I’m back!!! I am so happy to let you know that my surgery is over with and I am back home safe and sound. Alan and I arrived bright and early at the hospital on Monday morning since I was the first on the schedule. I was surprised that I felt very calm from the day before up until I was being wheeled into the operating room, although there were a few tears on my part when it became obvious things were starting to happen. You can kind of see the mark that the surgeon made on my neck pre-op in this picture:
While I was being prepped, I helped Alan get connected to the hospital’s wi-fi. This picture is funny because it looks like I’m one of those crazy workaholic people who can’t get away from the computer (no, really, I’m not one of those people!!!):
Isn’t anesthesia amazing? Quicker than the blink of an eye, 3.5 hours passed and I woke up in recovery. I’m still waiting for the pathology report, but I am hopeful that the cancer was contained and I’m anxious to find out more about what was going on in there. The surgery ended up being more extensive than originally planned because some of my lymph nodes surrounding the thyroid were suspected to have cancer in them as well which is not uncommon. I will know more next week on my situation and I should also have a plan for the next steps.
Once I was alert, I went to I.C.U. for extra monitoring. The pain medication helped a lot and I got excellent care for that first 24 hours. The nurses were really nice about keeping my green smoothies in the fridge and serving them to me whenever I had to take oral medication:
I really tried to keep my food to a minimum so I didn’t have to devote any extra energy to digestion and could instead just focus on healing (that’s a trick I learned from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Super Immunity ). I did end up ordering a small bowl of oatmeal and some applesauce from the hospital’s kitchen, but I made it very clear not to use dairy in the oats:
After the first 24 hours, my calcium levels were not where they were supposed to be because they suspect the surgery shocked my parathyroid glands, so my doctor decided to keep me in one extra night. I was then transferred from the I.C.U. to the regular surgical recovery floor. That was really stressful and anxiety-producing for me because I had to adjust to a new environment and new faces and I was still in a lot of pain that day.
Here’s how they wrote out my dietary restrictions, I’m not sure what was meant by a “regular” vegetarian (and I did giggle to myself when the aide misspelled it), but then I had her add the part about no dairy and no eggs since she chose not to write vegan:
Alan brought more green smoothies from home so I pretty much just continued to drink those:
Fortunately, after the second night, my labs were stable enough so the doctor discharged me on Wednesday. My calcium levels are still being monitored and hopefully they will stabilize soon. I wore my new favorite vegan t-shirt from Herbivore Clothing to celebrate when I left, it says “I’m vegan and I love you”:
I figured I might as well do a little positive vegan p.r. at the hospital while I was at it.
It is great being home and I’ve had so much love and support. My in-laws sent me these gorgeous flowers:
Some friends brought over soup yesterday and my mom and her boyfriend are visiting as well. It’s a love-fest for sure.
The surgery was absolutely the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through in my life, no question. The fear of the unknown combined with the pain was almost unmanageable. What helped keep me sane was staying connected to my support system which for me meant phone calls, social media and e-mail, not to mention the amazing support from Alan who was with me every step of the way. During those darkest hours, I used a combination of my own inner strength plus the support of all of you wonderful, caring friends to make it through. I’m sure there are still tough time ahead (that’s life, right?), but I am glad to be past this particular obstacle and I feel stronger because of it.
While I love each and every one of you who connected with me during my time of need, I also thought it was pretty cool that I got a Tweet from one of my personal blogging idols, Miss Angela of Oh She Glows !
Isn’t she so sweet?
I’m definitely on the mend and my pain has already decreased dramatically. I’m not even that swollen around the incision although I have to admit it’s pretty nasty looking right now. I have follow-up labs today and then I’m meeting both my endocrinologist and my surgeon on Monday for updates. I will keep you apprised.
To take a break from this intense cancer talk, let’s wrap up this post with another Healthy Vegan Friday recipe round-up. Thanks to everyone who submitted recipes last week. Here were the three most clicked-upon links: