On the Road to Recovery

Stef's surgery

Stef's surgery

I am two weeks post-surgery and doing well. I’ve been back at work and hula all week and am not much worse for wear. The surgery went well and now that it’s over I can truthfully say that I psyched myself out more than was necessary. I was probably only awake in the operating room for two minutes and the next thing I remember is waking up in the big recovery room. From there I was taken to a private room, mainly because the lady in the bed next to me was moaning and groaning and complaining at top volume and I think the nurses took pity on me. After a few hours of dozing on and off, while Clarke and Mom sat at my bedside, they released me into the capable hands of my husband. All in all, I was away from home for less than twelve hours.

The next week was spent on our couch which folds into a great recovery bed allowing me to stay propped up comfortably. Clarke did an amazing job pampering me, and I did an amazing job of being a good patient (well, maybe, let’s just say that I was). My throat and neck were very sore, but after a couple days (and a couple of pain pills), I was able to eat solid foods (although I kept eating jello and ice cream too). I slept a lot and generally lay there. I watched the entire Star Wars series. Clarke took me out every afternoon for a walk and managed to get some of his triathlon training done when he could get a babysitter for me. By the end of the week, I was able to get up and move around on my own, albeit slowly. We made an appearance at a hula party Saturday afternoon, and I begged Clarke to let me do one dance (a short one). Sunday was Surfrider’s annual Paddle for Clean Water in which I was an enthusiastic observer while Clarke and several of our friends paddled around the Ocean Beach Pier.

My scar is healing nicely and the range of motion in my neck is almost back to normal. I am using plenty vitamin E, sunscreen and bandages when I’m outdoors. Monday I go back to my endocrinologist to see if I need to be put on thyroid pills. Because I still have half a thyroid (the left half, in case you’re keeping track), my natural TSH levels should be ok (thyroid stimulating hormone). But it’s likely that they will put me on synthetic thyroid to suppress the remaining thyroid and prevent it from going haywire like it’s evil twin, and then to give me a proper dose of TSH. The pathology report from the removed 40 gram thyroid (my evil half) came back benign and with a big long name (hyperplastic thyroid nodule with fibrosis and cystic degeneration) which basically means non-cancerous lump. They also found portions of a parathyroid gland in there, but my surgeon assures me that having three and a half parathyroids is just fine.

So I guess that’s a lot of words to say I’m fine, but there you go. :) I also want to thank everyone who sent good thoughts, visits, flowers, cards, emails and especially food. And most importantly I want to thank my amazing husband Clarke for being a great nurse and taking care of me in sickness and in health.

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