off work to recover but stupidly I imagined that being a "day case" meant I would be in, out and back to normal duties later that day. How wrong and naive I was..

Originally I had never intended to blog about my tonsillectomy. It was only when I had a big shock afterwards that I thought I would share my experience. In a way I want to help advise anyone who may be undergoing the procedure of what to expect and share a few tips to help prepare yourself for post op life. Please remember though, everyone is different. Your experience could be totally different to mine!

The only way I can describe my experience was.. beautiful.. not! It was not very nice at all. The actual morning and pre-operation was so smooth. I hadn't worked my self up about having the op - I wasn't overly nervous, probably a little to optimistic - hence the shock I was about to get.

The staff at the Nuffield in Derby were incredible. Their attention to detail was impeccable and they really put me at ease and comfort. Being a day case I was at the hospital for 07:00 in the morning and due to go to surgery about 09:00. At that point the only thing I was bothered about was being starving. I am such a breakfast lover and when you have the procedure it is nil be mouth after 00:00 the night before. Not even a cup of tea to start the day never mind my beloved porridge or a smoothie!

My nerves finally kicked in when I walked down to theatre. All kitted out in my beauts gown, super big pants and circulation stockings.. It's a glam affair! I have had one anaesthetic before so knew vaguely what to expect but the anxiety did kick in when I lay on that bed to be put to sleep I won't lie.

Every experience is different and that is so true with my two anaesthetic experiences. On waking from my first operation I ever had I was so peaceful, said "hello" to the surgeon and then fell back to sleep. This time I woke and had a full on panic attack. Drama I know - super embarrassed to say the least.

When I woke I had no idea where I was or what was going on. In my head I hadn't yet been put to sleep, because I had no recollection of it happening! I thought I was on that trolley about to be put to sleep..

I had a slight runny nose on the day of my procedure so after lying down for the duration of the op I was all blocked up and felt like I was struggling to breath. Then the pain in my throat hit me and that was it. A mixture of confusion, feeling like I couldn't breathe and the pain sent me into a mad hyperventilating mess. The poor nurses had no idea what was up with me and I was that doped up from the pain relief that was running through me I didn't either. It was a good 10 minutes before I accepted the operation was done and they weren't going to put me out again! I had felt a mess already but now I looked a total puffy eyed, red nosed mess. I got back to my room and literally slept the anaesthetic off all day, it was all I could do. My blood pressure ended up quite low by the end of the day so I did have to stay in over night for monitoring.
I went home around lunch time the following day and that's when the recovery journey began. I kept a diary of how I felt each day and took photographs of the area so I could see the healing progress in action. I can safely say from the minute I woke up to about day 12 my throat hurt in a way I have never experienced before. My medication made me feel super nauseous and the codeine knocked me off my feet for hours each time. It's not fun in any way, shape or form. Even worse constipation was a bitch until Day 6! I think that can be a side effect from an anaesthetic though. It really is a rough road to recovery and I just wish I had been a little more prepared before hand.

Although my recovery was rough I literally cannot fault the Nuffield in Derby. Their service is amazing! From the minute I checked in I had my own room which they had already pre-booked out for an overnight stay even though I was only a day case. The staff were super helpful and couldn't do enough for their patients comfort. I know some people slate the NHS but this just proved how helpful they are and how lucky we are to have their services. The breakfast they brought me in the morning looked insane and I was absolutely gutted I couldn't enjoy it. I gave it a good attempt but it simply was not happening. One positive though - by the following morning my puffy eyes has returned to normal - I didn't feel like so much of a freak show then! It's bad enough feeling terrible without looking it too.

It's super gross but when you have your tonsils out obviously they don't stitch up the operated site so you have two kind of open wounds that are incredibly sore. Instead of stitching the area is cauterised. Also the back of your throat fills with what I can only describe as smelly cottage cheese. I'm still unsure even now as to what this actually is? I took pictures daily to watch it disappearing as I got better. I've included one photo from the day after so you can see what I mean.. this is why I warned you it would be a gross post.
So what happened from day 1 post op? Here it goes:
  • Day 1 - 3 = I felt pretty much the same on each of these days. Rough,  spaced out, in pain, very sleepy with no appetite.
  • Day 4 = I was barely eating. This is not what you are advised post op as eating normal foods can actually help heal the area, but it was the last thing I could face rightly or wrongly. I could tell I had started to loose a little bit of weight by this point. I loose weight quite quickly and can always tell around my collar bones. It was inevitable with how little I was getting down me. I do always find it strange how our taste changes when we are sick. The things I usually love repulsed me. I was drinking tea with sugar not sweetener, trying small pieces of cheese on toast to curb the nausea and nibbling chocolate hobnobs to line my stomach for the meds during the night. My diet definitely changed for a good few days!
  • Day  5 = Emotional wreck! I think a mixture of waking up a lot in pain during the night, having disturbed naps during the day, feeling like utter crap and not eating well had taken its toll by day 5. I had a lot of help from my family with my daughter, my parents had her for a week whilst I stayed with Matthew's parents. On the Saturday I missed her dancing in her Mayfair as I just wasn't well enough to go and when I received a video from my dad I just sat and sobbed - what a melt!
  • Day 6-8 = No improvements. I still felt rubbish. My body was totally reliant of pain relief still, religiously every four hours. I still couldn't sleep through the night without having to wake up for my tablets.
  • Day 9 = This was my consultation day. Usually after a tonsillectomy you would see the consultant 7 days later but due to my tonsils being sent away to check for anything abnormal my appointment was on day 9 when my results from pathology would be in and could be discussed. Luckily there was nothing sinister in the little buggers but they were full of gross debris so it was confirmed that they definitely had needed removing! At this point the lump in my neck was still the same and hadn't gone down as we had hoped. I was given a further appointment 6 weeks later to reassess the lump and see if after healing I would have any improvement on my symptoms.
  • Day 12 = I finally started to feel hungry! Very hungry actually. My appetite was coming back with avengance and definitely making up for the tiny amount I had eaten over the last 11 days. Your stomach shrinks so quickly after an absence of food though doesn't it?! I could literally only manage small portions - little and often. My throat was getting less sore daily at this point too. I was finally feeling better in myself, taking less meds daily and seeing less of the gunk at the back of my throat - yay!
So there is it is, the main two weeks post op after my tonsillectomy. It's now been 6 weeks since the op, one of my scars has healed nicely, the other is being a bit slow. I still get a bit of gunk on them and the left side is still quite red and a bit sore but all in all the results are good.

Unfortunately Larry lymph node is still up, I'm still very sore down the left side of my throat and have a super weak voice. I've just had my 6 week review and although it was beneficial for me to chop off the tonsils I'm still no further with the cause of the lump. We are now exploring other options and I return in a few weeks for another scan and discussion. Hopefully we'll find a solution in the end. My consultant is amazing, so thorough and patient!

I can't thank the Nuffield in Derby enough for all of their care, time and help during my operation as well as post operation and the consultations I have had since.

I hope this may be of help if you are due to have this procedure. Please remember everyone is different and each experience will be different! I would definitely say if you are due to have this done make sure you have some family support ready for afterwards. Both mine and Matthew's family were incredible to me. Obviously having a child to take care of was difficult afterwards for a few days so as I said my parents took care of my daughter and Matthew's parents gained me.

All the best if your having a tonsillectomy soon. If you have been through anything similar regarding the lump in my neck, sore throat and fatigue and found a solution please share! As always if you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact me or comment below.

Bethany xx


No comments

Post a Comment

Blogger Template Created by pipdig