I have to tell you that as far as being ready for surgery goes, I was ready. The house was tidy, the laundry all folded and put away. Our bed had clean sheets with which to welcome me for the multi-day rest I had planned. The freezer was stocked with Popsicles, the fridge with yogurt and smoothie ingredients, and there was a platter of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies for the staff ready to go out the door.
I was ready to have my neck cut open.
The girls made me this AWESOME medal for me to wear. It read: Very Important Momma. I was not going to take any chances and I was planning to wear, and flash, this bad boy every step of the way.
It even matched my johnny.
My dear friend Vanessa who was to be my O.R. nurse gave me the most gorgeous scarf as a gift. A thyroidectomy scarf for a girl who adores scarves. So thoughtful.
I was so relaxed while I was waiting that I was able to smile and make jokes. Emilie and Skyler (with her broken arm in a new neon yellow cast) came in to visit and I got to be the first to sign Skyler's cast! I'd never had the honor of being the first signature on a cast.
It was such a comforting feeling to be wheedled into the O.R. by a friend. When I got in there I was joking around with the staff and one of the nurses said, "I love how funny people are when they have had drugs" and I said, "Oh I haven't had anything yet!"
I was anxious about the possibility of waking up while in surgery. I realize that this is not a common occurrence but the thought of having any awareness at all while my neck was open seriously freaked me out. Sandi's colleagues put me completely at ease. I knew Sandi was in the waiting room with Ange keeping her company. So I breathed into the mask and felt my body get very heavy and then I didn't know anything else.
Except I heard the noise of people talking and moving around and I felt very concerned so I said, "I can hear you! I don't think I'm supposed to me awake right now!" and everyone told me that the surgery was over and I was in recovery. Sandi held my hand, Ange came and gave me a kiss and Trish rubbed my head for the longest time and it felt so good as I drifted in and out.
Patti and Dwight had gotten the girls from school and taken them to their house overnight. Sandi brought me back to a quiet house around 7:30 and we weren't long for bed. We spent the entire next day resting and watching a movie, taking short walks up the street and relishing the restful quiet. My family came to see us Sunday and brought food and flowers and fruit smoothies and get well cards.
I want to thank you all for the outpouring of love and support and well wishes I received. I got cards, email, messages, offers of help and food dropped at our house. I am no good at being laid up but all the care and support made it so much easier. A GREAT BIG THANK YOU to my amazing wife for taking such good care of me from beginning to end and for reminding me on day 3 that I wasn't meant to be up and going for run yet.
The recovery itself has been slower than I thought, with days 3 and 4 being harder than others. I am still not at 100% and I tire easily but I am getting there. It has been a very restful week (once I could let go of not doing stuff and not being able to get right back to work) and I have spent many afternoons in the recliner playing school with Maya.
Playing school with Maya looks something like this. You sit in the chair and she is the teacher and you the student. She writes her morning message on the white board just like her teacher does, leaving some letters intentionally missing so that you, the student, can fill them in. This is particularly hilarious when the words are misspelled. Then she writes up the daily schedule and takes you through them one by one, speaking exactly as I imagine her (awesome, incredible) teacher to speak.
"Now, friends, we are going to have inside recess today. For inside recess you can choose to read quietly, draw a picture or...(dramatic pause) would any friends like to use my very special fairy finding book? If you would like to, raise your hand. (At this point she scans the living room for all hands that might be raised even though I am the only student.) Now, when you are done with my special book do you just put it down here and forget about it? (A mock display of the irresponsible discard of a book.) No. You would carefully put it back where it belongs, that is right. Good work, my friends. Okay, now Momma will have the first turn and when she is done other friends can have a turn as well."
|"Morning meeting, reading workshop, math, music, reading workshop, art, lunch, recess, snack, closing circle."|
Maya has been super concerned about me this past week and very attentive. She has cried in the morning when we had to say goodbye and made me at least one get-well card every day at school.
There have been lots of lap snuggles.
I have felt so loved and cared for and grateful. My sister has checked on me every single day. Even last night, Emilie brought the most amazing dinner for us: squash soup, salad, homemade naan bread and apple crisp. It makes surgical recovery seem, well, not so bad.
I am feeling better, more like myself each day. I am working to be patient as my body transitions to a synthetic thyroid hormone. I have some residual discomfort, like a perpetual lump in my throat and a squeezing feeling around my esophagus that I am hoping is just scar tissue and will resolve with some massage. My parathyroid was able to be saved so I don't have any long-term worries about my calcium levels. I feel relieved that this is behind me and I can spend my energy on something other than my thyroid.
And, best of all, my biopsy results were negative.