I FINALLY had my parathyroidectomy last Friday! It feels like it’s been such a long road. While I was really just diagnosed last September, I’m so thankful to be on the healing end.
The last year has been such an education. And I learned more in the last two weeks than I have in the last year! While the dietary changes have helped me feel immensely better, they weren’t enough to cure my disease or even slow down it’s progression.
When my doctor suggested I see an endocrinologist, I thought it would be easy to get in to see one. Not so much. The local one here had a several month wait time and thankfully through some connections with my brother, I was able to see an incredible doctor in Philadelphia. He explained the disease so thoroughly and helped Bill and I to really understand how it’s been effective me both physically and emotionally. He also said that it wasn’t my diet that caused it… it’s just something I’m predisposed to. He also said that in his opinion, it needed to be removed sooner rather than later.
He referred me to the surgeon who was just as wonderful. He explained everything even more clearly and after the appointment I had such a sense of relief and justification that everything I’ve been feeling for at least the last two years was due to this and not every excuse I was making. When I was exhausted I’d blame it on working so much. When I was depressed I blamed it on being sad about losing my dad. When I was achy I blamed it on working out too much or not working out enough. When I didn’t feel well, I blamed it on something I ate. And all this time it was something in my neck the size of a grain of rice that was the culprit.
Before I met with the surgeon, I did my research and one of the biggest themes was to be sure to ask the dr to check all 4 parathyroid glands to make sure there wasn’t more than one infected. Thankfully the dr explained that there was no need for that now, due to modern medicine!
After my appointment I felt so at ease and knew we were definitely on the right track. And we scheduled it to happen 3 days later. Which I was very thankful for… I didn’t need a month of thinking about it.
I was scheduled for 1pm surgery and needed to arrive at 11:30am. We actually made great time in traffic and arrived an hour early. When you check in you get a number that corresponds with a big board in the waiting area. It kind of looks like the arrivals and departures monitors at the airport. Each patient has a number and next to it is their current status: pre-op, in surgery, post-op, recovery.
By 11am I was in the pre-op in my gown and ready to go. I had just switched on HGTV to pass the time when I overheard someone call out my last name and “Room 3! ASAP! ASAP! ASAP!” Well, I knew I wasn’t in any crisis or an emergency but it did make me wonder in a little bit of a frightened way!
Then a swarm of nurses, technicians and several others came in and started getting me moving. When I asked what was going on they said that my surgeon had finished his previous surgery early and was ready for me. Which I was very thankful for. I was a little hesitant when they said they could get me in at 1pm on a Friday afternoon. All I thought was, “Geez… what if he’s running late… then what?” So happy I didn’t have to worry about that!
Since I’d never had any kind of surgery before and it was all unknown, it was probably better that I had no idea what to expect. That way I wasn’t too scared. I did get a little weepy at one point though but I’m sure that’s to be expected and I’m certain they’ve seen worse!
The IV line went in and then I received a shot in my stomach (I actually thought the nurse was kidding when she told me she was going to give me a shot in my stomach!). Then I signed some papers, more people spoke to me and off we went. Before I knew it I was in the operating room and they were asking me what kind of music I wanted to help me relax.
The thoughts in my head at that moment? “Are you kidding me? I have no idea!”, “Hmmm… what kind of music relaxes me?”, “Please don’t play Elvis… anything but Elvis!” Before I could say a word, the young male nurse who could probably be my son said, “She looks like she likes Aerosmith.” Which I do but probably wouldn’t have been my first choice in the relaxation category!
I think I muttered something along the lines of “Whatever makes Dr Pak feel the most relaxed…” Then I heard Aerosmith, saw my surgeon walk in and then nothing…
He was able to locate the infected gland immediately and remove it. Then he waited 15 minutes and did the blood test. The plan was if my levels dropped to normal, they had the right one and wouldn’t need to look at the others. As expected, that’s what happened and he closed me up!
The next thing I knew I was in post-op. The nurse was asking my pain level and administering something through the IV. The first dose didn’t help. The second helped a bit and then the third was just way too much. I didn’t feel very good after that. Then they moved me into the recovery area.
At that point I was starving! They gave me crackers and ginger ale and I waited for Bill to come in. Then I got dressed and we were on our way home!
The worst was the sore throat from the breathing tube and feeling dizzy from the anesthesia. But I can totally feel that I am on the mend!
This morning I am a bit red and decided not to go into work for the next few days so I can relax and be 100%. And on Saturday I could feel my lips tingling which is another great sign. That means my calcium is low!
So for anyone who might be facing this too… you’ll be so thankful when it’s done. I promise!
Life is good! xoxo