Sunday, June 12, 2005

Jo's Second Surgery- Thyroidectomy w/Lymph Node Dissection and Parathyroid Reimplantation.

Say that one five times fast! ;)

I'm going to keep the pre-surgery part short so I don't take up too much room. We went down to Tampa on Tuesday night, I had my appointment with Dr. P (the head and neck surgeon) and he told me they would be cutting me more than I thought, I saw Dr. BC's nurse practioner, Heather, and found out she was almost 9 months pregnant (she's so tiny the rotten thing!), had my pre-op appointment, and then spent the day with the family doing things.

The next morning (June 2nd) we arrived at the hospital around 9:30am and got checked in. After that we spent about an hour in the waiting room during which Vin and I agreed that the best thing to do was for him and the children to head home as soon as I went back to get ready for surgery. He wanted to be there during and when I came out of surgery but I just couldn't see him and the children waiting around all day plus having to drive back home that night. The best thing for all of them was to go home where they would be comfortable. So once I was called back Vin went back with me, told me he loved me, and then left.

I spent another 2 hours sitting back there reading magazines and watching doctors and nurses walk back and forth. Dr BC came to talk to me at one point, Dr P didn't, a few nurses prepped me, one gave me some Vercet (and I warned her I would be out before I hit the OR), and off we went. The only scary part was when Dr BC informed me that I could come out of the surgery with a trachiotomy or unable to shrug my shoulders.

I woke up in my room around 8:30pm and the first thing I did was feel my neck to make sure there was no trach. LOL. Having done that I felt my incision and realized that it was MUCH larger than they had said it would be. It was in a U-shape and started under one jaw, went down my neck, across my collarbone, and up the other side to my other jaw. :( I also had two huge drain tubes in my neck that were hurting pretty badly. The next thing I did was test my voice and found much to my delight that I had a voice! YAY! Directly after that I called Vin to let him know I was okay and found out that Aidan started getting a fever on the way home so we had definately made the right decision earlier.

The first night was really rough because I had a HORRIBLE male nurse named Jim who it took SIX HOURS to realize what I meant when I said the pain medication was making me sick. I tried to explain to him that this wasn't my first surgery and I also knew that I wasn't suppose to be in any pain much less have the room spinning, be throwing up, and feel nauseated nonstop!! Finally around 4am he switched me to another pain med and I started feeling better. After that I tried to get some sleep but of course couldn't because the door was left open and no one would answer my call button.

At this point I will just say that I am NOT getting anymore surgeries done at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center. I was very disappointed with the nursing staff while I was there. It was horrible! At one point I was choking on a pill (granted not DYING but the thing was stuck) for over 10 minutes and had pushed the call button three times to no avail. Finally my nurse just happened to come into the room and got me a drink to try to wash the monster pill down.

Response time to the call button was awful, nurses wouldn't listen when I said I needed certain meds (even after being told twice they thought my steroids were for inflammation and were nonchalant about giving them to me. I was constantly telling them that I NEEDED the dang things in order to LIVE!), not much chance to sleep because nurses and techs were coming in and out constantly (couldn't be there when you needed them but the minute you tried to sleep they wouldn't go away!), and they just seemed in general clueless. I DID have one or two nurses that were nice and tried and I appreciate that.

I spent my days reading, talking on the phone, listening to the old biddy next door's TV because she had it up full blast, walked a few times, listened to a little music, wrote some, and ate like a horse for two days straight! LOL

Anyway- as far as the surgery went they took out my entire thyroid, supposedly all of the lymph nodes in my neck and shoulders, supposedly two of my parathyroid, and even found a fifth parathyroid away from the others that was hiding behind some lymph nodes. There was also something said about a tumor on that one but I'm not sure what went on with that. Also it seems the tumor was reimplanted into my forearm which I don't understand either.

Dr BC did much better this time in that he came by to check on me each day, took time to talk to me, and tried to make sure I got what I needed. I'm very appreciative that he seemed to take me more seriously this time.

I was in the hospital from the 2nd until the 6th when I was finally allowed to go home because my calcium levels were doing well. They supposedly did a calcitonin test so we should get to find out how much my levels have gone down now that I've had the surgery. I'm anxious to know what they are.

Also, I'm saying supposedly so much because no one has completely told me for sure what was done yet. I hope to get some answers soon though because I'd really like to know what went on with my body. :( MUCH more happened after I left the hospital but I'll save that for the next post.

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