Saturday, 22 August 2015

Post Surgery number two! Still trying to be a Disney princess, getting soppy and feeling good!

Hi everyone, welcome back to my blog.
This post will be in regards to my most recent lot of treatment, a completion thyroidectomy to remove the remaining left side of my thyroid gland! I will do a short description of the timeline of events as well as talk about the sort of emotional and psychological things I was feeling around this time. I don’t want to get to emotional or cliché or anything like that, I just think it’s important that behind all my smiling post-op selfies, people understand what a strange experience it is. This blog will also contain some photos, warning they are a bit gross!

So I arrived in York on Sunday evening, had my last solid meal, a tasty steak! And then set my alarm for bright an early Monday (17/8). Mum and I walked over to the hospital around 7am so I could be admitted around 7.30am. Exactly as before I had the meetings with nurses, the anaesthetist and the surgeon. I got dressed and I waited to be taken down to theatre.

Am I a disney princess yet?

Now, I didn’t expect the waiting to be as psychologically draining as it was. Its so hard to convey in words, but you know the awful feeling on the other side of surgery, you know the immense pain you will be in, and without sounding dramatic- you know how hard the next 48 hours of suffering is going to be, both mentally and physically. But unfortunately it’s the only option; you just know you’ve got to do it. I describe this as pushing myself, in a way I’ve never had to push myself before. You have to put yourself through it, to get better, and these thoughts rolled around my head for the 6 hours I was waiting for my surgery in hospital.

The anaesthetist part was much the same as last time, in a room on a hospital bed chatting with the nurses and doctors as they put the drip in my hand and the oxygen mask on my face. I drifted off.

My first memory of the recovery room was immense pain, dramatic Luce I know, but I felt in agony and my body was shaking and my muscles tensing and tears just uncontrollably falling from my eyes (this is something I experienced a lot this week, not wanting to cry but just having tears come from my eyes without my control- mum thinks its our animal instincts, we cry when we are sad or in pain I guess). I don’t want to worry or scare anyone about surgery, everyone responds differently, and this time I just required a lot of fentanyl to get my pain under control. After 2 hours I was moved to my ward. I felt much better and my pain was under a lot better control.

I had an IV in my hand for any fast relieving of pain and I think to keep my fluids up. I also had a blood drain in my chest that was monitored. Over the next 12 hours it was supposed to drain 20ml of blood from the wound, mine was around 45ml the following morning, so I had to keep it in another 24 hours to insure the bleeding had stopped. It was frustrating because it is quite inconvenient having this long tube coming from your chest and carrying a bottle of your own blood around, but again it was just one of those things I knew I had to do. Over the 2 days they routinely checked my blood pressure, blood oxygen and temperature. My temperature fluctuated a lot, so I had frequent IV medicine to bring it down.
My blood drain bottle and Goofy
Hospital horizontal with Goof

On Wednesday morning I was finally okay to remove my blood drain. The nurse cuts the stitch and then literally pulls the drain from your chest, its around 2-3 inches of plastic tube that would have be under the wound draining the blood away from the area, its important so you don’t have haemorrhage or hematoma. Again it was one of those silly times when I tried SO hard not to cry, but it just sort of happened and I made the stupidest little whimper noise, almost like a dog in pain, I had no control over that unfortunately haha. I don’t know why I reacted that way, I just did!

Starting to go crazy in hospital, playing with Pluto

I lay in hospital a few hours longer till the afternoon when mum arrived and my Macmillan nurse came and chatted to me about how I was coping and how I was feeling about the next steps of treatment. It was lovely to chat to her; I really value what they do. I value what all the nurses do! They all took such great care of me over the last 3 days. And of course the surgeon and anaesthetist and all the doctors, its all been great. You’ve got to be patient on the NHS system yes, but they are professionals and they know what they are doing, you’ve just got to have faith in the system!

On reflection I has been a really hard couple of days. But knowing I got through it makes me feel a lot better. Again, having that feeling of knowing how terrible it feels post surgery didn’t help. I knew what I was about to put my body through and it just hindered my positivity. Now I am discharged and safely at home in my bed I am hopeful for the future and my recovery. Yes its slow. Yes its frustrating (like really really REALLY frustrating- self confessed most active person in the world- so 2 weeks taking it really easy is like UH). But it’s hard to talk about the feelings behind it.

On social media, I like to post the happy photos and thumbs up and positive messages, but I want people to know its not always smiles and selfies. It has been hard, I don’t want to complain or be negative, I just want to highlight that everyone has his or her own way of coping. Social media in general is an idealised view of ones life, and when battling cancer this is no different. I don’t want to post things like ‘oh feeling like sh*t today, barely made it out of bed, stood up for 5 minutes then felt so woozy, I had to return to bed’, and I hope I wont post anything negative throughout my treatment. I’m trying to remain as positive and brave as I can, lots of people have put their faith in me, and driven me forward with their support, for that I am eternally grateful. Cancer or any sickness is made easier by sharing your feelings and sharing in general. I can’t imagine doing this alone. Soppy luce getting soppy once more, forgive me, I’m tired and hurting and on lots of pain meds.

For now I am focusing on 2 weeks being horizontal and getting my energy back up. I’m starting my thyroxin dose and Ill keep everyone up to date about that, any advice anyone needs etc. Further to this, I have my first appointment at the Royal Marsden Cancer Clinic in Chelsea later in September, and I am really looking forward to just BEATING THIS THING, PEW PEW PEWWWWWW.

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